ROTELLI PIZZA & PASTA - MIAMI, FL
I recently visited Miami a few weeks ago for business and had the most intense craving for clams. I have not been to Miami in about 15 years and the landscape looked pretty different from what I remember. It was a long day since I had been awake since 3:00 that morning to take an early flight so that I could make my meetings later in the day. I was lucky enough to find what looked like a nice Italian restaurant in the Dolphin's Mall next to my hotel.
Upon arriving to Rotelli Pizza & Pasta, I noticed a server set up a sampling station outside. She was serving small slices of pizza to attract customers. This part of the mall was outdoors with easy access to the parking lot. There were a few tables seated outside but the interior dining room was empty. It was early in the day, but I also noticed that the restaurant across the way, Metropol, was very busy. More on Metropol in another review though.
I sat at the bar. I was greeted by a nice bartender. She handed me a menu and told me that the drink menu was on the interior. I looked at the choices and only saw specific cocktails and sweet martinis. I asked if they had Hendricks gin, I like a Hendricks martini from time to time. She had never heard of it. I know, how does a bartender not know Hendricks? I asked if they had gin. She showed me a house brand and then asked if I would like it on the rocks. I then asked if she could make the martini with it. Her reply then stumped me. She said that they did not have all of the ingredients to make the martini. I then asked why they wouldn't have vermouth. She stated that she did not know what that was and that they only make the cocktails on the menu. The only suggestion that I made was that they might have a busier bar if they had the ingredients to make basic bar drinks. I was not mean about it, it was just a bit of advice. She did not look to be offended by my comment and seemed to agree with me. I then ask for a bottle of Stella Artios and ordered my linguine with clam sauce.
I was offered a basket of garlic knots but asked if I could have the knots plain. I expected the clam sauce to have lots of garlic in it and did not want any additional garlic from the knots. Plus I prefer to soak up any extra sauce with the bread at the end of the meal to capture the essence of the sauce. The bartender accommodated me. The clams were priced at $27, so I expected a generous portion of food based off of what I'm used to seeing in restaurants even when I travel. With that said, the photo that I had taken of the dish is very misleading. I was presented a small square bowl with the tiniest of little neck clams that I had ever seen. I know, it looks like an incredible amount of food but it really wasn't. After eating all of the clams, I then noticed that the portion of linguine was also very small. Being from New Jersey, at that price I expect to see a large portion that should at least get me close to filling me up. The dish was very good but it just left me still feeling hungry after the 5 minutes that it took me to eat it. Also, I was very happy that I passed on the garlic on the knots. The amount of garlic on this dish was the most dominating thing on the plate. This was definitely a case where less is more.
I give Rotelli a 6.7. They lost major points for not having a proper bar set up, this falls on management. The bartender was wonderfully hospitable but her lack of bar knowledge worked against her. And although the linguine with clam sauce did have great flavor with perfectly cooked pasta, it was severely over priced in my opinion. I could see myself paying around $19 for what I was served. I understand that ingredients are more expensive nowadays in addition to shipping costs but come on, the portion size was a disappointment. If these factors were not a part of this review, they would have been an 8.0 if not close to it. I would love to suggest all to try the food at Rotelli because of how good it was but then again, I would feel like I would let people down by sending them there due to the expectations of the value.
Rotelli Pizza & Pasta is Located:
11401 NW 12th St
Miami, FL 33172
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