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Apr 10, 2013 07:18 AM


I'm going tonight. What do people think about it? Any suggestion of what dishes to order?

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  1. Favorite starters: bruschetta with burrata and speck, and the ricotta fresca, both thanks in part to really great bread, skillfully grilled, an oddly rare thing. Trippa all parmigiana: very fine.
    I found the octopus to be nicely prepared but overwhelmed by a super-briny black-olive relish.

    Most of the salumi are nice, but I particularly like the culatello and the finocchiona.

    Pastas are a strength, though a self-styled Roman place ought to do cacio e pepe. In the meantime, my faves are the chittara (really simple and good), bucatini (with a guanciale-based carbonara), and the amatriciana (ask for it spicy). Porchetta and swordfish are the strongest entrees I've tried (and I rarely am impressed with sword).

    Expect it to be very loud. If it's not too busy, see if you can get tucked into one of the quieter corners. With luck, that gorgeous patio will be open soon, too.

    1. This is strange, I have been there verything was good food, service, etc, but i do not know If I would go back

      1. Thanks for the recommendations. Unfortunately the service was so bad that it overwhelmed any enjoyment of the food. We waited over an hour to get our entrees and the sever was oblivious to what was going on. We finally complained and the food came out shortly. It was tepid at best. So much for trendiness!

        5 Replies
        1. re: maggie3712

          I think I've been to Cinquecento seven or eight times now, and I've never had that kind of a service issue.

          How busy was it, and what was the noise level like?

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            Sorry MC, but I've got Maggie's back here in a big way. Went last night for the first (and only) time.

            Appetizers were good (bruschetta) to excellent (fresh ricotta), and everyone in our party of four liked their cocktail. Then it went downhill fast.

            The second course never came out. Inquired of the waitress 40 minutes later when she was setting our dinner knives. She was unaware we hadn't (a problem in itself) and went running off to check. Salads and salumi finally came out. One of the ladies really disliked her salad, which was chicory based. Extremely bitter with no balance. She ate two small bites and abandoned the full plate. No one ever came back to apologize for the delay or check on the course. Busser finally clears the full plate, clearly tells no one.

            Main course then comes out. But our silverware hasn't been replaced, so we can't eat it. One of the ladies gets up after a couple of minutes and steals some from an open table. My dish (Veal Saltimbocca) was cold. Appears to have been sitting since before we asked about our salads. When the server finally reappears I send it back.

            [let me be clear, I never, ever do this. Might be the second time in my life. but I am seriously pissed at this point, so I get over my typical embarrassment at not wanting to cause a scene and do it]

            Plate comes back, original plate has been blasted under the salamander for a couple of minutes. So the plate and cabbage fondue are now hot, but the delicate veal preparation is ruined, and the middles of the veal sections are still cold.

            Manager comes over to apologize, saying he understands "they've had a little difficulty getting our meal out", asks if my "dish is now cooked to my liking" like I'm being difficult or, you know, they actually had re-prepared my dish. I give the (honest) answer he deserves, "well, they just threw my plate under the salamander for a couple of minutes". The veal sections are now grey. Nothing about them looks like it should. He says nothing, but everyone at my table is done with their entree at this point so I let it go. He sends over dessert on the house and leaves my entree on the bill.

            2:15 for dinner on a Wednesday night, with the worst service I've had since a night at Anthony's Pier 4 fourteen years ago.

            1. re: hoodwich

              see, this is a thing i dont understand.

              Had a meal like this a couple of years ago at Fiorella's in Newton ( a victim of their own success) and when the house realized it, they did everythng but dance a jig around me. Entree off bill, free tiramisu to take, sincere apology. Didnt cost them that much and I have been back (mostly lunch and wine dinners when the crowds are abated).

              This place has lost several diners now for life, poor decision.

              1. re: hoodwich

                I too had a major service issue but in the restaurant's defense (maybe?) it was about 3 weeks after they had opened. From the time we ordered to the time we received our apps it was 50 minutes and then it was 45 more minutes before the entrees came (so 1 hour and 35 min from the time we ordered before entrees arrived). The manager did come over (without us asking for him) and acknowledged the service/timing issues and said he "would make it up to us." We were a party of six and they brought out one extra app and one extra dessert for which they did not charge us. I am not writing the place off because the food was pretty good but they are on a short leash.

                1. re: hoodwich

                  I'm not challenging anyone's account of a bad service experience. I'm just relaying my own, and what I suspect is a larger sample size than most. That doesn't make anyone's unsatisfying night out any better, I know.

                  A couple of reviewers have noted that the roaring noise level can make communication with the server difficult. I experienced this once early on; I sense that the staff has mostly since adjusted to this, but it remains the most problematic aspect of the space, in my view. I won't believe their claims to be working on the problem till I hear it myself.

                  In my experience, they appear to have knocked down the kitchen timing and expediting problems that plagued Rocca, where nobody could seem to reliably get a table's orders from the basement kitchen to the second-floor dining room or patio anywhere close to piping hot.


            2. I went last Saturday at 8 pm. The place was packed. The service was very good. The food was so and so. Good octopus, very bland mussels, the vitel tonnato (or their interpretation of it) was too salty. The pasta I had with a very simple tomato sauce was delicious but the gnocchi with coniglio ( rabbit ragout) were horrible. The entrees were ok and the Chocolate panna cotta was really well done. But you know what was unbearable? The noise... I have never experienced anything like that...
              Forget having a conversation with my friend, I couldn't even hear my own thoughts!

              1. Any recent reports from Cinquecento. Have family in town tomorrow night, and it seems to be the leader in the clubhouse for dinner. I know it's noisy. Anything beyond that?

                3 Replies
                1. re: mkfisher

                  Probably not quite balmy enough this weekend for the patio, which is too bad, as it is lovely. The end of the dining room against the windows facing Harrison Ave is kinda sorta relatively quiet. There are some nooks here and there that seem quieter, too, but they probably aren't big enough for family-size parties. We rarely dine there without getting the ricotta fresca app and a few half-orders of pasta.


                  1. re: mkfisher

                    Very very loud, portions on the small side, although the food was good and the service was fair. i wont' rush back.

                    1. re: mkfisher

                      I was there for the first time last night--decided that I needed to check it out myself after the mixed reviews. The four of us (myself, husband, older teen son and his girlfriend) shared a salumi plate. My son scarfed most of it before I got a chance to taste much, but the cheeses and condiments were good. I had the gnocchi with ragu of cinghiale, which was delicious, as was my husband's rigatoni alla Norcia. I wouldn't call their pastas particularly "Roman" in style, but what I tried was very good, and I've travelled in Italy for many years. No service issues at all and no noise issues--although it was 6:30 on a Sunday evening. I would definitely go back.