Dontino's
 Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio        Date of Visit  06/21/13     
http://www.dontinos.com/ 

We got a recommendation from Keith, who has treated us exceptionally well in our adventures at the John S. Knight Center. If you ever need a place that size they are always on top of their game. He mentioned Dontinoís as a regular place when they are in the Falls and our Friday early dinners continue there. This place is huge and well put together. We were lonely to begin with but a few folks had started to fill some of the many booths and chairs during our stay. Our server was nice enough and patient with first timers. She was able to keep up with us very nicely which often appears more difficult to accomplish when the place isnít busy. She was good, the other woman on the floor (host/bartender/cashier) was the antithesis.
 



 


 
 


Bread Was Okay But Lacked Umph In Texture And Taste
 

It might have been a bad day but she seemed mired in an arrogant misery and anyone walking through the door only deepened the muck. It was a good thing our server was there to counteract her. Having looked at the menu we decided to get something we tend to try anywhere and another the menu says theyíre famous forÖ chicken parm the first and a steak sandwich the other. We added wedding soup, a couple of meatballs and, oh yeah, a pizza.

Before anything else arrived a basket of bread joined our beverages. I wouldnít call the slices Italian, they were soft and doughy crust to crust and while they smelled nicely yeasty there wasnít much in the way of flavor. Not bad bread by any measure but far from Italian. Stephís dinner came with a salad which was perfectly okay and I tried a cup of wedding soup. Again divergent from what I know of wedding soup, it tasted alright but had chicken instead of little meatballs and then the biggest disappointment instead of nicely bitter deep greens there was some sort of cabbage which didnít add much of anything.
 

 
 
Salad Was Functional
 

Not The Depth I Was Hoping For, No Wedding Today
 
 

Looked Promising
 

But Something Was Just Off
 
 

The chicken parm featured a paillard of yard bird breaded in seasoned crumbs with cheese and sauce with a side of noodles. Their sauce is actually pretty good for the area, a mix of herb and spice in a smooth gravy, there wasnít anything to make it particularly cravable. The spaghetti was done well but the chicken had a slightly odd flavor, almost as though there was cheese in the breading which had lightly burned during the cooking. It wasnít bad enough to spoil the dish.

The steak sandwich was probably okay as well. Listed as the Famous La Vita Steak Sandwich, it consists of a thin slice of steak with a burger set of lettuce, tomato, pickles and pickled pepper on a much better than the bread in the basket roll. The roll was likely the best part of the sandwich, soft interior ensconced in a crispy and sesame seeded crust, it was really nice. The steak was fine but needed something beside the veggies and mayo to bring it to life. Itís fine as a sandwich but set it next to Mr. Beefís Italian beef or Patís Philly Cheese and itís shortcomings are substantial.
 

 

The Steak Sandwich
 

Again Not Bad, As Long As There Is No Competition
 

The meatballs also had a significant flaw, they were functionally meaty (likely a three meat blend for a hint of game) but the interior had hard dry spots from something like freezer burn or being warmed in the nuke box of death, or whatever else but it was a less than pleasant surprise. The sauce in the bottom of the dish did help the remainder of the steak sandwich to a healthy degree.
 


These Looked Really Promising
 

Until You Got Inside. Boo That!
 

Headed to class we took a pizza to share with students which looked great but didnít quite deliver in flavor either. The crisp crust was nice but the sauce and cheese werenít enough for anyone to consider a second slice. Dontinoís isnít bad. We likely should have tried the lasagna (we may soon) which is the house specialty. Maybe it doesn't suffer from some significant flaw and it may have been better. Nice joint, good service from the servers at least, and functional Italian fare in the Falls.
 


The Theme Continues...Looked Pretty Darn Good
 

But Just Didn't Pay Off
 
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