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Aug 12, 2009 07:46 PM

Zero Otto Nove; Awesome pizza, lousy food

This must have been our seventh or eighth visit and whenever we steer away from pizza, we are greeted with an unimaginative, heavy mid-seventies US rendition of Southern Italian food (i won't call this cuisine).

Overcooked veal scalopine, tasteless lamb, even the pasta is usually mediocre. We tried seafood, the fish special and the fish soup, the rabbit, even the steak. Forget it.

At this point, we are no longer ordering pizza for appetizers and an entree but just having pizza and a salad.

The pizza of course is heavenly. Best in the region (short of going to Manhattan or to Tarry Lodge.

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  1. agreed- went a couple of weeks ago and the entrees were nothing special but the pizza was delicious. we also had an octopus appetizer that was good. would not rush back.

    1. Oh, dear. I was planing a visit.

      If you have been to Roberto's, can you compare the food between the two places?

      8 Replies
      1. re: erica

        Go, but have the pizza (any pizza), salads and the simplest pasta and you'd be fine. Stay away from the entrees.

        I haven't been to Roberto.

        1. re: grimaud

          I've been to Roberto's, but it's been awhile, and think the food is better there overall. The pizza and some of the apps at Zero are very good, but the pastas we had were nothing special, we had the spaghetti and meatballs, and baked ziti, as well as a seafood pasta. all very disappointing.

          1. re: twiggles

            "we had the spaghetti and meatballs, and baked ziti, as well as a seafood pasta. all very disappointing"

            If they cen't get staples like Spag w/mb or baked ziti right, I'd stay far, far away..

            1. re: Tay

              Spaghetti and meatballs is not on the menu, nor - in my limited experience - have I ever heard it offerred as a special. Baked ziti is not on the menu, either. What is there is a Salerno-style pasta al forno, described on the menu as follows: "baked fusilli with meatbails, soppressata, ricotta mozzarella, sliced egg, tomato sauce". I've had it twice and liked it both times. It's not at all a traditional italo-american baked ziti, and if you're looking for that, you might not be happy.

              Overall, Roberto's is the better restaurant, no doubt, unless you're looking for pizza or calzone, in which case ZON is excellent (and Roberto's doesn't do those items). We usually go to ZON for the occasional lunch for just those two things (and stick to Roberto's for a full-fledged dinner), but we've had the occasional dish there and haven't experienced the disappointment of other posters on this thread. De gustibus and all that, I guess.

              1. re: Striver

                ". "Spaghetti and meatballs is not on the menu, nor - in my limited experience - have I ever heard it offerred as a special. Baked ziti is not on the menu, either

                I've never dined there. I was just responding to twiggles' posting. According to her/his post, she/he ordered both dishes so I would think those dishes were available at some point. :-)

                1. re: Tay

                  Tay, I'm not saying twiggles is wrong or making things up (hence the "limited experience" qualifier); I'm just surprised by the dishes cited since they're not what ZON typically offers; it's claim is to serve dishes that are more typical of Salerno, and not the general southern Italian-American menu items common at other places in the Belmont area such as Enzo's, Dominick's, Mario's, Pasquale's Rigoletto, etc., although there's definitely some overlap.

                  And I do agree that unarguably the best things to order at ZON are the pizzas and calzones; as I said, for full dinners, we go to Roberto's (just got back from eating there, in fact, and had a very good meal).

                  1. re: Striver

                    "Tay, I'm not saying twiggles is wrong or making things up (hence the "limited experience" qualifier); "
                    I just reread your previous post. Apparently that was not your intention but essentially it pretty much seemed as though that was what you were stating, so I'm glad you clarified. :-)

                  2. re: Tay

                    Yes the spaghetti and meatballs was a special when I was there. It may have had another ingredient in it, but i don't recall. it wasn't my dish. I remembered ordering baked ziti, but it's actually Pasta Al Forno, which reminds of me of the same thing. It was actually "Baked fusilli with meatballs, soppressata, ricotta mozzarella, sliced egg, tomato sauce" Very similar to baked ziti as it had the pasta, meat, cheese and ricotta, and had a crust on top. (sorryto mislabel the dish). it was mushy, tastless, not very appealing at all. The diner that had the spaghetti and meatballs also commented on how mushy and tasteless the meat was.

        2. i kind of agree, i dont go there for "main courses" only pizza, pasta apps, salad etc, been there maybe 30 times, never done a main course

          1 Reply
          1. re: intrepid

            I went for lunch, and I don't know if we caught them at an "on" day, but I thought it was pretty decent. Not destination worthy, but good. In fact, of the dishes we ordered, I'd say that the pizza was the least appreciated dish.

            Among the dishes we tried were a seafood risotto that was briny and wonderful, although a mussel or two was overcooked (which was odd, because a couple weren't). The spicy squid ink pasta was excellent and earthy, while a simple eggplant parmagiana was well cooked and perfect for what it was. I can't say anything bad about the pizza, it just wasn't memorable. Had a couple of great wines, too, including a surprisingly good red from Campagnia. (I want to say it lacryma, but not 100% sure.)

            I do remember it being expensive for what we ordered, but I would certainly have recommended it before I saw this topic. It should be noted that we went at a fairly quiet time; perhaps the staff were able to focus on the food more.

          2. I expected extraordinary pizza. What I got was extraordinary toppings on a crust that reminded me more of chewy gyro joint pita bread than any other brick oven pizza I've ever had. If a thin smoky crust is what you expect from brick oven pizza in nyc, you'll not find it here. The sauce of san marzano tomatoes, very fresh mozzarella and tasty spicy sopressata, garnished with fresh basil was excellent. Overall all I enjoyed the pizza. But I was very dissapointed with thr crust. No where near the best in NYC or the Bronx.