A step inside Mezzodi’s conjures up the kind of warm and fuzzy feelings one gets stepping into Grandma’s house. The south-side Italian restaurant is cozy and friendly, and the rich smell of pasta, marinara and Italian meats gently wafts into every corner of the restaurant, awakening your senses like the smell of brewing coffee in the morning.
A few diners were enjoying an early dinner, with more filing in, when we stopped in around 5 p.m. Our server was efficient and friendly, and knew the specials and the menu well. We weren’t hungry enough for an appetizer, but popular choices, like the bruschetta, grilled Gorgonzola polenta cakes and fried green pepper rings, were all still tempting.
After enjoying a glass of wine (we felt no pressure to rush into the meal), we ordered our entrees. I chose the chicken Florentine, and when it was set in front of me, I was glad we skipped the starter. The dish is a decadent, large plate with three plump slices of chicken wrapped snug around a blend of cheese, spinach and tomatoes. Underneath, a bed of fettucini alfredo added richness to the dish, which the healthy heap of steamed broccoli couldn’t compete with.
The chicken was tender and juicy, and the blend of ricotta, Parmesan and mozzarella melted around the sauteed vegetables. The pasta was rich and buttery, and a bit much with the chicken. The broccoli was, well, broccoli, but broke up the decadence of the rest.
My meal came with a salad or soup, and I chose salad with a light and flavorful champagne vinaigrette.
My dining partner ordered the ricotta gnocchi, puffy pillows of dough immersed in a sea of homemade Bolognese sauce made with beef and pork. She said it was bursting with flavor and had a touch of heat, which she liked. The gnocchi was soft and slightly chewy, just as it should be. She chose soup to start the meal, and liked that the potato pepper jack had shredded potatoes in it, instead of chunks. The pepper jack added just the right amount of kick.
In addition to the meal, we have another reason to come back soon: Starting Feb. 15, Mezzodi’s will offer a $5 martini menu — all day, everyday — with tasty choices like the Grazie (Absolut Pear, Absolut Mandarin and limoncello) and Chocolate Peppar Mint (Absolut Peppar, Godiva Chocolate and peppermint schnapps). They are also running a two-month special with the nearby Fleur Cinema: Spend $30 and get a free ticket to the movie of your choice at The Fleur.
Chicken Florentine, $18
Risotto gnocchi, $17
Villa Donna pinot grigio, $5.75 (happy hour price; it’s usually $6.75)
Total, with tax
and tip: $50.85
Find it: 4519 Fleur Drive
Hours: Lunch is served 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Sunday; dinner is served 4-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 4-9 p.m. Sunday. Happy hour ($1 off drinks) is 4-6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Info: 287-3333; mezzodis.com