First visit: November 2011
The evening plan was to head towards Westlake and go to Diego's Tex-Mex, a place we first started going to earlier this year. But the bar scene there was definitely happenin', and you know what that means right? Cigarette smoke. Heavy. And it carried to the next door restaurant - and even though the bar is sequestered behind closed doors, it didn't matter. Now Mr. RJG grew up with that unfortunate smell from his parents, so I tend to ignore it, though even I admit it gets harder as the years go by. But Mrs. RJG would have none of it. Plans scrapped - now what? Well, I said, there's an Italian restaurant right around the corner by foot, so let's just go there. And here we are at La Scala.
La Scala is adjoined by a Joe's [Pizza][Pasta][Subs] fast food place. I put that in brackets because Joe's is a loose franchise (with various combination of the names provided) somewhat like Ray's in New York City (and famously sent up in a Seinfeld episode). So La Scala shares the same kitchen with Joe's, and despite the fancy surroundings of the restaurant, just know it's window dressing to the same place. As folks in DFW know, if you've been to one Joe's, you most certainly have not been to all the Joe's. I think they start out with a standard recipe book, but each franchiser can do what they want after that. There is no denying this is one of the many Albanian owned Italian restaurants in the area. At least they don't hide from that fact - their website is proud of it. And good for them, they should be. I'm not Italian either, but that shouldn't stop me from enjoying the food.
The meal started off with a delicious toasted bread roll, combined with a decently priced glass of house Cabernet (most NE Tarrant Italian restaurants offer BYOB, but not here in alcohol / business friendly Westlake). The salad was a fresh, crisp lettuce and tomatoes with the familiar tomato based vinaigrette - though this was definitely lighter and more pleasant than usual. I ordered the Penne Arrabiata with Italian sausage. It's amazing how many restaurants get this simple dish wrong. Arrabiata means angry, and it's meant to be a spicy marinara sauce. I've been to places that cook it with anchovies and all other sorts of ingredients that don't belong. I mention this because La Scala gets it exactly right. I only wish it was a bit more spicy, but I'm pretty hard to please in that category. The sausage was definitely not homemade, but I do like they served it sliced and spread throughout the dish. Mrs. RJG went with another test dish - chicken parmigiana. Unfortunately it wasn't very crispy, though the flavor was quite good. The side of spaghettini, however, was a disaster. It was overcooked and mushy! (my penne however was fine). That's a bozo no-no in the RJG world. They should have thrown it away and started with a new batch. I'm sure they had a pile sitting on the counter waiting for the hot water. But overcooked spaghetti is like serving a raw hamburger. Gross. Sooo... it was the only real misstep of the meal, so I'm cautiously giving it a "likes it" on Urbanspoon, but it's not a place that we plan on going to much in the future. Hopefully next time Diego's bar will be empty. But that's for another time in the RJG future...
If you're out of town on business and staying at the nearby Marriott, this is a good place to walk over to and enjoy a nice Italian meal.