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reservation at Rao's

offthebeatenpath1 Nov 10, 2009 09:04 AM


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    Ann900 RE: offthebeatenpath1 Nov 10, 2009 09:16 AM

    Forgetaboutit. Not doable unless you know someoe who's a regular. (See numerouus posts on this subject.)

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ann900
      foodwhisperer RE: Ann900 Nov 12, 2009 09:34 PM

      Ann got that right. Fageetaboutit,,,, go to las vegas you can get in to that Rao's no problem And dont let anyone tell you Frankie Pelligrino's baldaria in the 40's is same as Rao's the only similarity is the roasted peppers which are great

    2. Restaurant Dish RE: offthebeatenpath1 Nov 10, 2009 09:16 AM

      There is no way that I know of, unless you are a guest of someone who's a "member". I've been only once with this way and the best part hands down was the scenery. The food was totally secondary. Don't get me wrong, it was good and fresh and well prepared, but no better or worse than you'd get at your Italian grandmother's house.

      1. shaogo RE: offthebeatenpath1 Nov 10, 2009 09:17 AM


        If one has to ask, one ain't gonna eat there.

        There was a time when one could enjoy a cocktail or two at the bar and feel quite comfortable. There was a time about a year and a half back when people were abusing that privilege. There is *no way* you're going to segue from the bar to a table *unless* you're invited by the "owner" of the table.

        Vinnie Rao's in Heaven, and he's probably laughing at all the people carrying on about things down here on earth...

        1. Bob Martinez RE: offthebeatenpath1 Nov 10, 2009 09:29 AM

          Since it's not likely you're going to be able to eat there here's a link to a CH post which will give you a feel for the food. (It's good, not great.)


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            harrison RE: offthebeatenpath1 Nov 10, 2009 12:18 PM

            I got there when a friend won a table at a charity auction. Agree with everyone else that the food is very good, but not spectacular. The theater is priceless. I'll never forget Frank P and 2 very well known moguls who were dining together all singing Under the Boardwalk. Lucky for them, this was way before anyone had video on their phones - it would have been a You Tube sensation!

            1. iluvcookies RE: offthebeatenpath1 Nov 10, 2009 12:25 PM

              Buy the cookbook and have your Italian grandma help you make one of the dishes (that's what I did).
              It's about as close as most of us will ever get to eating there.
              If you don't have an Italian grandma, you can borrow mine for a day--Grandpa won't mind as long as you save him some food :)

              1. Elaine Snutteplutten RE: offthebeatenpath1 Nov 10, 2009 12:57 PM

                I went a few times several years ago when I was dating the son of someone with a regular table. You can make better Italian-American food at home without even trying too hard. It's all about the mystique.

                But if you have your heart set on it, as Harrison also mentions in his post , I have seen dinner at Rao's offered for auction at more than one NY-area charity event, most recently at a food industry event this fall. So, you could sniff around in that direction or just ask everyone you know if they know someone with a table.

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                  offthebeatenpath1 RE: offthebeatenpath1 Nov 10, 2009 01:06 PM

                  just managed to get myself a table for next Thursday- will report back

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: offthebeatenpath1
                    stephaniec25 RE: offthebeatenpath1 Nov 10, 2009 01:08 PM


                    1. re: stephaniec25
                      offthebeatenpath1 RE: stephaniec25 Nov 10, 2009 01:22 PM

                      friend of a friend

                  2. shaogo RE: offthebeatenpath1 Nov 10, 2009 01:51 PM

                    I'm so dismayed by all the allusions to mediocre food. I have memories, from my youth, of delightful fare, well-prepared and simply served.

                    We went at least once a month back in the late '70s-early '80s. Ann and Vincent were alive then, and working in the restaurant. My "in" was the guy I worked for. Eight or more of us would go up.

                    I have memories of richly-flavored hot appetizers contrasting with a cool, delightful salad of good mozzarella and *perfectly* ripe tomatoes.

                    I recall angel hair pasta, done perfectly, and sauced with a bright red, almost orange fresh tomato sauce that was an exercise in lightness.

                    Entrees tended to be full of flavor and very rich.

                    The meal ended with espresso and anisette for everyone, and then a splendid platter of the most perfectly ripe fruit -- chilled -- would be put before us with knives and plates as accessories. The grapes, plums, and oh, the peaches!

