"I Think They Used Dog Food In This Lasagna"

Vince's Italian Restaurant - Traditional Italian Fare (2 Stars)
http://www.vincesitalian.com

It seems that every time Ryan, Chris, and I drive anywhere, food's never far from our minds. After managing to take scenic routes through Burien, we were desperate for eats and decided to make use of our combined technology powers: two iPhones, a G1, and an in-dash navigation system. You'd think we could have made a wise choice given the vast powers we wielded; alas, we are obviously not super heroes.

Vince's Italian Restaurant actually has locations in Federal Way, Renton, Rainier Beach, and Burien, which leads one to expect good enough food to demand expansion. However, when you walk into a restaurant and see each table laden with "Breadsticks" (I'm ashamed to say it but we actually ate several because we were so hungry!) and kitschy red-and-white vinyl tablecloths, the best course of action is to immediately resign yourself to a horrible experience and figure out a way to just enjoy the ride.

The entrees came with Side Salads that we used to help wash down the breadsticks. The salads are the ubiquitous head lettuce bag mix with carrot shavings, though they did doctor the salads up slightly by adding canned, whole black olives. The ranch dressing was okay, but the creamy pesto dressing is actually amazing and is the *best* pizza dipping sauce (sorry ranch, but your end is nigh). After quickly hoovering the salads down, we placed our entree and pizza orders and sat back commenting (well, mocking is more accurate) the decor and fellow patrons.

For his entree, Chris ordered the Lasagna alla Napoletana: a three-layered lasagna with ground beef, ricotta, tomato sauce, and mozzarella. The portion was "just enough", but the quality of the meat caused Chris to state the horrifying: "I think they used dog food in this lasagna." Much akin to the "This smells so gross; here, smell it!" psychosis that sweeps over your friends when they find a long-forgotten, now-turned lab experiment of leftovers in their refrigerators, Chris asked us to try it. After combining faux vomiting with scrunched faces, Ryan and I "politely" declined.

Given how low the standard of excellence was set with Chris' entree, it's not surprising Ryan fared far better with his Fettuccine alla Caprese. The al dente fettuccine noodles are tossed with fresh cream and butter, thinly sliced ham, and mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. It was rich and creamy and he didn't have any complaints about it though it could have used fresh-cracked black pepper instead of the seasoning of whoever-knows-how-old jars of black pepper in the back.

I selected the Pollo Marsala for my entree. The two chicken breasts were actually cooked quite well and they were juicy and delicious. The mushrooms were plentiful and added great texture to the sauce made with wine, cream, and black pepper. However, the fettuccine were just wrapped in a bundle under the chicken and then the sauce was poured over the top. The lack of sauce on noodles caused them to be very gummy and stick together. I had to actually cut the noodles to eat them.

After two strikes, we hoped our pièce de résistance would prove to be the Vince's Special Pizza. I mean, the pizza is "special" and carries the restaurant's family name. It has to be great? Right? With toppings such as pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, and either black olives or bell peppers, the pizza is pretty standard fare. However, the crust was too doughy and lightly-flavored to impress and we were thankful we only ordered a medium. It certainly wasn't the worst pizza we've ever had, but I also wouldn't call it a selling point for Vince's.

Any culinary experience where the subject of dog food comes up as a reference point to what you're actually consuming, you'd probably expect 1 Star to be the end result. However, the entrees did have a few, brief high points and the pizza was average. Ryan did mentioned he would only dine there again if he had to attend a function with friends or family and the restaurant was already selected.

As for the service, the only reason our waitress paid any attention to us at all was because Ryan finally got frustrated with her complete lack of enthusiasm, how many times she said "We can't do that for you" while we were ordering, and disregard for our empty glasses and dropped the: "By the way, he's reviewing your restaurant right now" bomb and pointed to me. Vince's, well, at least this location, deserves 2 Stars for all imaginable reasons. Do yourself a favor and pass this by the next time you're in Burien.

Vince's on Urbanspoon

29 comments:

Chow and Chatter said...

its great to review places and let folks know so they pass on the bad ones

Pam, aka, Dessert Lady said...

You know, I think the food is secondary to me whenever I dine on the West Coast. Give me a view or proximity to the PCH, and crackers are a glorious dining experience. :~)

mhvixen said...

As someone who grew up here, vince's is a legend. I ate there last night and enjoyed being transported back toy childhood, and sharing thatbwirh my daughter. Sorry it didn't meet your high dining standards, but clearly younhave no idea about the history of the place. Stick to Olive Garden.

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