Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Colasante's Ristorante and Pub

Colasante's Ristorante and Pub on Fairmont Ave in Westover WV…. Serving pizza pasta sandwiches salads and more, in a light homey atmosphere. 

First this place has been around forever… and I mean forever. I think the last time this place had an update people were talking about who shot JR Ewing on Dallas.  The “lounge” upstairs is dated with wood paneling all over, and it is a Mini Casino or “hot spot” so only over 21 year old people are supposed to be there. It smells like smoke so bad that it permeates your clothing before you are half way up the stairs. Unfortunately this is really the only place that can easily accommodate a larger group of people. Downstairs is non-smoking, more of a family place from 1983.  The whole place reminds me of pizzerias from my childhood. Like the first Pizza Huts, when people actually went to Pizza Hut sat down and ordered a pizza and a pitcher of Coke. It is really quite nostalgic and charming, there aren’t many places like this left.

The service there is hit or miss.  This last time was a miss, like bottom of the ninth 2 outs bases loaded 7th game of the World Series… swing and a miss. I have had better luck getting a three-toed sloth to move faster and get silverware to me.  I had my food for 5 minutes before she brought out a fork, and looked at me like I was rude for asking. I think she wanted me to use the Force to cut up my sausage and peppers. The girl wasn’t really happy we were there to eat; it can be such a bother to have customers sometimes I guess. Touch screen games can be so much more fun.

That said I have been there before where the service was so good that I couldn’t believe that I was at a pizza joint. Intuitive waitresses that knew what we wanted before I had even thought of it. “Sweetheart you look like you wanted some extra marinara for your crust”, and she was right. I love people like that that like their job and like being good at it. Making you feel at home, taking care of you like an Old Italian Grandma, if you tell her you want more she brings out a whole other plate. If you say you don’t want any more you just get another smaller plate… “It’s ok baby you are a growing boy” I’m 31 and already fat enough but I still like being treated like that.

The food…

This place does a few things really well, and then they do a few other things to fill up the menu.

The appetizers are mainly a bunch of junk fried food like stuffed mushrooms from a freezer bag made by somebody that was allergic to mushrooms. Mozzarella sticks are available, but I am pretty sure that there was no actual mozzarella harmed in the making of them, again from the infamous freezer section of Sam’s club. The stuffed peppers are hit or miss, sometimes they cook off the peppers before they stuff them like you are supposed to sometimes they don’t, either way they are hot. The sausage is good but spicy, so there powers combined this app is as hot as the seventh level of Dante’s hell, so if you have an ulcer skip this or you might bleed to death.

The wings in medium sauce are wonderful…. It is delicious, good spice with a touch of tanginess and finishes with a hint of sweetness from the vinegar they use in it. It is so good that if you are not a properly trained wing eater, one of those amateur people that use two hands, you will get the sauce all over you, but your brain wont let you wipe off until you have finished the plate.

Get the Pizza Blanco or the Garlic Dippers. Both are superb.  I crave these appetizers. I dip the garlic dippers in the medium wing sauce, one word Devine. Both are a personal size pizza with an oil base. The garlic dippers have been cut into strips and covered in garlic cloves and cheese. The Pizza Blanco is like a tomato salad on a pizza basil tomato and mozzarella…. These are good things basic and wonderful.

The salads are good, fresh vegetables. Lots of cheese and some have fries. These are big salads and are delicious I recommend the house red wine vinaigrette. Just add some sugar to the dressing, I find it to be a bit sour without it.  The ranch is really good as well. Ahhhh ranch the universal sauce of WV, people put it on everything and theirs is pretty good. DO NOT order the Italian dressing it comes from a tub…  Not a bottle a tub it is that thick yellow dressing that could be mistaken for Buffalo snot. Overall the salads are pretty good, and they go well with the main reason to come here, the Pizza

The pizza crust here is so good and the sauce is so tangy,,, I crave it so bad my inner being yearns for it, and no lesser pizza can take its place. It has a flavor that isn’t available anywhere else. They have specialty pizzas including a taco pizza that is pretty good and should be tried at least once. They have good Italian sausage that is a bit spicy, the same as in the stuffed peppers, but it is good. And they will put meatballs on it. Who doesn’t want meatballs on a pizza? Bad people that’s who.  If you come here and don’t get a pizza you missed out on the entire reason for this places existence.

