Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Umberto's Clamhouse Stinks, and It's Not Just the Raw Bar

On my last day of summer vacation (teacher meetings start today), I decided to take the fam to the Zoo. Our normal ritual involving Zoo visitation includes eating brick oven pizza at our absolute favorite pizza spot in Belmont, Antonio's Trattoria, on Crescent Avenue.

Unfortunately, our beloved Antonio's is closed on Mondays. We called Zero Otto Nove - closed as well. We even were willing to drive over to Eastchester Road in Morris Park to visit Coals - they only open at 4pm on Mondays, and we were looking for lunch.

We decided just to take a ride over to Arthur Ave, see what was open and grab some lunch.
Now we've never eaten at Umberto's because it kinda, sorta looks like a cheesy tourist trap (we found out it is), and we have our normal loop of places we patronize: Antonio's for kid-friendly sit down pizza, Emilia's for almost every childless date (we even had our wedding rehearsal dinner there), and Roberto if we want to spend some cashish (although with only one income, Roberto hasn't seen us in a hot one).

So we grabbed a meter spot and ambled down Arthur Ave to see what was what. As a side note, I will say it's fun seeing all the Fordham kids back in the hood and their parents capitalizing on the move-in trip by grubbing out on the Ave.

We decided to check out Umberto's Clam House because it was a beautiful day, they had some outdoor seating, and they had a lunch special. BAD DECISION.

The service was atrocious. I think our waiter might have grown up in a household where lead paint chips were on the menu for every meal. Umberto's apparently has a pretty bad bee problem with its outdoor seating (I was constantly shooing and eventually killed a bee who was too lazy to fly away from my bottle of Peroni).

I might be able to overlook the bees, and the waiter who might have been considered legally brain-dead in 49 other states, but the food was horrible as well. We both had the special, which came with soup or salad, an entree, and coffee for $12.95.

My soup was good (New England Clam Chowder), but the missus' salad was a pretty week iceberg garbage pail that was way too heavy on the red wine vinegar. My entree of chicken parm and linguine was horrific. (I still ate it because my appetite puts me one gastronomic step above an animal, and I couldn't dream of wasting the $12.95 and having to grab something at the Zoo). It was dry, warmed over, rubbery. The sauce was like doctored up ketchup. The missus had penne alla vodka that was penne with the aforementioned doctored ketchup, doctored even more with some cream and maybe gut rot vodka. We didn't even get our coffee.

When we complained, the manager, Roger, made excuses for his staff instead of apologizing.

We can be pretty forgiving, but Umberto's gets the old anathema from BoogieDowner.

There are so many other quality spots on Arthur Avenue and the surrounding area, that you'd be a lunatic to waste your money at Umberto's.



Jose said...

enzo's should have been open for lunch, you missed out. tra di noi over on 187th, too.

Anonymous said...

How about Mario's? Best pizza I've ever had (I grew up in Queens) and very kid-friendly.

Jo said...

That was the funniest review I've ever read. I'll make sure never to go there.

Anonymous said...

Try the Arthur Avenue Cafe - from panini and salads to pasta. Owned by the Grecos of Mike's Deli fame. Good food, fair price, decent service.

Michelle said...

That was a funny review! I tried to go to Zero Otto Nove with friends last night and ended up at Umberto's but just for a drink. We ate at Dominick's instead.

anthony rivieccio said...

A Surprizing Review!!!!!

My lady friend and I go there constantly-as she loves the fish. As a meat and potato man, I would give their Italian Food an 8 (out of 10)

While it is nice to see The Fordham Kids using The Belmont Neigborhood, we as well were surprized about the recent decline in service.

Anonymous said...

ah the $12.95 lunch special!.. if you're going to bash a restaurant thats known for its seafood and homemade italian dishes.. then at least spend a few bucks to try something that they're known for and not something that u know is just stuck in a deep fryer. i definitely won't take this opinion into consideration.. i've gone to umbertos for years and love the homemade lobster ravioli and the seafood marechiaro. i've also always gotten very friendly service. i'm sorry you had such a bad experience, but i love it!

Anonymous said...

This guy is obviously the one eating the paint chips.. Umberto's is not only an excellent restraunt.. The food is authentic Italian food... Not some low class place with horrible service.... There staff is great ... Stick to olive garden... dominoes.... stuff like that.. Also note there has been a major renovation there. Must not have been there in a while? Save some pennies get some clams.... the best...
The Satisfied Customer