Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Return to Il Pizzaiolo

This past weekend we again chose to dine at a restaurant we had not been to in quite some time: Il Pizzaiolo in Mt. Lebanon. It had been almost a year since our last visit, and while I again enjoyed my meal, I left a wee bit disappointed.

After we ordered, we received some tasty bread and olive oil to enjoy. Soon after, our appetizer arrived. It's an appetizer I cannot resist when we dine there: Arancini (fried rice balls filled with mozzarella):
As tasty as I remember. The sauce is very good. SP and I both used some of the bread to mop up the red sauce. I like the cheesy interior.
Our salad arrived at the same time as the arancini. We chose Insalata Misticanza (mesclun greens, roasted red and yellow peppers, cherry tomato, carrot, cucumber, olives, parmigiano-reggiano, balsamic vinaigrette):
Sorry for the blurry photo. This was the least blurry of the 4 photos I tried to take of the salad!! I didn't notice it Friday evening, but now as I look at the menu and the description, I realize our salad lacked the roasted red & yellow peppers, which is very disappointing. It was a large salad, as it should be at $10, lightly dressed, which was nice, and tasty.

SP & I decided to share a pizza and a pasta, figuring we'd have leftovers for my lunch & dinner on Saturday. Since it was the end of the week, there was nothing at home for lunch and he'd be doing the grocery shopping at lunch time, plus he was getting together with his gaming friends Saturday evening, so I needed/wanted a quick dinner for Saturday, like leftover pizza.

For the pasta, we chose the Paglia e Fieno (hand-made fresh spinach and egg tagliatelle, peas, prosciutto di parma, parmigiano-reggiano, cream):
This was very tasty, but I felt, and still feel, the portion was a bit on the small side for the price ($17). The pasta was a perfect al dente (in my opinion!), lightly sauced with a cream sauce (not drowning in it), salty prosciutto, and plump peas.

For the pizza, we chose Provola (smoked mozzarella di bufala, cherry tomatoes, San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh basil, parmigiano-reggiano, extra virgin olive oil):
We chose it because our server told us the smoked mozzarella had just arrived that morning and the last couple of times we tried to order a dish with smoked mozzarella, they were out of the smoked mozzarella. The pizza was tasty, thin and crisp crust, it wasn't soggy.
I couldn't help wishing for a bit more basil and a bit more smoked mozzarella. I had to concentrate to really notice those two flavors. Mostly I tasted the crust & tomatoes. I was a little disappointed, especially because it was an $18 pizza.

I was pretty full, but SP was dropping hints about dessert. Being a good wife, I agreed to share a dessert. We considered tiramisu or cannoli, and I let him choose since I really was quite full and wasn't sure I'd be able to eat much more than a couple bites. He chose the cannoli:
It was good. SP ate the pistachio end and I ate the chocolate chip end.

I have mixed feelings. I want to really love Il Pizzaiolo, but this time, I just can't. I was disappointed with the price/portion/quality ratio, especially when we recently were at Piccolo Forno and ordered pizza/pasta/tiramisu and our bill was much less and we had much more food. I shudder to think what the Il Pizzaiolo bill would have been had we ordered wine, or enjoyed the bottled sodas/iced teas (no free refills) instead of sticking with water. As it was, our bill was $66. I also would prefer a smaller/less expensive salad to the enormous $10 salad. I know SP wanted the salad for vegetable with dinner, and it was a huge salad, and we took some home, but I personally would prefer a $4-$5 side salad. With all the listed ingredients. If the description says roasted peppers, then they had better show up on the plate!

I'm sure we'll go again, but it might be another year+, especially with our desire to revisit Dinette and with how much we enjoy BYOB Piccolo Forno. Right now, I'm inclined to choose Piccolo Forno over Il Pizzaiolo, or delivery from Picasso Pizza, which has a delicious thin crust prosciutto & arugula pizza that's larger and less expensive than the one at Il Pizzaiolo.

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