HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >


Vinnie's at Night

After reading so many glowing reviews I was anticipating a great meal this evening. What I got, called "pasta al forno" was a plate of tasteless mush. The pasta was so far from al dente it was hard to tell what kind it was. My wife's Eggplant parmesan was not much better. Sure, it was 40 bucks for the two of us, and the portions are huge, but I've had better out of the freezer case.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I had the pasta al forno there too. Pretty dreadful stuff. I don't know what they put it in it, but it really achieves that "canned meat pasta" flavor. There wasn't enough sauce, either- it seemed to have been left over for too long, to the point that the pasta had soaked up all the surrounding sauce.

    1. I like Vinny's and I'm sorry to hear about the bad luck here. I get to Vinny's at Night maybe 4 or 5 times a year and I almost always lean toward the Pork Chop with vinegar peppers.
      Pasta al Forno just doesn't sound like a dish I would order out at any restaurant to be honest with you....still, no excuse to be served mush, and if I was ever going to order pasta at Vinny's, it would be their homemade pasta.

      1. I've never had their pasta al forno, but their sides of pasta have always been pretty al dente.
        In any case, that's very inconsistent with my multiple past(a) experiences.

        Also, not to diss the OP, but checking his other posts, it seems like he is no stranger to hyperbole. "Better out of the freezer case?" That's throwing down the gauntlet, my friend.

        I have been to Vinny's over a dozen times and it has NEVER been anything other than delicious. It's one of my faves, so I feel like I need to "represent"....

        4 Replies
        1. re: Bob Dobalina

          Thats too bad I was going to bring a couple of buddies there. That al forno always got rave reviews. It is his version of Lasagna. How were the Chopsw/vinegar peppers?

          1. re: Northstar22

            I really like the Chops with vinegar peeppers here. Enough for 2 big meals. If I visit Vinny's 4 times a year, I get this 3 out of the 4 times.

          2. re: Bob Dobalina

            No hyperbole, I would rather have had a stoufer's lasagna. I will have to take it on faith that my experience was not the norm, but the pasta I had really was mush, as though it had been sitting in a steam table for a couple of hours. My wife's side of angelhair was way overcooked as well.

            1. re: SmokeDawg

              Though to be fair, al forno means oven baked, and typically for this dish the pasta is cooked al dente to start, then baked in a sauce, in which it softens as the flavors meld. It's not supposed to be al dente like fresh boiled pasta. No excuse for lack of flavor, though.

          3. In addition to the chops, the braccioli is very good, as are the chicken parm, the fried calamari, and the homemade pastas.


            1 Reply
            1. Yes, the porkchop agridolce is fantastic -- my dc had an osso bucco that was also great. We had the antipasti bar, which had a great selection, but the food itself was only so-so.

              1. is this the vinnys off broadway near sullivan or the vinnys on medford? i have heard GOOD things about Vinnys near sullivan and BAD BAD about Vinnys on medford

                2 Replies
                1. re: bernie71

                  Vinny's at Night is near Sullivan. Lil Vinny's is on Medford. They are referring to Vinny's at Night.

                  1. re: bernie71

                    I'm curious to know more specifically about what bad things you've heard about Li'l Vinny's (on Medford STreet). I prefer it to Vinny's at Night. Vinny's at Night is fine, but I don't think it warrants the two hour waits that some folks had to endure the night we went. Both places have nice pork chops with vinegar peppers;at Li'l Vinny's I usually order the stuffed eggplant.

                  2. Actually, I much prefer Li'l Vinny's on Medford St to Vinny's at Night. I agree about the Al forno --I was also very unimpressed with the braciole and the red sauce.

                    We order out from Li'l Vinny's once a week & have eaten in the restaurant a dozen times and have very rarely been disappointed.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: saridt

                      Does Vinny's at night have a website anyone?

                    2. Vinny's at Night doesn't, but L'il Vinny's does: http://www.lilvinnys.com/

                      1. I've been to both and L'il Vinnies is much nicer atmosphere and better food, tho' I am tempted to return to Vinny's at Night to try the antipasto bar.

