Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Old Spaghetti Factory (Forest Park, OH)

Old Spaghetti Factory is a respectable Italian eatery with locations spanning across the USA.  There was once a popular one in Cincinnati, but it shut its doors and moved to Forest Park, into a new building and community full of curiously hungry patrons.  In terms of pricing and atmosphere, it balances nicely between upscale dining and casual fare.  You can bring a date and both dine for under $20 total, and for the complete meal you’ll receive, that’s a generous price in my opinion.

Usually, I always take a picture of the restaurant itself when reviewing one.  I made this dinner date with friends a week prior amidst a conversation at a local dinner, and just decided upon a whim to grab the camera and use it as an article opportunity.  During the ensuing excitement, I forgot the building picture, so just imagine some relativity boring modern architecture; or imagine ninja penguins playing ice hockey on Jupiter or something more interesting.

In the first picture you’ll see my buddies Darrel and Eddie.  Eddie’s an avant-garde musician/writer, and Darrel’s into serial killers… as Zach Braff said in Garden State “So there's that. I guess I have that.”  In the second picture are Amanda and I enjoying a rare night away from our apartment studying.  Also of note, the area we sat in was designed like a hollowed-out trolley car from yesteryear; I asked Eddie if he had his conductor hat present, he emptied out his pockets revealing an ancient condom wrapper and the manual for perennial NES favorite Bionic Commando.

The first course of the meal is always a pleasant one at Old Spaghetti Factory.  You receive a complimentary loaf of bread; or in our case two loafs.  It comes with traditional and garlic butter.  Secondly, is the minestrone soup that is quite delectable; I especially find in the wintertime that hot soup is particularly heavenly.  If you’re not into soup, you can do like I did, and opt for a salad.  The salads aren’t two awfully big, though, but are always fresh.  I’d recommend their blue cheese dressing, it’s mild, but easily my favorite of their selections.

Now time for everybody’s favorite part… the entrees!  I had three-cheese spinach tortellini due to Darrel’s impassioned recommendation, and he was absolutely right, I wasn’t disappointed.  The sauce was very light and smooth tasting, complimenting and accentuating the more bold flavors perfectly.  The tortellini was filled with three cheeses (mizithra, parmesan, and romano), all very strong, hearty, and potent.  This was certainly a flavorful excursion and a very filling choice.  Pictured on the left is Amanda’s eggplant parmigiana, which albeit delicious wasn’t a very large serving.  Next, on the right, is Eddie’s spaghetti with (extra) meat sauce; which, as pictured, was whipped into a frenzy and quickly consumed.

Lastly, for those of you with a sweet tooth… dessert!  Amanda and I played the role of the broke college students, so we went with the complimentary ice cream.  We both got Spumoni, which has chocolate, pistachio, and strawberry mixed together.  Darrel got a massive Turtle ice cream cake, which looked incredible, and was pleased with his decision.  Eddie got a plain piece of cheesecake, then asked for a side of caramel that he proceeded to drench it in.  He couldn’t finish it off, and I had a couple bites, which were extremely rich but sweetly satisfying.

Overall, I’d recommend Old Spaghetti Factory to everyone, especially those of you who enjoy quality Italian food.  It’s ideal for dates, but also suitable for business or personal meeting, or simply a solo or family night out.  The prices aren’t outrageous, and the overall quality of the food is usually exceptional, coupled with a nice setting and relaxing ambiance.

Overall Grade: A- 

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