Sunday, December 12, 2010

Spanky's Cheese Steak Factory, Oakland Park, FL

Still left aching for a satisfying meat & cheese experience, I ventured the day after the 8 oz debacle to Spanky's Cheese Steak Factory in Oakland Park, FL.

The parking lot appears empty, but there are actually quite a few people dining inside. The patrons apparently walked here tonight. It's a true neighborhood joint, everyone who comes in greets each other by name.

Inside, a mother plays the video slot machine by the register while her child giggles with the cooing waitress. She pauses long enough to great us warmly and seats us. The menus are laminated and on every table.

Every single picture on the wall is crooked, including the gigantic Scarface mural on the back wall. A TV plays Inside Edition to the cooks, patrons and video slot players.

We place our order. One full sized cheese steak, one mini. ($8.95 & $5.25, both come with fries), add onions and hot peppers, no charge. Our drinks are served. They come in two different plastic glasses. They don't match but they are clean.

We hear a sizzle followed by the attentive and precise metallic chop, chop, chop of a spatula on a flattop. The smell of hot beef and onions waft out of the kitchen to our table.

It arrives glistening and pipping hot. slices of white american cheese are starting to melt into the finely fried steak tartar. My first bite is interrupted by pain as hot grease falls onto the palm of my hand. It's not too greasy, but perfectly greasy. It's served right. No lettuce, no tomato. No goddamn salad on it. Onion, hot peppers, mushrooms by request. The bun is soft, corn dusted, and substantial enough to contain it's deliciously greasy insides. It's worth the potential grease burn.

The fries look previously frozen but they were fried well. Crispy outisde/fluffy potato-y inside. They tasted pretty darn good with Spanky's own hot sauces. They have two on the table, a hot habanero and a more mild cayenne garlic sauce. The hot habanero was chunky and flavorful. The cayenne garlic sauce was fine. I didn't detect the garlic, though.

I lived a short stint in Philadelphia so I've had a good share of "the best": Pat's, Geno's, and Jim's on South Street. Spanky's Cheese Steaks is legitimately comparable. I am already planning my next trip back, and perhaps will try some of their other items. Maybe I'll try the corn nuggets served with honey; or maybe Belvue Burger, a burger slathered in peanut butter(!) because I have faith that they could pull that off. Spanky's made me a believer. But I don't think I'll try the grouper parm. That just sounds gross.

Over all, the place ain't pretty but they make a mean cheese steak. I'll be back, soon.

***** (5) So good it hurts. (literally.)

Spanky's Cheesesteak Factory on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 11, 2010

8 oz. Burger Bar, Miami, FL

My meal here started off a little rocky and then plummeted down hill. Really, it's just awful.

I came in as a party of 8. While that could be expected to be a problem at some South Beach restaurants at 10:30pm on a Friday night, I didn't think it should have been met with such deep sighs and disdain at this empty joint. My party DOUBLED the size of their crowd, and there were still a good 5 or 6 empty tables left. And yet, they didn't seem appreciative of our business. After our hostess strained her brain to figure out a solution to a problem it seemed that she had never previously encountered, it was with great effort, scowling (and physical assistance from us) that two tables were pushed together.

After we were seated, they instantly poured us a round of water, which I appreciated. They also promptly brought out 2 food menus and 1 drink menu. The promptness was nice, but there were eight of us. 8 food menus and 8 drink menus would have been preferred.

While I waited for my time to squint at the menu, I tried to take in the surroundings. It's an unremarkable dirty dive. There is no music playing. The napkins are terrycloth towels. (Fancy! we joked.) Three plastic squeeze bottles sit on the table. Yellow mustard, Red Ketchup, and what revealed itself to be without mention or indication from the waiter, 8 oz's equivalent of Big Mac Special Sauce. It turned out to be the best part of the meal, but I do wonder about it sitting out all night. I think it should probably be refrigerated but I also probably worry about those things too much.

