While I’m more partial to Japanese cuisine, my aunt has a penchant for Italian food. I don’t often understand this preoccupation of hers, since Italian food has always been kind of boring to me. Pasta, pizza, salad, foccacia, etc. It’s the epitome of comfort food, which is in essence boring food. And the nice thing about it is that it’s easy to make, and easy to make good Italian food. Because of that, I never really understood forking over more than $15 for a bowl of pasta.
Buca Di Beppo is one of those places. Since it’s a family-style restaurant, it’s a big, spacious place (the one on North Milwaukee Ave, in Wheeling) with an “Italian-style” atmosphere – i.e. naked David statues, lots and lots of vintage black-and-white photos on the walls, and famous Italian opera songs being played in the background. Service is friendly enough, and pretty quick, too.
As for the food, we ordered the apple gorgonzola salad, and fettucine supremo. The salad was pretty good, and made up with an interesting combination of Granny Smith apples, craisins, lettuce, red onions, walnuts and feta cheese. A little too salty and too much cheese and salad dressing, if you ask me, but otherwise it was slightly more unique than other salads I’ve had before. But like I’ve said numerous times, salad is just salad. I’ve yet to have a salad that could blow me away.
As for the pasta dish, it had absolutely nothing special to it. Fettucini tossed in Alfredo sauce, with chicken, broccoli, and red pepper. The sauce was a bit too thick and creamy, and went down the same way peanut butter does – it was hard to swallow. The other ingredients were cooked just right, though. Not overdone or undercooked. All in all, a strange way to have pasta.
What put me off the most was the steep price, which averaged out to be about $13 per person, even with a $10 off $20 coupon we had. It didn’t seem worth it, not for pasta and a salad. Especially the pasta, which was $18.99 (for a big portion since we shared it instead of ordering individual dishes). I could have made it myself for way less. But I guess eating out is eating out, and in this economy, it’s every restaurant for itself. 4/10 stars, because there was absolutely nothing about Buca that makes me want to keep going back. If you’re really, really craving for comfort Italian food, I suggest going to Maggiano’s Little Italy instead, since at least the prices are much more reasonable (for the Classic pastas at least).