Nino's Cafe- Vero Beach- 3.75-Stars
There are several things I was told to avoid,from my consultants with decades of experience in the restaurant business, before I set out to review every place in the Tri-County area, one I have covered in a previous review (that being the last customer sat before closing), this time I happened to take care of another scenario that should be avoided and that was being the first patron in the door and at a table. However, when you have been in this business for over 30 years, I expect things like that to have no repercussions on the service nor the quality of hash being slung in the kitchen.
If this was the day after St. Patrick's day I could understand everyone walking around in a fog, as it was not, I could not. It seemed that everyone working in the place was sleepwalking this early into their shift. I could only hope the kitchen staff was wide-eyed and bushy tailed. Watching everyone shuffle around attending to their opening tasks, I noticed one human on their cell phone. With an order pad and pen, I assumed she was the waitress and so I timed her. 4 minutes later, she ended her call and approached my table introducing herself as Mary. I get it that for the most part humans are self-centered and everyone's time is just as important as everyone else's, however, when you choose to enter into the service industry in any capacity dealing with the general public, my time, as part of the said public, is more important than yours. Be that as it may, I was a tad disgruntled when taking the advice of my followers, I stayed away from the non-Italian offerings and placed my order for the BBDO Italian place measuring stick, the ever popular Veal Parmigiana and also one Sausage, Peppers and Onion Sub Sandwich.
Resigned to a long wait given the speed, I had witnessed among the staff, I was pleasantly surprised to see Mary returning within an acceptable amount of time (especially keeping in mind that I was the first diner of the day). The Veal Parmigiana was nothing to write home about, nor was it garbage. It may have been a basic representation of this classic dish, but at least it was easily edible unlike the gutter food served at Aunt Louise's in Sebastian.
The pasta was a perfect al dente and the sauce was on par with the Veal Cutlet. The accompanying Garlic Stick was warm, soft, buttery and ever so garlicky. The side salad was a hybrid of Romaine and Iceberg and was topped with Sysco's finest imitation Blue Cheese food product.
Forging ahead through the unpalatable aftertaste, one gets from tasting industrialized fake blue cheese dressing (yes, the cheese might be real, but who puts all that other crap in a homemade dressing?) I took a bite of the Sausage, Peppers and Onions Hot Sub Sandwich. Honestly, I should have quit at the dressing. The roll itself was not made on site and obviously cheap as it tasted like so much Elmer's glue and lacked any crispiness to the crust one gets in freshly baked sandwich rolls. The sausage itself was pre-cut, frozen Sysco chunks and tasted exactly as one would surmise. The peppers were obviously not fresh as they tasted like they had been processed, the rub here is that the sub as a whole was executed properly. This told me immediately it wasn't the cook who was responsible for this low-grade prefabricated Sysco slop, it was the owners.
Compared with the bulk of "Italian" restaurants I have patronized this was slightly above average. Nothing spectacular and nothing horrid just run of mill burn em and turn em high profit low quality grub prepared perfectly.
The Big Boy says, "to see what skills can do with cheap Sysco ingredients, grab a table at Nino's Cafe. Execution is everything." #iamthebigboy #bigboydiningout