Anyway, within a reasonable time, the waiter came and took our drink order. I asked him, "Do the Suds & Sliders come with the flight of beers?" The menu said it was Suds & Sliders (Or maybe it was Sliders & Suds? ) a trio of sliders, houseblend, turkey, and lamb. Flight of 4 50z microbrews." The price listed was $13. After a few quizzical looks and having me repeat the question, each time emphasizing the words, "COME WITH" he said yes.

I said, "I'll have that. I'll be drinking those flight of beers."

He came back and brought one person his beer. Then one person his iced tea. Then he said, "I'll bring your beers with your sliders. I'll put those up later." I kind of wanted to start now, but, okay.

The rest of the drinks trickled out. I will say in their favor, they have a very decent beer selection. The prices include an only reasonable upcharge from what you would pay on the store. The prices are especially reasonable considering the location. South Beach is an expensive place to drink. 8oz also had some rare goodies on tap. I didn't get to try many because I was never offered a second order of drink.

Eventually, he came around for our food orders.

Waiter: "What'll you have?"

Me: "The suds & sliders deal. The $13 thing."

Waiter: "Do you want cheese?"

Me: "Can I get it only on the beef one?"

Waiter gives me a pained look, "They will kill me back there (meaning the kitchen) if I ask them that." How pre-made are these things that they can't not put cheese on all 3? Also, as I recall the menu had a large assortment of interesting cheeses, but he only offered me cheddar.

Me: "Oh. Okay. I don't know about cheese on lamb but... okay. That's fine. Put it on all of them. I'll also have an order of onion rings."

Waiter: "It comes with fries." and then he moved on to the person next to me. But... but I wanted onion rings! I was willing to buy them a la carte. But I guess he felt I only needed fries. I already felt like an asshole for not wanting cheddar cheese on my lamb burger, so I let it go.

They were out of Bison, which sent one of my party in a tizzy to pick something else. Sadly, he had no menu because the only food menus were down at the other end of the table. The waiter made no move to get one for him. Desperately, my party asked, "What's good here? What do you suggest?" The suggestions seemed like, well, bad ideas.

The orders were taken, and I got up to use the bathroom.

THAT IS THE GROSSEST BATHROOM I HAVE EVER SEEN IN A DINING ESTABLISHMENT. That worries me, as bathrooms are usually an indicator of what is going on in the kitchen. This is the part they let you see. If the bathroom is no good, imagine what is hiding where you are forbidden? I promise you, it's not better back there then out here.

It was incredibly unsanitary. We're talking feces on the floor and blood on the toilet seat. We're talking a smell so rank that I gagged the entire time I was in there. Look, I spent my youth at punk rock clubs and am no stranger to the new york lower east side or even chicago south side public toilets. Dive bars are my only bars. But I was eating here. At least there was soap and an automatic towel dispenser.

When I came back to my seat , I uncontrollably shuddered at the horror I had just witnessed. The waiter popped by, "Ya not yawning, are ya?" "No, I was just shuddering at your bathrooms." I guess it was rude of me to say but... he asked. He laughed and walked away. No one came to clean the bathrooms after it came to the waiters attention. A member of the staff did fog it out with cigarette smoke, though.

The food did arrive quickly. He gleefully announced that he managed to get cheese on only the beef slider. I thanked him and dug in. It was honestly ice cold. I'm not exaggerating. It's not hyperbole. I have never ever before even really noticed the temperature of food unless it was too hot, scorching the top of my mouth. But it tasted like it still had the chill of the refrigerator on it. The fries and the sliders. And oh, god those sliders. Three tiny indistinguishable, hard, tasteless patties that were just simply lost within the shredded iceberg lettuce, tiny pickle slices, and unevenly cut tomato that lay limply on the the cold, weak, soggy slider buns.

The fries were well-salted and they looked like they were once delicious. Unfortunately, it was cold as hell.

About half way through my meal the waiter came and said to me, "Are you still working on that or can I take that from you?" I think I still had a fry in my mouth! I deflected his effort to toss my food and started eating faster out of shame.

