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May 12, 2009 09:07 AM

Ferdinando's: Cold and Soggy

I went to Ferdinando's last night and was very disappointed with the meal. It was my first time there and had high hopes but nothing, save for the Manhattan Special, was good. I tried a Panelle Special, a Potato Special, and a Rice Ball Special. The rice ball was soggy. I imagine it would have been great if crispy but it just seemed like it had been made many hours earlier. And though it was covered in sauce, that was clearly not the reason for its lack of crispiness.

The potato special was decent. The panelle was cold in the center. Nothing was crispy our piping hot and really nothing was very good. I went at 7:15 on a Monday. Was that my mistake? Is this place just not for me? I appreciate your clarification because i want to like it, i don't live too far away.

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  1. i was there a few years ago and ordered the panelle, the rice ball and the spleen sandwich and everything was either cold and/or soggy. plenty of charm, for sure, but the food was just not worth returning for. i think i was there on a weekend afternoon. we, too, had very high hopes, but thought that it just wasn't good. it was a mystery to us why the food was so inattentively or even carelessly presented to us, as if it were acceptable to serve cold and soggy fare. it was a big let down after hearing so many good things about the place. maybe the staff is tired, lazy, careless or maybe the place is just past its prime. it was a mystery to us.

    4 Replies
    1. re: yussdov

      The only thing Ferdinando's has going for it is the historic space. My panelle was awful--I think it was pre-cooked and nuked. Joe's of Avenue is much better for Sicilian food.

      1. re: Peter Cherches

        I am, and have always been (for 25 years) a fan of Ferdinando's, especially the calamari salad and the panelle special, but I learned to only have lunch there, never dinner (in the old days they closed about 7 PM). Their food is fresh for lunch but disappointing by late afternoon.

        1. re: bobjbkln

          ditto. go for lunch. Ive never had this problem at lunch time when they are frying up new batches of panelle frequently. Tje rice balls are always zapped but they taste fine especially with the ricotta on top. I like the cold salads - eggplant and scungilli. Are they still making their homemade bread at lunch time? Its basic but good.

          1. re: jen kalb

            Yes, I also agree, they are not a dinner spot, I'm sure this is why you had trouble with poorly heated stuff...I would not expect the riceballs to be made to order, but would expect them to be hot and tasty as they alway have been when I've been there. Never had a bad experience.

    2. I'm not a big fan of either the rice balls or the potato croquettes at any restaurant, so I really can't speak to those; but the panelle is always freshly fried when I go for lunch and pretty much everything I have tasted from the kitchen has been great.

      1. Lunch is the answer. And they do still make their own bread. The last time I was there (a couple of months ago), I ordered a side of broccoli rabe and put it on the panelle special (the sandwich w/ ricotta), and it was a taste sensation.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Amy Mintzer

          Amy, this is a great idea, I'm going to have to try it!

          1. re: Amy Mintzer

            i've done that. it's pretty damn good. i also sometimes ask for a bit of marinara on my panelle special-though not if i'm putting on the broccoli rabe.
            i never order the rice ball there. if i want rice balls, i go to joe's superette.