Aiello’s serves up Italian food in family setting

I don’t know what it’s like to be a part of a New York Italian family, but I got a little glimpse into it last night when I had dinner at Aiello’s in central Phoenix.

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The Italian restaurant is run by Brooklyn-born Joe Aiello, who treats all his customers like kin by going up to each table and chatting throughout the night. The eatery is one big dining room, which also adds to the cozy atmosphere.

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He even carries around a tumbler and gives tables a chance to score a free meal by guessing the correct number to come out of the shaker. It was fun and unexpected, and it’s not often you get to gamble while dining.

Besides the jovial atmosphere, the food was delicious. I started off with a caprese salad ($9), and the mozzarella and basil leaves were very fresh. It went great with the basket of fluffy bread and yummy herb butter.

For dinner, I had Tortolloni Alla Panna ($16) with cheese-filled pasta, peas and diced tomatoes instead of prosciutto. The cream sauce was so cheesy, and the pasta was filling and tender.

I finished with one of the best desserts I’ve ever had, the Chilled Zabaglione ($7- find the recipe here.)

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It’s technically a custard, but it reminded me more of a sweet mousse. It was served over strawberries, and it was really rich, creamy and satisfying.

I loved going to Aiello’s for dinner, but I’m eager to try one of their “backdoor” pizzas, which they only serve 50 of daily. For more info, log on to www.aiellositalianrestaurant.com.

Later, I went to north Scottsdale club Angels and Outlaws, where Taste Ultra Lounge used to be.

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It’s my prediction Angels and Outlaws will have the same fate of Taste of being closed within the year. On a Saturday night, the space wasn’t even half-full–it just can’t compete with Devil’s Martini or Old Town Scottsdale clubs.

While the spot was nice, and the bathrooms were cool, it’s not really offering anything spectacular to patrons.

There’s a DJ booth and dance floor, white couches on the patio and candlelit black tables and a bar that has service both inside and out.

The inside was freezing, though, and it’s weird we had to hang outside around the heaters to keep warm.

And like my friend observed, any bar that plays UFC fighting automatically isn’t classy.

I think it’s time to throw in the towel on trying to make that location a happening nightlife spot. Unless the promoters work to create a unique experience, it won’t bring in customers.

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