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Jun 27, 2006 12:53 AM

Reason for Macaluso's hype?

I had been hearing from people that "Macaluso's" was great, so I went there for dinner last weekend and was shocked by how bad an experience I had. The waitress instantly hit us with a snobby lecture about their philosophy and rules, then she brought out a basket of store-bought pasta to supposedly impress us. Stuck there, I ordered $28 Linguini with Clam Sauce (not even whole clams) that was truly terrible. My friends were also mortifed by the overpriced, medicore food and pretentious behavior of the staff. The meatballs were okay, I guess, but not worth the rest of the psychological, gastronomical and financial abuse.

I guess I'm still feeling like a sucker for spending my hard earned money at Macaluso's, and I am trying to figure out why people might like the restaurant? (Seems I'm also venting my anger and trying to warn people too:)

For comparision, I was also told I should eat at another Miami restaurant "North 110", and that place was fantastic. I know that's not italian, and I know some people think too-expensive italian food isn't necessary, but I did eat at a similiarly priced italian restaurant in L.A. called "Locando Veneta" that was remarkable. So I know high-end italian can be great in the right hands.

Anyway, I'm new to the Chowhound site and excited to have discovered it. Sorry my first post had to be negative.


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  1. Oh boy, I've been waiting for a chance to gripe about Macaluso's, as I had such a bad time last fall. I was very disappointed by the food and (unintentionally) amused by the chef/owner's attitude.

    I was visiting my folks in Miami at the time. My Dad is wild about the restaurant, so he really wanted me to try it out. I just didn't get it. Sampling a few of the things at the table, most of it was certainly OK, however nothing was spectacular. I'm in full agreement that it certainly wasn't worth the price or attitude.

    The chef/owner's attitude (communicated through the waiter who is seemingly instructed to drop said chef's name at least once every 20 seconds) was hilarious. He came across not as a man who is serious about his food but rather an egoist suffering from delusions of grandeur. I don't think the restaurant warrants that level of pride.

    I read in an online review that the owner will gladly take special requests. I find this hard to believe considering within minutes of being seated you are hit with stern warnings (verbal and written) against such things.

    1. Welcome Harold!

      You are gonna get skewered by the Hounds! I've been posting a while and have heard about the Rapture brought on by Macaluso's and kept my Peace. To be fair, we've only visited this temple of Native Staten Island Cuisine once - on Halloween - a few years ago.

      The BF and I stopped in after hearing so much buzz. It was early evening on a weeknight. We were easily the youngest patrons and were casually dressed but - hey! - there was a guy tending bar in a bunny suit. Turns out the staff were all wearing Halloween costumes. My first impression was that this must be a really fun place. Our waiter finally approached wearing Gangster Garb and asked us - suspiciously - if this was to be our first experience at Macalouso's. Yeah, sure, why not? Then he presented us with the House Rules which I believed for a second was only part of his Mafia Schtick...


      I realize that Miami Beach patrons are a difficult lot. But to withhold the menus until the table is made aware that substitutions will not be tolerated, that salad dressing will not be served on the side, that folks with dietary restrictions can dine elsewhere is downright silly. We thought so and still said nothing. Menus please? No. Gangster guy came back a while later and told us how he would have us proceed through the menu... what to try, how to split things and so forth. Then he brought over this wicker gift basket filled with the same boxed pasta I often buy at Publix for $1.19...

      "The Chef wants you to know that we only use the best and freshest ingredients..."

      The menus finally arrived. Turns out this Gangster would be extorting a tremendous premium for the same noodles I force fed my boyfriend during our first jobless weeks here in Miami. We shrugged and continued quickly through what I can only describe as a lackluster meal. The infamous Macalouso's meatballs - those scarlet orbs that bring tears to the eyes of a few of my favorite Chowhounds - are really no better than my own cooking. But since I can't have these guys over for dinner any time soon, I'll bet that no matter what you're written, the faithful will continue to return to experience "the new cruelty...*" Macalouso's dishes out night after night.

      You won't be back and neither will we. But for reasons I can not fathom, Macalouso's keeps the Chowhounds spellbound.


      (*Steve Martin, LA Story)

      1. *spews her drink all over her Dell*

        Native Staten Island cuisine?

        I was born in SI. . .do you mean Chinese food? *rhapsodizes about China New Star Restaurant on Forest Ave. . .*

        Well, next time in Miami I know which restaurant to avoid. :-P

        1. This has got to be the most over rated restaurant south of Staten Island. I don't get it either...puppets towin' the line for an ego maniac who's food is sub par and WAY overpriced. This ain't the comfort food I grew up on in NY, that's for sure...and I'll put Noodles and Paninis Meatballs up against MaCaluso's any day of the week. It's a crying shame 'cause the place is removed from the south beach hubabaloo, has parking, is close just ain't worth the head trip or the price! And with 20/20 vision I couldn't read the chalkboard menu, and I found the canned spiel by the line towers to be insulting...period. Try Rosinellas, Osteria del Teatro or Sylvanos all are head and heels above this quasi Italian joint...and they DO modify according to YOUR tastes...not that I'm a big fan of modifying meals it just goes with the industry territory. Perhaps that's part and parcel of his success some people enjoy being told how to eat.

          1 Reply
          1. re: netmover

            Yeah, I don't like being told what to do when I'm out to eat for entertainment. There was some place at MGM Studios where the wait staff would refuse to serve you dessert if you didn't eat all your vegetables -- never went back THERE. I'm paying for my dinner, I want it the way I want it. Of course I won't request Chinese in an Italian restaurant, but being at least a LITTLE accommodating is part of "SERVING" people!