New restaurant opened with plenty of advance publicity which tells me the guy knows some people or paid a lot of money for PR. Been there twice, once for dinner and once for lunch. Both were unpleasant experiences. Dinner was on a Friday night at 8 p.m. with a reservation. Restaurant was probably 2/3 full. We were with another couple. Ordered antipasti plate. Nothing exciting or original but it was good. Three different chicken entrees for the others and I had the meatballs-"famous" meatballs. I hated mine-meatballs were dry and crumbly, sauce tasted more like tomato paste than tomato sauce. I'm from NY and this was not NY Italian food as billed. Chicken dishes were okay-just okay. Waitress was terrible. Rushed us. Tried to take plate while friend had fork in her mouth! Then she brought check without asking if we wanted dessert. We did. We had to ask! Ordered zabaglione. Wife came to table to tell us they were out of it. My experience is that it is prepared at the time ordered so I asked if they had Marsala, egg yolks and sugar. She wasn't happy but agreed that chef/owner would make it for us. Dessert served by chef who made snide remark (I'm sure he thought he was being funny) about how much it hurt his arm to have whipped up the dessert for us. Then he proceeded to sit down and eat his dinner which is why-I'm guessing-he didn't want to make dessert for us! Next went for lunch with friend. Restaurant not even 1/3 full but right before Christmas. Had minnestrone soup. Tasted good. Had caprese sandwich. Ugh. No self respecting chef should have sent out those tomatoes. They weren't even pink! They were close to green. No basil on sandwich. Mozarella was okay. Fries that accompanied sandwich were the best thing on the plate. Friend had salmon. Said it was okay. I didn't taste it. Then chef came around to schmooze the tables but he was wearing a soiled chef coat. Yuck.
I think both service and food has to improve. Maybe he's got enough friends to keep him in business but don't be fooled-the food is not that good. In fact, it's not good at all. I'm not a fan of Christo's (please don't hate me....you probably all love Christo's) but I would rather eat at Christo's over Aiello's. I want this place to succeed. I live in Central Phoenix and we need more restaurants. I think Mr. Aiello does not respect us because if he did, he would do a better job training his staff and he would treat his customers as "guests". I may be from NY but I've lived here long enough to expect to be treated with grace and care. And buy better ingredients. If the tomatoes are not good, don't serve them! Now you'll all probably write about how much you love the place. I'll give them a few more weeks to tighten up service and food and go back.