Mr. C's Wiseguy Cafe

By Candace Nelson - 8:00 AM

Though many "cafes" are codenames for gambling joints, this cafe is home to Italian dining. I saw this restaurant on DubVmenus.com, and now that I'm trying to use FourSquare, I saw that it is very near my workplace. For lunch on Tuesday, Danielle, Henry and I ventured out to try something new.

Located on Chestnut Ridge Road, this restaurant is pretty easy to miss. For the most part, it's a residential area, but there is one tall building that houses a few small business - a nursery, a store, etc. And, we just found it, it houses a restaurant. Mr. C's Wiseguy Cafe has the left-most spot in the building. There is a large banner on the front of the building and a window that says "open." The front door, however, is not on the front, but on the left side of the building and in the basement. So, if you're looking at the front of the building, turn to your left and go down the stairs. There are a few plastic signs that say "Mr. C's Wiseguy Cafe," so they should somewhat lead you there.

The door was open, and a sign said "seat yourself" was placed at the front. There was no one inside, except two workers, and the only ventilation was a single ceiling fan. I was quite warm the whole time. I picked a table to the right that was large and comfy. The inside was very cozy - oversized leather seats were very welcoming. The tables were large and roomy. A large corner table had a continuous seat, where at least 10 people could eat. At our table, there were two leather chairs and a wider leather bench, that I opted for. I really like the interior - it's classy but very cozy.

The menus were already placed on our table - two laminated ones. It was a little awkward that they weren't binded somehow, because we each kept flipping both over back and forth. The menu has typical fried appetizers, some soups and salads, hoagies, sandwiches, pasta dishes and entrees. I settled on a house salad first.

It arrived fairly quickly, and I was impressed. It was piled high with lettuce, cheese, large chunks of tomato, cabbage and croutons. On the side was a heaping cup of French dressing. The veggies were fresh, there was a good mixture of all veggies - it wasn't just a pile of lettuce. The French dressing was tasty, tangy and everything a French dressing should be. This was a very good salad, and for only $4, I was eager to see my main dish.

The pasta comes at a price, but if this is an Italian place, I'm trying the pasta. You get to pick your pasta: rigatoni, spaghetti, angel hair, or linguini. And if you want marinara or alfredo, it's $11. If you want the bolognese sauce, it's $13. Want a meatball? Add $2. Want chicken? Add $3. Want shrimp? Add $4. It's very custom, but at a price. You can get exactly what type of pasta dish you desire, but if you want all the fixins, you're going to have to pay for them. One pasta dish could add up to $20 fairly quickly. Instead of going all out, I opted for rigatoni with marinara sauce and a meatball on the side. $14, I could handle.

When the dish came out, one thing crossed my mind: I will not go home hungry. This is the biggest portion of food I think I've ever received. It is a ton. The rigatoni noodles are short and wide. They were fully cooked - I tend to prefer mine slightly al dente. The marinara sauce didn't impress me. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't very flavorful. It tasted like a bland marinara that I could've made, but the meatball was seasoned well and quite tasty. But I can't really say anything bad about the dish - it was overwhelmingly huge, the meatball was very flavorful, and the pasta/sauce was average. I can see why the prices are a little high - it's a huge portion.

We were also served a small basket of warm bread - the outside was a bit too crunch for me, but it was nice to have a bread to balance out the meal.

To top it off, the to-go containers we received were pretty sturdy (they must need those to-go containers a lot), and I think I can even reuse it. Not only did I have leftovers for dinner, and lunch and dinner the next day, but I have a container I can use again. I will definitely try this place again, and it is very new, so there's a great possibility they have a few kinks to work out.

Check out my review for DubVmenus, too.

Grade: B
Mr.C's Wiseguy Cafe on Urbanspoon

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