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.

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