It was date night, and we were feeling like some carb overload. This was my second visit at Jon & Vinny's, and the fact that I'm coming to a restaurant a second time in a matter of 3 weeks says a lot.
Yes, the following was devoured by just the two of us - needless to say, we were very hungry.
We started our meal with the Gem Lettuce which comes with a calabrian dressing. This dressing is absolutely divine and should come on every salad you ever eat. It is rather creamy, so you'll probably want to tell your waiter to go easy on the dressing. It has a bit of a kick with the calabrian peppers, and the breadcrumbs and cheese round it all out for a perfect salad (definitely not one of those healthy salads). It has the feeling of a Caesar Salad, and in comparing with others, I'm gonna say this is one of the best.
DishRanker Caesar Salad Score: +3
I usually don't order things I can easily make at home, but word was going around that this version of cacio e pepe was special. Well, you can't really go wrong with butter, cheese, tons of pepper, and bucatini pasta - unfortunately however, I don't think this one is worth ordering here. Don't get me wrong, we cleaned the plate clean (because it was the second dish on the table and we were starving), but the plate had so much oil/butter laying in the bottom that it just made you feel bad eating it. The pasta did have great bite, and was perfectly al dente. If you want a great cacio e pepe though, try getting it off-menu at Terroni.
DishRanker Cacio e Pepe Score: +1
Winner, winner, chicken dinner. Our next pasta was the Spicy Fusilli Vodka. Not usually a fan of creamy pastas, but this thing is just fantastic in every possible way. It is spicy, creamy, tangy, and just plain old delicious. It's one of those pastas thats really hard to share with others - you'll really want to keep all of it for yourself, so you might want to order two of these.
DishRanker Pasta with Vodka Sauce Score: +3
For our meat course, I had to decide between the meatballs and the chicken cutlet. I had the meatballs once before, and enjoyed them so much, I had to go for them again. I promise I'll get the cutlet next time.
These beautiful balls were featured on the cover of Los Angeles Magazine this month, and deservingly so. The lamb/pork meatballs are super moist and topped with the house marinara, that is delicate yet has depth. The best part of this dish, however, is the fact that its served with some fresh ricotta and their homemade grilled garlic bread, which you can order as a side dish. But the way I see it, just get the meatballs, and you're getting a 2 for 1 deal here. The idea is take some meat, some cheese and some of the garlic bread, and make yourself a little "loghmeh" (see previous posts for explanation). Good work.
DishRanker Meatballs Score: +3
Last time I was here, I ordered the LA Woman. It was just all-around not good. I spoke to the chef about it, and he just mentioned that it was an off-night with a training pizza chef (who probably got fired). This time, we tried to just go with the basic Marinara (no cheese), and it was probably the most disappointing dish of the night. I know, I know - how can a pizza without cheese be good anyway. But the thing is is that crust lacked so much flavor and doesn't really lend itself to any good chew, that no matter what you put on it, you're just hiding crappy bread. After two attempts, I don't think pizzas are the strong suit here - really ironic since Damiano's was one of my favorite pizza parlors in LA.
DishRanker Pizza Score: -2
For dessert, we went with the Chocolate Budino, with caramel, olive oil and sea salt. You can't really f*ck this up, so it was delicious, but it's basically Jello Chocolate Pudding with some olive oil hanging out on top. They can also work on the presentation a little bit, rather than it coming in a glass cup that was obviously sitting in the refrigerator until it's ordered.
DishRanker Chocolate Budino Score: 0
If you're ordering dessert here, go for the Tiramisu - trust me on this one and do not look back. I had it the last time I was here, and I was blown away.
DishRanker Tiramisu Score: +3
All in all, we were pleased by Jon & Vinny's and will probably come back. I'd stick with a couple salads/vegetables, pastas (including spicy fusilli), meatballs or meat dish, and the tiramisu. Don't waste your time or stomach space with the pizzas here.