Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Burger and Philly Shack ~ Watauga, Texas


As I write this, The Burger and Philly Shack has a phenomenal 98% approval rating on Urbanspoon, with close to 215 votes. That is incredible. And why is that? Because The Burger and Philly Shack has some of the best burgers in town. In fact, this may be the best in all of NE Tarrant, and that's saying something considering the competition. The flavor of the meat is outstanding, and it seems they use a higher grade of beef than most. A high quality bun holds it all together, and they cut it in half to make consumption an easy task. The fries are thick cut, and delicious. I haven't tried their Philly yet on my two visits, but next time I will. Word on the street says their Philly's are excellent. Mrs. RJG wants to try the burger, so that will be my chance.

The owner of the place is a sharp witted wisecracker, who is a whole lot of fun to rap with. And I've seen him do nice gestures such as offer delivery truck drivers a free drink. There's a lot of character displayed here. Which explains why a line begins to go out the door around Noon. They emphasize that they are NOT fast food, and it can be an easy 10 minute wait from time of order to delivery to your table. Fine with me! In case you get bored, there are a couple of flat screen TV's around to keep you entertained.

I had a hard time finding the restaurant on my first visit last Fall. Basically it's on US 377, about a 1/4 mile south of Watauga Rd. Look for Joe's Pizza, then the white sno-cone stand, and it's right behind that.

The Burger and Philly Shack on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 21, 2013

*** CLOSED *** Mo' Fish ~ Keller, Texas


Mo' Fish is the latest concept restaurant coming from the same folks behind Baja Mex Grill, Peace Burger and Dive Bar, Funky Baja's Cantina, and Baja's Bar and Grill. In fact, this restaurant sits on the opposite side of the same shopping center with Funky Baja's. They've taken over the old Vietnamese restaurants such as the Green Bamboo and later the infamously named Pho King Way (Pho is pronounced "Fu" as in Fudge. Ohhh... I get it now!).

Perhaps the best news coming from this small collective of restaurants is their decision to focus on local craft brews - more so than any other restaurant or pub in Northeast Tarrant. On this visit I tried the Revolver Bock from Granbury. And it's an excellent example of the style.

As for the food, Mo' Fish specializes in Southern Louisiana and Texas seafood. Cajun seasonings abound, with traditional favorites like Po' Boys, oysters and crawfish all on the menu. Shrimp, mahi mahi, tilapia, and chicken are the mainstays for protein. Sides includes some yummy waffle fries, veggies, mac&cheese, fried okra and other southern items. Appetizers include ceviche and Mexican-styled shrimp cocktail. I tried the blackened shrimp Po' Boy. And even though it came on a huge toasted french roll, it was not heavy at all. The popcorn shrimp featured a nice blackened seasoning blend. Mrs. RJG settled on the mahi mahi (blackened) with veggies and fried okra. The fish was steak like, and was also delicious.

With a full bar scene, similar to Funky Baja's, and excellent comfort seafood to eat / local artisan craft brews to drink - Mo' Fish is clearly a winner. A must stop if you're in the Keller / Southlake / Watauga/ NRH area.

Monday, February 18, 2013

*** CLOSED *** Baker Bros American Deli ~ Fort Worth, Texas

In addition to the Southlake location closing, as mentioned below, the Fort Worth Alliance location has closed as well. We have been to the Las Colinas location once many years ago, and it's still open. We'll update this post once we've revisited another locale, but they are no longer in Northeast Tarrant unfortunately. And after two closings, it's not likely we'll see them anytime soon.

We've covered Baker Bros prior with their Southlake location, that we predicted would close due to the cost of the surroundings. And indeed it came to pass. It also seems that their plans to go national have been derailed, and they shuttered all their stores outside of Texas. However, they now seem to have regained their footing with new openings coming up in both DFW and in West Texas (Lubbock, Amarillo). And that would include this relatively new location in far north Ft. Worth, which is now the closest store to the RJG. And we recently made our first visit there.

