Wednesday, January 19, 2011


The Pope has steered me wrong many times in life. Starting back in pre-K, he would use his stature as one of the "big kids" to get his way on the playground, usually at the expense of the rest of us. In high school, he would encourage me to wait till the last possible moment to leave a party in order to make it home in time for curfew, and then when it became clear that I had waited too long, he would say: "Dude, you're going to be late already. Why not just stay out all night?" We won't even delve into the college years.

Yet, for some strange reason, I often blindly follow The Pope's guidance still to this day. For example, for the past few years, The Pope has been recommending that we try Fausto's for affordable Italian fare. The Folk Singer and I finally made it to Fausto's last week, and I all I can say is that The Pope has kept his losing streak alive.

Fausto's is an old school, neighborhood Italian restaurant specializing in red gravy and classic Sicilian dishes. If the Italian murals on the wall didn't give this trait away, then just listen to the woman at the next table say to her daughter: "Put ya napkin on ya lap. Ya don't wanna get tomatuh gravy on ya shirt." Many of the diners are obviously regulars, the duration of their patronage is evident by their age and their level of devotion by how they interact with the wait staff. Friendly service is definitely Fausto's greatest attribute.

Meals begin with complimentary breadsticks plucked straight from the freezer, baked in the oven till soft, and covered in a heavy shower of parmesan. These reminded me of the cafeteria in my freshman year dorm. Most entrees are served with a side of angel hair pasta topped (not tossed like the menu says) with marinara tasting not much more than canned crushed tomatoes with a little added sweetness.

Veal Parmesan was a thin cutlet with a rubbery texture. Chicken Sorrentino was one of those dishes where you take the first bite and think, "Wow. This is awful." The description reads as: "Chicken breast with layers of eggplant and mozzarella, flamed with marsala and mushrooms." OK, I like all of those things. Unfortunately, the chicken was tough and eggplant component indiscernible. The marsala was thick, brown, and sweet enough to act as a convincing stand-in for a bad version of teriyaki from that Chinese place in the Lakeside Mall food court. I have never seen The Folk Singer use a salt shaker so vigorously, but that was her only viable option to salvage the dish.

With the kitchen going 0-4 through the first 2 courses, we almost ordered dessert to give Fausto's one last chance. But as soon as we saw the sauce-covered, thin slices of bread pudding delivered to the next table, we decided that enough was enough.

The Folk Singer declared this her worst meal in New Orleans, and she couldn't remember even having a "worst meal" before this. I can't say that I disagree with her. It's tough to bestow a double bogey upon a restaurant after only one visit, but I don't think that we will be returning to Fausto's anytime soon.

Fausto's Bistro - Bogey/Double Bogey
530 Veterans Blvd.
Lunch Mon-Thur. Dinner Mon-Sat.


jshushan said...

WOW. Sorry to hear about this. My only experience with them was that they did bring a good pasta dish to Zoo to Do three or four years ago. I know where not to try. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Badnest was sure disapointed to read this, his favorite spot for years, alternating with the steak knife, another favorate.Too bad things change when moma isn't watching.

Kimberly Ranjbar said...

I totally appreciate your honesty. I have had yet to find an Italian joint I like in New Orleans.