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Mar 19, 2010 02:00 PM

Carlo's Cucina - what happened?

Ate there last night and was sorely underwhelmed. I've loved this place for years, but something's changed. I ordered veal parmigiana, long my favorite dish there, and one that I'll usually overstuff myself trying to finish, it's so good. Last night I had no trouble stopping halfway through. Not inedible by a long shot, but nothing at all special. And the side of angel hair pasta served with it was cooked to sludge, half of it stuck together in a clump. If I want an oversized portion of mediocre Italian food there are plenty of places to go in Boston - and I've learned to avoid them like the plague. I really hope Carlo's hasn't joined that list.

And I realized last night that I didn't recognize anyone in the place - not that I know the staff by name, but I'd gotten used to seeing a lot of the same faces. Serivce was attentive and friendly, but all new people.

On top of which, I've rarely arrived between 7 and 9 PM without having to wait for a table. We got there about 8 on a warm Thursday night, Allston was swarming and abuzz (we actually had intended to eat at Deep Ellum but the place was mobbed so we went down the street to Carlo's) and they were only 2/3 full - and proceeded to get emptier as we ate.

Makes me wonder, have they changed hands, or the chef retired, or some other catastrophe I haven't heard about?

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  1. Lest this post be perceived as too Chicken Littleish ("oh my god, one bad meal and he's complaining that they've lost it!"), I should mention that my previous meal there was also quite disappointing - one of the blandest, least interesting (and almost meatless) lasagnas I've ever eaten. But as that was a special of the day (they don't normally offer lasagna at all) I figured it was just one of those things and let it go.

    Two bad experiences in a row, though - hard to overlook.

    1. I havent been in the past couple of months, but I would be shocked if the family sold it. Ill have to head over soon and check it out-I always count on Irene being there -if shes not-Ill scream chicken little with you. It would be a travesty to lose Carlos- at least to me.

      2 Replies
      1. re: fmcoxe6188

        I was there a couple of weeks ago and had an excellent papardelle with seafood fra diavolo. The same folks were there and I talked with the mamma about the old days. They used to have a take out place in JP.

        1. re: gourmaniac

          I was also there a few weeks ago and had a great experience. The food was delicious - as usual. The staff seemed to be the same to me!

      2. Hopefully it was just an off night. BTW, have you tried the veal parm. at Delfino's? It's the best I have had!

        Delfino Restaurant
        754 South St, Roslindale, MA 02131

        4 Replies
        1. re: hto44

          Delfino's? Never heard of it. Besides, I can walk to Carlo's. I don't even know where Roslindale is. ;-)

          1. re: BobB

            It's worth the trek and you can visit without a passport.

            1. re: hto44

              I have not personally been to Delfino's (I do want to try it), but just wanted to chime in that the 51 bus goes from Cleveland Circle to Roslindale--probably the easiest way for an Allstonian to go there.

          2. re: hto44

            When I was at Delfino's a couple months ago, my friend raved about the veal parm so I had a taste of his. It wasn't that crispy or memorable to me, much preferred my pasta dish. Maybe that was an off nite for them since he said he always gets the veal parm and it's great.

            Delfino Restaurant
            754 South St, Roslindale, MA 02131