Saturday, March 10, 2012

INZO Italian Kitchen (fka Brix Pizza & Wine Bar), Neapolitan Pizza, Roanoke-TX



Last visit: November 2013 

Rating: Hold

Other location: Ft. Worth (original)

November 2013 update: Our last couple of visits haven't gone too well. They seem to be mailing it in now. Moving from Buy to Hold and we'll see if changes are on the horizon.
 
February 2013 update: Seems that INZO is concerned that they've lost business due to the name change, so they're now putting up banners staing that they are indeed the same as ever. It was just a name change. Mrs. RJG now claims INZO as her favorite pizza in DFW. I have them second behind Grimaldi's. Also worth mentioning that I call out Cavalli's below. We hadn't been at the time, but have been since, and it's been covered in this blog.

November 2012 update: Brix changed their name to INZO Italian Kitchen. Apparently there were other establishments with that name, and they wanted a more distinctive brand.

Original review

I intended on posting about Brix almost a month ago. We had gone on a Sunday, and I fully expected to be able to get a post up by Monday. At that time, I had completely caught up, and was excited about visiting new restaurants. Then a multitude of events conspired against me. Mainly all work related, and whatever spare time I had, completely dissipated. Weekends were spent catching up on more important tasks that I could normally take on during the week. But there's been a break in the clouds, and perhaps we can get back to where we were with some sort of regular posting routine. And with that, we actually had a chance to revisit Brix earlier this month.

This past summer while in Denver, Mrs. RJG had a craving - a craving for the kind of pizza you get in Italy, and really all throughout Europe. Fortunately artisan pizza places are starting to crop up all over in America, one of which is Campania Pizza in Southlake. So we visited a few places in the Denver area, and our favorite ended up being a small local chain called Proto's Pizza. (We specifically went to the Lafayette location for a nice drive - and a long way from our former townhome in southeast Denver). We by no means exhausted the area, and all of the restaurants in this category were satisfactory.

I wasn't quite sure where to go, as Campania is the only Neapolitan pizza place I'm aware of in NE Tarrant. There are other inventive pizza places like Coal Vines, which pays homage to the old New York styled coal oven places like Lombardi's. Cavalli's is receiving high praise over in Irving, close to Las Colinas. I was about to head over there, when my eye caught Brix. In fact, I had just been up in Roanoke to try Outlaw Burger, so why not head back and this time go to the main street and try it?

Brix has a fairly simple menu of appetizers, pizzas, salads, calzones and Italian pasta dishes. Obviously they double as a wine bar, though the Mrs. and I weren't in the mood and settled on a beer (they feature one Texas micro - Real Ale's Fireman #4, which is refreshingly becoming somewhat easy to find).

We were there for pizza, and on both visits we each tried a different one. I've had the Meat Lovers and a simple Margherita with Italian sausage added. Mrs. RJG tried the chicken and onions as well as one with Italian sausage, which I'm not finding on their internet menu. We also shared a garden salad, which is mixed greens with an excellent vinaigrette dressing. A small pizza is plenty for one, and the Mrs. had to take the last one home. For our money, we prefer the pizza here to Campania. The key is the crust, which has a wonderful flavor with the right amount of crisp to chewy ratio. I believe the sausage is homemade and is excellent as well. The only negative was the chicken pizza, and that was really our fault as we didn't realize it was a "white" pizza (no tomato sauce). And that's what we wanted. So our bad - the crust and the cheese were still cooked to perfection.

Prices are very reasonable for this kind of pizza, and the setting in downtown Roanoke is wonderful, including outdoor seating.

Website

Brix Pizzeria Rustica on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Ranch at Las Colinas, Texana, Irving-TX



First visit: February 2012

The one exception to the home dining routine as mentioned yesterday was a business dinner earlier in the week. We had some of our company's sales folks in town, so that sounds to me like an expense account! My counterpart in crime, resident of Garland, suggested we meet at The Ranch at Las Colinas. And a good choice it was.

I should be able to keep this review pretty short. Basically The Ranch is a direct cross between Love and War in Texas and Cool River Cafe, both places we've reported on recently. From Love and War, they borrow the regionalized food-of-Texas concept. From Cool River, they bring the high quality steaks, upscale Hill Country atmosphere, and the bar scene.

