Hours: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Friday and Saturday; noon to 11 p.m., Sunday.
Atmosphere: Dim and crowded; casual dress.
Price range: Pasta from $5.95 to $6.95; specialties, steaks and seafood from $5.75 to $12.75; salad bar as an extra $5.25; large tomato and cheese pizza $3.75.
Resevations: Not taken on weekends.
Credit cards: All major.
Special facilities: High chairs and booster seats; extensive children's menu; catering for private parties; parking lot; entrance to restaurant is one step up from parking lot level.
As its name indicates, Pistone's is an Italian restaurant. However, it doesn't stop there. Actually, in food and atmosphere, Pistone's closely resembles a suburban surf-and-turf restaurant that tries to cater to all sorts of tastes.
The restaurant is located on the north side of the Seven Corners intersection. Getting to it across the intersection can be tricky, but a big sign on stilts helps orient the driver.
The interior of the restaurant is dim and rather over-decorated with plastic Tiffany-style lampshades, paintings and wall hangings. Chairs with massive cushions that the patron literally sinks into are a nice touch. Another is the absence of background music, a refreshing change.
The menu is fairly wide-ranging, with the emphasis on Italian food, such as eight kinds of spaghetti and some combination possibilities. For $6.95 you can order both fettucine and ravioli, or if you are in a splurging mood, pasta and steak or seafood for $11.50.
There is a nice selection for the kids that include the usual spagheti, shrimp and chicken plus lasagna, ravioli, cannelloni and manicotti.
The prices range from $1.75 to $2.95 and the portions are fairly generous.
Service the evening our family dined at Pistone's was attentive and thoughtful.Our younger daughter wanted spaghetti in a plain tomato sauce. Since the only two varieties listed were with meatballs, $1.75, or with meat sauce, $1.85, the waitress offered to have the meat sauce strained.
Also, when we asked if the salad bar was included in the children's dinners as it was in ours, the waitress brought the kids small plates so that they could join us.
Pistone's could make -- it probably already has made -- its reputation on the salad bar, the most complete that we ever have encountered. At first, we considered sampling an appetizer -- perhaps Italian sausage and fried peppers, $2.25 -- but after catching a glimpse of the salad bar, we changed our minds. It was a smart move.
There were all sorts of yummies to put on the large, glass plated almost the size of bowls. To list a few -- bread, fresh fruits, including honeydew, all kinds of lettuce, relishes, three or four cheeses, even bowls, of dried fruits and nuts.Needless to say, the salad bar was a big hit.
Our main courses, unfortunately, were a letdown. We had arrived with a craving for Italian food, and so by-passed the steaks and seafood. The pasta turned out to be mediocre. Most of the dishes relied on tomato sauce for taste and seemed to have been warmed over rather than made fresh. Portions were not large but adequate.
The fettucine, which came with veal marsala, $9.95, was mushy, watery and almost tasteless. The veal, however, was tender and in a slightly sweet, wine-flavored sauce.
Cannelloni, $6.75, consisted of rolls of pasta, flat and overcooked, with a filling that owed more to bread stuffing than ground beef and sausage.
Our older daughter's spaghetti with meat sauce was more successful, the pasta firmer and in a rich, spicy sauce.
Our conclusion was that if you came to Pistone's for the salad bar, you won't be disappointed. If hunger persists, we recommend the cannoli, $1.60, a crisp tube of pastry filled with a sweet ricotta cream dotted with chocolate bits and candied fruits.
The tab for the four of us came to $359.29, including tax.