I've worked with Lombardi's on numerous occasions and every time I visit they treat me and the fam like we're Corleone's. They greet us all warmly with hugs and we catch them up on the latest episodes of Sesame Street. Pre-kids I couldn't have cared less about a restaurant welcoming me like Norm on Cheers - I was just there to drink my cocktail and don't care if you remember my name when I come back tomorrow, thank you very much. This is the same reason I avoid going into the bank vs. doing my transactions exclusively through the ATM in order to avoid the stale list of small talk questions while I wait. Does this make me crotchety? Dawnielle says yes. Fatherhood has since shifted my worldview in that it feels so good watching the staff love on our boys as if they were their own each time we visit, whether it's for business or pleasure. But fatherhood hasn't completely shifted my view that dramatically, I will still have that tequila shot, k thanks.
Onto the main event: 10 questions - coming in hot!
1. Dawnielle visited Italy once and is obviously now an expert on the romance languages. She gains a great amount of pleasure from correcting every hick American she encounters that Bruschetta is pronounced bru-SKEH-tuh and not bru-shetta. My first question is, don't you just hate people like that?
Always remember Italians are lovers not haters, and there is a reason that Italians speak romance. Your wife is not only a language expert she is a brilliant language expert. In Italy, Bruschetta is indeed pronounced bru-SKEH-tuh. It’s a “sch” thing. Just like the word school. As our Executive Chef Matthew Romeo always says, “You send your children to s-KU-l….not shool”.
2. You serve a Mahi-Mahi Ligurian, which sounds amazing. When I used to work at Red Lobster I was forced to learn that Mahi-Mahi means "strong strong" in Hawaiian. Who do you think would win in a fight - Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson or a normal sized Brawny Paper Towel Guy?
Ahhhhh…the amazing Mahi Mahi Ligurian. Our secret? Imported premium olive oil from Liguria, the craggy and beautiful coastal region of Northwest Italy. Delicate in texture & intensity, and sometimes with a buttery taste, Ligurian olive oil is an excellent accompaniment to seafood. You can find The Brawny Paper Towel Guy enjoying his “strong strong” Mahi at Red Lobster after his defeat, while The Rock will be celebrating his victory at Lombardi’s with the amazing taste sensation of our grilled Mahi filet with a light concasse topping, spring risotto, and fresh vegetables. Dinner of champions baby.
3. Do you require your staff to watch The Sopranos as a condition of employment?
Fuhgettaboutit. “Can I just get some macaroni & gravy”?
4. I personally get what may perhaps be a little too excited when I think about your calamari. Would you be open to my suggestion of changing the menu and referring to them as THE KRAKEN from now on?
That would be a resounding NO. We are happy to report that our calamari is delicious, no longer alive, and evokes emotions of pleasure not fear. But feel free to continue your calamari excitement…or your KRAKEN fantasies.
5. One of your most popular menu items are your arancini (golden risotto balls) and I'm not 100% on this - but I'm pretty sure the Bible mentions people worshipping golden risotto balls at some point. Not a question for this one, just a little history talk.
History ain’t got nothing on arancini. It’s hard to improve upon a dish as perfect as risotto, which is the best thing that could ever happen to rice. It’s creamy and savory and wonderful in every way. When you turn risotto into arancini, you’re on to something magical because all the greatness of risotto is stuffed, balled, breaded and deep-fried. Cheese is also involved. It doesn’t get much better than that.
6. Your Everett location has a pretty sweet patio to eat out on with an amazing view of the water. This is a two part question: 1. Have you ever seen any allegedly prehistoric creatures swimming in the marina? 2. If yes, would you be opposed to grilling it with some lemon and dill over a nice linguini and serving it as a lunch special?
Admittedly, and thankfully, we have never witnessed any prehistoric creatures swimming in the marina. BUT we have adopted two very special friends. Charlotte and Henry are our seal friends, our Dogs of the Sea. And NO. There will be no lemon sauce with dill, or any other special that feature our friends. Case closed.
7. Knowing that you're not "technically" a doctor, do you think it's fair to say that if you have a Mango Tango and a Pear-adise martini from the bar menu that you've then satisfied your daily intake of fruit?
Sometimes you find your doctor in the most unusual places. YES of course on the daily fruit intake with our Mango Tango! Delicious and beautiful. In addition, there’s something to be said about one’s daily citrus intake. Can you say Lemon Drop? And how about drinking in that dose of vitamin D in the sunshine of our patio? Move over Dr. McDreamy.
8. Lombardi's was named after Lombardy (a region in Northern Italy) as well as the grandfather of your first chef who was nicknamed "Papa Lombardi". Was the name Papa Lombardi given to him because Chef Boyardee was already taken?
For the record, Papa Lombardi was cooking and creating way before Chef Boyardee ever entered the culinary scene. And note to self….has anyone ever met Chef Boyardee or know where he lives?
9. Lombardi’s Executive Chef Matt Romeo refers to his kitchen at home as his "test kitchen". Are you secretly glad that his Buffalo Spam Ravioli never saw the light of day?
Actually, everything that Chef Matt makes is REALLY good! No secrets. Just ask Chef!
10. Mario Batali's crocs. Yea or nea?
His crocs? Yea. They are a chef’s staple. But his shorts? No way. A big nea.