As for their sandwiches, Mrs. RJG and I think they are some of the best in town. We love their variety of breads, and meat/veggie selections. They also have excellent soups, salads, and chili. My favorite three sandwiches are the Siciliano, Kentucky Club, and South Beach. Mrs. RJG really likes their Tuna. As I said in the original review 4 years ago, the biggest issue is I don't go here enough. And while they aren't around the corner to us, it's still close enough for me to sneak in an extended lunch once in a while.

Website

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Piccomolo Italian Ice Cream ~ Southlake, Texas

In 2009, the RJG made a conscious decision to trade in ice cream for beer. I was getting deeper into the craft beer hobby, and I felt something needed to go in its place. Generally Mrs. RJG and I would enjoy a small dish (or cone) of ice cream after dinner. Now we enjoy a beer for dessert - preferably a nice milk stout or something similar. We both exercise hard as it is, so we couldn't afford to add more calories. So we switched them out. For awhile, we were starting to do both, and that was too much of a good thing I'm afraid.

But yesterday, we knew we were meeting friends for dinner (at the Ojeda's in Dallas. It is one of now 27 2013 Updates we've made to the blog - so I'm continuing to hold my promise). And these friends eat later than we usually do, so we had to be creative on keeping ourselves from getting too hungry. And we also weren't going to have our customary wine and cheese around 5:00 at home, since we had a long drive ahead of us.

Therefore the Mrs. suggested we go to Piccomolo for some gelato around 3 in the afternoon. I haven't been there in probably 5 years. We strolled around the lovely Southlake Town Square while lapping up our gelato's. We each had small cups (or maybe regular's, I can't remember their nomenclature now). I went with coffee and chocolate; she with pistachio, amaretto, and tiramisu. I've always enjoyed their gelato, super creamy and tasty. There's not much else to say really.

It seems the chain has fallen on hard times. Their website is non-functional and many of their stores have shuttered, including one in Colleyville that we also used to frequent. So I'm not really sure how many Piccomolo stores there are at this time. But the one in Southlake is still doing a land office business!

Piccomolo on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Mi Familia ~ Seymour, Texas

State Highway 114 is the direct route between Lubbock and Dallas-Ft. Worth. As such, it was the highway I originally used when going back and forth to Texas Tech after the winter and summer breaks. But there were a couple of major issues with it. 1) It's a very dull route. It lacks cute towns, and most of the drive has very little scenery; 2) Worse, in those days anyway, was that the national speed limit was 55. That was a problem everywhere of course, but on 114 the small town cops used it as an excuse for revenue generation. "I mean, who else is going to pay for Maybelle at the Olney library?" Prime target: Tech students on the way to and fro Lubbock. Especially us students coming from DFW. "Caught 'cha doin' a FIFTY-SIX in a FIFTY-FIVE... BOY. You rich city kids always in a hurry". So after two years of that nonsense, I began looking for alternatives. The first one I came upon was US-380 (then northwest on US-84 to Lubbock). It was a far more pleasant drive, and the cops didn't hassle anyone. In fact, I don't think I ever saw one... except when they were getting Blizzards at a local Dairy Queen. And that's the route I maintained for the remainder of my tenure at Tech.

Now for this trip, I decided to take an even different highway - one I'd never taken, mainly because it's a little out of the way. But this time we're on vacation, and not in a hurry. So I took US-180, which is south of 380 and north of I-20. Mainly we wanted to see the Shackelford County courthouse in Albany, since it's one of the State's finest - and oldest. And it did indeed live up to its billing. And the town looked nice and well kept too. Had we different plans, I would have wanted to eat there to, as it looks like they have a fine assortment of independent restaurants. But I'd already decided on Triple J for dinner, and so we ate a quick meal before leaving our home in the late morning. Overall I found the drive very pleasant, and is a recommended excursion if so inclined.

