Hype about restaurants is overrated. As with women, sometimes those that receive the least buzz are the ones that deliver the goods.
Last night, a pleasant surprise was discovered in a Kendall shopping center across the street from the Falls shopping mall. A few storefronts down from Little Hoolies, sits Ciro's Italian Restaurant.
Inside you're transplanted to "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" from Billy Joel's The Stranger, complete with red and white checkered tablecloths made out of actual cloth, not vinyl. There are two dining areas, one dimly lit, pretty area for romantic couple dining, and the "pizza area" -- well-lit, with a view of the pizza ovens. As you wait, you constantly hear the cry of "Ciro" from the employees as they request attention from the man plying the dough.
All is not perfect at Ciro's, but so much is, that the place has been locked into the restaurant app on my phone as a "favorite."
The spaghetti and meatballs ($9.25) which I also got with meat sauce, tasted as if it had come from my kitchen. Granted, in my home we're not close enough to our Italian ancestors to know a fazool from a francese, but we do know how to cook. And the meat sauce tasted as if it had been simmering on my stove all day -- rich, savory, and well done.
Our other entrée was equally good. The chicken valdostana ($14.95), consisted of two huge boneless breasts topped with pink sauce, mushrooms, artichokes and cheese, and served with your choice of pasta. This combination of ingredients was so good that I kept stealing mushrooms from my fiancée's plate. Ciro's valdostana's sauce was perfectly creamy and not at all clumpy, the mushrooms perfectly cooked, and combined with the cheese, everything on that plate tasted amazing.
The only part of the evening that came as a disappointment was dessert. We were served a cannelloni ($4.50) -- a cream-filled pastry, drizzled over with chocolate sauce. It had to be one of the worst things I've ever had in my mouth. It tasted as if we had shoved a ladle-full of overly sweet frosting in our mouths.
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Overall though, the quality and taste of the pasta dishes, and the friendly service and atmosphere, mean I will definitely make my way back to Ciro's. I just won't order dessert.
Ciro's Italian Restaurant
13025 SW 89th Place, Miami