Antenucci's Restaurant
 Youngstown, Ohio           Date of Visit  02/25/11            No Known Website

Yes there are restaurants in y-town that are not Italian. But every time we go to one it reminds me of another place I haven’t been in a long time and usually something I really love about the place. Last time we were in town I was gnawing on the monkey salad at Antone’s thinking how long it had been when I was suddenly consumed with memories of Antenucci’s in Hubbard. It was inevitable. Antenucci’s doesn’t have much to offer as far as ambiance is concerned. It has a very homey feeling due mostly to the fact that it is in a converted home. The weight of many years is reflected in every nook and cranny, evidenced by the sagging floors, the cracked walls and the dilapidated window casements. If its winter time you would do well to wear crampons with the rest of your foot gear as navigating the tiny parking lot requires the agility of a Cirque du solei performer. Still, you always have to wait to get in.
 



 


 
 



Again with the Bread
 

Why might that be? Antenucci’s apparently spends all of their time doing one thing. Each day of every year; while the floor has sagged and customers have been doing the slip and slide through the parking lot these folks have been preparing simple and hearty Italian classics. Their sauce is pasty-thick and so rich it stays with you for hours (even without burping…that refresher course comes later). A mellow mix of herbs and spices makes for an outstanding accompaniment to pages of menu options. Most Italian places around here make their own sauce from the foundation up, but Antenuccis also hand-makes what most places would no longer even consider. The Italian and sweet and sour salad dressings are two examples. The sweet and sour is my mother’s favorite dressing anywhere and while it is too sweet for me it is much better balanced than most and has huge flavor…HUGE flavor. You only need a splash to dress your greens.

 
 
Outstanding Homemade Dressings
 

Chicken Parmesan with Stupendous Pasta
 

Homemade Cavatelli
 
 
 

The Italian is the other dressing they make in house and it literally slaps you across the face. It’s hard to describe but the vinegar, pepper, garlic, and other ingredients are just screaming at each individual tastebud as they slide by. So good! The other outstanding homemade option at Antenucci’s is the pasta. You can have the box stuff but for a little extra you can upgrade to the homemade. You can tell it has been made and cooked here thousands upon thousands of times. So often you get pasta that is overcooked, and when the pasta is fresh it is particularly likely. Both the cavatelli and the spaghetti are supple and doughy but with that pleasing sense of resistance for each chew. There is also some type of “sauce Velcro” on the outside of each strand which carries a thick slick of the tomatoey riches up with each bite.

The meatballs are meaty with little binder but a lot of spice and taste like a beef, pork, lamb mixture. They really stand out against the pasta and sauce to add a completely new addition to the bowl. The chicken parmesan has a thin and light breading and the standard mozzarella and sauce blankets. The thing I will always remember which sits alongside the pasta and sauce at Antenucci’s is their egg plant. This is the first place I tried eggplant parmesan. It is still done the same way the day I learned that the purple and green thingy could be something other than gross. Most other places where I actually enjoy eggplant they tend to have thin slices with lots of breading. Sure to be good. Any other place that looks like Antenucci’s eggplant is always awful, particularly in texture but they have solved some chemical mystery where they can take thick slices, bread them, fry them and they are spectacular. Delicious, hot and not mushy. Sure the building is due to collapse, and soon. I just hope it happens about ten minutes after the eggplant parmesan makes it to the table. There are worse ways to go.

 


The Eggplant Parm!!!


Look How Thick...But So Good!

 
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  A B C- A N/A B+  
        Anything Covered in Sauce
Esp. the Eggplant
     
 
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