On the way back, I was going to try another route just to do something different - maybe US-70. But it had occurred to me that Mrs. RJG had never seen 114, and I hadn't been on it since 1985, so why not take the traditional way home? The speed limit issue is long in the past, and it's mostly 70, with some stretches of 75 MPH. And much of the freeway has been widened to 4 lanes, making it easier to get around the slow pokes. The one part of 114 that is very interesting is the three county-wide 6666 (four sixes) Ranch. The landscape looks like the surface of the moon. It's pretty fascinating, though there are no towns of any significance to stop in. The County Seat's serve mainly as supply centers to the ranch itself. The rest is pretty blah until you get to Seymour. Which (finally) gets us to the point of the post (I suppose it's the point. There really isn't a point to this blog. LOL).

When we arrived into Seymour, I stopped in the first parking lot, and pulled out my trusty Urbanspoon app on the iPhone. (What a world we live in, eh? This was Science Fiction in 1985). I figured some place would be getting a good writeup or following. This route gets lots of traffic, and Seymour is basically the largest town since leaving Lubbock. So it stood to reason there might be a legendary place of some sort. But I couldn't find anything of note, so we just headed into town and took our chances. There used to be an old-school restaurant/diner (building was from the early 1960s I think) in Seymour that we ate at in the 1980s. It appears to be long gone - and I couldn't locate the building even. It was a pretty nice sit down restaurant, with good country/American food. Does anyone out there remember the name of it or what I'm talking about? Thanks to a reader, we learned it was called Mitchell's!

As we were getting to the final part of the town (114 carves out two doglegs), Mrs. RJG noticed a Mexican restaurant on the left. It wasn't in US, but seemed to have a good crowd, and looked nice, so we gave it a shot. From the menu we learned that Mi Familia started in nearby Haskell (nearby is a relative term in West Texas) and this is their second location. And from the manager we learned they opened in December. Well, word has gotten out to the residents of Seymour and to all the neighboring ranches and farms. The place reminded me of my high school cafeteria, with ranchers showing up, shaking every one's hand in the restaurant. "Hey, Junior, come here - saved ya a seat." Point being, this place is already a big hit with the locals, and I think it's going to be there for a long time.

... And it should be. Mi Familia serves up rock solid Tex-Mex fare. Nothing fancy or unusual, but they do the basics like enchiladas and tacos very well. The chips were excellent, with a flavor that doesn't require salsa. But the table one provided had a nice little kick to it - and with a great taste. They're open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (except no dinner on Sunday) and have a wide variety of traditional Tex-Mex, fajitas, and even American fare such as chicken fried steak and hamburgers.

If I knew I was going through Seymour, I'd make an effort to eat at Mi Familia. If you're ever passing through town - definitely give them a try!

There is no website, and I added the restaurant to Urbanspoon as soon as we got home to NE Tarrant later that day. That one vote (as I write this) is mine of course.

Mi Familia on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 15, 2013

Orlando's Italian ~ Lubbock, Texas



Orlando's was the only Italian restaurant in Lubbock when I was a student at Tech in the 1980s. And to be honest, my recollection wasn't a very positive one. So it may seem odd that this was our final meal on this visit to Lubbock. We hadn't originally planned to go here, but after visiting another Mexican place that didn't look very alluring (in fact, it was fast food rather than a sit down restaurant), we both shifted gears and decided Italian sounded really good. Not only had I remembered Orlando's from my past, but I did recall recently reading some very positive reviews on Urbanspoon. They've been around since 1965, so they must be doing something right! I probably only went to Orlando's 3 times in my 4 1/2 year stint at Tech. We had always gone to the 24th and Q location, but I believe the south location existed back then too. In any case, we were closer to the Indiana store, and so we decided to give that location a shot. This would be my first visit to Orlando's in literally 26 years.

