Thursday, April 28, 2005


I always hear, "Saf, you suck. You go out to eat and all you do is bitch." This is generally true. Probably because most of the places to eat in Wheeling rank somewhere between mid-end and poor. There is an exception. Lo and behold, it's Figaretti's. This place is decent. The food is always above average. The atmosphere is very pleasant. The sevrice is exceptional. Even the parking situation is good, although it is subdivided into 2 separate lots. Fortunately, if the 2 lots are full, you can even park in a nearby dentist's lot. The dentist's lot probably has the best asphalt but it's also the farthest walk.
I usually just go here for lunch but every once in a while I'll try dinner. Most of my reviews are based on lunches anyway. I highly recommend the mushroom ravioli. Just about any of the pasta dishes are ok although the menu has an interesting discrepancy. The term meatballs actually refers to one lone meatball. This is comparable to the old bait and switch. The only other problem is the musical selection. They have a comprehensive jukebox but if the owner is present all he will listen to is a Frank Sinatra Greatest Hits cd. Although some think, wow great, that's perfect for an Italian restaurant, I find it gets a bit obsessive and stale. Keep in mind, this is the same cd played over and over again. Sometimes you may even hear the same song repeatedly played during the same meal. I mean, hey, we all like "ol blue eyes" but there comes a breaking point. In fact, I really don't like Sinatra at all. Come to think of it, I really don't mind Sinatra - what I despise are the karaoke imitators. You can also substitute Neil Diamond on this one. Sweet Caroline could be the most annoying bar sing-a-long song of all time. On a scale of 1-10, Figs gets a solid 8.5.


Jesus said...

Well, Eric. As usual, your assessment is incorrect. Well, rather, erred - in my most holy and humble opinion. Although, I created Figaretti's for the pleasure of my flock - I do not believe that it is my best work. Actually, your rating of 8.5 is a bit high.
I am certain that my palate would be suggested by many to be excessively passive. But, this is incorrect. I enjoy culinary art. I have blessed this place with an abundance organic resources. And, with proper balance, these resources can be combined to create a very pleasing sensation to a requirement of life - eating. Unfortunately, not all of my children are as adept to this practice as others are. Specifically, the Figaretti family.
Before I became a carpenter, I worked as a busboy at the old location. The acclaim that this restaurant has enjoyed over the decades - is as much a mystery to me as is my divinity to you. I have always considered their sauce to be as bland as Ragu'. And, tomato sauce is the life's blood of an Italian restaurant.
Ironically, this is a trait that is very authentic. Tomato sauce in Italy is pretty much, just tomato puree. The reason is because of limited resources available.
Which brings us to the meatball. You neglected to mention the size of the meatball. But, that is not what I want to address (specifically). What I want to address is the texture of this meatball. In the production stages of this meatball, there is alot of breadcrumbs added. Some people misinterpret this step as a requirement to ensure the integrity of the mass. They think that this step "keeps it together". That is not the case. The pupose (again, ironically, very traditional) is because it stretches the available resources. Kind of like that thing that I did with the loaves and the fish. Somewhere, it got misconceived as a parlor trick. I just made really small sandwiches to hold us over.
In all, I am inclined to suggest that this establishment stays true to traditional Italian cuisine. But, their motivation is not authenticity. I'm not going to insult the potential reader's intelligence by overtly stating what the motivation is.
I will not attempt anything as pedestrian as a "rating". Besides, everything would get a "10" in my book. It's what I do.
* And, the thing about Sinatra... I have him here with me. I gave him a big desk for day and his own club for night. Self rightious over inflated egos get rewarded here. So, in time, I will be seeing you too. But, I won't tell you when. That could throw off "the pool" that your friends have on your package's expiration.

sonofsaf said...

Wow, an opportunity to speak with the Lord, albeit via email. I'm not exactly sure whether it's the Lord of Belmont County or the Lord of the universe; either way, it's an unusual opportunity considering my status as a non-believer.
Restaurant reviews are entirely subjective and usually consist of several factors. The quality of food is probably the most important thing to consider, because let's face it, if the food sucks, why would anyone voluntarily go there? However, there are a myriad of reasons that Figs gets a high rating. One of the most compelling reasons is ambience and atmosphere. Simply put, it's a pleasant place to dine. The booths are comfortable. Even the bar stools are comfy and I'm pretty sure they've outlawed cigars. Plus, the decor is pleasant as well. A touch of Wheeltown history is evident on the walls. And even though I could pass on the baby pictures and the brown/white pictograph of Grandmas Gerturde and Esther, I really don't mind getting to know the family. I once golfed with Dino when I was a youngin'. All in all, the atmosphere is both warm and inviting and the temperature is always agreeable.
Now I realize that there aren't world class chefs in the background, but hey, this is Wheeling and you've got to take that into account. Chances are the cook is both intoxicated and smoking, just hopefully not ashing in your food. Basically, the food is above average. I don't think I've ever had a "bad" meal there. Maybe the pasta could be a bit more al dente.
The wait staff is very quite courteous and PUNCTUAL. Would you believe it if I told you that God himself is not punctual. In fact he's usually 30 minutes late. You never hear that one. I don't think anyone has ever had the unmitigated audacity to question God's tardiness.
The place is also clean. Don't overlook the cleanliness factor. Cleanliness is next to Godliness, or something like that.
Price is another consideration - pretty much in keeping with the other local establishments.
Anyway, the most important thing to keep in mind is that these are local non-chain restaurant reviews (although I may choose to review that cracker thing which is the body of Christ or something at a later date), so it is vital to recognize that many of the local eateries suck. All in all, I stand by the 8.5, but always welcome future input from the God of your choice, may he treat you well.