Monday, September 19, 2011

Dining by the Alphabet: Letter M: Marchello's

Kansas State Fair or go eat out for Letter M? Those were the options thrust into my calendar for the weekend. It was a tough decision, one that I took great time in deciding which I should do. I consulted my brain, my stomach, and my taste beds to see which I should do. In a surprising vote of 2-1, eating out for Letter M beat out the Kansas State Fair.

On Friday night, I was joined by this week's guest diner, Emily, in travelling a little further south for this restaurant. When I say further south, I don't mean Derby south to where there is a certain -- nevermind.

We were also accompanied by a handful of friends as well. The restaurant we chose for Letter M is located way down at 31st and Seneca. 3107 S. Seneca to be exact. I bring you.......

Marchello's Restaurant
http://www.marchellosrestaurant.com/
(316) 522-6662

According to their sign they have posted up, they have been in Wichita since 1996. When you arrive, you are to seat yourself. I totally didn't see the sign cause I just stood there but fortunately a server there was able to see my dumbfounded my face on what I was supposed to do. She quickly seated us, greeted us and treated us to the menus. (You readers like the use of three rhyming words in the same sentence? Grade school education there!)

The first menu I looked at was the drink menu. Domestics and import bottles all under $4. Cocktails, all around $4. Wine served by the glass at $5-6 and bottles at ~$22. I was in shock. Pretty sure I could stay there and drink all night for cheap. Then it hit me. Everybody at the table said, "You are on the south side Eddy." That is true. Drinks are much cheaper on the south side of Wichita than it is on the north side. Between our table, we ordered a couple bottles of wine. Emily stuck to the wine and I had a few cocktails to myself. I felt like I'd be ripping myself off if I didn't order such cheap drinks!

We ordered two appetizers to start the meal off. Emily quickly saw the calamari and went for it. I asked our server what she would suggest and she told me the top three items would be the "Sampler Platter", "Calamari Rings" and "Bruschetta" but you have to add bacon to make it better. I stuck with the bruschetta even though I've never had it before. Both apps came out very quick and were good sized portions. The calamari rings were small and came with a couple sauces that were good. After eating both appetizers, the best thing you could say about them and Emily was in agreement is "they were all good but not necessarily something to write home about". But since I'm doing a blog, it’s kind of necessary that I do write here about it.

Bruschetta with bacon

Calamari Rings
 When ordering our entrees, Emily ordered the Chicken Parmesan (breast of chicken topped with marinara and cheese on a bed of fettuccini). I asked our server yet again what she would suggest. It has to be said, our server was very very friendly. She was always quick to answer any question I had. She then told me the fettuccini alfredo, cannelloni and manicotti were most popular items. Then we had this little discussion:

          Server: "Do you like meat?"

          Myself: (thinking to myself: "you're not 18, don't laugh. Act your age")

          (Slow pause)

          Myself: Yes.

          Server: "Well our two best options are the Altima which is a combination of
          chicken breast, baby shrimp and link sausage or the Tony's.

          Myself: (thinking to myself: "see what happens when you act mature, you get
          mature answers)

          (Another slow pause)

          Myself: I think I will go with the Tony's with marinara sauce (which is
          chicken, meatballs and Italian sausage on angel hair with choice of afredo
          or marinara sauce).

The rest of the table ordered. We sat, drank, shared some laughs, drank some more, made fun of each other, drank some more and next thing you know........ the food is out.

Chicken Parmesan
We dug right in and didn't stop until the food was done. All the serving sizes were right on the money. They came out in bowls and weren't too large or too small. Emily noted at certain places, the plates are just so big and it's hard to finish. Emily liked her meal. She said the chicken was moist and flavorful. She liked the marinara sauce a lot. They seemed to use a lot of fresh tomatoes and didn't taste like it came from a jar at all. The chicken parmesan is different from other chicken parmesan’s she's had as the chicken was not breaded and there was little parmesan involved from what she could taste. Note: the server did explain beforehand that it wasn't your typical breaded chicken. Nice of her do to so.


Tony's............not the frozen pizza
you'd expect by the name.
 My Tony's was good too. I'm used to canned marinara sauce if I'm ever at home eating it. (I don't cook so I just use it to dip breadsticks in). So with that said, I could taste the difference in the marinara, Marchello's was much better. The Italian sausage and chicken were ok to me. It was nice though to have the different flavors of meat in the meal to change it up. The angel hair was pretty good except some ends which seemed to have been overcooked. The best part of the meal was the meatball. I wanted to say in an Italian accent during dinner "That's a good a meatball." but figured a joke that bad would have ruined dinner. Others tried the meatballs and shared the same sentiment.

To someone lactose intolerant, this
does not look tempting.

And with the meal over it was time to focus on what some would call the most important part of dinner. Dessert. To end the meal, the group of us had a bowl of ice cream that was called Spumoni with Biscotti (chocolate, mint, and strawberry ice cream served with homemade biscotti). The entire group except me had the ice cream; I figured I had enough dairy for one meal. They thought it was just ok. I tried a little bit of the homemade biscotti because I've never had it before. I still don't even know what it is and am too lazy to Google it but that will be the first and last time I will eat biscotti. Way too dry, I guess you're supposed to dip it in the ice cream or something. The biscotti was about as dry as a Gilbert Gottfried joke.

Regarding the service, it was excellent. Emily and I both thought she made us feel welcome and seemed interested that we had a good experience. She was knowledgeable on the menu. Surprisingly enough, she was a new server too. I would have guessed she was there for at least a year or two. Nope. Only a few months. Very delightful and positive attitude. Well done Marchello's on the hire.

The place is pretty small inside but has some character. They have a little display at the front that just yells Italian to me:

So Happy and Sweet but look closer

One of the statuettes looks like he is about to be shot
in the head mafia style! Oh my!!!!!!!!
Pricing was spot on. The appetizers ran around 3-8 dollars depending on what you ordered. The entrees were between 7 and 10 dollars. Very affordable meals and you received about the right portion for the price. Between Emily and I we spent roughly $50 not including tip but that's with splitting the bottle of wine with the group. If you don't drink, you could spend about $20 here for dinner.

When rating this place, we had to keep an open mind. This is no Carrabba's, Olive Garden or any upscale Italian place. This is almost like a "Mom and Pop" eatery. You're not going to get fresh shrimp caught by Bubba and Forrest Gump delivered that day. You'll get good service and good food at a good value. Or as Emily put it right price for quality.

The final verdict. Emily gave this place a 3.5 noting that the only places she'd give 5's to in Wichita are Newport/Yia Yia's/Red Rock. I gave this place a 4 as well to give the final Super Scientific Scale score of 3.75!

Emily said if she lived closer she would add it in to her rotation of restaurants to frequent. I probably would too. But due to the distance, it may be a while for a return. If you're ever in the area, it's definitely a place to go try out. One of my friend’s mothers gets carryout from there during lunch all the time. She speaks very highly of this place.

So that closes Letter M. We’re officially halfway done with Dining by the Alphabet! Up next Letter N. Bring on the suggestions. Don't forget to check out the other blog that was written this morning: Dining by the Alphabet Casualty!!! And check out the new poll to the right!

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Happy Dining All!

Marchello's Restaurant on Urbanspoon Marchello's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

DB_Wichita said...

The Bruschetta was a stretch. More properly it should be called "Cheesy garlic bread + bacon bits, with a side of diced tomatoes."

It was good cheesy bread, but not bruschetta.