Friday, October 24, 2008

***CLOSED*** Mezza Luna ~ Keller, Texas

About once a year, Mrs. RJG and I will drift over to Rufe Snow and Keller-Smithfield Rd in Keller and enjoy a weekday lunch at Mezza Luna. We first tried this "ristorante" for a dinner in 2003, and decided it was a bit too dear for what it is, and that lunch would be a better alternative. And since then, we've been there about 5 times - yep, once a year. I can count with my toes too...

Remember terms like ristorante, zuppa and insalate mean $5 more per dish. Mezza Luna holds up this deep rooted tradition. Lunch, however, is very reasonable. Two entrees which include salad or soup won't set you back more than $20 including tip.

Like almost all of the Northeast Tarrant County Italian restaurants, Mezza Luna possesses a Balkan heritage and is tied in with the Moni empire. They even have a dish called Cappellini alla Moni, for which I mentioned that my wife should get it for free. They didn't get it.

There are some breaks with the traditional Moni styled restaurants. One is that it's considerably more fancy than the usual hole in the wall (and not something you would expect from the rather mundane strip mall it sits in). Another is the house dressing which is a honey balsamic rather than the usual red wine. And third, their red sauces have a creamy texture, which I enjoyed for a change of pace.

On this visit I went with the Rigatoni Bolognese, while Mrs. RJG enjoyed the aforementioned Cappellini alla Moni - a dish filled with broccoli and chicken in an olive oil and garlic sauce. As always, the food was excellent.

The restaurant sits in a strip mall area that has undergone quite a bit of changes in the 6 years that we've been coming here. Apparently the anchor was a Winn-Dixie grocery store, that went out of business in 2002. Unfortunately they didn't let go of their lease and the area remained dormant for years. In fact, if it weren't for Mezza Luna, the Snooty Pig cafe that sits next door, and a nearby free standing Taco Bueno, the area would've been completely abandoned. Once the center could be leased, many other retail outlets have opened up, most in the last two years. This can only be a good thing for Mezza Luna, the archduke of the center.

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