The pasta. Some of it is good and some of it is cafeteria food, lets break it down. Lasagna, it is traditional Grandma Italian simple meat cheese noodle, repeat then repeat again cover in sauce more cheese on top serve piping hot, eat enjoy. It is recommended. The Chicken Parmesan looks to have been deep fried out of a freezer bag, thrown on a plate, melt some mozzarella, with some reheated noodles, and slop some sauce on it, served with a piece of bread. Skip this or you wont eat here ever again. The meat sauce is pretty good but I think it is a bit sweet. I am a bit of a sauce whore and compare everything to my Aunt Cindy’s sauce, a benchmark that sets the bar high.

Try the gnocchi and the tortellini, but order both of them with the tortellini sauce. Because it is a wonderful cream sauce with a blend of Italian herbs and garlic that come together in a symphony of flavor that make your taste buds hear the music of the Vienna Boys Quire at Christmas, just wonderful.

If the tortellini sauce is like a boys quire then when you see the calzone you ordered come out, and you did order one because if you didn’t then you might as well have helped the terrorists come to America…. Yes it would have been that big of a mistake... Back to boys quire… The calzone would be like a 5000 person Southern Baptist Church Revival singing Oh Happy Day, and performing faith healings. This thing is HUGE. So big you should have to pay personal property tax on it. “How much does snow removal cost on your calzone.” But I digress. Stuffed with everything imaginable under the sun, these things are not to be missed. There is one named after Nick, I don’t know who this man is but his calzone is so good stuffed with different meats, cheeses, and peppers that you probably have to make an appointment years in advance just to shake his hand.  The insides are warm and full of goodness, and the bread has a beautiful crust and a soft velvety layer that holds all of that goodness like a baby in swaddling clothes.

There are too few places like this left, family restaurants that support and are supported by the local community. They aren’t trying to make a fortune off of you the prices are very reasonable. You can feed 4 people for less that $10 a person. Everything now trends to the generic restaurant like Chilies, Cheddars, or Applebee’s. If you were blind could you really tell the difference by taste alone? So with all of its quirks this is a Pizzeria worth going to, Brings you back to a better time when family’s sat around and shared a slice, took a minute and talked to their kids about little league or soccer practice, just enjoying each others company. Besides all of that, they have damn good pizza.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


This past Wednesday we were invited to the trial opening and staff training of Tailpipes; the new Burger restaurant on High St. next to Daniels. We rounded up the troops and invaded the place about twelve opinions deep. 

First the atmosphere. It's nice in there, set up like a 60s diner inside, it has comfortable booths and tables. The lights and fixtures all look like auto parts, a nice touch, everything is red, black, white, and chrome. it sounds harsh but it works the lighting is soft and it is comfortable. It feels like a burger joint inside.

The joy of the walk up counter..... I love the half fast food half sit down restaurant. You get the instant gratification of knowing your order is placed and having your drink, While knowing that you are going to be waited on in the near future. The staff is nice here, you place your order an the girls behind your counter ring you up and prepare your milkshake....we will get to that in a moment.... and bring out your food when it is ready....they clean up your mess too.

The Menu.... The Mad Scientist Burger Restaurant.

This place is very cool, but man, there are a lot of options, the first time for me I was a bit overwhelmed. They have about a dozen burgers planned out already. Named after mussel cars these are some Bad Ass burgers.  Moist and delicious whatever meat you choose they do take some time to come out "an extra minute or two" but they are from fresh, not frozen, meat and they are in some complicated combinations.

A few examples from memory

The Barracuda..... caramelized onions, pineapple, jalapeno BACON, mozzarella, with a teriyaki sauce glaze, on a sesame seed roll...... this is a true food porn burger this is the first one I ordered and yes I had more than one that night.

The Shelby Cobra.... An AWESOME combo on a great roll. This is good stuff here. Burger, spinach, roasted red peppers, and goat cheese with a cranberry....yes cranberry glaze. on a delicious whole grain bun. I chose to have this one made with buffalo.... yes that is an option... I should have picked turkey... yes that is an option too. With the cranberry glaze it would have been like a Thanksgiving burger.... But the buffalo is a good choice it was moist, tender and delicious....

I tasted a lot of the other burgers too and they were good, but I couldn’t eat everything there was too much to try including the sides.

