Arezzo, Italian Street Food ~ Southlake, Texas
If I were to name a restaurant - or perhaps a concept - I'm most excited about, it would have to be Arezzo. They describe themselves as "Italian Street Food", and I think that's an apt portrayal of exactly who they are. Named after a beautiful city in Tuscany, Arezzo tries to emulate the village experience as best as possible for the modern upscale automobile culture we live in. On the few visits I've been, the restaurant has been fairly empty. I hope this is a concept that doesn't fly by without notice. Definitely give it a shot and report back. The price is right, and the food is great. One of these days, I'll have to try something else, but it's really hard for me not to have a big ol' heapin' bowl of pasta. Especially on cold weather days.
Food: Somewhere between Fazoli's, any pizza-pasta shop, and a modern Italian cafe, is where you'll find the food of Arezzo. It's setup somewhat like the burrito places, where you order a type of food, and then start down the assembly line. I can't get past the pasta bowl myself, but they do have Italian Wraps (PaDeena), panini's, salads, and pizza. So the concept is unique (for America anyway), but that's not what has drawn me back multiple times already. It's the pasta, and the pomodoro sauce. Makes me once again ask the question: Is it really that hard to do this? No, it's not, but shockingly few do it as well as Arezzo. The pasta has been al dente on all of my visits. I presume they make sure that's a big deal - and I hope they do - because it is! The pomodoro is delicious. Not the usual overly sweet or sour marinara, but a true light colored red sauce that is absolutely delicious, despite it's relative simplicity. Now they'll bury the pasta in it if you let them. They give 3 full spoons per order. That's way too much. One is enough, and then ask for the same sauce as a dipping mechanism for the free bread sticks they throw in. That way you can add a little more if needed. Now their much ballyhooed meatballs were a great disappointment to me. Too soft, and not a favorable flavor. I didn't get the spices of Italy that's for sure. On the other hand, the Italian sausage is divine. It has to be homemade, or at the very least, they have found a wonderful local vendor. This is not the usual Lisanti's off-the-truck stuff. And you get plenty of sliced goodness per each bowl. As well, you can add veggies, cheese, and other toppings to your bowl. To top off the meal, you can help yourself to the soft serve ice cream machine. Mrs. RJG's only complaint is they give you plastic utensils, which isn't ideal for pasta. I have to agree with her. I think it's worth the expenditure to use real knives and forks.
Location: Arezzo is in the old Aleda's pizza place, next to Jersey Mike's near Bicentennial Park in Southlake.