Piattello Italian Kitchen

Try This: Tagliatelle Bolognese
5924 Convair Drive | piattelloitaliankitchen.com

The best restaurant to open in Fort Worth over the past two years, Marcus Paslay's take on an Italian restaurant defies what most of us have been taught about Italian restaurants. At Piattello, opened in January in the Waterside development, you won't find big plates of lasagna coated in red sauce, or pepperoni pizza, or a dimly lit dining room, or music from "The Godfather" wafting in the background. 

"That's exactly what we didn't want to do," says Paslay. "I didn't want to do a red sauce joint that served boxed pasta in your stereotypical Italian restaurant atmosphere. I wanted to raise the bar."

Pictured: Panzanella Salad

Paslay did just that, assembling a dream team of North Texas chefs — executive chef Scott Lewis (from Dallas' acclaimed Sprezza) and sous-chefs Bria Downey (Meddlesome Moth, Bird Café) and Jen Williams (Lucia, Magnolia Cheese Company) — to employ the same from-scratch philosophy he utilizes at his other restaurant, the upscale American spot Clay Pigeon. (Williams has since left the restaurant; line cook Alex Drury was promoted to sous-chef.)

Pictured: Sous-chef Alex Drury, Mitchel Howard, executive chef Scott Lewis and sous-chef Bria Downey. 

Piattello's key dishes — the half-dozen varieties of pasta, such as the must-trys like Tagliatelle Bolognese or Spaghetti Pomodoro — are made in-house, a rarity in Fort Worth. "Making your own pasta, it's a grueling, time-consuming process," Paslay says. "But it makes all the difference in the world. Fresh versus boxed, there's no competition." 

Pictured: Bucatini

Likewise, salads are composed of ridiculously fresh ingredients. The restaurant's chopped salad, topped with salami and radicchio, is one of the most popular items on the menu. "Salads are the best examples of how simple quality ingredients can make a great dish," Paslay says. 

The dining room, too, goes against the grain of your average Italian restaurant. No low lights or dark color schemes. Instead, you sit in a large, open dining room, brightly colored and energetic, or on the attractive patio. A table in the dining room affords a view of the open kitchen, a show unto itself. 

"A lot of people love watching Scott and his crew at work," Paslay says. "Watching your pizza or pasta get made, it's something else you don't see a lot of in Fort Worth. It's one of the other things that makes us unique."

Pictured: Saffron Cappelletti With Lamb Ragu