Wait, someone picked a Kent place and it wasn’t Ted? Is that allowed?
Longhitano’s is one of those places we always drove past on our way into or out of Kent proper, noticed the neon signs and tinted windows, and thought “hey, I wonder what that place is like.” Which, as you probably know by now, is the premise of the entire WTGW experience. So it was only a matter of time before we actually ended up inside.
And, on this particular evening, it turned out that we were members of a small but mighty group inside the place. We were one of only about five tables that rotated throughout the evening, and there were a handful of people at the bar. So not at all busy. But I get it, it’s a cold and snowy Wednesday in January. Only crazies like us actually enjoy going out on nights like this.
Of course one of the first things we always notice is the drink list, which in this case was listed on a chalkboard near the bar and included a somewhat impressive list of bottled beers. Ted went with Guinness, and the rest of us had already ordered our standard Miller Lite drafts before Amanda and I read all the way to the end of the list and noticed they still had bottles of Summer Shandy included. Wait, what now? It’s clearly no longer summer. So, thinking it must be a mistake, we inquired … and sure enough they had it. Now I’m not sure if places just remembered Summer Shandy’s popularity from last year, and therefore over ordered it this season or what, but that’s two places this month that have still had it. In January. A full half year past summer. A few years ago we couldn’t even find it when it was STILL SUMMER. Hmm.
The food at Longhitano’s is one of those “something for everyone” kind of varieties – everything from bar food like burgers and sandwiches, to entrees like steaks, ribs and pasta, to seafood dishes, to salads. For real if you can’t find something on the menu that at least piques your interest, then maybe you should just not venture out for meals.
So as you can assume, we had no issues finding something we all liked here. And I’m glad to see we’re back to our old habits of ordering enough appetizers for an army. On this particular evening, breaded mushrooms, fried mac’n’cheese bites and mozzarella sticks all found their way to our table. Because the holidays are a full month past us at this point, let’s just be sure to keep all that extra weight securely on our bodies.
For dinner, I went with the Italian Sub. It was huge – and since I had been at Cleveland’s Hofbrauhaus earlier in the day celebrating a retirement (and thus enjoying heavy beer, pretzels and other carb-loaded snacks) I could only eat less than a third of it. But I most definitely packaged up the rest in a to-go box and am already looking forward to the day I’ll enjoy it. I did finish all of the fries, which were fresh cut and fabulous.
Full disclosure: I ordered the sub partially because I read on the menu that it came on Italian bread, which I’m a sucker for. The rest of the table ordered burgers, and when they all came out on the same bread I have to admit I was a bit surprised and slightly disappointed – since the bread had been my deciding factor in sub vs. burger. Longhitano’s: 1, Steph: 0.
Ted had the jalepeno burger. He had been set on Cajun pasta, but after reading about that partiluar burger (rather, after I read aloud the description for that particular burger, because I couldn’t believe they put that much heat on one sandwich) he called an audible. Amanda had the bullseye burger, which has onion rings and bacon, so how can you really go wrong? Plus did I mention the bread?
And now for Shane’s ongoing saga of “let’s-see-if-this-place-can-cook-my-burger-the-way-I-like-it.” What is this, you ask? Well, let me explain:
Step One: Ask the server “how thick are the burgers” – complete with a visual aid of his thumb/forefinger measurement. I swear we need to start bringing a ruler out with us.
Step Two: The answer to step one will determine if he will order the burger medium rare (thick patty) or rare (thin/frozen patty).
Step Three: Wait for burger to arrive.
Step Four: Examine burger upon arrival, and most likely be disappointed because it’s either too well done (see also: well, pretty much everywhere we’ve ever eaten, save for 6-7 places) or because he thinks they’re trying to kill him with a burger so rare the cow may have just died out back (see also: The Rail)
Sounds fun, right?
On this occasion Shane went with the Salami burger, and I’m happy to report that it was actually cooked just about right. Which puts Longhitano’s in an elite group of places that can actually cook a burger Shane will enjoy. Yay! He asked for medium rare, and his burger was definitely cooked, but still very pink inside. Which is far better than the alternatives of charred or nearly alive. Success.
Side note: we later noticed our server eating her dinner at the bar near us, and her burger was even pinker than Shane’s. Apparently one of the guys sitting near her at the bar also noticed this, because we also overheard their conversation about how she’s particular and likes her burgers very rare. So maybe it takes one to know one when it comes to ordering properly. Shane may want to change his opening line.
Overall Longhitano’s isn’t a bad place, but on the flip side there was nothing really special about it either. I would go back just because they use Italian bread with everything, so I may not be the best judge on this one. And, well, you know Shane’s opinion on the food. But I would be curious to try one of the pastas just to see how it is. I did like that there’s a nice menu selection – something for everyone, so if you’re going out with a group and no one has a particular taste for something it would be a good choice for “one stop shopping.” And while it was relatively quiet during our visit, there are also TVs on every table, so you do have to wonder if the sporting events bring out the crowds. Might be worth a venture back at some point to check it out.
Picked by: Shane
Drinks: Hey, any bar that can give us Summer Shandy in January is OK in our book. Impressive bottled beer list, and the martinis we spotted on the neon sign behind the bar sounded delicious.
Food: Anything from pasta to seafood to typical bar fare. Nice choice for a group that can’t decide what they’re in the mood for. So, you know, us.
Service: Good. The place was pretty much empty, though, so I’d be pretty disappointed if we weren’t taken care of. Our one complaint was that the waitress was too busy eating her own meal and talking to a regular at the bar to even say goodbye to us. And again, it’s not like we were lost in a crowd on our way out.
Overall: Good. Nothing overly impressive, but nothing bad either. And, hey, since they can get Shane’s burger cooked properly there’s a good chance we might return.
Next Pick: Steph