My wife and I like to celebrate our milestones with some good Italian food. So, every year for our anniversary and for our birthdays, we make a reservation at our local Italian restaurant and have a good hearty meal. However, I recently decided that we should change the venue up a little bit and I made reservations at Buca di Beppo in Southlake. I had heard good reviews about the restaurant from back up North, so I decided that we should give it a chance.
When you come into the restaurant, you get a quick lesson in Italian by finding out that Buca di Beppo means Joe’s basement. This is what the wait staff lets you know as they take you to your table by way of the kitchen. No, you don’t get led into the restaurant by the back door. Each Buca di Beppo is designed so that you walk through the kitchen, allowing you to see the food as it is made. There is even a table set up in the kitchen that you can reserve in advance. As we were celebrating my wife’s birthday, this was our table for the evening.
In Texas they say that there’s no such thing as good Mexican food north of the Red River. I always believed that there was no such thing as good Italian food south of the Delaware River. Fortunately, Buca di Beppo proved me wrong. We started off with some bruchetta topped with Roma tomatoes. The bread was cooked with olive oil and baked with mozzarella to provide a soft, tasty experience. Including the fresh Roma tomatoes on the top made for an overall enjoyable experience.
One of the added benefits of sitting in the kitchen is that the wait staff stops by your table to present the food that they are bringing to the other tables. Although we had already placed our order, my wife and I got a chance to look at some of the other foods we were considering. The most amazing thing to me was that each item of food that was brought by looked exactly the same as it was presented in the menu. This speaks volumes to the kitchen’s presentation and quality control.
The other benefit of our table came to our attention by way of the kitchen. It was a Wednesday night, and therefore rather slow in the kitchen. Because of this, the chefs brought us one of their meatballs and a plate of mashed potatoes, courtesy of the kitchen. The meatball was a half pound in size and cooked with a small handful of garlic cloves. The thing that took us by surprise was that the garlic was not overwhelming at all, and just added to the flavor. The mashed potatoes were made with the skins still present (one of my favorite ways) and topped with a pat of real butter. This sample was well enjoyed. We could have stopped our meal right there, as my wife and I were already full.
However, our main course of the night had just arrived. Veal parmigiana and Quatro el Forno (four different types of pasta) were brought out to our table for our enjoyment. The veal was tender and juicy to the cutting with a knife. The pasta was tender and covered with marinara that could have been made by an Italian grandmother. Both of these orders were what as referred to as Buca small, meaning that the plates were made to be eaten by up to three people. By three people, they apparently meant three starving people as my wife and I, filled already, were barely able to make a dent into either plate.
Finally, it was time for dessert. We were looking for something small, so we got an order of chocolate canoli and a small bowl of gelato. Growing up in New Jersey, I have had more than my fair share of cannoli, and this plate was some of the best that I had ever had. The dough was soft yet crunchy at the same time, soaking up every inch of the chocolate that was on the plate. The gelato was soft and creamy, better than any ice cream available in Texas.
The total cost for the night was seventy-two dollars. While this may seem to be a little bit excessive, keep in mind that my wife and I had left overs for lunch for the next two days. The atmosphere was pleasant, the wait staff were friendly and professional, and (as you have read), the food was amazing. Overall, Buca di Beppo is well worth the visit. So, make a reservation today and leave your belt at the door.