Discomfort Food

The food at Conca D'Oro won't stick to your ribs; it'll stick in your craw

With a little leeriness, we ordered a $35 bottle of Amarone from a wine list as brief as Pamela Anderson Lee's shorts, and with a little sigh of relief, we learned that the wine (whatever vineyard it was supposed to be from) wasn't in stock. The familiar vintages are probably the most logical ways to go -- not that there's much choice -- and at $29 for a Santa Margherita pinot grigio, the markup is bearable.

In fact that's a pretty apt description for the rest of the items we sampled. Nothing was startlingly good, not even a house specialty of lasagna laden with sliced, overly spiced sausage and so much ricotta cheese that the long, curly noodles were barely noticeable. A New York- style pizza was crisp and featured a generous amount of the toppings we'd ordered, but it lacked some moisturizing sauce. Plus, the mushrooms that garnished both the pizza and the chicken cacciatore were canned, a shortcut that detracts from the quality. As for the chicken itself, while our waitress had warned us that it was served on the bone, she'd neglected to tell us that aside from a little bit of skin, it was all bones. Clams casino, a starter, comprised an unequal ratio of clams to stuffing -- as in a little to a lot -- but at least the shellfish were fresh and the stuffing, though overwhelming, had a nice flavor imparted by sweet bell peppers.

The best dishes were the simple meat preparations some of us use as benchmarks for Italian restaurants. The meatballs, fist-size sculptures of savory ground beef gently enhanced with bright marinara, passed muster pleasingly. Veal Parmesan, whether you get it as a submarine sandwich or a dinner, will also no doubt satisfy, as the veal was thoroughly pounded and lightly breaded before being fried, sauced, and topped with melted mozzarella. If you order it as a dinner, you also receive a generous bowl of spaghetti, linguine, or ziti -- a plus for robust appetites.

Location Info

Map

Conca D'Oro Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria

1833 Tyler St.
Hollywood, FL 33020

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Hollywood

Details

Lunch and dinner Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. till 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday till midnight. Dinner Sunday from 4 till 11 p.m. Call 954-927-6704.
1833 Tyler St., Hollywood

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Still, no amount of heartiness or cost-effectiveness can disguise the fact that Conca D'Oro is not quite as consolatory as it once was. In fact it's pretty hard to pillow a waistline when no single dish compels a customer to finish it, which means that if you're like my sister and can't quite decide in what culinary direction to travel -- asceticism or gluttony -- Conca D'Oro can help you choose which way to go. Eat here often enough, and despite the calorie count of the food, you will grow thin.

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