Sunday, December 29, 2013

Review: Luigi's Pizzeria in Bellaire

Back when I was a a sophomore in high school, Laurence Tureaud, aka Mr. T, had a cartoon as well as a starring  role on a hit TV show known as The A-Team.  The cartoon had Mr. T as the mentor and security guard for a group of teenage gymnasts on tour, who usually wound up getting into mysteries.  In one episode which took place in New York City, two high school aged boys, Jeff & Vince got into an argument over where to go to get East Coast/New York style pizza.  Jeff kept on arguing "We're going to Mario's!"  to which Vince countered "No, we're going to Luigi's!"  Besides the OBVIOUS plug for Super Mario Brothers from Nintendo, it made me wonder if there was a Luigi's pizzeria anywhere in New York, or if the name were a common Italian name, how many Luigi's pizzeria's there were anywhere in the US and Canada.  Besides those two musings, I always have had a soft spot for Luigi and have usually played him anytime I've played a Mario game whether in the arcade or console.  Very recently I found out we have a couple of places called Luigi's in Houston--one is an Italian Restaurant on Jones Road.  The other is a pizzeria with two locations--Midtown and Bellaire.  As you probably figured out, this is about the Luigi's Pizzeria in Bellaire.

The Bellaire Luigi's is situated on Bissonnet and Newcastle on the Southwest corner in a strip center that also includes a Shipley's Donuts.  It's a fairly simple storefront and the interior reminds me of this small Italian Deli I used to go visit in Baton Rouge while growing up, right down to the red and white plastic plaid table coverings.  You order at the counter.  They have the usual assortment of Coca-Cola products and iced tea, as well as cappuccino and other espresso beverages.  They don't sell beer or wine, but they are BYOB.  They do have wine glasses that you just pay a corkage fee to use and you're all good.  They also have gelato provided by Sun Belt Imports--produced by the son of the owner of the original Luigi's Midtown.   Their menu features a decent variety of pasta, salads, Calazones and of course East Coast Style Thin Crust Pizza.  The pizza comes in two sizes--12' and 16", and you can do a half and half if you're like me and have two picky kids who turn their noses up at some of the more adult pizza toppings like spinach, anchovies or spicy Italian sausage.

We went with a half Margherita (cheese, fresh tomato chunks and basil) and half Supreme (Pepperoni, Sausage, Hamburger, red and green bell peppers, black olives, onions and mushrooms.)  We sipped sodas and debated whether we should just eat the whole pie, or leave some leftovers and try some gelato.  Obviously we went with the latter.  When the pizza arrived, it was quite impressive.  The Margherita side was loaded with tomato chunks and fresh basil that had that minty-herbal essence that good bail exudes.  The Supreme half had loads of chunks of sausage and hamburger as well as visible mushroom and pepperoni slices.  Their pizza uses a rich tomato sauce and FYI: the pizza is not oversauced (I don't like cheese and toppings sliding off of excessively sauced pizzas), nor is it undersauced (it's really chinchy of pizzerias to make it look like a thin layer of red paint was applied to a crust).  We began digging in.  The kids noticed how fresh and aromatic the basil and tomatoes were on the Margherita side (I took one bit offered by my daughter and yep, it was true). I had to fold those slices like you see folks on the East Coast in order to prevent myself from making too much of a mess.  Each bite was filled with meaty, cheesy goodness.  Very satisfying.

When it came time for dessert, there were several flavours of gelato to choose from.  I tend to be a purist and go for the more traditional Italian American flavours, while my son goes for those like familiar ice cream flavours.  My daughter likes some of each.  We ended up getting 2 flavours for each kid, with the agreement for me to get a couple of spoonfuls of each flavour.  Helena got one of my faves: Stracciatella and Cheesecake, while Jason got Nutella and Cookies and cream.  All 4 flavours were smooth and creamy, as expected.  The Cookies and Cream was like a smoother, lighter version of the Bluebell ice cream flavour, while the Nutella had that cocoa and hazelnut essence that many of us like quite well.  The cheesecake basically tasted like vanilla gelato blended with dense New York Cheesecake.  The Straciatella had a light Italian sweet cream essence occasionally broken by the flecks of dark chocolate within it.  Nobody was complaining about the dessert at all and overall this was a fine lunch at a good local  place.  FYI:  They do delivery in a limited area (Minimum of $20.00 order for delivery) and they do catering as well.

Report Card for Luigi's Pizzeria in Bellaire
     Margherita Pizza: A
     Supreme Pizza: A 
     Gelato:  A
     Friendliness: A
     Speed: A-
     Dining Area: A
     Kitchen: A-
     Men's Room: A-
Atmosphere (Simple Italian Deli/Pizzeria): B+

Overall Grade: A-

It is my understanding that Luigi's Italian Restaurant on Jones Road is NOT affiliated with Luigi's in Bellaire/Midtown.  That means I need to pay them a visit sometime soon as well.

Luigi's Bellaire is located at:
4505 Bissonet St.
Bellaire, TX  77401

Hours of Operation:
Mon-Thu 11 AM to 9 PM
Fri-Sat 11 AM to 10 PM
Sun 12 PM to 8 PM

Eat Happy, Y'all!!!

Luigi's Pizzeria Bellaire on Urbanspoon

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