The statements made on this website are the personal opinions of Laura and Diane. If we feel that a restaurant visit is not up to par, please remember it is our opinion. If you disagree with us, feel free to write us at info@newenglandbites.com.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Perella's Ristorante

311 Metacom Ave.
Warren, RI  02885
(401) 245-0150

August 16, 2014

Mom and I have wanted to go to Perella’s Ristorante for years, but something or other had always kept us from trying it out.  We never really heard any feedback on the restaurant, and the online reviews were just “ok.”  Since our movie didn’t start for quite some time, we decided to finally give Perella’s a shot. 

We parked in an empty lot and stepped inside the colorful building.  We walked past the bar area where there was no one seated and into the empty dining room.  Our waiter, Robert, had been arranging one of the tabletops when we walked in, so he greeted us right away and told us that we had our choice of seating.  We chose a large table by the window so that we could feel the warm breeze.

Perella’s is cute inside with little Italian trinkets scattered throughout, but I can see what people mean when they write about the restaurant being “dated.”  I will say that everything was very clean and that Robert was an excellent server throughout our entire meal.

Robert handed us menus (click here to view) and discussed the soups of the day.  He took our drink order – two waters with limes – and brought us a tasty bread basket complete with freshly roasted garlic for spreading.  The smell of the garlic was amazing and Mom and I had never seen anything like that before.  It was a nice touch and gave the soft bread a lot of extra flavor.

For our entrees, Mom chose the lasagna ($14.95) and I went with the stuffed shells ($10.95).  Both came with a soup or salad option.  Mom chose the pasta fagioli soup and I went with the chowder.  They arrived quickly but right away I could tell that my chowder was not chowder at all.  It was more of a white clam soup.  It was absolutely filled with potatoes – most of them raw – and large pieces of celery.  There were no more than three clams in the soup, and the bland broth tasted like chicken.  It was the most watery chowder I’ve ever had, and I told Robert that although it was my choice to get chowder in an Italian restaurant – I was not a fan.  Mom’s soup tasted better than mine but in keeping with the theme, the soup was very watered down.  There was no texture to the broth at all.  The soup had a strong smoky pork flavor and plenty of pasta shells, but hardly any vegetables or beans and certainly no spices.  If it wasn’t for the pork taste, the soup would have been so blah.

We were hoping our entrees would be better than the soups, and when they arrived we had very high hopes.  My shells came in a casserole dish filled with fragrant tomato sauce (made with pork butt) and topped with cheese.  Mom’s homemade lasagna was an enormous brick filled with ground beef and ricotta cheese.  When I started to dig in, I noticed something.  There was a lot of water in my dish.  The pasta was extremely wet and therefore the ricotta cheese that my shells were stuffed with started to disintegrate.  I did enjoy the fact that the shells were actually stuffed, but unfortunately the taste of the watery pasta was a bit of a turnoff.  The sauce was nothing to write home about and the cheese on top tasted like store-bought shreds.  It certainly tasted homemade, but not in a good way.

Mom’s lasagna – although huge in size – was flavorless.  She couldn’t find an Italian spice in the dish if she had a magnifying glass.  The noodles themselves were watery, just like someone threw a box of Barilla lasagna noodles into a pan and took them out – water attached.  The meat sauce seemed to be just ground hamburg.  There were no tomato chunks, no peppers, no onions and certainly no spices.  The ricotta could have been a container of Sorrento, and the mozzarella on top could have come from a bag.  The sauce was so smooth it was like someone opened a jar of Ragu and poured it on top without jazzing it up.  Mom said she’s never had Italian food that has been so bland, and she LOVES Italian food and gets it often when we dine out.

I finished my dish, but Mom took half of hers home because of its size.  Our total for the meal was $27.95.  Robert offered us a dessert menu, but we declined.  We ended up chatting for a while about different foods and movies.  To be honest, Robert was the best thing about our experience.