What's clear is that Orlando's has gone all-in for the "traditional Italian" experience: Red checkered table cloths, mafia/family references galore ("Mafia Queso"). In the 80s, there were no chain Italian spots in Lubbock, as there is now, such as Olive Garden, Carino's, or even Fazoli's. Competition has been good to Orlando's, and it's made them improve their game. In reading the history of Orlando's from their website, it appears I caught them right after their health-food stage. Which now explains to me, after all this time, why they did abhorrent things (as I see it anyway) like put bell peppers in their marinara sauce. They don't do that now (maybe green chile...). In fact, I loved their bolognese, which I had on my spaghetti (cooked al dente) that supplemented my Chicken Parm. The latter was crispy on the edges, and slathered in gooey cheese. I also liked that it came in its own tin tray to keep it searing hot. Really delicious. Mrs. RJG had "Spaghetti Alfredo" (she's not a fan of the Fettuccine noodle) with a side of mixed vegetables. She just lapped it up. Great sauce, hot and fresh vegetables, and al dente pasta. As you know, we are pretty particular when it comes to our pasta being cooked just right - and it was! We each started with a dinner salad, that featured cold crisp greens and an excellent homemade Italian. Garlic bread also accompanied the meal, but we never can eat much of that - though it was very good. We also enjoyed a liter of their cheap house chianti. Cheap in every way, but we enjoyed it anyway! We also experienced exceptional service. I'm generally happy with the waiters and waitresses we get at any place, but on this visit they were way above standard I felt.

If Orlando's was this good in 1986, I probably would've begged my Dad to send me an "Orlando's budget" so I could eat better than I was. But alas it wasn't the case. There are many things I'd love to try on the menu. They have carved out a niche that they refer to as "Tex Italian" - with such interesting looking items as Green Chile Chicken Linguine, and Down and Dirty Tortellini (with a habanero sauce!). YUM. They also make their own meatballs, and I want to try their sausage. Next time we're in Lubbock, rest assured Orlando's will be one of the meals!

Website

Orlando's Italian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Taco Villa ~ Lubbock, Texas


Well...Curiosity killed the cow. Ever since the original Taco Villa found its way to the DFW market, I've been curious to see what happened with the breakaway branch. Apparently this Taco Villa is owned by a friend of Bobby Cox, so it stands to reason it will probably be similar. My personal history with Taco Villa goes back to the Lubbock locations (especially the one on 50th - the store closer to Slide), so the Mrs. and I decided it would make for a nice and light Sunday lunch... and to satiate my curiosity.

Just to set the stage here. As we mentioned in yesterday's post, the RJG was a student at Texas Tech in the mid 1980s. A seriously money-deprived student at that. So a cheap fast food meal, especially in those days, could be cheaper than going to the grocery store. In the 1980's, there were basically 3 taco chains in Lubbock. Taco Mayo (yes, the one from Oklahoma that we've covered on the blog recently) arrived sometime in 1985, and they went straight for the bottom of the market. 29 cent tacos. That's right. TWENTY-NICE CENTS. I could have a full meal on less than $2. That's good stuff right there.They were pretty good too, though the chain has changed dramatically since then and offer a completely different product. They exited Lubbock altogether around the same time I did. I would imagine it was tough making any kind of margin on that low of a food cost. As a response, Taco Bell lowered their price from 73 cents to 49 cents. I don't forget these totals, because they were part of my very survival. I'm not one to run for the border these days, but back then, Taco Bell was a Godsend. And then if I wanted a splurge meal, I'd go to Taco Villa, who were coming in at a whopping 89 cents. They were bigger tacos, no doubt, but way beyond my budget. But I always liked them - they had such a unique flavor, and I always loved their salsas in those white coffee creamer type containers.

Well, the original Taco Villa (the one DFW now has) is more like the one that used to be in Lubbock. The new Lubbock stores have decided to go more modern and hip. So they darkened their restaurants, similar to Taco Cabana, and they have traditional taqueria type fare like Street Tacos. If I'm going to have street tacos, I'll go to a real taqueria - not Taco Villa! But whatever, I can see why they made the conscious move to be part of the 2010's rather than the 1970s. To their credit, however, they left the core product alone. So their old fashioned crunchy tacos are exactly like they were 30 years ago. The salsa is similar to, though they don't have a packaged one, which can sometimes effect the consistency. In the end, it probably wasn't worth going to - only because we have one in DFW that is almost the exact same for what we order at these kind of places. But if you're in Lubbock, then consider yourself fortunate that Taco Villa is still around - and that they still have great crispy tacos!

