Thanks for the tip, D. I went to Da Francesco's tonight and it is now on my NE Metro rotation. Granted, I don’t endorse that West-siders should make the drive except for those really obsessed with Italian American food. But, my whole family enjoyed the food and the redecorated interior, and the other customers clearly enjoyed it even more than us!
DF’s had been closed for remodeling, and just reopened a week ago. I asked whether “pent up demand” explained the size and passion of the crowd, and was told “No.” There were a hundred customers eating when we arrived just before 8pm, and people said Monday (kids eat free) and Tuesday (wine promos) were even more crowded, at this set back non-descript storefront off Van Dyke. I’m told that the local newspaper or mailer offers coupons, and I wished I’d had one, because while this place’s prices are fair they’re not necessarily a bargain.
My recalled impression is that the other customers primarily were UAW, seniors, and younger Italian Americans often with gel spiked hair for the guys and jewelry for the gals. When Domenic (Francesco’s son?) came out to the floor, from supervising the kitchen, they practically gave him an ovation. If by some unlikely chance you ever got a bad meal or service here, and decided to give some lip to the employees, you’d have a whole crowd upon you. Consider yourself warned.
I had the fettuccini Bolognese meal (from the dry pasta list) at $11.95, and while not “groundbreaking” I must say I found it to be perfect. A description accurately is on the website’s menu. My wife had a daily special meal at $14.95, which was shrimp linguini with a spicy tomato, spinach and garlic sauce. The shrimp were premium frozen jumbo, and were not overcooked. My wife deemed this dish as “perfect,” as well. I agree, but I’ll say that if the garlic had been toasted only five seconds longer before the tomatoes had been added, the dish would have been ruined. Both plates were plentiful, so my kid shared from ours…and we STILL had leftovers; though, we are not pigs.
The romaine lettuce and the cabbage in the salad seemed as if they had been picked from a garden THIS afternoon. Though, the house Italian dressing seemed to have emulsifiers and thickeners in it, even though I was assured that while some of the dressing types are purchased, MINE was one of the ones lovingly prepared in-house. The minestrone was light, fresh, chunky, and completely eaten, though salty enough to have been prepared in a factory. Maybe it was just an excess of intense aged parmesan, in which case I should be impressed?
The bread was from a high selling local bakery and served with butter packets. There are numerous house wines, and I chose a small glass ($5.75) of the “fortisimo” red, which was lame. On Wednesdays, including today, complimentary cannolis are served that surely were made on a bulk basis, but which were devoured nevertheless---capping an end to a solid, pleasing meal, in an interesting and warm atmosphere.