Sunday, April 5, 2009

More To Barberton Than Just Chicken Joints

Barberton, OH has sort of traditionally been known for it's family style fried chicken restaurants. However, aimlessly meandering through the city, I discovered Angie's Italian Restaurant (located at 343 4th Street NW, Barberton, OH 44203, 330-745-6056) around 7 pm on Friday evening. Needless to say, the parking lot was packed. So, lacking a better option (and the fact that I was decidedly hungry by this point), I figured I would stop in and check it out.

Seating on Friday and Saturday night is first come, first serve, but surprisingly, it only took about ten minutes for a table to open up. I grabbed a take-out menu to study at the table while I waited for my server to show up.

They have a number of items on the menu, sandwiches, pastas, pizzas, and surprisingly much of it is homemade. After weighing my options, I decided to get the Italian Sampler, which consisted of rigatoni with homemade marinara sauce, a stuffed shell, and pork and ricotta filled cannelloni. The meal also came with a side and garlic bread. I choose the cottage cheese as my side. Because I could, I also got a side of the homemade meatballs.

Nothing really to write about here. It was typical cottage cheese. Although I will say the portion size was quite large.

Unfortunately my server had screwed up my order and brought out a plate of rigatoni and not the Italian Sampler I had ordered. She did bring my side order of meatballs, so I had her leave those and return to the kitchen to correct my order. Here are the meatballs:

These were quite good. Very juicy on the inside (sometimes you can dry them out if you simmer them too long in the sauce) and very flavorful. The tomato/meat sauce that accompanies the meatballs was also quite intense and delicious. By the way, if you order your pasta topped with the meat sauce, this is the sauce you get. I think I would've been quite happy with some spaghetti with this sauce and those meatballs on it.

An attempt at an picture of the inside of the meatball:

Finally, my Italian Sampler entree was brought to my table:

The stuffed shell is on the lower left side of the plate, the cannelloni is at the upper right side of the plate, and the rigatoni sort of occupies the rest of the plate. All is covered in their homemade marinara sauce.

First, a shot of the stuffed shell:

And a shot of the cannelloni:

Everything was pretty tasty, although as with most Italian places, there was plenty of water at the bottom of the bowl. Annoying, but not unforgivable. My favorite, I think, was the stuffed shell. The cheese filling had a very nice creamy and savory quality to it that I found most appealing. Second favorite was the cannelloni. The Italian sausage had just a little bit of capricious heat to it and the scent of fennel seed was unmistakable. The rigatoni was ... well, pretty much just rigatoni. Overall, I think I liked the meat sauce better than the marinara.

Finally, a shot of my leftovers sitting in the Styrofoam box. It's a little hard to tell in the picture, but the meat sauce is just such an intense dark red compared to the marinara. The leftover meatball is at the bottom right in the picture.

Not knowing when I would be getting back anytime soon, I decided to order a pizza to go. The menu declared that they make all of their own dough and sauce, so that is generally a good sign. When I also saw that they offered meatballs as a topping, my first thoughts turned to my good friend Nancy, who has talked in the past for her love of a good New York City pizza with sliced meatballs.

When I asked my server if the meatballs they use on their pizzas are the same as the ones I had for dinner, she replied that they were. Unfortunately, I didn't bother to confirm that the meatballs were sliced and placed on the pizza. What I got looked entirely different from what I was expecting.

The pizza box all ready to go home with me:

And finally a shot of the pie itself.

They crumbled the meatballs instead of slicing them. Needless to say I was kind of disappointed. But then again, I failed to ask the right questions. The pie was ... ok. Unfortunately, they kind of burnt the crust quite a bit. And burnt not in the good way. The ground meat was a tad bit dry, which detracted from the experience. I think had they actually sliced the meatballs, they might've survived the baking process with a little more integrity. When I manage to get back there, perhaps I'll have them do it properly.

Overall, I think it was an okay to better than average experience and definitely a place if you are trying to find a nice family restaurant that the kids will like, too. A few service and food guffaws aside, it was a pleasant experience.

Angie's Pizza Restaurant on Urbanspoon  Angie's Italian Restaurant on Restaurantica


Anonymous said...

You missed out on the only reason to go to Angie's... their house dressing. Pink Italian. I have no idea why it's pink, and they're not telling, but it is really delicious. Every time I go there, I order extra to go and end up dipping all kinds of crazy things in it and saying things like, "is it possible for salad dressing to melt in your mouth?".

Tino said...

@Anonymous: Thanks for the suggestion about the house dressing. It's been a while since I wrote up this original review and perhaps it is time to put Angie's back on the list of places to visit again. I'll definitely get the Pink Italian next time I am there.

Tino said...

@kro: Your comment is unhelpful and not productive in fostering a useful conversation. I will be removing it within 24 hours, but wanted to give you the chance to post something else a bit more well thought out and informative. I hope you decide to take advantage of the opportunity.

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