Express meal leaves students hungry and unimpressed

By Patricia Negron

Living in the hub of Boston as a Suffolk student certainly has its advantages. Home to authentic Italian food to the iconic New England clam chowder, it is both a blessing and a curse to be surrounded by such great food.

Unfortunately, as college students, while we search for the best dish, we also have to find something that is quick, easy and moderately inexpensive. On a search to test out a new spot, I walked to 150 Tremont residence hall to meet a fellow student, Brianna Bower, to try out a new restaurant.

Ziti’s Italian Express is located in the spot that previously housed UBurger, which is across from the Boston Common on Tremont Street, just a few steps away from the 150 dorm. Brianna and I walked in to see how the spot changed. Upon entering, it was striking how similar the new spot was to UBurger’s layout with the same sitting area, chairs and tables, with the exception of a splash of silver paint to alter UBurger’s signature red walls and decor.

Most of the renovations seemed to take place inside the kitchen area. Unlike UBurger’s set-up, the beer taps have been moved and wine glasses now dangle from the ceiling above the counter.

Courtesy of Ziti’s Italian Express Facebook page

There were two people eating as we looked over the menu, surprised that the Italian menu ironically included burgers, wraps and fish. To Bower’s disappointment, the chicken marsala was not yet available to customers because the wine that is used to make the sauce had not been stocked in the restaurant.

We ordered the fried ravioli as our appetizer. For our main courses, Bower ordered chicken parmesan linguini with the sauce on the side, and I ordered the chicken ziti broccoli with oil and garlic sauce. The food was ready in about 15 minutes and we took a seat.

As I took my first bite, I was very disappointed. My ziti had absolutely no garlic flavor at all, and the pasta seemed to have come right out of a box. The broccoli was okay, but I expected to see more of it on my plate.

The chicken’s texture led me to believe that it was store-bought, frozen chicken breast. The pasta came with bread on the side, and while it tasted okay, it seemed to have been microwaved and only parts of it were actually warm.

The fried ravioli, which were filled with some cheese, weren’t bad but lacked both flavor. We didn’t eat even half of the dish.

Bower’s pasta was just as bad as my meal. The linguini’s texture didn’t feel authentic, and the chicken also tasted store-bought. She was happy that she had ordered the sauce on the side because like my dish, it lacked flavor and substance.

“I couldn’t eat it,” she said. “It was too disgusting.”

Although the service was good, the food was very bland, boring and tasted like something we could have bought at a grocery store and prepared better at home. The soda we ordered to accompany our meal was the most flavorful part of our experience, and I think that speaks volumes.

The food was definitely not worth a trudging walk in the snow, and is an unfortunate replacement to UBurger. Even though the portions were large and the meal itself was relatively inexpensive, coming to a total of $30.76, I expected a much better meal.