BENITO 1…I can’t believe I ate in Little Italy!

Posted 10th September 2012 by

So one day my buddy (who loves eating out even more than I do) says to me “Hey, let’s go get some Italian food!”  He picks up my wife & I and off we go to Little Italy.  Well…this can’t be any good!  The only thing I really remember about restaurants in Little Italy were they were either horrific tourist traps that served mediocre food at best, or they were decent joints that served pretty decent food but charged astronomical prices!  Talk about a crap shoot; couldn’t wait to see what we were going to end up at.

BENITO1So after driving around trying to find parking, we end up at a local joint called The Original Benito 1.


Let me begin by saying I emphasize the words “local joint”.  The place was tiny and it looked so uneventful (forget about anything stylish) that if I wasn’t with my buddy, I wouldn’t have even considered walking in the door.  We were over-zealously greeted by a guy named Nick (obviously he knew my buddy; they carried on briefly like giddy schoolkids) and were immediately seated at a table right in the center of the room.  Since my buddy seemed to know everyone in the joint, we briefly looked at the menu but let me say that we didn’t need the menu at all; the chef started sending food out!

First up was a mozzarella, tomato & red pepper appetizer, immediately followed by a filet mignon carpaccio (served with shaved parmesean cheese & arugula) appetizer.  These 2 apps were actually quite plentiful for 3 people, but no no no…there was more!  We finish the apps, we stop and breathe; here comes more food!  Next comes this giant pasta dish.  It’s a black linguini with salmon & chicken in a light tomato cream sauce.  What a strange combination but yet surprisingly quite tasty and I’m not even a fan of salmon!  The other gigantic pasta dish we had was the spaghetti carbonara.  OMG!!!!!  That is one of my favorite pasta dishes and they executed it perfectly.  The combination of bacon, onion, egg, parsley and cheese creates just a wonderfully creamy dish that is absolutely fantastic!  At this point, eating was now really becoming an effort, but we persevered!  Guess what…another dish!  We were served a dish called Chicken Cardinale which is chicken breast sauteed with madeira wine and topped prosciutto, mozzarella and roasted red peppers.  This dish was quite the flavorful, fulfilling dish but beware…it was quite a generous portion!


Finally we had to tell Chef to stop making food; way too much being served!  We basically had enough food to serve 8 people and left with PLENTY of leftovers.  We had an awesome time and I gotta say that I was really really pleasantly surprised!  Nice to see a local joint still thriving in the middle of a major tourist zone!  If you’re ever in the area, go visit the joint…The Original Benito 1.


**FYI**  About a block away there is a place called Benito II.  DO NOT GO!!!  THEY ARE NOT RELATED and I have heard negative reviews about the food. 

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