On a recent Saturday night, my boyfriend and I found ourselves in the Mid-City area and decided on dinner at Venezia, an old-school New Orleans Italian restaurant. We had both eaten there on several occasions, but not in recent years. When we arrived without a reservation, the hostess told us there would be a 20-25 minute wait. Not too bad, we thought. We bellied up to the bar and watched a little of the LSU-Auburn game. Okay, a lot of the game. An hour later, we were finally seated at a table, and it was nearly another hour before our entrees were served.
We both opted for traditional Italian dishes. We split a house salad, which consisted of a lot of watery lettuce, a pale pink wedge of tomato, some salami and cheese, and some oil. Very uninspired. I ordered the eggplant parmesan. The eggplant was soggy and bland, very disappointing, but the pasta with red sauce was pretty tasty. My boyfriend got the cheese-stuffed shells. The cheese filling and red sauce had a nice flavor, but nothing to write home about.
Venezia remains a bustling place, and it’s obvious that a lot of their customers are regulars. It’s a New Orleans neighborhoody kind of place that people around here love. Personally, in a city with so many great food joints, I won’t be returning to this one anytime soon.