Chef Andrea Menichetti From Vino e Olio Gets a Visit From His Mama
|Photo by Riki Altman|
|Menichetti and his mom at the chef's table in Vino e Olio's kitchen|
She cooked a four-course meal with him this past Saturday, just after he whipped up some almond cannoli with chocolate mousse at the Fairchild Botanic Gardens' Chocolate Festival. Though we missed both undeniably delicious occasions, we were still given a tasting of what Menichetti considers his top dishes. In a nutshell, we thought his tomato appetizer was nice, but not crave-worthy and his seafood dishes were beautifully presented but slightly under-seasoned; yet his pasta plates--the ones that have been critiqued most often--and desserts were divine. Near perfect, really, with unexpected flavors that delivered a punch.
But enough about our opinions. Here's what he and his mom had to say: (Actually, Mom didn't say much because she doesn't speak English, but she was beaming).
New Times: Let's get right into this. Local food reviewers have come down on you recently. What do you say to their critiques?
Andrea Menichetti: We've had a lot of Italian guests and everybody who tried our restaurant has come back. But I didn't get great reviews [by the press]. A lot of people told me you're not Italian because you don't have fettuccine Alfredo.
Another thing I've read is that your prices are expensive.
AM: We are not expensive. We have pasta at $12. Do you think that's expensive? Pasta handmade with the finest tomatoes in the world.
The price of the main dishes go between $28 and $35. That's the regular price for all the main dishes at the restaurants in Miami. Maybe some of the appetizers can be expensive, but the price of the fish comes from the high quality of product we use. All of dishes are prepared with the best product I can find at the market. If you know about food, when you eat that you can understand that. It's not too expensive.
You said you've eaten at a few local Italian restaurants. What did you find?
AM: They use too much heavy cream. I hate heavy cream and they put the heavy cream everywhere. Look, fettuccine Alfredo is not Italian. Fettuccine Alfredo doesn't exist.