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T-Fitz Gets the Fried Calamari AGAIN; McNulty at Leni's

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Tom Fitzmorris reviews Venezia this week, lavishing the Mid City Italian staple with THREE WHOLE STARS, and leading Eater to believe perhaps T-Fitz has an unshakable fried calamari and red sauce addiction. After recent reviews of Sandro's, and Ristorante Fillipo, Fitzmorris again notes that "the enormous piles of overcooked, overly rich or sweet, New Orleans-style Italian food have come to the brink of being polished" and polished off by T-Fitz himself. Venezia has been open since 1957, but Tommy Boy says the food is better post-Katrina:

Classic home-style Italian dishes heavy with thick, long-cooked red sauces, and Creole seafood concoctions with an emphasis on cream sauces loaded with crabmeat, shrimp and/or crawfish. All that used to be a mess. Somehow, it has become balanced and borderline elegant, if still served too generously.

In other words, bring ya tupperwares, dawlin, because you will have leftovers for days. Except when it comes to the eggplant sticks and calamari. Those you should finish off while admiring the "Italian travel posters on the wall" and other -1 hipness factors. [CityBusiness, subscription required]

Ian McNulty reviews Leni's this week, an unfussy CBD diner of yore that serves a "mix of anywhere-America diner fare... and specific New Orleans staples." While the menu is out of date, McNulty notes that it still "gets the job done," and he even seems to find the lack of trendiness pleasing, calling the place a "time capsule diner," and noting that places like Leni's, such a Pete & Gregory's (which is set to become Lucky Rooster) are now dwindling. Per McNulty:

Pastel-colored plastic plates are loaded up as if by an indulgent aunt. Paneed veal covers the better part of a plate... Sides like canned beets or hammy greens are wedged in just to make sure you get some vegetables.

Current owner Pete Patselikos purchased the restaurant in 1978 from another Greek man, and apparently the restaurant has been in business since the World War I? when it was first started by a family of Greek immigrants. They do breakfast as early as 6:30 a.m., which may be a good call here if you want to avoid the canned beets. [Gambit]

· Review: Leni's [Gambit]
· Venezia Stays the Same While Improving [CityBusiness]

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