                        1. Vinny's at night has never let me down- plus I love the atmosphere- cosy, family...homecooked. Sorry to hear about the luke warm repsponses : (

                          1 Reply
                          1. After reading all the glowing reviews, we went to Vinny's with some friends from NY. To make a long story short, the meal was dreadful. Osso bucco was swimming in a tomato broth. The risotto was made with long grain rice and not short grain. The porkchop with peppers looked and tasted like it had been steamed------dry and tough. Nothing we experienced supported any of the great reviews here. Don't bother------go to the North End.

                            20 Replies
                            1. re: golfa

                              I have to say I've had much better luck over the years at Vinny's at Night than these unhappy posters.

                              Do you have any particular favorites in the North End, golfa?

                              1. re: golfa

                                Wow - I've had takeout from V@N twice in the last week - same thing both times, the Chicken Parm with homemade mafalde - as delicious (and enormous) as always. I'm really surprised to hear this and sorry that you had a bad experience.

                                1. re: heathermb

                                  Odd to see this come up again.

                                  As the original poster (18 months ago) I should say that I went back about 6 months ago and had a marvelous meal. Pasta was al dente, everything well prepared, good service, and we left quite happy.

                                  I guess the first time was just an off night.

                                  1. re: SmokeDawg

                                    We went a few weeks ago, just on rep from here alone, and I found it really really awful!

                                    The rest of my family doesn't eat pork, so if it is the chops that are the only reason to go there, then my bad.

                                    We had a calamari salad that had about a half inch of "vinaigrette" in the plate. The scampi pasta was equally oily and the garlic was burned. We were the only customers, so there's not even the excuse that there was too much going on in the kitchen.

                                    The linguine with marinara for the kids was fine. I don't get the "it's so big I could eat it the next day!" excitement. Pasta is only 99 cents a pound at the grocery store. If I am going to pay that much (I think the scampi pasta was $17.95? The red sauce was something like $12) for non-homemade noodles and red sauce, it should be extraordinary!

                                    I could have fed all four of us at home a much much better pasta for what we paid for one plate of noodles & oil. Served in a weird dark room.

                                    Ugh ugh ugh.

                                    1. re: dulce de leche

                                      I'm with you, dulce. I think the reputation of this place is more about the novelty of its "architecture" than the quality of the food. Dreary place, low-rent food.

                                      1. re: dulce de leche

                                        I been going there for years, they have a good selection of chicken, fish, veal and pasta. I never had their calamari or ther scampi so, I can't vouch for those items. I think the red sauce is very good and not acidic, not sure where you're going with the pasta for $..99 lb., that's just like saying coffee is $4. per can when your in Dunkin and paying $3. for a cup. Anyway, I never had bad experience at Vinny's.

                                        1. re: treb

                                          >not sure where you're going with the pasta for $..99 lb.,

                                          I'm saying that whether you're served 1/3 pound or 1 pound of factory made pasta on your plate, it barely costs the restaurant more, so I don't find the sheer quantity impressive. If it were homemade or a beautiful piece of fish or beef, I would find that a selling point.

                                          I would (and do) happily pay $15 for a modestly sized plate of pasta cooked with care and love. I felt kind of swindled at Vinny's!

                                          1. re: dulce de leche

                                            When I go there, I'm not concerned about quantity but, rather quality. Unlike other Old School Italian places, Vinny's uses excellent quality EVOO in their dishes and I also find their other ingredients are very good as well. Price wise, most entree's are under $20, and excellent value. When I get pasta at Vinny's I usually opt for the handmade, I think it's only a buck more. Most of the time I pass on the pasta and get the sauteed vegies, they're excellent. As for the leftovers, Vinny's is known for large portions, I have yet to attempt to finish a plate. If I'm headed back into the city via the T, I usually leave the carton near a bench or recpiticle for the homeless.

                                            1. re: dulce de leche

                                              Their farfalle and mafalde are homemade, not factory made.

