It was a rainy Saturday night and I wasn't in the mood for take-out or to cook. I couldn't handle another night of mental anguish o...

Bella Luna

It was a rainy Saturday night and I wasn't in the mood for take-out or to cook. I couldn't handle another night of mental anguish of Chinese food and a bootleg movie. While in Las Vegas, a friend of mine mentioned we should hit up a local Italian place called Gino's located in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn so my friend and I decided to go there. When we got there, we could not find parking so we decided to go somewhere else. One thing I've learned is to never make a decision on an empty stomach.

While driving back to my neighborhood we saw an Italian place located on the corner of 11th Avenue and 86th st called Bella Luna. I must have passed by this restaurant a million times and never went in. Bella Luna is a hybrid. Part restaurant, part pizzeria and part bar. My friend and I decided to give it a try. How bad could it be?

After waiting about 5 minutes to be seated, a hostess came up to us and asked how big our party was. Keep in mind there were approximately 12 people in the restaurant. We were seated near the open windows. The rain cleared out and it started to become a nice night. My seat faced the Verrazzano Bridge. Our menus were handed to us and after waiting about another 10 minutes the waiter came over to take our order.

We started with fried calamari and mozzarella corza as our appetizers. I ordered the frutti de mar and my friend ordered the lamb chops as entrees. About 10 minutes after placing my order, I realized we didn't get bread or water. I was starving at this point and was ready to eat the gum that was stuck under the table. I mean isn't it common to get bread and a few glasses of water on the table when you go to a restaurant? Even prisoners in jail get bread and water. So far, I was not impressed with the service. I hoped the food was better.

About 15 minutes later, our appetizers arrived and still no bread. The calamari was fresh from the bag. Does anyone make their own calamari anymore? Is it that difficult of a task? The calamari was greasy, tasteless and over battered. The sauce was salty and watery. The mozzarella corza wasn't any better. The mozzarella was not fresh. I felt as if I was eating an egg and cheese sandwich. The bad taste basically took over the entire dish.

As they cleared away our dishes, I mentioned to my friend we should of walked 8 blocks and went Gino's. I gave him my thoughts about this restaurant and he agreed. Our entrée's came out and still no bread or water. We had a bottle of Pellegrino on the table, which we used to wash down the awful appetizers. My frutti de mar was a rather simple dish. Shrimp, clams, mussels and squid served with red sauce over a bed of pasta. The shrimp were dry and there were very few. A few of my mussels didn't open so those were basically thrown to the side. The squid was rubbery. The pasta was cooked al dente and the sauce was decent but had an over powering taste of red wine. I asked my friend about his dish and he said we should have gone to Gino's. I also would like to add that we weren't offered any fresh grated cheese or black pepper. At this point, I didn't care anyway. I knew I would never return to this restaurant ever again and would only recommend it to a sworn enemy.

Whenever I eat Italian food I can never finish a dish. This time I had room for dessert. I was in the mood for a nice slice of cheesecake. We asked the waiter what types of cheesecakes they had to offer and a bell went off when I heard apple crumb cheesecake. That combination could be served to me on a dirty paper plate in the fiery pits of hell and it should be good. So I ordered a slice. Finally this place has something good. I was telling my friend how good the cheesecake was and he said its good because they don't bake it themselves. And on that note Bella Luna is awful. The next day I asked around a few of my friends and they said they wouldn't even use the toilet in that place. I do not recommended Bella Luna even in desperate times. Bad food, bad service but a nice view of the Verrazzano Bridge.

Edited by m.o