September 23, 2011

LIFESTYLE: Jag Grub Visits...Vito's Provolone

by Michael Hadley

Have you ever been sitting at home, wondering where to go out to eat? There are plenty of places in Indianapolis and the surrounding area, but which one is the best? Who has the most value for quality? Campus Citizen has you covered! This is the first installment of the new series "Jag Grub" - Campus Citizen's direct line into the Foodie world!

Vito's Provolone, Greenwood

At first glance, Vito's looks like a number of my favorite east coast Italian joints transplanted to the midwest: Unassuming, quaint, and family-run. Inside, unfortunately, one remembers the "glory days" of the mid-1990s. Beige walls, dim lighting, and disappointingly old furniture gives one the feeling they've gone through a time warp, falling back to 1992.

Arriving early for the reservation, we were asked to wait around while a table was prepared. This was understandable for us early birds, and we waited a moment before being escorted to the quite-empty annex. Upon being seated, we were approached and asked for a drink order immediately (and consequently never learned our server's name).

I ordered the Shrimp Diablo (listed as mostaccioli and shrimp tossed in a spicy tomato-cream sauce) and my dinner companion ordered Seafood Fettuccine (listed as fettuccine with crab and shrimp in a creamy alfredo sauce). Each came with choice of soup or salad, as well as garlic bread.

The salads that came as part of the meal were mediocre at best. My lettuce was especially watery (probably pulled straight from a bag), and my dressing was nothing more than Kraft-brand. The saving grace of the antipasti (appetizer) course was the garlic bread, a perfect crust surrounding a flavorful garlic-seasoned, soft bread.

Our secondi (second course) came before the salads were done, a major no-no in nearly every type of restaurant. I was immediately put off by my Shrimp Diablo. It seemed to be swimming in the sauce, and when I took my first bite things got worse. I am nearly positive my "tomato cream" sauce was ketchup, a dab of cream, and black pepper mixed together and refrigerated. The mostaccioli was cooked beyond limp, probably being kept in a steamer all day, in addition to tasting like it was boxed. If the shrimp were something other than frozen and from a bag, I would be shocked.

My companion's Seafood Alfredo was equally decimated, lacking flavor all together. The crab was obviously fake, and the whole thing looked like it was sitting around for an hour under the hot lamp waiting for someone to order it.

For dolce (dessert) we were given one cannoli and one tierra missou to make up for the pasta. As a huge fan of the cannoli in general, I was let down by Vito's version. The shell was decent, probably frozen, but the cream cheese filling (instead of the truly Italian ricotta) had so much sugar loaded into it, I felt like I was eating a beach. The tierra missou wasn't much better, leaving much to be desired in the area of...well...everything.

I was pleased by the friendliness of the staff, but the food put out by the kitchen was horrible. Vito's makes Olive Garden look like the most authentic Italian experience one can have outside of Italy.

Food: F -- Vito's owners probably own stock in Kraft.
Atmosphere: F -- Ugly, old, and uninspired.
Staff: B -- Friendly, but they had no support from anyone or anything but themselves.
Overall: D -- There are plenty of other places to spend $60 on dinner and actually get decent food.


Be sure to check back often to see where else Jag Grub tries! Next up: Scratch Truck, Indianapolis' 'gourmet comfort food' truck!

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