Anyone who has spent any significant amount of time in the Metroplex is probably familiar with the Joe’s Pizza and Pasta brand, a collection of casual New York-style pizzerias owned and operated by several family members who relocated to Texas from Brooklyn in the 1980s.
Then in 1996, the Perolli family developed Joe’s upscale cousin, Pizzeria La Scala. The idea was to create a fancier alternative to the relaxed pizza joint with a menu that offered steak, seafood and veal in addition to the normal pies and sandwiches, as well as a bar for late night patrons.
The concept has worked, and despite La Scala’s seeming off-the-beaten-path location, the restaurant attracts patrons not only in Westlake and Trophy Club, but also from around Fort Worth and Mid-Cities. Located close to a Marriott, the restaurant also attracts its share of out-of-town visitors.
The extensive menu includes various shellfish-based seafood dishes, plus a filet mignon and Marsala steak option, as well as more traditional pizzas, subs and pasta dishes. Diners can choose to eat their meal al fresco on the patio or in the bar if they don’t want the more formal feel of the dining room.
When we visited for a mid-evening dinner, most of the patrons were seated in the bar and patio areas, so we opted to do the same. I’m sometimes leery of ordering food from the bar, but La Scala’s bartender was friendly and took the time to explain the dishes and make suggestions when she realized we were first-time guests.
We decided to start with a pair of appetizers. The generous portion of Fried Calamari ($6.99) is served with a flavorful, house-made marinara sauce and slices of lemon. The breading is crispy, but the meat is still tender. We also tried the Stuffed Mushrooms ($7.29), six mushroom caps filled with crabmeat and breadcrumbs and then served in a sinful portion of lobster cream sauce. Presentation lacks some polish, but both dishes have that satisfying, slow-made flavor of home.
For the main course, we tried La Scala’s Chicken Parmesan ($8.99) served with marinara over angel hair pasta and topped with melted mozzarella. The boneless chicken breast isn’t pounded as thin as I prefer, but it’s moist and very sizeable for the price point. We also sampled the Veal Saltimbocca ($12.99). The thin-cut veal slices are marinated in white wine and served over angel hair with a topping of Prosciutto ham, sautéed spinach and melted cheese that is not diet-friendly but buttery delicious. The pasta is not fresh-made and nothing special (not surprising, considering menu pricing), but the meat and sauce preparations at La Scala more than make up for what the pasta lacks in pizazz.
Also, La Scala’s sides are pretty limited, so don’t expect anything more than pasta to accompany most dishes. If you are craving something green, order a salad with your meal.
To finish, we decided to split one of La Scala’s Cannoli ($3.25). It’s a standard and satisfying representation of a classic dessert — fried pastry shells are filled with a creamy filling of ricotta and cream cheese. Instead of mini chocolate chips, the shell is drizzled in chocolate sauce.
Through the years, La Scala has maintained a neighborhood charm and hospitality, paired with its generously portioned dishes at pocketbook-friendly prices that the Joe’s brand is known for.Its out-of-the-way location may preclude regular visits for anyone not in the neighborhood, but it’s definitely worth stopping by if you’re in the Solana Westlake area.
Location: 3 Village Circle No. 115, Westlake (Off of Hwy 114 and Solana Blvd.)
For Info: 817.491.3779
Hours: Mon.-Thu., 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m. - 10:30 p.m., Closed Sun.
What We Liked: Although it’s evident not everything the restaurant serves is made from scratch, the sauces — particularly the marinara and cream sauces — taste like mom made them.
What We Didn’t: The bar atmosphere is welcoming, but we could do without the cigarette smoke.
Our Recommendations: Opt for some of Pizzeria La Scala’s more unique seafood and pasta offerings on your first visit.
| photography by Alex Lepe |