Sunday, December 23, 2012

Review: Napoli's Restaurant & Pizza

The driving I have to do going from my home to the places where I work leads me across many great local places, some waiting to be discovered by the rest of us.  Sometimes these places I've found have been around a long time and have a very loyal local following.  One of these places I stopped at this past week, Napoli's Restaurant and Pizza on Jones Rd., is indeed just such a place.  It's family owned and operated for over 28 years!

Per their website:
Since 1984, we at Napoli’s have been proudly serving the Houston area. We are family owned and operated and have always believed that great food at moderate prices in a casual family atmosphere are essential for our success. A lot of our preparation is done in-house and we take pride in selecting our ingredients to insure we serve you the best product at the best price. Our pizzas are hand tossed and our sauces are homemade, just like Momma used to make.

The entire crew at Napoli’s would like to take this time to thank you for your patronage and for choosing us for your special occasions; whether it be an anniversary, birthday, power lunch or just because, let us do the cooking … please enjoy!
 Okay, you've convinced me!  I'm stopping by for lunch on this December day!  Their lunch menu features several reasonably priced specials.  It was mighty hard for me to not just get a 3 topping pizza and be done with it.  Pizza is one of those things that can be outstanding like the folks at Star Pizza do, but even when it's marginal, it is still pretty good.  It's much harder to make good pasta just right as far as al dente texture is concerned, and given one of their daily specials is spaghtti or ziti with either 2 meatballs or 2 Italian sausages, or a la Naploi Style (eggplant, mushroom & onion in a red sauce), I went there instead.  All their lunch special pastas are served with a small dinner salad, and one of the dressings they offer is a house-made red wine vinaigrette dressing.

The salad had fresh veggies--no mushy tomatoes or limp lettuce.  The red wine vinaigrette dressing was sour, peppery and had a nice hint of garlic.  Very nice way to start off the meal, to be sure.    What really grabbed my taste buds was the poignant, slightly sour and savoury flavour of the dressing.  In house made items can be totally wonderful or just plain wrong.  This was the good stuff.  The pasta came out, and though it looked fairly standard, one bite of the sausages filled my mouth with a robust, fennel flavour, with sweet pork elements that was chewy and wonderful in their red sauce.  And yes indeed, the pasta was al dente--tender yet firm and chewy.

For those of you wonks who want all restaurants to be fancy, this restaurant is not for you.  I like fancy restaurants and eat at them plenty.  This was more of a down home Italian American diner.  The food was comforting and definitely hit the spot within my appetite that needed hitting.  I felt at home, the staff was friendly and served food and drink refills in a timely fashion.  Overall no complaints and a nice stop for lunch on this sunny Houston December day!

Report Card for Napoli's Restaurant and Pizza:
     Dinner Salad with House Made Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing: A
     Spaghetti Balognese with Italian Sausage: A
     Friendliness: A-
     Speed: A-
     Dining Area: A
     Men's Room: A-
Overall Grade:  A-

13323 Jones Rd.
Houston, TX 77070
(281) 955-5443
Hours of Operation:
Lunch Specials Available from 11 AM to 3 PM
11:00 am - 10:00 pm

And remember to Eat Happy, Y'all!!!

Napoli's Restaurant & Pizza on Urbanspoon

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