Epitome of Italian-American: Guido's Pasta Villa
Eating Out with Karen Miltner: Rochester Weekend Section, Page: 12H
(December 24, 2003) - A few weeks ago, I took a brief detour from my beat to survey average Joes and Janes on the street about where they would take Rochester naysayer Jan Wong. (Remember, she's the Toronto Globe and Mail reporter who ridiculed our city's tourist potential.) Now it's my turn. If I had to take Ms. Wong to one place, it would be Guido's Pasta Villa. First, the name, which is completely authentic (the owners, Frank and Jesse, are Guidos by family name), spins off the tongue. Second, it epitomizes the pack of Italian-American eateries that saturate this town. Third, I've never seen any tourists there. Finally, it's the only place I'm aware of that serves greens and beans and gnocchi together ($11.95). This winning combo alone is worth the ferry ride.
Pre-entree minestrone soup had a mother lode of vegetables - a nice change from pasta overload. Bread is hot, hearty and homemade. Ditto on the potato gnocchi, which is doused with a ribbon-smooth red sauce ($9.95).
The Dining Companion commented that her chicken parm with pasta ($10.95) elegantly avoided the dish's typical pitfall of too-rubbery meat. I would add that the elements - breading, cheese, sauce - were soundly balanced.
Another dish that took me pleasantly by surprise was the peppercorn-studded pork tenderloin ($15.95) with mashed potatoes. Though the overload of peppercorns can be overwhelming, it is possible to push most of them out of the way and still enjoy the rich cream sauce.
A homemade cannoli ($2.25) of restrained sweetness finished the meal.
Part of the reason the dining room feels so small is that the portions are so big. You could knock out a two-top with your growing pile of styrofoam-packed leftovers.
THE DRINKS - Full bar.
THE SERVICE - Comfortably paced.
Eating Out restaurant reviews are based on a one-time, anonymous visit. For other Democrat and Chronicle reviews and restaurant listings, visit us at: DemocratandChronicle.com
Eating Out with Karen Miltner
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