Friday, May 10, 2013

Review: Piatto Ristorante Royal Oaks

One of the things that can be frustrating at times for diners is knowing if a certain restaurant is a part of another one.  Some restaurants have names that are so freaking similar, it can lead to confusion.  I'm talking on the order of CFL football Ottawa Rough Riders versus Saskatchewan Roughriders type confusion.  There are a couple of famous Carrabba families in the Houston Area--John Charles aka Johnny Carrabba and Damian Carrabba founded the Carrabba's Italian Grill Gulf Coast restaurant chain.  And then there's John M. aka Johnny Carrabba, the founder of Piatto--a Houston only Italian restaurant with locations at Royal Oaks and The Galleria, founded in 2001.  This review is of the John M. Carrabba-owned restaurant known as Piatto Ristorante.

Kids' sized 4 cheese pizza at Piatto--2 thumbs up from Jason
Since 2001 is on the marquee of their webpage.  That's specifically talking about their Galleria-area location. The Royal Location, which my family visited recently, came a few years later.  Their Facebook page bills them as an Italian Restaurant with an American Twist.  This restaurant is one that a lot of folks may overlook in the Royal Oaks area of Westchase it is in a Nexus of a ton of different Cafés, fast food and fast casual places.  A couple of folks once told me that mistook it for Pronto--an Italian fast-casual place that's reminiscent of La Madeline.  Piatto is definitely not Carrabba's and it's definitely not Pronto.  It is actually a nice, comfortable Italian Café with good food and friendly service.

When  you enter, you see a wide open dining area with high ceilings in soothing colors for the furniture and the floors, but with brash, bold artwork largely themed around vehicles, which is actually the work of local artists and can be bought for the right price.  Caesar, the manager, greeted us warmly, noticed my Lone Star College golf shirt and mentioned he was studying engineering at the Cy Fair Campus of my primary employer.  This warm welcome set the tone for a great evening of food for the family.

Asparagus Speciali--lots of crab meat there too!

Caesar suggested we start off with their signature appetizer--Asparagus Speciali: This is asparagus, lightly breaded and fried, topped with Jumbo Lump crab meat and a Garlic Lemon Butter Sauce.  This is one tasty appetizer.  And unlike other times, we had no trouble getting the kiddos to chow down on their asparagus.   Good call Piatto and Caesar!!!

Pollo Involtini
After perusing the menu, the adults went with Linguine Pescatore--Linguine pasta with Mussels, Shrimp, and Crab Claws in a Spicy Marinara Sauce, and Pollo Involtini: Chicken Breast stuffed with Three Cheeses and Spinach, topped with Marsala Wine Sauce, and Diced Roma Tomatoes, served with Fettuccini Alfredo on the side.  The kiddos went with Fettucini Alfredo and a Kids-sized 4 cheese pizza.

Linguine Pescatore
The Verdict?  The Linguine Pescatore was served quite al dente--tender yet firm.  The seafood was fresh and properly cooked, not too chewy, nor too flaky.  The Marinara sauce was bold, a little spicy and complemented the seafood and pasta well.  Good Job!  The Pollo Involini was a bit like Chicken Cordon Bleu, but with less pungent cheese and plenty of fresh spinach inside.  The Marsala wine sauce was wonderful, full of flavour and a nice herbal aroma with a hint of roasted garlic.  The Fettucini served on the side had a very creamy, rich Alfredo sauce with a hint of Garlic and Pepper.

The kiddos were also happy with their food--Helena gobbled up her Fettucini and then asked for dessert.  Jason ate the pizza down to the "bones" (bare crusts) and was happy with his selection as well.  The kids menu includes a scoop of vanilla ice cream, which is a good value and was much appreciated.  Our server did present us with a full dessert tray, and we ended up splitting a Crème Brûlée which was garnisheed with f fresh sliced strawberries & a mint leaf, and with a caramelized topping.  This was a very decadent custard--rich, thick, creamy, and warm.  A perfect ending to a wonderful meal.

Report Card for Piatto-Royal Oaks:
Food: 
     Linguine Pescatore: A+
Artwork at Piatto Royal Oaks 

     Pollo Involtini: A
     Fettucini Alfredo: A
     4 Cheese Pizza: A
     Crème Brûlée: A+

Service:
     Speed: A
     Friendliness: A+

Cleanliness: 
     Dining Area: A
     Kitchen (Can see clearly into it): A
     Men's Room: A-

Atmosphere (Modern Italian Bistro with interesting artwork): A

Overall Grade: A

Piatto has 2 Houston area locations.  We went to the one at:
Piatto Dessert Tray 
Royal Oaks
11693 Westheimer Rd.
Houston, Texas 77077
(281) 759-7500

Hours:
Monday:11-9
Tuesday thru Thurs: 11-9:30
Friday: 11-10
Saturday:12-10
Sunday: 10:30-3 Brunch Buffet
3-9 Regular Menu

And Remember to Eat Happy, Y'all!!!
Mangiare felicemente tutti voi!!!
吃得开心!!!

Hank

Piatto Ristorante in Royal Oaks on Urbanspoon

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