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  • Writer's pictureJohn Boccellari


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Back in the summer of 2011, Leone's Ristorante of Montclair, New Jersey was featured on Chef Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. The show featured Rose Leone and her family's struggle to keep the iItalian eatery afloat. Rose Leone has sadly passed since the airing of the episode and ownership has fallen to her son Michael. It has been 5 years since the episode was filmed and they still feature Chef Ramsay's name on their take out menu. Personally I feel that they should leave Chef Ramsay's name off of their menu as they do not represent Chef Ramsay's food quality by any means. My friend, (we'll just call him "Carlos" for the duration of the review) and I decided to give Leone's a shot as we are both foodies and couldn't pass up a location from Kitchen Nightmares.

Let's get into the food. The salad pictured above was okay. It's a basic salad with tomatoes and carrots. I was not sure what the dressing was. I wanted to ask, but the server was busy. We will get into service later though.

My entree was Chicken Marsala. It looks appetizing and delicious in the photo but was sadly on the bland side. The sauce had a nice Marsala Wine Flavor but needed salt, which I was able to correct myself with the salt in the table. I was pleased with how tender the chicken was cooked especially because it was only $8 on the lunch menu. The menu said that there was supposed to be garlic potatoes served with the dish. The potatoes were very plain and bland. There was no garlic flavor to them speak of. At one terrifying moment as I was chewing, I said to my friend Carlos that I was not sure what I had just eaten as there was a "mystery ingredient" in my dish that had no place being there. Hours later, I still do not know what it was. Maybe a meat of some kind, I have no clue, and that is the scary part.

With the food being what it was, you would hope for service to be at least decent. Well let me tell you that our service was a little less to be desired. Besides being surrounded by dirty tables and also being seated at a dirty table, our hopes began to dwindle from the very beginning of our experience. The owner and his server were both dressed in hoodie sweat shirts and unpleasant attire. They both appeared as they had just rolled out of bed and just given up. Our server greeted us and asked Carlos what he would like as a beverage. He placed his beverage order and as I was about to give her my order she walked away to clean a table. She then returned to the table a few minutes later, after my mind was already made up about her and Leone's due to her lack of service and took my beverage order. What?! I thought it was a bad joke but sadly it wasn't. During the duration of our meal, I noticed that the server would talk to herself (nope, there was not a Bluetooth in her ear, I looked- I am in no way making fun of her, just needed to point this out) while she ate from the dirty plates that she had bused off of tables in plain site. Why is no one else seeing this but us?!?! And then right after I notice this behavior, I noticed my glass (pictured below) and I couldn't believe that I did not catch this earlier.

If you look closely you will see some sort of dried up sauce of some kind that ran down the outside of my glass. The glass was placed in a way where I would not be able to see this. I noticed it when I turned the glass as I was speaking with Carlos.

Finally, to rate my experience at Leone's this afternoon I will have to consider a few factors: I will give the food a solid C+. I give service an overwhelming F rating and I'm actually sure that it could have been worse. I know I didn't talk about this next category much but there really was not much of an issue here. When it comes to decor, the place was attractive. I noticed an few light fixtures on the ceiling with some wires hanging out (I hate that by the way, looks bad). I blame all of these issues on the owner and no one else, he allows it to happen and I believe he has blinders on. I do hope that the owner of Leone's reads this review and decides to fix his restaurant. This was all during a slow Tuesday lunch, I can't imagine what they would do on a busy Saturday night.

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