Website

The below location is the actual one we went to on this visit. I'm pretty sure it didn't exist while I was a student at Tech.

Taco Villa on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Triple J Chophouse & Brew Co ~ Lubbock, Texas

The RJG is a proud graduate of Texas Tech University, where I attended the school from 1983 to 1987. I  somehow managed to obtain a Bachelor's degree in Engineering. Yea, exactly. I don't know how I did it either. Anyway, I graduated in December of that year, perfectly timed to come out of school immediately after a major stock market crash. Jobs were non existent for "entry level" types, even though I had gained real experience in the field. No matter - times were somewhat similar to today's market - or really more like 2008/09. Since I'd also been trained as a computer developer, I took a software programming job - and set off on a career that was completely unexpected. I had no concept of what was in store for me when I entered the software field. And, as these things tend to go, it is with absolute certainty the best thing that could have ever happened to me. Had I stayed an engineer, no doubt you would be reading in the news about one of my miswired buildings that suddenly went up into a towering inferno. "Sources state the engineer responsible was a cow with a cigarello and distinctive scarf..."

Strange, then, that I've rarely gone back to Lubbock since graduating. I'll admit to a certain amount of Mac Davis (something about happiness and rear view mirrors...) when I originally left the dusty West Texas plains and headed back to my DFW homeland. My last visit to the campus was 1997, when I took my then new bride - known affectionately to you all as Mrs. RJG, for a walk around the Tech grounds. Much has changed in the 15+ years since I was last in Lubbock. All for the good. They've maintained the Spanish architecture, while upgrading and adding new buildings throughout. And many of the four lane roads, with their dozens of street lights, have now been plowed over with wide open and super fast freeways.

The other major improvement is the culinary selection. Of course when I was a student, I was your typical dirt poor coupon cutting fast food eater - and that was for special occasions. Otherwise it was dorm food (first 2 years) or grocery store fixins' (last 2.5 years).  But even when my Dad was in town for business, our choices were somewhat limited. The legendary 50 Yard Line Steakhouse was a regular for us (and it's still a go-to destination), as well as Jeremiah's (now gone). Now there are many choices, and across a wide variety of ethnic food types.

The other major change is the loosening of the zoning laws for purchasing liquor. When the RJG was in school, the legal drinking age was 18, and if you wanted to buy the typical crap beer (Coors, Lone Star, Pearl...) - one had to go to this awful portion of SE Lubbock known as "The Strip", which is now almost completely abandoned. So today there are liquor stores throughout Lubbock (this apparently is a very recent law change). And they're slowly joining the craft beer movement as well. A new brewery called Yellow House Canyon has started up, and in nearby Wolfforth, Wicked Beaver has brought a few beers to market. Some of which you can buy here in DFW at some of the better stocked stores.

On this visit to Lubbock, we decided to eat at two places from my college days (one lunch and one dinner), and one new place for dinner. Using Urbanspoon as my guide, along with my desire to try as many beers as possible, the obvious choice for a new place was Triple J Chophouse. In what is now called the "Depot District", on the east side near downtown, basically an area of town that was an industrial back alley when I was in school.

Since it was Saturday night, the place was already handing out the flashing cable remote controls, when we arrived not long after 6. So we took a seat at the bar while waiting for a table. While sitting at the bar, I took a picture of one of their growlers (the photo above). For the entire evening, I tried three of their beers: Raider Red Amber, Hop-to-It IPA, and the Intruder Stout. Mrs. RJG took a shine to the Raider Red and had a couple of those. All of the beers were very good. Not superb, but better than average I thought (Ratebeer disagrees with my assessment, but that site is an RJG rant for another day).

