Chow, Baby: Wednesday, January 19, 2005
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Parsing the Pasta

For once, Chow, Baby wishes it had paid more attention in English class. Here it has stumbled on the perfect topic for a compare-and-contrast essay but how to construct it? Whats the frame of reference? Should the argument be point-by-point or text-by-text? Dunno. But Chow, Baby does have a thesis statement: Piccolo Mondo (829 Lamar Blvd E, Arlington) is similar to Joes Pizza & Pasta (4750 Bryant Irvin, Cityview) because they are both Italian restaurants that serve chicken and sautZed mushrooms in a cream sauce, but they are different in other important ways.
Subject A: Piccolo Mondo is your standard upscale (no pizza) Italian restaurant: soft romantic lighting, elegantly presented dishes, solicitous service. Most entrZes are $9.75 to $19.75. On a recent Friday night Chow, Baby and party had to wait a few minutes for a table; the bar area was bustling with TGIF suits, but a handsome piano player was tinkling away, so the interlude was quite pleasant. As was the meal: Chow, Babys chicken forestiera ($10.50) was delightful, a sautZed chicken breast with tons of fresh mushrooms in a rich herbed cream sauce, plus all the freshly grated parmesan it wanted (which was a lot). Hot rolls and a crisp salad with housemade Italian dressing, the tomato-based kind, were nice complements. This is a wonderful place for a serene, classy, delicious dining experience.
Subject B: Joes Pasta and Pizza is your standard Joes kind of place, with bright fluorescent lighting, zilch atmosphere, and pleasant but rushed service. Most entrZes are $5.95 to $10.50. There is no piano player. Chow, Babys chicken forest (losing four letters saves you 51 cents: $9.99) was delightful: three small chicken breasts and tons of fresh mushrooms in a rich herbed cream sauce, plus all the parmesan cheese it cared to dump out of the table shaker. And a bed of ziti (low-carb pasta on request). The hot rolls and the crisp salad with housemade tomato-based Italian dressing were nice complements. This is a wonderful place for a quick, ultra-casual, delicious dining experience.
Conclusion: Piccolo Mondo and Joes are, well, similar in some ways and different in others, but both are good. Chow, Baby will now compare and contrast actual expenses versus expense account maximums.


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