Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Betta's Italian Oven

A neighborhood joint that may be getting too uppity
     Friday night is emerging as maybe bigger than Saturday for a meal out.  There are a number of nearby neighborhood eateries that serve good food at reasonable prices in a friendly manner, but we decided to try a newer place for us with Lisa.  Both Cincinnati magazine and The Enquirer have made a big deal out of the pizza at Betta’s and since it’s only a
couple of miles away for us, we thought why not?  Disclaimer:  I went once to its former Mt. Lookout location a few years ago and thought it was pretty good, but I wasn’t compelled to return.

Betta's Quaint Dining Room
     The Norwood/Evanston location has a cute, vintage aqua Fiat in the parking lot and a long, elegant bar area.  We were told we could sit anywhere and we chose a table along the wall with our backs to the television.  Yes, there’s a television in the middle of the dining room, which is tacky.  Really, people are incapable of a conversation without a screen?  There are some quaint pictures and the walls are a pretty orange.  Otherwise, it’s a neighborhood storefront that could have been around since that vintage Fiat first rolled off the assembly line.  The table hadn’t been cleaned and we waited while another server cleaned off tables where no one sat before our server cleaned ours off.  (I think the debris ended up on the floor).  

Stuffed Eggplant Special
    The menu is extensive with various white and red pizzas, appetizers, entrées, and desserts.  Lisa and I had a glass of wine each.  The specials sounded really good so I chose the Stuffed Eggplant, rather than the Eggplant Parmesan, and Lisa and Neil both ordered the Prosciutto, Apple, and Arugula white pizza.  They both ordered a side salad; mine came with a side salad and garlic bread.  The bread arrived a few minutes after the entrée.  The salad was chopped iceberg lettuce with some dressing – we chose the house red wine balsamic and sweet and sour garlic. There was nothing else in the salad for the $2.00 charge.  

     The eggplant was cooked perfectly:  tender, fragrant and not greasy with a three-cheese filling that was light with a citrus tang.  The sauce was fine, but nothing I can’t make at home.  There was a side of spaghetti.

The Nightly Pizza Special
The pizza, however, is the big thing.  There was a nice elasticity to the crust and the combination of Granny Smith apple slices and prosciutto worked well, but there were at least three times as many greens as needed.  I ate some of Lisa’s and Neil’s before they could actually get close to the pie itself.  The pizza is good – top 10 for the region, but it’s not better than A Tavola, Enoteca Emilia, Via Vite, Dewey’s, Mio’s or even La Rosa’s.  

Homemade Tiramisu
     We decided on the Tiramisu for dessert.  It was a generous portion that held its shape as a slice, rather than being a pudding.  I liked the flavor, but the ladyfingers hadn’t been soaked in espresso long enough so they were dry.  It was fine, but not in the league of Via Vite’s or Brontë Bistro’s.  It was a nice night out until we received the bill.  The 10” (‘or so’ according to our server) special white pizzas were $18 each.  It’s an obscene price when the other pizzas are in the $9 – 13 range.  The server didn’t warn us and we stupidly didn’t ask, but maybe this is the reason that Betta’s was half empty on a Friday night.

Betta's Italian Oven on Urbanspoon

I find that all a little embarrassing.

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