It is, and always has been, our opinion that Italian restaurants should be small, intimate places with waiters in white aprons and candles on the table. They shouldn’t be mammoth warehouses packed with spiky-haired adolescent children and light wood everywhere. Its hangar-like interior aside, Ernie’s screams authentic Italian the way McDonald’s screams authentic Irish. Our waiter’s accent was more Rome, New York than Rome, Italy and we’re not sure, but we don’t think there’s a single person in the old country named Ernie. Granted, there aren’t many places you can bring a group of thirty on a Thursday night… Unfortunately size has very little to do with taste (why does that sound so gross?) because if it did, the chicken parm wouldn’t give the impression that the poor fowl died in vain. Everything has that conveyor belt quality about it, put together more like a Ford than a culinary delight. Somebody must have fallen asleep on the line, as many of the dishes were missing some important ingredients such as spice, flavor and, uh, taste. [MF]

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