So after having a couple of drinks at the bar with the Garland troublemaker, the rest of the party arrived and we sat down and got right into the menu (OK, maybe there were a couple of more drinks involved first...). We passed on appetizers (hey - none of us are under 45 - got to watch the calories here!) and dove into the dinner menu. I was in the mood for a steak and opted for the 12 oz. Cabernet Charbroiled Strip with smoked chili butter and a side of herb whipped potatoes. The steak was cooked to perfection, and had a wonderful distinct flavor no doubt due to the butter glaze. The potatoes were smooth and creamy, and the portion was just right, as it was served in a small individual container. I also tried a cup of the venison chili, which was fantastic. I didn't pay attention to what everyone else had, but the troublemaker went for the large portion of the chicken fried steak. Out came two huge and I mean HUGE slabs of brown...fried....meat. He was licking the plate as I looked over. One of the others opted for a full bowl of the venison chili and he enjoyed it as much as I. Predictably we passed on dessert as well (though Henry's Ice Cream is always a good choice)

Taken straight from their menu, here are the regional foods The Ranch advertises: "FRESH HERBS, SALAD MIX - STEPHENVILLE, TX / HONEY - ROUND ROCK, TX / COURSE GROUND GRITS - WACO, TX / DUBLIN DR. PEPPER - DUBLIN, TX*** / GULF COAST SHRIMP - BROWNSVILLE, TX / TORTILLAS - DALLAS, TX / FRESH BAKED BREAD - DALLAS, TX / REDFISH - PALACIOS, TX / GRAIN FED PNB - RED RIVER VALLEY, TX / FARM RAISED CATFISH - HUGHES SPRING, TX / SWEET BUTTER - GARLAND, TX / CHEESE - CLEVELAND, TX / CORNMEAL - DENTON, TX / RUM - AUSTIN, TX / SWEET 10:15 ONIONS - UVALDE, TX / RED ONIONS, CORN & GREEN BEANS - EMORY, TX CRAB - GALVESTON, TX / CHICKEN - NIXON, TX / TOMATOES - JACKSONVILLE, TX / FRESH BERRIES - LARUE, TX / BLEU CHEESE - DEEP ELLUM, DALLAS, TX / PICKLING CUCUMBERS - CISCO, TX / HENRY’S ICE CREAM - PLANO, TX"

*** - Unfortunately I doubt they have Dublin Dr. Pepper anymore, since the parent company just shut them down (who knows why? It's basically the original formula!). If they do, be sure to have one before they sell out.

Another aspect of The Ranch that the RJG applauds is their full selection of Texas microbrews from craft breweries like Rahr & Sons, Franconia, Saint Arnold, Real Ale and, of course, Shiner (not technically a microbrewery, but they have some unique beers beyond the usual Shiner Bock).

The Ranch is an excellent choice to take out of town guests or business associates. Pad your wallet though!

Website

The Ranch at Las Colinas on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Billadelphia's is back! New Del Taco in NE Tarrant

Howdy everyone. As predicted earlier this year, work has finally put the RJG under. I haven't even been going out to eat for lunch, choosing to stay home with a sandwich, as I'm lucky to get 30 minutes away from the chaos. And we've only gone to a couple of regular favorites for dinner, but in general, have been grilling outside now that the weather has been so nice.

I'm now 6 entries behind, and Mr. Music says he has a stack to send in as well. So maybe we'll catch up eventually.

Anyway, here a couple of observations from the last two Saturday's.

Today, while driving up north on Davis, we saw that the new Billadelphia's is now open in North Richland Hills. We reported on this development late last year. Good news for Philly Cheesesteak fans! I'll need to swing by and update my post from 2008. I've updated the Urbanspoon entry and have asked for them to reopen the restaurant on the site.

Last Saturday, we were coming up Denton Hwy, and saw that a new Del Taco has opened in Watauga (in the old Sheridan's Frozen Custard spot - next to Fresco's). This is the second NE Tarrant location. We recently posted about the first one that opened in Hurst. It was the middle of the afternoon, and we both were ready for a snack. So we dropped in and had 3 tacos each. Excellent as always. And the place was packed, even at 3 in the afternoon.