                                          2. re: dulce de leche

                                            We went there a while back based on reading a review in the Phoenix- expected it to be a hidden gem. Hidden, certainly. Gem- debatable. Based on the review we both got the hot antipasto bar- you certainly could get enough calories to recoup your investment. This, however, is not my main concern when eating. Nothing seemed particularly fresh. I especially remember lukewarm soggy oily croquettes or arancini, and slices of stromboli oozing with oily congealed cheese. I had intended to go back and try some pasta, but with Pescatore right around the corner making their own pasta and pasta only 99 cents a pound, given the discrepancy in people's experiences I'm more inclined to skip it. Very astute comment about the "novelty of its architecture"-- I agree completely, tomgaroo.

                                            1. re: Parsnipity

                                              As an earlier poster noted - there is a significant difference between boxed pasta and home-made. You will not find home-made pasta anywhere for $.99/lb - if I am wrong please tell me where!

                                              If you are describing Pescatore as right around the corner you must be referring to a visit at Lil Vinny's - yes?

                                              1. re: heathermb

                                                No, Pescatore is right around the corner from ME and therefore closer for a casual meal than Vinny's at Night.

                                                I do understand the difference between home made and boxed pasta. I just don't have that many nights of the week when I want to eat pasta, and all other things being equal I usually reserve restaurant nights out for seafood or something I'm less likely to cook at home. In other words, it has to be really good pasta for me to order it when out.

                                                1. re: Parsnipity

                                                  Ah, gotcha. Thanks for clarifying! I still need to get to Pescatore myself...

                                              2. re: Parsnipity

                                                Just a couple of clarifications:

                                                There is no "hot" antipasto bar at Vinny's at Night. The arancini, frittata and everything else is always room temp, i.e., no burners. The arancini are not served hot, nor are the grilled veggies, etc. - it's just the style of things.

                                                Vinny's also makes its own pasta - fusilli and mafalda.

                                                1. re: bakerboyz

                                                  Certainly explains my impressions of "lukewarm & congealed." Makes you want to go there early in the evening, if at all...

                                                  1. re: Parsnipity

                                                    I only order the antipasto "table" if I'm there with 4 people or more - it makes a good nosh while deciding what to order. (Well, while other people decide what to order - I rarely stray from chicken parm with mafalde). The best things on the table, imo, are the vinegary peppers stuffed with cheese and/or pepporoni, the frittatta and the marinated/grilled veggies - all of which are delicious at room temp.

                                                    1. re: bakerboyz

                                                      I think you are misinterpreting the regulations, which are somewhat complex.

                                        2. re: golfa

                                          I've been to Vinny's a bunch of times and always really enjoyed it but I usually stick with either chicken or eggplant parm with the homemade mafalde. I do admit that I've tried their ossu buco and their braciole and didn't really like either.

                                          1. re: lissy

                                            Have had the osso buco, the braciole and the pork chop (x many), and every time it has been spot on. Never experienced feeling that the chop was steamed. Hey, fewer lines for me (assuming of course that these reports are abberations).

                                            1. re: lissy

                                              I liked the braciole, but I know it's not good as your home-made. :-)

                                              The chicken parm with mafalde is my favorite too.

                                          2. Was just there this past Saturday night. Everything was fantastic. Six of us and everyone thoroughly enjoyed their meal. Pork chop, eggplant parmesean, homemade chicken sausage, beef brasciole, and other tasty treats arrived at our table. We are there regularly and have never had a bad meal. In fact, our meal Saturday night was pronounced as one of the best we have had there in awhile. It was exceptional.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: rockswsalt

                                              I was there Saturday as well and everything was great.Have never been dissappointed. Prices are very reasonable compared to other italian restaurants.We had Party of 4..we had 1 antipasto appetizer which was plenty for all of us, meals, bottle of wine and several beers and it was $75 a couple which included the tax and tip..and we all took home leftovers!!. I had the beef braciole over the homemade pasta ..it's delicious.Service is always good. Everyone should know it's a no frills place...so people shouldn't be complaining about the lack of ambience.
                                              We'll be back again soon!