Heeey.... Maybe I'm just being paranoid but I wonder if he hadn't been repeatedly, subtly calling me fat throughout the meal. No onion rings for you. Don't eat the full portion. No new beer order for you, fatty. I'm not overweight for Fort Lauderdale, but I guess I am fat for South Beach... Maybe that's paranoia but no good meal should incur multiple moments of shame for the customer.

The beer I did get was fresh and delicious, although not exactly as advertised. They substituted one of the four for the seasonal brew. I was pleased about that. They had switched the one I didn't care for for a beer I really did enjoy. They probably should have told me but when a quirk works in my favor, I hush.

Eventually I let him clear away my plate and he brought the bill. The bill was interesting. It had 18% gratuity added. That's fine, considering we were a party of 8, although the bill was randomly separated into 4 bills. But it did say in bold right under the gratuity line, " GRATUITY NOT INCLUDED". Also, my $13 suds & sliders combo cost $19. I had explicitly asked him to clarify the suds & sliders pricing. I asked if the beer CAME WITH the sliders. I called it the "$13 suds & sliders meal" when I ordered. I knew if I confronted the waiter I would lose my temper so I just paid my bill and got the hell out of there. I will never ever ever go back. What a disgusting miserable excuse for a burger bar. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Update: They overcharged each party by at least $18. We are now stuck disputing these charges or eating the cost. I don't want to eat the cost and I don't want to eat their food!

* (1) Never, ever again!

8 oz. Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Nava's Grill - Hollywood, FL

Located at the mouth of the main entrance of the Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood Florida is a little middle eastern/Israeli diner nestled next to an "arcade" and porn outlet. We walked in as a large group walked out, patting their bellies and grinning. Simultaneously carrying on a heated conversation in Hebrew with a co-worker, wishing the large, happy group a farewell and welcoming us was the owner, a fiery Israeli woman who exuded all the warmth and strength of an army of mothers. Attentive and friendly, the service was outstanding.
The owner is a bit over the top. She tells us she never forgets the face, and sometimes "that's not so good". She asks if we are Jewish. She knows that I am (you can tell just by looking at me, I guess.) and answers for me. She tells us about how her food is all kosher but the rabbis are mad at her because she's open on Saturdays.

The decor is sparse and chintzy. It has cheap looking tables, a waiter's station crammed in the corner and a wall with a half finished mural that's vaguely Middle Eastern or possibly Italian. The owner is all the atmosphere you need.

Prices are fair, most dishes are about $10. The food was made with care, served extremely hot and seasoned perfectly.

As good as the food is, the menu leans towards the strange for a middle eastern grill. The owner tries to please too many kinds of patrons perhaps, by adding mysterious entries such as yucca fries and plantains. Maybe they are done well, but I wouldn't go to Nava Grill for Latin food.

Immediately after we ordered, we were given 3 kinds of luncheon salad: an egg based potato salad, a purple cabbage slaw and a sour white cabbage slaw. All three were unique and really quite good. Everything was crisp and fresh.

I ordered the hummus and falafel app which was served with two hot fresh grilled pita breads. The pita bread was INCREDIBLE. It was soft, moist and sturdy.

I also tried the kafta kabob pita sandwich, which is ground seasoned lamb. It was mouthwatering. Literally. I drooled a little when I tasted it.

I will definitely go back to try some of the Israeli food on the menu: bourekas, malawach, (breads/pastries) shaksuka, (a tomato based baked egg dish), cholent ( a long simmered strew prepared to get through the sabbath) and some other things I've never heard of.

As ancestrally Jewish, it's probably a shame I never really bothered until now to get to know Israeli foods. I visited Israel once when I was 4 years old but only learned to love hummus during that visit. I think it's about time I got to know it and Nava's Grill seems like a great place to start.

