Most people have their favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant, whether it’s a roadside barbecue shack, a gas-station taqueria, or the family-owned Italian dining room in the strip mall down the block. Sometimes these places knock you out with sumptuous menus and inventive cuisine built on time-tested recipes. Other times, they’re just OK.
Sharing a shopping center with a Chinese bistro, a donut shop, a nail salon, and a 7-Eleven, Lizzano’s Pizza falls somewhere in between those two extremes, with the vibe of one of those places that your family has eaten at for years. Its appeal is fast, friendly service in a pleasant atmosphere that hits all the hallmarks of a little Italian joint without straying into kitsch. The white tablecloths under Plexiglas tops are the right amount of fancy and casual, which is also an apt description of the menu. The joint offers some signature items for the more adventurous eater, and the usual Italian offerings are as solid as a Frank Sinatra Christmas CD. There’s not a lot to knock your socks off, but what Lizzano’s does, it does pretty well.
While the name on the storefront advertises pizza, Lizzano’s menu holds a whole lot more, including hot and cold subs, a hefty array of traditional Southern Italian pasta dishes, and some tantalizing seafood specials.
On the pie side of the menu, you’ll find 10 specialty pizzas to choose from, along with the usual list of toppings. The Mediterranean (with eggplant, tomatoes, and black olives) was the most interesting, though its execution was somewhat pedestrian. The flavors were masked by a little too much oil, and the eggplant, not exactly a kick in the mouth to begin with, barely held its own against the cheese. The fresh tomatoes, though, kept demanding bites.
At $4.95, the lasagna lunch special was a steal, though the accompanying house salad was nothing more than a plate of iceberg lettuce topped with a lone, wan slice of tomato. Who cares about salads, though, when you have a plate heaped with layers of ricotta, tomato sauce, and noodles? Lizzano’s version was light on the meat but left room for the creamy cheese and piquant sauce — in all, good but not great.
The house specialties include dishes like blackened or grilled tilapia over penne pasta and almond-crusted salmon. If those sound too heavy, go with the chicken Jerusalem: a chicken breast, pounded flat, covered in mushrooms and artichoke hearts, on a bed of spaghetti in a lemon rosemary sauce. While the sauce seemed a tad thin, it was full of tang, zapped with the just the right amount of rosemary — the aroma wafting from the plate was enough to make me salivate. Don’t wolf this one down, though: The sauce gets even better as it thickens a little. You’ll definitely want to enjoy every bite.
Lizzano’s is no Nonna Tata, but for big portions of affordable pasta dishes and tasty house specialties, you could do a lot worse. The next time you’re looking for a casual, suburban Italian joint, skip the Olive Garden and head over to Lizzano’s.
2390 Fuller-Wise Rd, Ste 512, Euless. 817-571-9410. 11am-9pm Mon-Thu, 11am-10pm Fri-Sat. BYOB. Cash only.
Chicken Jerusalem ………… $8.95
Lasagna ………………………. $4.95
Mediterranean pizza ……. $12.95