There was a time not too terribly long ago in Oklahoma City when there was a chain on every corner and the closest you could get to local was to make a trip to your farmers market and make the food yourself. We always celebrate all things local, and luckily, it’s getting easier for OKC restaurants to incorporate locally grown, all- natural ingredients into what they offer.
— By Devon Green
photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman
Football season is finally here! We call it soccer, but that doesn’t have to stop you from indulging in two favorite European traditions: walking and pub crawling. Since the Energy FC games will be alcohol-free, we’ve created a list of pubs and taverns within walking distance from Clement E. Pribil Stadium at Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School.
— by Devon Green
photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman
While the idea of fried dough may or may not be American in origin, the traditional ring-shaped confection that we know and love does originate here. According to The Smithsonian, doughnuts were created by an enterprising New England sailor’s mother who wanted a way to store and transport pastry. Regardless of its origin, the doughnut is a modern favorite.
— by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman
Fontana Italian Restaurant
854 N.W. 12th, Moore
What worked: The service was prompt and friendly in this family-owned bistro.
What needs work: A few inexpensive flourishes would add more appeal to the plain-Jane iceberg lettuce salads.
The tip: Bring your appetite! There is a large selection of traditional Italian-American favorites served in a simple setting.
Fontana’s is the kind of unpretentious Italian-American eatery you’ll find coast to coast. There are no white tablecloths or fine vino, but the spaghetti and meatballs dinner ($5.99) with salad and rolls is an honest deal.
Red carnations on each table were one of the few nods to dining elegance, but I’ll take server Jeremy Workman’s ready smile and efficient service over a snooty maître d’ in a tuxedo.
“I’m German, but kind of look Italian,” he said with a chuckle.
Fontana’s is the opposite of New Wave Italian cafes serving tiny portions artfully displayed on fancy china. The atmosphere here is comforting, and the serving sizes are hefty. Nothing on the menu is more than 15 clams.
right Chicken cacciatora
Our meal arrived at the table minutes after being ordered. Pasta was not overcooked. It’s old-school, Midwestern, friendly Italian- American food that’s affordably down-to-earth.
The menu is extensive with mostly familiar dishes, although some of the spellings were unconventional. There are 18 different chicken entrées that tend to be heavily sauced and flavored with sherry, brandy or white wine.
Chicken cacciatora ($7.99) and spicy chicken arrabbiata ($7.99) were no surprise, but chicken Murphy ($8.99) with its jalapeños in pink sauce raised my eyebrows. The chicken Marsala ($7.99) had just the right amount of aromatic sweetness from the aperitif, combined with a generous stir of fresh mushrooms.
All meals come with an uninspired iceberg lettuce and tomato slice salad. The house Italian dressing was an unappealing marinara sauce and olive oil concoction. Warm rolls had seasoning sprinkled on top and the menu said “homemade.”Workman confirmed they’re baked in-house daily.
Opinion was divided about the Veal Dama Bianca ($10.99). My dining companion liked the tender slices of meat smothered in rich brandy cream sauce. My portion was a less-than-fork-tender beef cutlet that apparently had been cooked too fast.
The lobster ravioli ($7.99), with its fat pasta pillows stuffed with succulent seafood and swimming in mild pink gravy, was a good choice, along with all the pasta entrées we tried. Tortellini Bascajoua ($6.99) was a primo mix-up of ham, green peas, mushrooms and navel-shaped noodles in a sherry cream sauce.
Luscious sauce is Fontana’s forte.
The saucy sautéed and baked pastas are its stand-out dishes. Baked Ziti Ciciliano with eggplant ($6.99) didn’t skimp on the vegetables, mozzarella or marinara.
The menu has several vegetarian options, and the five kiddie choices are all $3.50.
Save room for dessert: Three kinds of cheesecake, tiramisu and Black Forest cake are on the menu.
Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive
aspects, and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or
service when appropriate.
Photos by Mark Hancock