Only because I didn't get to try much and I STILL think Kease's by the beach has the best falafel:

**** (4) Heey, that's pretty good!

Nava's Grill on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 23, 2010

Galanga Thai Kitchen & Sushi Bar (Wilton Manors, FL)

"Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.... and such small portions"
- Woody Allen, Annie Hall

I am always wary whenever I see a "sushi and thai" place. China and Thailand are distinctive countries with different cuisines and if you aren't good enough at one to make a go at a restaurant, adding the other never seems to help. Galanga is no exception.

To be fair, I did not try the sushi. And after this experience, I never, ever will.

At the moment, I am on a serious and focused hunt for both a new good high-end sushi joint and a good Thai place in eastern/central Broward area. I read many good reviews of Galanga and was excited to finally try it. We came early, about a half an hour into diner service. The restaurant was completely empty. The place was nicely decorated, but it couldn't quite hide that it was a reclaimed IHOP. It had exposed air piping in it's steeple shaped ceiling, a look that worked. Unfortunately, the piping and vents were dirty and in need of a thorough dusting.

Appetizer - Money Bags

We ordered for an app the Money Bags ($6). The menu states: chicken, crabmeat, corn, sweet potato in a golden bag (crispy rice paper) and peach chutney. My dining partner recalls these little dumplings from his childhood on Staten Island. Arriving at our table were 5 gumball sized slightly over fried wantons stuffed with sweet potato and a small shred of chicken next to a small cup of sweet rice wine vinegar with a few scant cubes of floating red onion and cucumber. They were tasty, but small and not as advertised. There was no peach chutney anywhere to be found, and I'm only 25% sure I encountered one kernel of corn. They were very much like the ones in Staten Island, however. And while they weren't exactly as advertised and a tiny portion, they were tasty.

Main Course - Pad Thai & Delightful Duck

I ordered the Pad Thai ($14) and my dining partner had the "Delightful Duck"($23). His was a crispy, lightly southern fried 1/4 duck next to a molded cup of white rice, green beans, sloppily chopped zucchini and carrot sitting in a shallow, watery pool of orangish brown tamarind sauce. It was okay.

My Pad Thai was drowning in watery peanut oil, thickened slightly with a pinch of cornstarch. The noodles were tiny shreds of broken rice noodles. The peanut shavings gave it a muddy and gravely consistency. It contained 2 shrimp(!) and an entire poorly fabricated dried chicken breast.

The portion was huge. I got about half way through and started feeling notsogood. I figured it was all of the oil, so I asked the waiter to wrap it up for me and I'd take it home, drain the oil and try to eat some more. After all, I spent $14 on it. I guess I didn't say it loud enough because the waiter threw it away. When I asked him about it he seemed really surprised and sorry, but didn't offer anything to remedy the situation. I was really pissed off about having $7 worth of Pad Thai tossed away but I guess he did me a favor because about 25 minutes after the meal, I found myself doubled over in stomach pain. He would have done me more of a favor by never having served me in the first place.

Quick Summary

Ambiance: Modernly decorated, dirty ceilings, suspicious that it was a former IHOP. The music was cheesy, mindless, mid-90s and modern vocorder driven techno club pop.

The service: It was hard to get their attention sometimes, even when we were the only customers in the place. The waiter threw away my left overs, half my plate.

The price: Pretty darn high, App was a rip off.

The food: Not as advertised and I'm darn near certain it made me ill.

I really regret having to give a local business such a poor review but:

* (1) Never, ever again!

Galanga Thai Kitchen & Sushi on Urbanspoon

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Ambry

The Ambry
3016 E. Commercial Blvd, Fort Lauderdale , Florida

When you arrive at The Ambry, it's obvious the kitsch will be as thick as the sauces and the refinement as thin as the schnitzel. For a German Restaurant, that's probably a good thing. Bavarian culture is the campy, happy Germany that America loves. Quiet, refined Germany can be a little scary, especially for the Eastern European Condo Comandos who come east for our ample early birds and meager parking.

Check out the German Grandma's bathroom they have!:
When the rest of my party arrived, we were instantly seated by a bubbly blonde with feathered hair in an intimate, brick walled, heavily directed in biersteins, beer mirrors & doilies. Seconds later we were happily greeted by an enthusiastic man and solid looking lady who guided us through the meal. The food was well explained and brought to us quickly. Any issues we had, (and we had some picky eaters with us) were promptly attended to. The only thing that bothered me is the way they took the order for the different courses,.

