Blue House Bistro's menu masters a multitude of innovative small plates, gourmet sandwiches, and homemade desserts. Salute the crab bruschetta, sautéed in a cream sauce, then served with spinach and artichokes on a crispy baguette ($8.99), or fete the eggplant parmesan sandwich's fluffy flour handles, packed with fresh mozzarella, garlic, marinara, and toasted pine nuts ($7.99). Nautical noshers can navigate through a sea of herb-cream sauce dotted with sautéed chicken, hickory-smoked bacon, and sweet onions, or shiver the timbers of a 14-inch Creole pizza—masts mounded with shrimp, crawfish, and a boatload of fixings ($11.49). The bistro's menu changes regularly, so call ahead to confirm favorites or roll the dice on delectable discoveries.
Since its founding in 1967, Village Inn Pizza Parlor has changed quite a bit. Today, the servers dress in trendy black slacks instead of old-fashioned skirts, aprons, or the barrels made fashionable by the Depression. The honky-tonk piano players have been replaced with top DJs and live rock bands. Massive flat-screen televisions beam down on the newly renovated dining room, broadcasting games in HD clarity. Even the beer selection has been expanded to include a sweeping array of craft drafts from brewers such as Founders and Bell's.
But there are a few things that have remained the same over the years—friends still gather over pints of frosty draft beers to watch the game, and chefs still whip up crispy thin-crust pizzas topped with pure mozzarella cheese, housemade sauce, and fresh ingredients. They’ve added a variety of new items to the menu as well, including specialty pizzas with gluten-free crusts, grilled chicken paninis on artisan ciabatta bread, and Mexican-inspired specialties such as tender steak fajitas and cheesy enchiladas.
The chefs at Vitale's whip up homemade sauces for a menu of classic Italian family recipes, which diners enjoy on the eatery's newly remodeled patio or in a comfortable dining room featuring more than 40 TVs. Meals can kick off with the diners' choice of soup or salad, or an appetizer such as shrimp scampi or italian nachos, which drown golden-brown fried cheese ravioli with creamy alfredo sauce and mozzarella cheese before sending the mouthwatering concoction to the oven to bake to gooey perfection.
The Noto family, starting their culinary career by selling candy and hot dogs at its video arcade in 1979, have since evolved into a full-service Italian restaurant. Intent on recreating homey, rustic cuisine that could have come from a family kitchen, the chefs rely on a seasonally rotating selection of ingredients, which they both source from local farmers and import from Italy. In order to make meatballs, italian sausage, and mozzarella in-house, they rely on generations-old family recipes that were passed down, much like the family's formula for creating critically acclaimed Mad Libs.
Although the dining room surrounds guests with olive-hued walls, sturdy columns, and a collection of framed landscapes, the downstairs wine cellar tempts parties with a smattering of tables amid the space's intimately lit brick archways. This room also shelters the restaurant's 10,000-bottle-strong wine list, which includes more than 1,100 Italian wines and garnered yet another Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator in 2014.