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Imponente Pizza & Pasta serves up its namesake pie. Photo by Lee Chastain.

Imponente Pizza & Pasta took some finding. This Italian restaurant is located in a huge shopping center at the northwest corner of Jacksboro Highway and Loop 820. There’s a sign pointing motorists to its location, but it’s visible only from the Highway 199 eastbound access road, which is not likely to be the direction where many Fort Worthians are coming from. I finally found it while searching in a parking lot containing a Best Buy and a Lowe’s. It would be wonderful to report a trattoria worthy of a doge existing in such a location. It wouldn’t be true, though.

The bruschetta appetizer was a promising start. Even though it’s on soft bread instead of the crispy bread that I prefer, it came straight from the place’s wood-burning oven, whose warmth was nice to experience underneath the olive oil and pesto layered on top.

You’re better off getting that for a first course than the Caprese salad, served in a big pile of quartered cherry tomatoes and mozzarella cut into tiny half-inch-square pieces. The presentation was unique, but the cheese was bland and the tomatoes too sweet to give the balance of tartness and salt that works best in Caprese.

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From the pasta side of the menu, I chose the bucatini con polpette, the restaurant choosing to serve the tubular spaghetti-like pasta with meatballs instead of the usual amatriciana sauce. I’m not sure why Imponente didn’t just serve these meatballs (acceptable, but no more) with regular spaghetti, since the pasta came out overcooked. The flavorless lump of garlic bread served with the meal didn’t improve matters, either.

I had the highest hopes for the pizza, baked as it was in that wood-fired oven, so imagine my surprise when my Imponente pie came out floppy. Granted, I prefer my pizzas with as crispy a crust as possible, but whether you’re a deep-dish lover or a thin-crust partisan like me, eating limp pizza is a serious bummer. It’s too bad, because the soppressata on the pie imparted a big, smoky flavor that worked well with the cheese, dominating the bell peppers and caramelized onions around it.

Dessert at least came out better. The Sicilian cannoli was a welcome treat after a garlic-heavy meal, with the pastry coming in a thick chocolate shell to enrobe the minty cream.

This place is brightly lit, and the bare cement floor and open seating plan mean that it’s noisy when it’s full. Imponente has several TV screens showing sports, including two behind the bar. If you’re looking for a romantic, intimate Italian dinner, this is the wrong place.

The service was OK, but both times I was there, the waitstaff brought out my main dish while I was still eating my first course. If you’re annoyed by something like that, you might want to inform your server to allow for some lag time.

I suppose Imponente Pizza & Pasta   will be a good place to go if you’re in the Lake Worth area and in the mood for some Italian food while you watch the game, but the fare is really no better than what you’d find at many other similar restaurants (including the chains) in North Texas. The word “imponente” means “impressive” in the Italian language. The restaurant bearing this name has a way to go before it merits that adjective.

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Imponente Pizza & Pasta

3510 Northwest Centre Dr, FW. 817-237-4992. 11am-10pm daily.

All major credit cards accepted.

Imponente Pizza & Pasta
Bruschetta     $4
Caprese salad     $8
Bucatini con polpette     $10
Pizza     $12
Sicilian cannoli     $6

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