In last week's dining review of the restaurant Little Italy, the hours should have been listed as 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday; dinner buffet 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. nightly; lunch buffet, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays only. (Published 10/ 25/90) In the Oct. 18 review of the restaurant Little Italy, the hours should have been listed as 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday; dinner buffet 5 to 9 p.m. nightly; lunch buffet, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays only. (Published 11/1/90)
5117 Backlick Rd.
Hours: Lunch and buffet 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday; dinner and buffet 5 to 9 p.m. daily.
Prices: Soups and appetizers $1.95 to $6.95; sandwiches and salads $3.95 to $6.25. Lunch pasta and entrees $4.95 to $9.95; Dinner pasta and entrees $5.95 to $11.95.
Credit Cards: MasterCard, American Express, Visa, Diners Club.
Nonsmoking area available.
With the price of gasoline spiraling upward, it's somehow comforting to hear that Pramod Kochhar, the owner of the recently opened Little Italy, pledges not to increase his prices for at least a year.
Indeed, at current prices there are some good values here, not the least of which is the all-you-can-eat buffet at $5.45 for weekday lunches and $8.95 for dinner.
Usually, I'm as much of a buffet-basher as anybody, but thus far, Little Italy's array of lasagna, chicken cacciatore and other popular southern Italian standards generally has been fresh and flavorful.
As for the rest of the menu, the food is characterized by lively spices and generous portions. And although the house marinara sauce, which appears on several dishes, is a bit too acidic for my taste, the robust seasoning provides a measure of compensation.
The compact interior with classical architectural touches such as columns and arches is boldly painted in vibrant aqua and salmon. With attractive surroundings and modest prices, Little Italy is appropriate for business dining as well as for families.
The buffet is a good value when you find the best dishes. At the top of my list are the thin, lightly breaded slices of eggplant parmigiana and a creamy mushroom soup of the day.
Other good choices include dense, peppery meatballs, meat and cheese lasagna, and the sausages with fenell and hot pepper. I'd skip the mussels, which tend to dry out on the table, and the so-so chicken cacciatore and ziti with meat sauce.
The menu offers veal, seafood and steaks in addition to the chicken, vegetarian and pasta dishes, but these dishes are not likely to be significantly better than what you'll find on the buffet.
Best bets here are the Shrimp Scampi ($9.95) in a spritely butter and white wine sauce; Chicken fra Diavolo ($8.95), fragrant with green pepper and onion; a buttery salmon fillet; and the Veal Ricchi ($11.95) sandwiched between thin sheets of eggplant and draped with mozzarella cheese.
A quick foray among the appetizers turned up an acceptable combination platter of fried mozzarella, zucchini and mushrooms and a below-average antipasto salad.
Desserts are mostly ice cream confections such as tartuffo, spumoni, mud pie, plus a pretty good linzer log with chocolate and raspberry flavors. Although the cannoli filling was too thick and pasty, a slice of marble cheesecake is an unqualified winner.