My family and I recently dined at Maialino, an Italian restaurant in Manhattan, and it turned out to be a quite awful, to say the least. The scenery and aesthetic of this place was very luxurious and I expected a lot from the food as a result. The waiters and waitresses were very rude and slandered us for not knowing why the menu was so small. I politely questioned why the menu only had around TWO pasta options and 3 or 4 antipasti varieties and the servers explained that this time of day (around 3:30) was known as an “intermission” between lunch and dinner. This is a ridiculous concept that limits the options of the consumers and I hope will bring some negative attention to Maialino. The servers never acted forthcoming with us and completely lacked the charisma to be around people at all. Before leaving in disgust and heading over to Little Italy to hopefully redeem our day, we tried a few appetizers and the 2 entrees available.
Surprisingly, the wings actually had flavor. This was surprising because they tasted of lemon rather than the dry spices covering them. The dry rub is an unconventional method for wings; typically wings are rustic, sticky and crispy, guilty pleasure foods. The wings did not pack the flavor I thought it would; it was an extremely misleading presentation. Despite their somewhat good taste, the wings were not worth it. There were only 5 wings and they were 2 inches in size, so definitely not suitable for a large party. These wings were a part of a grand scheme to make people order more. They weren’t even crispy and lacked textural contrast, but they were cooked ok. (please note I did not say that they were cooked amazing) There was also a roasted potato dish covered in pecorino and romano that was supposed to be crispy and yet it was a soggy mess with cheese covering its hideous appearance. The flavor of sage, butter potatoes was completely overtaken by the cheeses that seemed to be an afterthought to make this dish seem more “Italian”. Those aged cheeses did not mix well together and ended up clashing in my mouth. Now we move on to the horrendous entrees.
As aforementioned above, there were only 2 pasta entrees and one of them had pork, which I am not allowed to consume and removing the pork, would remove a lot of flavor in the dish. (the waiter’s excuse) We still asked them to give us the pork pasta dish without pork and it was called Fettuccine alla Bolognese. It had some tomatoes and a grainy, yet hard cheese just smothering the exterior. There was no depth to the dish and and the cheese smelled like it was aged (bad), but tasted too mild and boring. There was a subtle sourness from the cheese itself that disturbed me to the point where I could not eat anymore. The pasta was overcooked, so it was mushy and the textural element of the dish as a whole was lacking. The next (and final option provided) pasta dish was the Tonnarelli a Cacio e Pepe, which was 24 dollars and was not worth a penny. It was (again) smothered in cheese and the cheese was overly grainy and had a sharp black pepper flavor. Then I realized the specks of black lingering on the bottom of the plate were multiple black pepper piles. The black pepper obviously overwhelmed the dish, so clearly this restaurant has some issues with the most basic of tasks: seasoning and adjusting the ratios. My mouth was on fire after taking one bite of the undercooked pasta (not al dente) with the grainy cheese that only seemed to serve as a vessel for all that black pepper. The oil on top was not enough to redeem this dish and it was still rendered very dry. This dish, although there were different ingredients from the previous ones, tasted almost identical to the potato dish and the fettuccine, due to all that cheese. (it was virtually impossible to tell these dishes apart from one another)
In conclusion, this restaurant put cheese on all its dishes and they were all disgusting. The lack of consideration and care these chefs have for the food they prepare irks me. They have the audacity to call themselves an Italian restaurant is what really triggers me. The authenticity did not exist; one would think that these dishes were made by a clumsy 3 year old with no experience in the kitchen. (that’s how bad they were) Although we did not experience the whole menu, what we tried does not give me hope to return during dinner hours, in addition to the fact that the waiters were extremely foul mouthed. Thus, I give this restaurant a generous 0.5 out of 10 on my scale of gourmet restaurants. (Heed my warning, please)
P.S.–> They did not even serve us the traditional, free bread and none of the drinks we ordered arrived.