Brooklyn Pizza & Pasta- Viera/Melbourne- 2.5 Stars
As soon as you walk into the flashy interior of Brooklyn Pizza & Pasta, walls burnished red like pizza sauce and steel-globed ceiling fans glistening with the stretched facial expressions of every single person standing next to you in line, you feel like you've arrived in The Big Apple, America's haven of Italian food. You read through a big ambitious menu spanning pizzas, pastas (well, duh) and classic Italian meat and seafood preparations; are greeted with a big hearty "hello" from the hostess; and get dosed with big Italian-American attitude from the clearly-goombah out front chewing with his mouth open, nose and giant mustache round as a portobello, talking loudly in between (and probably during) big bites about something to do with Canarsie like he's in cahoots with a senior mafia spy.
But what you don't get much of, and what I miss quite bigly, is big taste.
You get plenty of big rigatoni pasta cylinders, imported from Italy of course, underneath the divine piccata sauce, but the important part of veal piccata ought to be the veal, right? Or else we'd just call it piccata! Yet the veal is freezer burned and tough. Their special secret? Bread the veal and THEN boil it WITH the noodles to take away all of the tasty and crunchy breading until it tastes like your gym shoe, but at least the crisp taste of the sauce washes away any foul odor and to leave just gym shoe texture. So I suppose you could come here to eat the most gourmet gym shoe ever, if that floats your boat! And while I'm all for plate after plate of pasta, I said "finito" after digging into a plate of Fettuccine Alfredo that seems like it was drowned (hopefully on accident) in Costco-grade white Ragu brand sauce. Which is doubly offensive to an because "ragù" actually means a meat sauce, so not only does the dish taste processed, but mamma mia, it isn't even etymologically correct!
I will admit the chicken noodle soup's claim to be "fresh" and "homemade" convinced me far more than the piccata's, its chicken and noodles seemingly hand-cut and handmade and the broth translucent yellow-white enough to see every nuance of this quite literal handiwork, making for a dish as comforting and soothing as the charming service by the kind and sweet server Theresa. But rather than eat it here, I wish Theresa could come to my house and make this soup to cheer me up when I feel bad for a different reason than having to eat bad Italian food. Objectively, the dish was good, but if chicken noodle soup is your best dish in an Italian restaurant, maybe you're like the proverbial drummer at the wrong gig - you ain't gonna turn them into virtuoso Italian cooks overnight, so time to find a new band to jam with! On that note, as soon as the Foo Fighters came on the radio, it was time to walk out the door and yell back at it "done, done, on to the next one!"
You could say "the writing was on the wall," because like I saw on the doorway, if you want good Italian food here, "FUHGEDDABOUDIT!"
Big Boy would tell you that eating here is a "big" mistake worth a not-so-big 2.5 stars. #iamthebigboy #bigboydiningout