Reader Amy Tlockowski e-mailed me these thoughts about Sal’s Italian Restaurant, which opened last month in the Bonsack shopping center that also houses Kroger and Cafe Asia. Sal’s owner Sal Scotto closed his Mamma Concetta Italian Restaurant in Christiansburg in order to open Sal’s.
If anyone else would like to submit their thoughts about a recently tried restaurant, e-mail them to me at Lindsey.firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to add your restaurant reviews to Plateup.roanoke.com. Simply find the restaurant you’re thinking about and add your review there.
Without further ado, here is Amy’s guest review:
“I stumbled through [Sal's] doors on December 23 after getting my son a hair cut at the place next door. It was in the middle of the afternoon, my five year was super hungry, and Sal’s was the closest place to hit before having to go grocery shopping. I am SO very happy that we decided to have a mom and kid lunch there. We ordered a pepperoni pizza so my son could have his fill, and I’d be able to bring home the bulk of the pie for my husband to eat after he arrived him later that night from his job.
I indulged in their lunch special – all-you-can-eat soup, salad, and garlic knots. They were serving cream of broccoli soup that day. Although creamy – it wasn’t one of those ‘let’s throw in a gallon of heavy cream and some green stuff and call it a day’ soups. There were small nubbins of Yukon Gold potatoes to help thicken the soup and provide a creamy texture. The garlic knots were warm, lightly dusted with parsley and red pepper flakes, and liberally coated in fresh garlic. My salad was garden variety but made special by the Chianti vinaigrette. Our server was stupendous – enough attention to make us feel important but never hovering. She offered apple juice to my kid which made his day. I never buy juice, so getting a glass in a restaurant is like having dessert for him. She even cut it with water when I mentioned that I don’t usually serve it at home.
I was able to enjoy a lunch there today with just my husband. Again, I was not disappointed. I sipped a cappuccino that was perfectly prepared and not (thank you coffee goddess!) bitter throughout the meal, enjoyed an obviously well-made and well-loved pasta fagioli, and shared more garlic knots with my husband, who chose to have the stuffed shells. While not everyone in the South believes in ricotta cheese, I simply cannot stomach the idea of cottage cheese in any Italian dish. I cringe when I see recipes for lasagna or stuffed shells touting cottage cheese in the filling. Ugh. Just a big bunch of disgusting in my world. The shells were perfectly stuffed with thick, rich ricotta and mozzarella.
The best part of our meal was talking with Genarro (sic), the owner’s son. He worked the floor like a maven and made certain that the packed dining room was fat and happy. He surprised us with a dessert of our choice (Hello? Limoncello cake?) and specially prepared espresso from beans his grandmother had just shipped from Naples.
I could blather on and on about him, his father’s wonderful kitchen techniques which obviously highlight his love of food and family, and the two small meals I’ve enjoyed at Sal’s. Better yet, please say something about this great place that’s hidden away in the small nook next to the Bonsack Kroger so more people know about real Italian and wonderful service.”