Erica’s Italian

Erica’s Italian
1914 1st Ave South
Fort Dodge, IA

The Dish:
Chicken Parmesan (Me)
Baked Spaghetti (Tress)
Cheesecake (split)
Two Diet Cokes
$36.12 (Tax and tip included)

Grade: 1 Knife

This is one place that we should have judged by the cover. It was dingy on the outside and dingy inside. Most of the time when you get a place like this it is some of the best food ever, not so much here.

Ambiance: Dirty and greasy. Most of the time, when you think Italian you think of a place that might be a bit upscale, or darker as if a mob hit is going to go down. This place had more of a feel like a former garage. Not sure why or how long cleaning has been overlooked, but something needed done. It’s pretty bad even when I say “get a mop and bucket.”

Menu/Price: Nothing here was under $14 and the selection was pure Italian dishes. They can probably get away with that because most people will eat spaghetti. Most people won’t pay $12 for it though. Just to give you an idea of how limited the selections were, the menu was a placard on the table with prices, no descriptions, no pictures no nothing. So I am guessing most go for the spaghetti as it is usually a safe bet.

Meal: Tress’s baked spaghetti was good, I want to get that out of the way. The Chicken Parmesan was not. First it should have been called Chicken Garlic because I could not taste anything else but garlic. Now I do like garlic but I don’t like misrepresentation. I am pretty sure the only parmesan that was a part of this dish was the parmesan I put on it. Now thinking that I got someone else’s dish or our waitress put in the wrong order I clarified with her what I ordered. She very rudely answered Chicken Parmesan. Hmm ok, well anyway it did come with breadsticks that were decent. Probably the only thing that kept me from creating a grade lower than 1 Knife.

Service: Terrible. Had to ask multiple times for refills, then waitress was rude to us, other patrons, and the kitchen staff as we could hear her yell at them. Like the other place we visited a long time ago, maybe she was having a bad day or on her way out the door, still not acceptable. Maybe not the kitchen staff fault but the wait was also bad, took us about a half hour to get our order placed, and then about another hour before our food came out. Given the menu it’s not like we had to really study or look things over that hard. I thought perhaps talking with a manager would be good, at least to express a bit of frustrations with our waitress and disappointment in the food. When I asked our waitress about this she said “I’m the F$*%’n owner.” That pretty much did it for me; guess we know who Erica is.

Overall: I am not sure what to say here, other than I am never returning. I like to give most places a second chance; I don’t see this place improving as long as Erica is running it.