Our table was ready after the first beer, and we got down to the serious business of eating. I will just say this before starting: I loved mine, and Mrs. RJG hated hers. Since it's my blog and my Urbanspoon account, I'm giving this a favorable writeup and a thumbs up. But we should not discount my wife's opinions here, so please consider the whole. I went with the Miss Kitty Kat (ribeye), cooked medium. It was medium rare, but I enjoy it that way as well. It was very tender, and the flavor was excellent. I also went with a side of "smashed" potatoes, which were very creamy, though I couldn't possibly eat them all. Mrs. RJG, who isn't really a steak fanatic, went instead for the Green Chile Chicken. You know we both enjoy New Mexican food, and green chile is a favorite of ours. I also had a side of the green with my steak. We both thought the chile was pretty good. The chiles were nice and slightly spicy, but I think they could done more with it then just puree it. Mrs. RJG said the chicken was "chickeny" and the cheese was awful. It just wasn't her dish I'm afraid. Her side was steamed vegetables, which came out cold and stale. Unfortunately Mrs. RJG had all the bad luck this night. Meanwhile, official husband RJG is enjoying himself immensely. Those who are married already know this isn't a good situation for me to be in. Sigh. The meal opened promisingly enough (for both of us) with a nice cold crisp house salad, with a lemon vinaigrette. Honestly that sounded way too sweet, but was quite delicious actually - and not sweet at all. I enjoyed the soft rolls that came with the meal. Mrs. RJG said it was "mushy bread". Tough night for the Mrs. I'm afraid.

The setting is down home Lubbock: Texas Tech memorabilia, hunting/fishing displays, a live country singer, and dark wood paneled walls. It's not a fancy place - just a good old fashioned West Texas steakhouse - with a brewpub attached. The latter would have been unfathomable in the 1980s.

Website

Triple J Chophouse & Brew Co on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 8, 2013

Lee's Grilled Cheese ~ Fort Worth, Texas


January 2014 update: We went for lunch on a Monday and the place had a line to the door, and almost no tables available. These guys are clearly onto something here. Investors should be lining up to expand their concept. We tried the mac n cheese as well, and it's delicious. Reminds me of my Dad's old recipe.

Original review


When the RJG was 6 years old, grilled cheese sandwiches were my favorite meal. The RJG's Mom had one of those old 1960s metal toasters, with a tray on the bottom to make things like grilled cheese. Often the sandwich would be served along with a bowl Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup. Now that was a lunch right there! With both those items to be devoured, and a Bugs Bunny cartoon in front of me, the little RJG was a happy camper.

Of course it should be noted that the cheese used was those manufactured industrial pre-packaged slices that probably have everything but real cheese in them. Ah, but what did I care? I was 6.

Presumably Lee's Grilled Cheese is a bit more robust than Mom's metal toaster version. And indeed it is. Lee's Grilled Cheese is the latest in innovative restaurant success stories. They parlayed their success as a food truck into an actual restaurant (and the truck is still active and mobile). Food trucks are all the rage today in the culinary world. And it completely makes sense. They're mobile, and the startup costs are minimal. And it's a great way to focus on your core competency. When you're in a food truck court, you don't have to be all things to all people. If you want to serve nothing but grilled cheese, then no one is going to complain why you don't offer more items. I never visited the truck (and food trucks in general are something the RJG needs to get on board with, but just haven't found the time for), but I'm guessing the restaurant has added a bit more variety.

Lee's Grilled Cheese isn't really that much different from a Panera Bread for example, except the focus is on the variety of cheeses (9 different ones) rather than breads. The bread is pretty straight forward. Two big ole slices of white bread, perfect for grilling just right. As well they offer 6 meats and a variety of other condiments to round out the sandwich. Of course they offer some standard combinations, and as such the RJG went with the Cuban Pete which is Swiss, Black Forest Ham, Pulled Pork, mustard, and pickles. Then the employee who took our order said "it will be ready in 10 minutes". That kind of surprised me, especially since it wasn't crowded, but as I thought about it, the only conclusion is that is the time it takes to grill both sides of the bread just right. So while it's not exactly fast food, it's very clear that Lee's Grilled Cheese is taking this very seriously. And for that, I applaud them greatly. The Cuban was delicious, with the bread having the right amout of crunch, and excellent browned goodness. I was very delighted with the pulled pork. Many BBQ places can't get this right, and yet Lee's version is excellent - with the right texture and flavor. In conclusion: It is the best grilled cheese sandwich I've ever had.