First, the took drink orders. Then the brought us the drinks. (On Draft: Spaten Lager, Warsteiner, Tucher, Weissbeer, Koestrizer Dark. They are all huge pints and about $7 each. I got the Koestrizer, which is a black beer. It was surprisingly light and thin. There are also bottled and various liquors, we ignored them.) We drank the drinks. We looked at our menus. We all finished our enormous beers. We looked hungrily at the salad bar a few feet away. The salad bar comes with the dinners and we would be entitled to it as soon as we put in our dinner order. But not yet, not yet. sip, sip, sip.

Then, they took the appetizer orders. They served the orders to the 3 of the 10 people there while the rest of us clutched our menus with white knuckles. Those who did get apps struggled to find a place to stash their menus for the entree order.

Goulash Soup: One person, an industry insider, at my table exclaimed: "Oh my god this is sweet and sour soup!". He wasn't wrong.

Liver & Dumplings Soup: It is a giant dumping of liver. It looks like a big gray matzo ball of liver. If you like liver, you'll like the soup. If you hate liver, you will hate this soup. It has maximum liveryness.

Escargot: This was the first time I ever had escagrot! It was served in the little special designed escargot server pottery with butter and garlic and with a crusty piece of baguette. It pleased the palate of the French girl who ordered it and had been eating them since she was knee high to a snail. I tasted one speck of grit, but it was otherwise a pretty delicious thing. I have nothing to compare it to, but it was tasty.

Steak Tartar: They give you complete power to decide how you want it. They will add any ingredients you ask to it or they will serve them all on the side for you. It usually comes with a runny egg on top, but the person who ordered it chose to mayonnaise in it instead. In France, she tells us, you either pick the egg or mayo. To have both is redundant.

Finally, after all the soups have been slurped and all the steak tartarred away, the entrees were ordered and we hit the salad bar.

Salad Bar: I love a salad bar, even a bad one. This one was a pretty bad one: Crisp iceberg ( :( ) lettuce, orangey tomatoes, green peppers, vidalia onion slices, radishes, carrots, olives, beets & bacon bits made up the majority of the sad salad bar. I mean, it's fine, for like, a steakhouse in 1975. But for $8.95 a la carte, puh-lease. Don't do it. The only highlights of the salad bar were the german potato salad, coleslaw and meat salad. The german potato salad & coleslaw were sweet and good and proper. The MEAT salad was a soup of mayo & mustard with chunks of ham swimming in it. It was sweet and hammy and a proper thing to use the pumpernickel bread with.

The entrees came quickly after we ordered. What we got were mostly variations on the schnitzel. Schnitzel is a thin pounded out piece of meat (here it's veal) lightly breaded and panfried. It's usually served with vegetables and/or sauces and/or cheeses. Here's some of the varieties we ordered:

* Jaeger Schnitzelw/ homefries (with mushrooms, onion, carrot & bacon gravy)

* Paprika Schnitzel (the sauce held for exactly 60 seconds after service before breaking on my plate. Still, quite tasty. Served with Spaetzle, an extremely light and airy maggot-looking pasta. Despite it's maggoty appearance, it's actually quite delicious.

And finally the Schnitzel of the Day, something-something-black forrest ham, swiss cheese.

The veal was a little dry, the sauces were very flavorful, their accompaniments were exactly what they should have been. The biggest downside to this place is really the price. The schnitzel's were all about $21.95 which is really, really overpriced. IHAUS on Powerline in Oakland Park charges $7.95 for the same schnitzel with an appley cabbage and flavorful mashed potatoes instead of spaetzle. What you're paying for is the atmosphere and the ability to find real german beer on draft. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable. I would go again, but not by my own volition. I left there happy, though. and incredibly disgustingly full.

