I’ve passed by Gennaro’s Eatery more times than I can count. I always thought to myself that I’d like to try their food, but nothing about the outside of their restaurant impressed an urgent need to do so even though their slogan is “Family Dining With Flair.” I read some reviews and they seemed on the higher side of average for a family style Italian restaurant with huge portions so I thought I’d finally give it a try.
12 Blanchard Road
Quincy, MA 02169
Service and Atmosphere:
As I mentioned above, for a restaurant that is self described as Family Dining with Flair, I didn’t see much in the way of flair. Upon entering the restaurant, the first thing I noticed were two cases full of delicious-looking desserts. I asked about them and was quickly informed that Gennaro’s makes all of their desserts in-house. Next to two fridges full of colorful Italian-style pastries is a pickup window where you can see the kitchen. In addition to sit-down dining, Gennaro’s also does significant business from takeout where they serve their whole menu, but especially pizzas.
The interior of the restaurant is plain, but comfortable with a mix of tables with chairs and booths. My girlfriend and I went during the day for lunch, so it was brighter inside than I would have imagined. It definitely felt like a family style restaurant. The service was friendly, but a little flustered. There weren’t that many people in the restaurant around lunch time, but it appears that there were only two servers. That resulted in a lot of apologies and forgotten soda refills. Nonetheless, I’ll take nice with effort over obnoxious and lazy any day.
With that said, after reading a bit online, I knew that the two items I wanted to try from the menu were their pizza and pasta. It was when we ordered the pasta that my experience at Gennaro’s started to sour. Our server immediately apologized and then informed me that there was an extra $3 for sharing pasta dishes even though it is not mentioned anywhere on the menu. When I gave her a very confused look, she apologized again and said, “I’m sorry. I just wanted you to know because there are cameras and if they see you sharing, then they’ll charge you.” So, not only was there a ridiculous extra charge for the same amount of food, but our server basically told us that the management would be spying on us to make sure to charge us if we did share. In my opinion, this is just a really bad policy and the enforcement of it was very “Big Brother.” Eesh.
In an effort to try both the pizza and the pasta at once, we ordered a small “Abruzzi” pizza (which was actually a medium anywhere else you go) and an order of pasta to share (for $3 extra for no real reason). When the pizza came out, I noticed immediately that while it looked really nice and smelled wonderful, the vegetables (artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, and onion) looked kind of steamed. My impression turned out to be correct as I bit into the first slice. The pizza was basically a little undercooked. The vegetables were cooked through, but they didn’t get any kind of roast from the oven. The dough was also a little spongier than I would have liked. Luckily, the pizza amount (along with the pasta) was way more than we could finish on our own, so we took the rest home. Later on that day, I threw the pizza into my own oven and not only heated it up, but cooked it the rest of the way. The result at home was the pizza we should have gotten at the restaurant. Good ingredients, but their pizza needs more time in a hotter oven.
The pasta on the other hand was extremely good. I have no significant complaints about their Linguini Margarita Pasta sauteed with tomatoes, olive oil, basil, Romano cheese and buffalo mozzarella (except for the stupid $3 surcharge for sharing – can you tell I’m irked yet?). The pasta was cooked al dente and the ingredients tasted wonderful blended together. Overall, the dish was a little on the oily side, but not so much that it detracted from the flavor. I’m also not a big fan of large chunks of cooked tomato. They could have diced the tomatoes and really made the dish sing, but I just pushed them to the side and ate around them. Even sharing our order of pasta, the portion is so huge, that we struggled to finish our plates (that’s a HALF portion below!). We managed to do it, but we were uncomfortably stuffed in a good way.
Large portions, comfortable atmosphere, friendly yet sometimes flustered service, and adequate pricing (as long as they don’t catch you sharing with their cameras). I’m still undecided on whether or not I would ever return to Gennaro’s. If I do, I would definitely order the pasta over the pizza or at least request that they cook the pizza longer. A decent restaurant overall with some poor customer policies.
Rating: 37 unofficial pieces of “flair.”