Last week's Family Out gave the incorrect Metro station stop for the Pizza 'n Pasta. The restaurant, located at 2131 Wilson Blvd. in Arlington, is near the Courthouse stop on the Orange Line. However, another Pizza 'n Pasta will be opening soon at 501 N. Randolph St. near the Ballston stop.
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Closed Sundays.
Atmosphere: Cheerful, nieghborhood Italian.
Price range: Frame $3.25 for spaghetti to $7.95 for veal specialties. Pizza begins at $3.50.
Reservations: Necessary for large parties.
Credit Cards: Diners Card, Master Charge and Visa.
Special Facilities: Two steps up. No booster or high chairs, just phone books. Across the street from Ballston Metro stop. Carry-out available.
It was if I had awakened from a dream and discovered truth-in-labeling: A restaurant that calls it as it is. No cute titles, no first or last names and no mention of famous places, just a statement of fact: Pizza 'n Pasta.
Here on Wilson Boulevard, across from the Ballston Metro stop, is a small, unpretentious restaurant that surpasses the claim of its name. The ambitious menu fulfills food fantasies for a wide range of customers, a testimonial to the constant flow of new customers.
We arrived early, but Pizza 'n Pasta already was bustling. No one seemed to mind the noise, even though the tables are tucked closely together.
Except for some chianti bottles hanging around the open-view kitchen and a few still lifes on the wall, the focus here is on food, not interior decoration.
It was too hot to think of soup, although minestrone is available. Clams casino, mussels marinara and mozzarella in carozza are all listed in the $2 to $3 range.
We decided to cool off with a pitcher of beer, some sodas and a dinner salad. A delightful mayonnaise-garlic house dressing adorned romaine lettuce. Here was our first clue to the quality of the food.
We decided to choose entrees that would give a sample of both the Pizza 'n Pasta. The children shared a large mushroom pizza, which easily would have fed two more children.
The pizza was New York-style (thin crust), but thick Sicilian crust also is available. Prices range from $3.50 for a 13-inch pizza to $4.75 for a thick-crusted pizza. Prices for additional toppings vary and depend on the size of the pizza.
The pizza won high praise from our family. The dough was light, topped with an ample portion of fresh mushrooms under a fine layer of cheese and tomato sauce.
Choosing a pasta from the variety of spaghettis, raviolis and lasagnas is more difficult. Add to that a canneiloni, a linguine, a manicotti and the house speciality, fettucine, and you are faced with a gourmet's dream. Pasta prices range from $3.25 to $5.75.
After careful deliberation and some consultation with the friendly waitress, my husband chose linguine with a white clam sauce. It also is available with a red sauce.
The clam sauce is a light mixture of oil, garlic and parsley gently tossed over homemade linguine. The clams are lightly seasoned and served in their shells. The porton of linguine is generous and could easily be a shared order.
I selected petto di pollor alla arrabiato ($5.50, as was the linguine), which included two finely pounded chicken breats that had been lightly dipped in egg and sauteed with fresh green pepper slices. A mild tomato sauce and a thin covering of melted mozzarella topped the chicken but did not detract from the perfectly cooked entree.
The accompanying spaghetti with meat sauce was another example of fresh, light pasta. Again, the serving would be ample as a main course. A basket of bread is served but it barely received a nod at our table.
We challenged our waitress to find one dessert that the four of us would enjoy sharing. We willingly would have sampled any of the choices: cheesecake, spumoni, tortoni, cream caramel or cannoli. She suggested cannoli and kindly provided four forks.
A family of four could enjoy a large pizza, two salads, a pitcher of beer or a carafe of wine, sodas and a dessert for under $15 plus tip. Our thorough exploration of both pizza and pasta selections came to $25 plus tip.
At Pizza 'n Pasta it is difficult to say whether the pasta or the pizza should get top billing. Both are prepared well, both are delicious.