Cafť 422
 Youngstown, Ohio        Date of Visit  04/27/13 

Formerly owned by the Abruzzi family, Cafť 422 is on route 422 in Niles. Many moons ago the restaurant was sold to a Turkish family or at least the two brothers who run the place. Certainly they couldnít keep an Italian place open in a town stuffed to the gills with Italian offerings, I mean theyíre not Italian. They do appear to be smart business men. They added some windows which brought some life to the formerly dark and dreary dining room. They added a patio.



Only Place I've Had Italian Bread Just Like This

There is apparently one of the two brothers at each of their outposts all the time and tonightís made at least three trips by our table to see how we were doing. We had a pair of servers as one of them was training. They were attentive up until our entrees hit the table and then they seemed to disappear, another case of two accomplishing less than one but they managed to be perfunctory. None of that would matter if the food doesnít stand up.

We were delivered a tray of their signature Italian bread and a scoop of whipped butter. Itís been said they bought the recipes along with the building; the bread makes me think this is true. Itís been quite a while since I have been here but I remember the bread. It has the same doughy interior but the crust is almost cracker-like in texture with serious crunch and a light hint of bitterness. It works great against the sweet butter. If theyíre not making it, they are buying it from the same bakery it used to be. The tossed salad was crisp and fresh with rich dressings and crispy croutons. Now I know what they do with the left over bread.

Wedding Soup Isn't Bad

Pretty Standard Salad, Good Dressings And Croutons

You Might Think The Sausage Link Is The Star...

...But The Brown Goop Is Studded With Spicy Happiness & More Sausage
  The wedding soup was good but remains far from my favorite. However Uptown putís theirs together, it still packs a much more balanced and intense punch than other. We were here a couple of years ago and my cousins Helen and Glen ordered the beans and greens. I was unexcited about the prospect. They offered everyone a bite and I had not forgotten it since. We ordered our own and it remains memorable. White beans and greens are swathed in a thick ruddy-brown broth and support a link of Italian sausage. The sausage has the red earmark of a spicier variety and is also crumbled into the broth giving it a warm and invigorating bite. Simple ingredients, well prepared, Italian food. Not everything got high marks though.

The Chicken Salad Looked Good But Was Dry And Boring

But The Salmon Was Wonderfully Done...To A T

Can't Place It But Their Gravy Just Doesn't Do It For Me

No Matter Where It Is

My mom ordered the almond crusted chicken salad. The salad was the same quality as the tossed and came with a beautiful balsamic vinaigrette. The chicken looked really tasty, golden brown, slivers of toasted almond, it must be good. Until you tried it, dry, underseasonedÖquickly boring. I donít think she would get it again, I wouldnít. The other thing I donít particularly care for is their red sauce. Itís not bad and Iím not sure what doesnít sit well on my palate. There is something about the spice profile, nothing specific standing out, which pushes it way down the list for me. I didnít finish most of my angel hair side due to this. It was also the problem for me on the chicken parmigiana. The chicken was lightly crusted and much more juicy than on the salad but the sauce covering it and the spaghetti hurt both. But not all sauces are created equal at 422.

Who Cares What The Red Sauce Tastes Like...

The Francaise Is Just Stupid Spectacular. I Would Eat It On Things I Don't Care To Mention

Before that though, my brother went with the broiled salmon and baker. The pink fish was done exceptionally well, just flaking apart and incredibly moist. Topped with a lemon butter sauce which enhanced the overall flavor but really let the fish shine through, it was really well thought out and executed. Speaking of lemon and butter, years ago my brother introduced me to francaise or franchese depending on how Italian or French they want their menu to sound. I typically order the chicken version but it was only listed on the three course meal deal. The regular menu had veal, not a problem for me. Thinly pounded-out pieces are breaded, cooked and served in a sauce of butter, lemon and white wine. Nothing tricky but is so often out of balance in ways that make your jaws flinch from the lemon or feel like youíre sweating butter. Not so here. Just enough lemon is perfectly restrained by the fat from the butter and there is a forward note of much better than average wineÖstunning. Itís not often you have a dish that hitís all the notes, rich, fresh, tart, floral, viscous and sharp but this one did. Johnís came with a chocolate cake which disappeared pretty quickly for someone who doesnít much like desserts. The youngest of us had a little bit of everything and her older brother who is old enough to be finicky about this stuff had a lot of bread and a hot dog. Everything looked just right for a four year old and his came with chocolate ice cream. I think Iíll let the pictures speak for themselves on that one. Cafť 422 might not be my favorite Italian restaurant but if you know what to order you can strike gold.

How To Eat Ice Cream

Steph Says I Can't Do It Like This...He Seems To Enjoy It More



What's Best

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  B C- B A+ D B  
        Francaise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dry Chicken    
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