Mrs. RJG was with me as well, and she had the Tomato Mozzarella which features said cheese with Basil Pesto, Spinach, and Fire Roasted Garlic Tomatoes. She had half the sandwich along with the Creamy Tomato Basil Soup. Both were delicious according to my better half.

I think it's clear at this point that the RJG will be back. I think they have a winning concept here, and hopefully they'll be able to expand. About the only thing holding me back from more visits would be the location (as in it's too far away) - but they have to start somewhere. And I'd say they're onto something big!

Website
Facebook

Lee's Grilled Cheese on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Genti's Pizza and Pasta ~ Corinth, Texas

We are again fortunate to have a Mr. Music review today. Some of you may recall that I put up a quick blurb about Genti's this past summer, after visiting Mr. Music up in Denton. I went ahead and removed that since we have a much better review now for the restaurant. Take it away Mr. Music!

Genti’s Italian restaurant is a family owned placed in Corinth. Mrs. Music’s mom and step-dad live near there and since we are in Denton, we meet them there pretty regularly. It is one of my favorite restaurants in the area. There are several things to love about Genti’s aside from the food: 1) They are BYOB and there is an Albertson’s right next door as well as a couple of liquor stores across the highway in case you didn't bring your own hooch. 2) It is a cozy little place where the staff and family are very friendly. 3) It is very kid friendly. 4) The prices are very reasonable and 5) They have one large screen TV in back by the bar (that doesn’t serve alcohol) for sporting events!

What I will say about Genti’s is that this is not a completely unique place. As Mr. RJG pointed out to me, there are other small Italian spots that have very similar menus and may even have similar recipes. Genti’s is one of the best I’ve been to though, and they have a few items they do particularly well. Last time I was there, Mrs. Music and I wrangled up Music Junior and Baby Music and headed over to spend some time with my in-laws. I ordered the special, which is now available all the time and has become my favorite dish there: The Chicken Sorrentino. This is a huge dish that is made up of a eggplant parmesan stacked on top of a chicken breast and spinach, smothered with mushrooms in a pink sauce on angel hair! What a great combination of flavors and it tastes great! The entree comes with a dinner salad which is simple, but just how I like it. A bowl of fresh, dark green lettuce with some tomato slices and a little veggie garnish. I love their house dressing which is a red wine vinegar base with tomatoes, onion, herbs, spices and oil. They serve the dish with nice hot rolls that look a bit like small loaves of bread! Mrs. Music had the eggplant parmesan and loves it. I also tried it and it's great! We get the pizza somewhat regularly and it is excellent as well. It's pretty typical Italian style pizza, but that is a great thing, right? However, I don’t want anyone to get the impression it is like Grimaldi’s, Il Cane Rosso or even Campisi’s. My other favorite dish there is the Chicken Murphy, made up of pounded-out and sautéed chicken breast in sherry wine sauce with artichoke hearts, mushrooms, onion, and cherry peppers over a pasta of your choice. And it has a little kick! Baby Music and Music Junior just love the meatballs and get them with a simple marinara over angel hair. We’ve tried several other dishes and have always been pleased. When we are there, the family always comes by and we chat. There are two or three wait people that I don’t think are family members, but we get wonderful service from them too. Once again I will say that this place isn’t some ground breaking or mind boggling place -  just a great, relaxing time with solid and consistent food. Oh, and I can say consistent with conviction - I have been there dozens of times over the past 6 or 7 years. We go at least twice a month! They have another location in Ponder that we have not tried.

Website

Genti's Pizza and Pasta on Urbanspoon