                    I was young and not very experienced in restaurant eating, but I had already gotten a taste of haute cuisine and mediocre cuisine. Rao's wasn't haute cuisine but it certainly wasn't mediocre at all.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: shaogo
                      Tay RE: shaogo Nov 10, 2009 08:31 PM

                      I've eaten there several times as an invited guest of a table holder. The food was good but not spectacular..Much better 'Nonna' meals are to be had at Enoteca Maria on SI.

                      Enoteca Maria
                      27 Hyatt St, Staten Island, NY 10301

                      1. re: Tay
                        captainspacefood RE: Tay Nov 11, 2009 10:38 AM

                        Too bad Monte's Venetian Room isn't open anymore. Monte's in it's heyday blows away Rao's for the scene. Food is the same.

                        1. re: captainspacefood
                          EJC RE: captainspacefood Nov 12, 2009 04:50 AM

                          Did Monte's close recently? It was still there about 6mo ago.

                          1. re: EJC
                            Bob Martinez RE: EJC Nov 12, 2009 05:17 AM

                            The building is still there but it's been closed for more than a year.


                            1. re: Bob Martinez
                              captainspacefood RE: Bob Martinez Nov 25, 2009 09:38 AM

                              It was for sale for $300,000 a few months ago. No idea if it was bought.

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                      ajs42548 RE: offthebeatenpath1 Nov 11, 2009 01:27 PM

                      Somehow many years ago my wife was able to get a reservation at Rao's twice. Once was in 1986 and again a year or 2 later. As has been stated, the food is good, not great. It's your typical red sauce meal. Service was good and there was the requisite celebrity or 2. It's expensive for what it is or was.

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                        captainspacefood RE: offthebeatenpath1 Jan 25, 2010 12:40 PM

                        Allright so it has been a loooong time since I've been there. About 25 years. I'm going in a few days. I've heard that the food is basic red sauce Italian, but is good. Is there anything in particular I should order? Yes, yes, the famous meatballs. But what else should I aim for?

                        Also, what is the dress code these days? I am hearing some folks say wear a tie, and others say jeans are fine. Color me confused.

                        I started a new post about this yesterday but it got deleted after a few replies, not sure why though, and I didn't get to see any of the responses. Would love some input. Thanks all.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: captainspacefood
                          gutsofsteel RE: captainspacefood Jan 25, 2010 12:46 PM

                          Wear a tie and a jacket. You'll feel better there dressed that way.

                          1. re: gutsofsteel
                            captainspacefood RE: gutsofsteel Jan 25, 2010 12:51 PM

                            Perfect, thank you. Now if we could only get one member of our party to take his lip ring out. Ha.

                          2. re: captainspacefood
                            shaogo RE: captainspacefood Jan 27, 2010 04:29 PM

                            It's changed a lot. 25 years ago, maybe jeans were okay. Not now.

                            Beside the meatballs, veal dishes are good. Start with the fish salad unless you hate seafood. Don't order steak.

                            The singing and the fun that're part of the show these days didn't happen 25 years ago. It was a different place. Not worse, not better -- just different.

                            1. re: shaogo
                              captainspacefood RE: shaogo Jan 30, 2010 08:10 AM

                              Rao's was great. The food was solid all around. Seafood salad was a great start. Calamari. Sausage and broccoli rabe pasta. A ziti red sauce pasta too. The meatballs. Very good, tender. Veal piccata. Pork chops. Chicken. Ice cream. Cheesecake.

                              I would encourage everyone to check this place out. The bill was rather large, but we drank a lot of wine. Definitely get there for a meal, it's a great experience and staff were super accommodating and friendly. I can't wait to go back. It's been too long.

                              1. re: captainspacefood
                                Wilfrid RE: captainspacefood Jan 30, 2010 08:49 AM

                                But you can't check the place out unless you are invited by someone who has a regular table.

                                1. re: Wilfrid
                                  captainspacefood RE: Wilfrid Feb 5, 2010 04:27 PM

                                  True. I would highly recommend snagging an invite from a friend. It's well worth it.

                                2. re: captainspacefood
                                  whitneybee RE: captainspacefood Jan 31, 2010 06:52 AM

                                  How did you manage to score a reservation?

                                  1. re: whitneybee
                                    captainspacefood RE: whitneybee Feb 5, 2010 04:28 PM

                                    Oh a friend of mine was invited to sit at a table and was able to bring a few folks with him.

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