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Monti's La Casa Vieja- Tempe, Mill Ave and 1st St (about a 1/2 mile south of the 202)

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Meant to try Classic Italian Pizza today after eating at The Parlor on Sunday. Which by the way I loved, got the Yukon Gold Potato Pizza, but for that I'll add to the various Parlor threads. I'm definitely a pizza neophyte when trying to explore beyond what the to-go places, streets of new york, nypd, etc. Unfortunately, didn't realize they were a 5-10 place!

Wandering around Mill Ave and realizing the 202 was approaching, decided to stop at this corner restaurant. It's huge! The parking lot and entrance seem to have a very weird relationship however, and the myriad unmarked doors, little alleyways inside the building made me a little leery, but also induced a sense of adventure, as if I was exploring some mysterious castle. A little fun in and of itself, but not quite what I want to feel before I walk into a restaurant. After finding the entrance however, I was entranced by the history this restaurant proclaims. The hostess (mind you, this is around 1:40pm) said that someone would be with me shortly, which was a little weird because no one was in the restaurant, but I didn't mind because there is so much to distract you. Articles, history, guns everywhere, a little bar area, curtained rooms, partitioned rooms for what I fantasize secret meetings taking place, I gotta admit, I was enchanted. Not so enchanting was after I walked around the building I realize we still had not been seated. There were probably about 4 tables of customers, but I was shocked to look at my watch and see it was 1:50pm. I mean, 10 minutes at a near empty restaurant? Come on.

We were led through the honeycomb of rooms to an area that had a view of the historic Hayden flour mill under construction. I guess it wasn't the prettiest picture with the state of the building and halting of the restoration, but it promoted some conversation I suppose. Country music crooned gently in the background, the restaurant felt quite but that was likely due to the size and lack of customers. I can never resist baked potato soup, and upon ordering it and some sprites it was a mere 2 minute wait. I remember thinking to myself, now we're talking! Creamy, peppery, thick with potato, I thought it was a very nice version, but I still rate Crackers and Co version my favorite. It was almost too heavy, but still, I was happy. The server also asked if I wanted to have the Monti Bread, which turned out to be decent but room temperature. It was pretty tasty regardless with dill, garlic, almost-but-not-quite over salted, an almost fluffy interior. I just really regret the temp it came out at, I thought it could've been great it it came out hot.

Unfortunately ,the temperature as well as the I-don't-mind-taking-my-time-and-thus-your-time theme continued. When my lunch order of 7oz prime rib came out, along with mashed potatoes I ordered as a side that came with it, we were in the 20-25 minute range. 3 containers of au jus, horseradish blended, and sour cream were the perfect accompaniments for my lunch. The mashed potatoes were great, melting-in-the-mouth variety while being slightly firm, hate liquidy mashed that you find at lazy restaurants. The prime rib I ordered medium rare, and it was, also seasoned very well, was luscious, although I must admit its the first time I've had prime rib for probably 2 years. My girlfriend ordered the fettuccine chicken alfredo, which had a nicely rich without being oily sauce, and the pasta was tender. However the chicken almost seemed to be an afterthought, without feeling much seasoning and just mopping up the sauce, and being slightly dry. With that said, a feeling of wistfulness pervaded my meal, because I felt that it could've been amazing, but was done in by service issues. I enjoyed it, I will probably go back, but in the recesses of my mind I'll be judging and wondering if being teased by a the promise of a great experience and being let down to a good one will be worth it. This place will either be a place I come to love or hate, hopefully the former!

7oz prime rib w/side lunch: 11.99
fettuccine chicken alfredo: 14.99
2 soft drinks: I think about $6
the soups didn't appear on the bill, but they would've been 2.99 for a cup, 3.99 for a bowl.

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  1. I don't know how to edit my posts, so I have to make the correction here- rosemary not dill on bread.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Namius

      I believe the editing window on this site closes after two hours. Appending a correction is the best way to handle a minor error. Asking the moderators to delete the post is the way to handle a major one.