*** (3) Not bad for what it is.

Ambry German & American on Urbanspoon

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Coming Soon: The Ambry, Chartreuse Too! & Jimmy's Courthouse Deli

I will be soon dining at and then reviewing The Ambry German-American Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. We'll see how it stacks up against my current favorite Schnitzelhaus, IHAUS (International Haus of Schnitzel). International House of Schnitzel, 4820 N. Dixie Highway in Oakland Park. I'll review that place sometime in the not-too-distant future, too.

I will also sometime this week finally brave the pee-smells of the Downtown Main Library to dine at the Chartreuse too!, the library's cafe.

Jimmy's Courthouse Deli is on the list, too.

Check back this week!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

D'Angelo Pizza

A, B & I @ Casa D'Angelo's in Fort Lauderdale
No, wait a minute. Where are we going? Oooooooooooooooooh.
NOT CASA D'ANGELO'S! $$ not $$$$. My wallet thanks you, B!

I walk in already pleased that my estimated meal cost just halved itself. It made the sting of the mandatory "complimentary" (you gotta tip, of course) valet a little easier. Prices at this Italian Tapas Bar range on average from $6 - $15. Much more Tuesday night worthy.

The place is attractive. Outside there's some sturdy looking and clean tables and chairs out on some clean looking cerement but I barely payed it any attention. There was NO WAY I'd eat outside because (1) it's on US1. US1 is chock full of various crazies and strange folks with boundary issues. I'm glad they are around to make the city a more interesting place to live but I don't like to mix the un-medicated mentally ill and my dinner so much. Nor do I like exhaust fumes wafting over my aromatically spiced meat balls. US1 is one of my least favorite locations for dining al fresco. Also, (2) It's the end of June in Fort Lauderdale. I would melt.

Inside D'Angelo Pizza it's clean, cool, and decorated in a way that says, "High Quality Ikea". The dining room is long and narrow, kind of like a shinny, forcibly modern bowling alley. The waitstaff is all decked out in crisp black and whites with embroidered D'Angelo Pizza logos. It's very sleek and well lit. It's bright enough to see your food/dim enough to soften the blow of your dining partners pock marked skin or plastic surgery scars. There's a bar, a deli counter(!!!), and a semi open kitchen with a wood burning stove to the right. Yeah! A Deli Counter! A long straight backed booth and tables are to the left. Paper reminiscent of parchment lined the tables, looking like white table cloths, but actually being the opposite as they are disposable, a lot more practical. Maybe not the most environmentally friendly but... that's not this place's point.

We got there pretty stinkin' early, around 530pm. The staff greatly out numbered the customers. They were all jovial and in good spirits, doing a lot of milling around. I mentioned this apparent over staffing to A, the line cook I was dining with. He assures that we have just beat the dinner rush. He's right, half way through the meal those milling around waitstaff were moving like the wind, like graceful italian gazelles, and suddenly we're almost elbow to elbow with hungry masses. It's an odd crowd to not quite rub elbows with. To the left are a cute couple of body builders, lovers i suspect. To the right is an all adult family of 3. Across from us there's some awkward father-son bonding going on. All just of the tables were spaced just adequately. I couldn't smell any other tables food or breath. Having just recently eaten at Kelly's Landing in Fort Lauderdale, I appreciate the adequate distance.

When they seated us, they promptly brought some oven toasted bread. It reminded me of biscotti but I guess it was focaccia. it wasn't the most flavorful bread, and it shredded the top of my mouth, which gave everything else i ate from that point a tinny metallic taste. Mmm, mouthblood. Ignoring my now tender pallett, I enjoyed trying their choices of dipping liquids. There was a nice olive oil, balsamic & chili oil. It was wise of them to give us something to munch on while we gaped at the intense, huge menu.