Although we didn’t have a terrible time, we probably won’t be back unless we hear that things have improved.  It’s a shame because we feel that Perella’s has a lot of potential, but we can’t understand why the food was so flavorless.  Also, if everything is cooked in house, why did everything taste store-bought?  For the money they charge for the meals, they could have put a little more love into the food.

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Atlantic Sports Bar & Restaurant

70 Shove St.
Tiverton, RI  02878
(401) 816-5996

August 2, 2014

Mom and I visited this restaurant when it first opened, but unfortunately we were disappointed.  Our clam cakes arrived so burnt and disgusting that we had to send them back and have them taken off the bill – and stuff like that never happens to us.  We steered clear of Atlantic until we heard that there had been a complete overhaul of the restaurant.  After reading rave reviews of the food online, we decided to give this place another shot.

There are only a few booths (and one table) in the small dining room, but there is a larger dining area located just past the bar with larger tables for big parties.  We sat in the same booth as we did the last time, hoping to erase the memory of the bad clam cakes with something delicious.  The waitress (there were a few of them at first) brought us menus and a list of specials to look through.  We both chose Diet Pepsi ($2 each) for our beverage.  Mom and I had a hard time deciding what to order because there was so much that we wanted to try.  (Click here to view the menu.)  I ended up going with the Signature Butterscotch Glazed Chicken ($12.99) with my choice of two sides – a Caesar salad ($1.99) and sweet potato fries ($.99).  Mom ordered the Steak ala Mama ($14.99) with round fries and a Caesar salad ($1.99).  Our waitress Dawn brought over a basket of two warmed, sliced Portuguese rolls (papo secos) with butter.  It was a great way to start off the meal.

Now there is an appetizer that everyone goes crazy for at the Atlantic Sports Bar.  It’s called the Mozambique Cheesy Fries Tower ($8.99).  It is a large tower of fries tossed in Mozambique sauce and topped with chourico bits and melted cheese.  Since Mom and I were getting entrees – and since we didn’t want to get something that we wouldn’t be able to finish – we opted out.  However, we do want to get this at some point.  We did see it going by to another table and it looked incredible.

Our Caesar salads came out first in chilled bowls which we both loved.  The salad was extremely fresh and tossed in tasty dressing.  I had just finished my salad when our entrees arrived.  Served on large rectangular platters, they were both beautifully presented.  Mom’s steak (she ordered it medium well) was a grilled, hand-cut sirloin topped with herb and garlic hotel butter.  Her round fries were crisp yet the potato inside was soft.  The steak was cooked perfectly and had a nice char on the outside.  The seasoning was great and the hotel butter made it even more flavorful.  The portion was a good size and Mom – who never orders steak – enjoyed her meal.

My butterscotch chicken was delicious, but the portion size was a little on the small side.  The sauce was fantastic and the chicken came topped with bell peppers and mushrooms.  Although the veggies were delicious (especially in the scotch sauce), I felt that there were more veggies than chicken.  It was so good that I wished there was more.  My sweet potato fries were excellent.  They had a lot of flavor and they were really crisp on the outside.  Perhaps they were twice fried?  I gave Mom a piece of the chicken and she loved it, but she agreed about the portion.

We decided to order dessert, so Mom chose the tiramisu square ($3.99) and I went with the molten lava cake with ice cream ($5.99 on the menu, but they charged us $4.99).  They both came out on square plates with chocolate sauce drizzled across.  Mom really liked her tiramisu and she said that it was creamy and the espresso taste was not overpowering.  It arrived nicely chilled and was a perfect size.  My molten lava cake was a lot of fun.  I love breaking apart the hot cake and watching the chocolate inside ooze all over the plate.  The cake was soft and fudgy and the ice cream was cool and refreshing.  The cake did have a stale taste on one side (the side with the most fudge), but that could have had something to do with the cooking process.  Maybe the molten chocolate was too close to the edge.

Our total came to $49.61.  Everything was great and the service was fast and friendly.  We’re so glad we came back.  A good chef makes all the difference!  I have my eyes on you, Mozambique Cheesy Fries Tower.

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