Report Card: Buca di Beppo

Buca di Beppo

Buca di Beppo

Buca di Beppo on Urbanspoon

http://www.bucadibeppo.com/

 

Report Card: Buca di Beppo

 

Overall GrubGrade B-

 

The Breakdown:

 

Atmosphere: Grade B-: We like Buca di Beppo. It’s close to home and it’s a really great place to meet a bunch of friends for dinner. But if we’re looking at the place objectively, it’s a bit of a mess on the inside. On the outside, Buca di Beppo looks a bit like a cross between a restaurant and a big, red barn. On the inside, expect some cheesy Italian music over the speakers and wall décor that looks like it might have come from the mind of someone in a full-blown manic state. There are tons of pictures and other wall decorations, as well as some rather dorky Italian-looking props. Sometimes, the hostess will take you back through the kitchen on your way to your seat, which is kind of neat. We would also suggest tying a string to the front door and unspooling it as you’re shown to your seat – the interior is like a maze. We’d have for anyone to become MIA trying to find their way back from the bathroom.

High marks: Big, clean, potential brief tour of the kitchen

Low marks: Confusing layout, seizure inducing wall decor

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Service: Grade B: We’ve been to Buca di Beppo a few times, and historically the service is always good. Because food is served family style, the restaurant lends itself better to large parties instead of just a couple of people eating together. This is probably why we wouldn’t call the service amazing, since servers are usually trying to juggle the needs of large parties. That being said, there was nothing wrong with the service. Our server, Dani, did a nice job taking care of us, but the service was fairly formal and stiff. She did spend an extra couple of minutes showing Katina some of the advanced features on her novelty glass that came with her peach bellini. When we visited, there were hardly any other diners there, so there should have been a real opportunity to engage us, but other than the glass tutorial, the service was pretty forgetful. It is important to mention that the silverware might possibly have been the dirtiest eating utensils we’ve ever received at a restaurant, and it took a little too long for our first drinks to arrive, which prevented Buca from scoring higher in this category.

High marks: Solid service

Low marks:   A little stiff and formal considering the environment, filthy silverware

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Food/Spirits: Grade B: We started off with calamari, which was good. The size of the rings were perfect and cooked nice and crispy. The calamari came with a fairly spicy dipping sauce compared to other calamari we’ve sampled. Katina ordered a peach bellini which came in a ridiculous novelty glass (or cup, since it was plastic), but the drink itself was okay. I opted for a Sam Adams because like most Italian restaurants I’ve visited, the beer selection at Buca di Beppo is a little sparse. For our entrée, we ordered a dish called Quattro al Forno. The food at Buca di Beppo is served family style, and for those of you not familiar with that term, it means that the dishes are designed to be shared by multiple people. So if you visit, make sure you’re going with someone who you can agree with on your entrée. We ordered the Quattro al Forno because it was composed of samples of four other dishes: cheese manicotti, cheese ravioli, stuffed shells, and chicken cannelloni. The cheese ravioli was pretty bland, but the cheese manicotti and stuffed shells more than made up for it. The cheese manicotti was simply delicious, and the stuffed shells had just a bit of a spicy kick to them. The chicken cannelloni was also quite tasty, and the dish was perfect for the indecisive diner. We thought the portion size was a little small for a dish meant to be shared. We took a pepperoni pizza home for our daughter. The pizza was covered with salami sized pepperoni, and it was good, but nothing special.

High marks: Good calamari, tasty chicken cannelloni, stuffed shells, and cheese manicotti          

Low marks: Anemic beer selection, bland cheese ravioli, ordinary pizza

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Value: Grade C-: Buca di Beppo has changed their menu to allow you to order portion sizes for just a couple of people, or for a group of people. However, I am not sure the pricing has been adjusted for just a couple of people. A fairly simple pepperoni pizza for $17.99 (that’s for a small) seemed a little steep considering the pizza wasn’t a blockbuster. For an appetizer, a couple of drinks, and an entrée you’re going to drop north of $50 to $60, and that seems a little steep considering the portion size of the dish we selected. Quality was really good, but just south of excellent. Buca di Beppo is definitely a place everyone should try, but we think it would be more enjoyable for a large group of people or family members (somewhere in the range of 4 to 8 people).

High marks: Novelty aspect to dining experience great for a group

Low marks: Portion size a little small for price and overpriced pizza

 

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