Friday, August 26, 2005


When you walk in Greco's (1065 E. Green Street), an Italian-American restaurant in Pasadena, you suddenly feel like you're in a mob movie like The Godfather. The owner even looks a little like Tony Soprano, barking orders to the staff from behind the cappucino-wine bar. I love the vibe of this place: tile floors, dark wood tables, tall ceilings and antique family photos on the walls.

But, our mobster-chic fantasy was shattered when our mixed green salads arrived. They were not good. The dressing had no flavor. It tasted only of oil. There was also a softball-size handful of shaved mozzarella piled on top of the salad choking what little salad there was to taste. This was not a good sign of things to come.

My wife ordered the Scampi. It was a shrimp sauteed in a garlic, white wine sauce on a bed of pasta. I opted to try one of Greco's traditional pizzas which take 30 minutes to prepare. We drank a recommended bottle of wine from our waiter which was adequate and then we soaked up the atmosphere trying hard to forget our dreadful salads. Unfortunately, things didn't get any better. The scampi arrived and it was piled high with capers. My wife hates capers. The menu said nothing about capers. Ordinarily, she would just eat around them, but in this case, there were so many (Seriously, there were like 50 of them!) and the white wine sauce tasted like a watery caper sauce. To top it off, the pasta was overcooked.

I pleaded with my wife not to complain. "Tony Soprano is gonna come to our table and break my kneecaps.' I said. But, she did anyway. The waiter admitted that it was a mistake on the menu and that it should have said capers. He was gracious and comped her meal. Please note that we hardly ever do this. In fact, I despise people who complain in order to get a free meal. Now, having said all this, my pizza was actually pretty good. It was thick. REAL Thick. If you like your pizza crust thick, Greco's is the place for you. Two people can easily share a small size.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't mildly disappointed in Greco's. Maybe I'd come back for the pizza and for the sensation of feeling like I'm in Goodfellas.


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