Matteo's on Westwood Blvd.
Just had a family dinner on Sunday with the folks at the casual wing, Little Taste of Hoboken. The place attracts an elderly crowd, with the exception of a table of 8, who looked like they weren't trying to look like UCLA freshman at orientation week.
Food was served piping hot. The steam was still rising from my dish 15 minutes after I started eating it ( and I waited about 5 minutes before I started). It's not terrible, but it's nothing special at all. I had the rigatoni with two cheeses and meatballs -- big portion, heavy and somewhat overcooked. Dad had the fettucine with clams -- he was happy that the portion was big and came with a lot of clams. Partner had the chicken parmesan, but preferred the side of pasta that accompanied it.
Nobody complained but nobody raved. I did like the dressing on our Caesar, but there were no anchovies.
Little Taste of Hoboken is pretty cheap however, so it is probably a decent value. There were 8 of us (3 kids) -- we split two appetizers, had 5 glasses of wine, separate entrees (kids did the kid menu) and several desserts and the bill came to $175 before tip.
Despite their mediocrity, they do quite well. Couldn't get a reservation after 6 or before 8 PM, so we went at 6. Probably accounts for the large proportion of seniors.
If I understand correctly, these places both came under new ownership recently; living in the neighborhood, we've received several flyers touting changes and a different atmosphere at Hoboken. But the old-fashioned atmosphere was actually the best thing about both places (Matteos' one of the last bastions of alte-kocker L.A. type restaurants--sort of a downscale Dan Tana's--and Hoboken a reasonably affable red-sauce Sopranos-style psuedo-Joisey Italian joint). So change is hardly encouraging in this case, and we haven't felt drawn to return, just yet.
So, I'd appreciate hearing from anyone who frequented either place before the ownership changes, and has been recently, for reports on what's different and what's the same. Grazie.
I certainly didn't mean to imply anything disparaging about Hoboken based on the overwhelming presence of blue-hairs, just that potential diners might want to be apprised of the general atmosphere of the place on a Saturday night at 6 PM. My mom, who's 81, picked the place based on a glowing rec from her friend, who is about the same age.
I mean, alte-kocker feel is something I always liked about Fraires Taix and Tail O' the Cock. But this didn't have that. ole-world feel.
I used to go to Hoboken years ago... I had been introduced to "Matteo" aka Mattie at the bigger restaurant by someone who knew him from the East Coast about 20 years ago...
Not the best food... but great personality and what a great crown to people-watch, especially on a Sunday night. If the walls could talk there... oh the stories they could tell, everyone went there in the heyday.
I took my parents for Sunday dinner maybe 15 years ago and Mattie was awesome to them. Kinda the Milton Berle crown, lots of big fur coats.
No long after I was introduced to Mattie at the big restaurant I went to Hoboken alone for lunch. Mattie said he didn't like to see me sitting along and moved me to the corner where all the Italian guys hung out all afternoon. It was great to listen to the stories... Great characters including Dan Tana, Dino Conti and others just telling stories. I would go more for the company than the food and have some great memories.
Quite a few years ago, Mattie's brother Michael who was the Maitre d' passed away and I am sure that Mattie is gone now too. I haven't been there for years... it can't be the same.
Michael knew I was a big hockey fan then, we'd go there for dinner after games because we knew they held the kitchen open for The Gretzky. One night we pulled up and Michael was pacing up and down in the street and ran up to our car yelling "Is he coming???" As if we would know... but then he pulled up behind us with his wife and Paul Coffey.
Great, great entertainment in its day...