The menus are on two sided place mats on the tables when they seat you. Those things are pretty overwhelming. You can chose from various kinds of Tapas ($8 - $10), Soups ($5 - $8), Bruschette ($7 - $9), Ceviche & Carpacci ($10 - $12), Panini ($8), Salads ($7 - $8), Pizze ($9-$13), Pizze Bianche ($11 - $14), Calzone ($11 - 13) & Wood Oven Frittatas ($8-$9). They also have cheese & cold cuts. a CHEESE course. Where else in Fort Lauderdale is there a cheese course? ($20 - $50). Sure, it's kind of a lame selection. Fontina, Gorgonzola, Asiago, Reggiano, or Provolone? Yawn. But anyway, it's the thought that counts. I just kind of expected more, what with the deli counter(!) and all.

The "B side" of the place mat menu was the wine list. I know next to nothing about wine. I ignored it. They have a couple of decent-enough beers. Stella & Bass on tap. I didn't order one.

I ended up settling on the pasta fagioli ($6) which was, honestly, the best i've ever had. The pasta was cooked right, the cannellini beans still had good bite but were plenty tender. It took a while to get to the table but it was worth the wait (and the $6 price tag). My dining mate got the lobster bisque ($8) which was one of the better lobster bisques i've had. Beats the living snot out of the... well... snot that is Morton Steakhouse's lobster bisque. Morton's was watery, fishy, and featured a slimy sliver of lobster dead of center. Also, frankly, inedible. D'Angelo, however, delivered. It was, for a lack of a better term, very lobstery. Also creamy and thick. Both portions were quite large and quite filling. They also both had those biscotti like bread sticks in the soup. They were too dense to soak up the soup and were hard/impossible to cut with a spoon. And I didn't want to fill up on bread. That's how they getchya. (ha). Both bread logs got set aside. They hindered the otherwise great soups.

Offered with the soup and throughout the meal was fresh cracked pepper and fresh grated cheese, (I assume parmigiana.)

I barely had room for the Salmon Pizze Bianche (sushi thin lox on soft brie cheese, chives & lemon oil. ($12). It was on whole a good and interesting pizza. It was sizable. 6 respectable slices worth of pizza. Rich with cheese & oil, light on the chives. The lemon oil was a bit too subtle with the lemon to add to the dish. What it did ad was more fat and oil to an already fatty and oily pizza. Brie is already heavy. I suspect that it wasn't all brie, either. It didn't melt or pull like brie. It tasted like brie and... something else.They didn't promise it was 100% brie. It could have, even ethically, been mozzarella in there, too. Brie could have been considered a "topping". Whatever it was, it was melty, cheesy, plentiful and had a subtle pleasant gameness of a ripe brie. The crust of the pizza was crisp and flaky. I would order it again, but perhaps, hold the lemon oil, and instead ask for a lemon.

Also ordered were the chicken and turkey meatballs. There were two fist sized balls swimming in a well made marinara. The balls were light, bright, clean, and distinctively chicken and turkey. They weren't too bad. I wouldn't have ordered it, and I didn't, but it was good for what it was.

Also: Quattro Bruschette, a sampler of Basilico (mozz, tomato & basil, Toscana (chicken liver mouse), Gambero (three tiny shrimp, three bits of a cherry tomato & mint) & Scapece (eggplant, garlic and some balls to the wall balsamic) on bruschette. The Toscana & Scapece were winners, Gambero & Basilico lost with me. The one who ordered them loved them all. I just thought the later two were a little dry and could've used some salt or something. I suppose I could've salted them.

Also: Some classic italian chicken dish i've forgotten the name of. It was extremely homey tasting. I remarked to the one who ordered it, a 10 year veteran of the kitchen, "This tastes like your food!". And it did. It tasted like the end of the week meals he makes for me. Professionally done, but homey tasting. There were roasted vegetables everywhere. Roasted red peppers, roasted zucchini (which was also fried in oil, i think. it was kind of oily.) and roasted potatoes. Despite a couple of technical flaws, it was a very homey dish.

I was way too full to go for a desert. I didn't even consider it.

This place has much more to be explored. I will definitely be back.

**** (4) Heey, that's pretty good!

D'Angelo Pizza Wine Bar and Tapas on Urbanspoon