The choices can be daunting. pick a gourmet creation or build your own, with what looks like to be 100,000 flavor combination starting with what kind of meat. Beef, Turkey, Buffalo, Chicken breast, or for those whiny vegetarians Portabella Mushroom Caps. Then chose from 5 types of bun including lettuce. Then what seems like an infinite amount of toppings including fried green tomatoes. The choices can be daunting but I don't think you will be disappointed no matter what you get. I guarantee you will already be looking ahead for what you will get next time you go.

The burgers are great but I would go back for the sides alone.

Onion Rings....... The myth about onion rings are that they come from a bag that was processed in some old world country like Romania.. frozen and freezer burnt, then shipped by oxcart across old Europe then delivered to the grocery store to sit in the freezer for 7 to 9 years waiting for a pregnant woman to have a craving for them.

This is not the case here. These onion rings were invited by Dr. Frankenstein. Infused with what I think was crack cocaine for addictive properties only. These cut fresh daily, tempura style battered rings are.... Phenomenally Delicious. But wait there is more. they give you a special sauce to dip them in it. They call it a fry sauce.... It is like a supped up chipotle ranch, but that doesn't so it Justice, like saying a Ford fiesta and a Rolls Royce are the same because they both get you from point A to point B. It is so good that I would put vodka in it and take shots at the bar. If it was good for my skin you could find me on Sunday nights laying in a bathtub full of it letting my stress flow away in the bliss of its peppery goodness...... Verdict.... try the onion rings.

The fries.... what kind ... that is the question regular, sweet potato, or zucchini...... Yep, options again, just like ordering a real mussel car there are options available.

The zucchini fries are really good. fresh and crisp they taste like the fried zucchini that my Aunt makes me when i go visit.... also they go well wit the fry sauce. as I am sure anything would including old used tire.

Sweet Potato fries. probably the greatest invention of the late 20th century they are doing them well here. Worth giving a try if you never have. But they go best with the MAPLE BACON MILKSHAKE..... how is that for a segway.

The milkshakes.... hand dipped and crafted with more care than Michelangelo took painting he Sistine Chapel. These milkshakes are goodness incarnate. They have the standards... for those of you with no adventure in your heart.... and they have some that are creative, there is one that tastes like an orange dream sickle... they do seasonal shakes as well. But one in particular makes your brain itch....causing you to wonder if someone in the back was having either a Dahlia Lama experience, or a life crises... well whatever happened.. the planets must have been aligned because it works.... World let me tell you about the MAPLE BACON MILKSHAKE. Thank you oh lord for the small favors in life. There are not so many things in life that can give you this particular feeling of well being. The face of a child on Christmas morning, The moment you had your first kiss, the first time your Dad told you he was proud of you. and this milkshake. It is hard for me to describe how this tasted besides what i said right after i tasted it. "You have got to be F%#&I@G kidding me".... and then something strange happened. I was overwhelmed with all of the flavor profiles coming at me at once... I thought about eating Wendy’s frosties with French fries... and I decided to do something bold. I took my sweet potato fries and dipped them into my shake..... as the first morsel of food touched my taste buds.... I felt the world around me slow down. colors were brighter, sounds were crisper, I had a warm felling wash across my soul... I snapped back and I realized that I had just experienced in that one moment... true bliss. Food Nirvana if you will.

We had a good time there sampling each others food, laughing and carrying on for a while, I was almost sorry when it was time to leave even thought I was stuffed like a fat girl in a bebe sweat suit.    

Friends what can I say besides that. I recommend this place the food is good, the people are nice, and it is a comfortable place to be.


What is the reason for all of this

So why start a blog about a bunch of guys that eat a lot, drink to much and are to picky about their food? Because it is a good time that's why. Imagine if you will a core group with occasional guests that have discerning pallets, and opinions about service and atmosphere. Almost all of us are or have been in the bar and nightclub business. We come together at least once a week and try out new places or revisit old favorites. We have been to most if not all of the restaurants in and around the Morgantown WV area, and we travel to Pittsburgh occasionally.  So in an effort to offer a "professional amateur" opinion telling you about the good, and the bad in every restaurant we visit. We set out with this venture to enhance the public understanding about the myriad of options available. The chain restaurant isn't always the best choice even though it might be the easiest.