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Feast: Vinny’s at Night

April 13, 2011

As a devoted Italo-phile, I feel comfortable placing Italian restaurants/food into three main categories:

Authentic: You would find this in Italy.
Italian-American: Twists and innovations Italian-Americans have made to Italian food, like chicken parm, wedding soup, or olive oil on the table for your bread (you can find none of those things in Italy).
Ghetto Italian:  That bottom range occupied by Chef Boyardee, grocery store hot bar pasta, and any venue with more than one Italian flag or “red” sauce on the menu.

On my scale, Vinny’s at Night falls squarely between Ghetto and Italian-American.

Earlier this week, a FoSB told me she’d been wanting to go to this “hidden gem,” and in preparation, she read some reviews- here are snippets from Yelp, CitySearch, etc.:

-“From the chicken parm to the stuffed eggplant to the arancini everything is so delicious. Go to Vinny’s at night. Take your menu, close your eyes and point.”
-“Reasonable, if not inexpensive prices. Did I mention they have ostrich, and rabbit?”
[Me: Ostrich? In Medford? Must have!]
-“They have a cat named Rambo!”

It’s all true.

Go on a Tuesday night at 7pm and the place is empty. But, instead of feeling forlorn, the atmosphere is quiet and welcoming, if for no other reason than Rambo is snoozing on a bar stool near the entrance to the dining room.

Rambo, after his nap.

Once we sat, however, we were greeted with a horrible surprise.

Eh, I wanted pasta anyway. And when I found out that they not only had red sauce, they had PINK sauce, well, forget it. Homemade fusilli with pink sauce, please, but not before starting with Arancini. Their risotto balls had the perfect gluey consistency of ghetto Italian food, rife with peas and sitting atop Vinny’s (actually quite refined) red sauce.  The pasta arrived in massive quantities, and while I wouldn’t call the price “cheap,” the homemade noodles were absolutely worth it.

In truth, Vinny’s is no Rino’s, (which I would put between the Italian-American and Authentic categories on my scale). But, the mob activity at Vinny’s is much less pronounced, the parking is easier, and I’m a sucker for sauces named for colors. Thanks Vinny’s, I’ll be back.


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