Massachusetts Restaurant Reviews
This review has been submitted by a visitor to our site.
Rating: 3 / 5
Rovezzi's is an Italian restaurant in a big brick mill building. It in fact is in the exact location of a previous Italian restaurant - Tiano's Restaurant. Cynics might say that when Tiano's moved out, Rovezzi's moved in hoping to grab all of that existing audience without putting in the same amount of effort.
I called in reservations for a birthday dinner with my boyfriend, requesting a window seat. That was always what I really liked when I went to Tiano's. We arrived and told them the name the reservation was under. They looked us up and went to seat us. Even though there were several window seats open, they sat us in a booth instead. I didn't object, but it struck me as odd. There were only 3 other tables filled at the time.
The room lighting is very dark now under the new management. The walls are dark red, with some dark green accents and dark black draperies. In fact it was so dark that my boyfriend couldn't read his menu. They brought over a flashlight - apparently this is a not uncommon complaint. While we decided, we were brought a free little appetizer - two small crunchy toast pieces with berry spread on top. They were quite tasty. We asked for a $50 Chianti, two appetizers and two main dishes.
Well, somehow the Chianti was no longer available. We went with another selection in the price range. I'll note that the wine prices seemed WAY high here. We're used to wine prices being jacked up, but they were completely outrageous, sometimes 3x or 4x the going price.
For appetizers I got calamari and Bob got mushroom ravioli. In both cases it was tasty - but very 'bland' in terms of flavors. It was a mush of taste sensations. Not only that, but both dishes were very chewy.
On to the main dish. I had the lamb with butternut squash grain blend; Bob had the veal parm. Again, both were tasty - but both were very bland. The veal parm was very mild, almost as if it'd been made with tomato paste. The lamb was on a base that was "starchy" in taste - you couldn't sense individual flavors at all.
I'll comment on the bread here. It is tasty and obviously fresh, served with a little decanter of oil. The decanter holds roast garlic, mushrooms and a ton of spice, but you're not able to pour those other ingredients out of the decanter. We had to fish a garlic bud out with a fork. It makes you wonder if they re-use those ingredients for multiple days, or if they really waste all of that for a single serving. It would have been nice if they'd served the oil in a container that let you take advantage of those ingredients.
For dessert, they brought out a tray with no prices. We always find this to be an intriguing way to push high priced items without letting you know about that. I went with the tiramisu which came in a large goblet - no ladyfingers, just layers of cheese and dark 'sauce'. It was OK, but again a bland blend of flavors.
The waitress was friendly, although not always very prompt with water or menus. We for example got our leftovers in boxes and sat for a while before we saw a dessert menu.
It's intriguing because before we went here, we considered Cafe Amore to be great food but overpriced. After seeing what Rovezzi's provided and charged, we are re-thinking Amore as being quite a good deal.
FOLLOW UP: I got an email from Christopher Rovezzi which was extremely unprofessional. It included phrases such as "Given the fact that you were WAY off base with your rewiew [sic], maybe you should just let people visit these places themselves and form their own opinion." Apparently in Christopher's opinion there should not be any restaurant reviewers. People who want to find a restaurant should just rely on the marketing material put out by restaurants and trust them, to know what restaurants are worth eating at. Or perhaps he only means people should not write bad restaurant reviews of HIS restaurant, since most of my other reviews were quite positive. Or does he want me to take down my positive reviews of his competitors too?
Christopher took issue with my comments on the wine prices, claiming I was obviously ignorant about wine in restaurants. In reality, I have been reviewing wines for over 10 years and own WineIntro.com. I am in the wine business. I know VERY well what it costs for restaurants to get wine, and the mark-ups they have. I have also eaten at most higher-end restaurants in the Worcester County area, and know what bottles of wine go for in the various locations. These prices at Rovezzi's are HIGH. That's a simple fact.
Next, Christopher complained about my comment that they were "getting by default" the traffic of people who were trying to go to Tiano's (the restaurant that used to be in this location). I talked to numerous people about Rovezzi's. Literally every single person who had been to Rovezzi's had only gone there because they had wanted to go to Tiano's - and found Rovezzi's there instead. Not one person had actually known about Rovezzi's and had intended to go there. You note that I did use the caveat "cynics might say" in my review - but in practical experience it is rather striking what the experience has been.
On to the bland comment. Christopher took exception to this, saying that it couldn't be tasty AND bland and therefore my review should be thrown out. OK, if Christopher wants the truth, my boyfriend, who is a very good cook, thought this food was BAD. I was trying to be generous here, to say that it was like comfort food with poor flavor combinations, but with a general nice effect. I was trying to find a gentle way to phrase it. It was like plain mashed potatoes, which you can enjoy if that's what you're after. Again, I talked with every person I found who had gone to Rovezzi's (I belong to several Chamber groups and networking groups so I have a large base to draw from) and almost uniformly everybody had this same reaction. Again, they'd all gone to this building looking for Tianos. They all expected, therefore, a Tiano's level of quality from the restaurant. They were all disappointed. I hadn't heard these reviews before we went. I went in with an open mind and was looking for a high quality evening for the birthday celebration. I was greatly disappointed. It is in my nature to try to downplay disappointments, in case it was a one-time fluke. Maybe the cook had been out sick and someone else tried to fill in. I tried to be gentle in what I said as a result. But if Christopher disliked my mixed commentary, then here's the full commentary based on the various people I've spoken with in the past months. We would much rather go to TiNovo, which is where Tianos has now ended up. They have FANTASTIC food and a gorgeous location. If you want high end Italian food, why wouldn't you go somewhere where you know the food is superb? Why go somewhere that you've had iffy results with in the past? There are ceratinly enough other restaurants in the greater Worcester area that you can go to, to get variety and interest in your diet.
Finally, Christopher complained that "I'm curious, do you ever osider [sic] the people that are affected by what you write?" Yes, I certainly do. I get millions of pageviews on lisashea.com every month, and all of the visitors write me to tell me they are SO pleased with my reviews, that they find them to be spot-on. They tell me how thrilled they are to have found a superb restaurant based on my suggestions, and how it is now their new favorite where they go frequently. As I mentioned, if I do NOT like a restaurant, I usually downplay my criticisms, deliberately. The restaurant business is a hard one. But it's hard because there are lots of GREAT restaurants around here, and people are going to go to a great restaurant rather than an iffy one! If someone runs an iffy restaurant, then maybe they should consider looking into why people consider them iffy - instead of complaining in a very long, disjointed ramble, to someone who dares to make those comments publicly.
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