Monday 28 Jul

Food briefs: You’re toast, er, pretzel

There’s a new food truck on the scene.
07/22/2014 | Comments 0

Upward mobility

Locals can have fresh microgreens and herbs for cooking in a new and convenient way. Microgreens, a chef favorite, are petite vegetable greens that add color, nutrition and flavor to dishes.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Vietnamese comfort food

I’ve always had a love affair with the refreshing, healthy cuisine of Vietnam. I love the fragrances, the fresh herbs, cilantro, basil, mint and other Asian herbs: perilla, Vietnamese coriander and sawtooth cilantro. And I love the contrast and balance in almost every dish: spicy vs. cool, salty vs. sweet and steamed vs. crispy.
07/16/2014 | Comments 0

OKG eat: Cool places, cooler drinks

We know. It’s hot. It’s summer in Oklahoma. Cool down by sampling cocktails that local bars and restaurants have concocted just for you. Find a nice, air conditioned space or a shaded patio and while away the hours drinking the flavors of summer. You might decide it’s not that bad after all.

— by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock, Shannon Cornman and Lauren Hamilton

07/23/2014 | Comments 0

New kids on the block

There are a wealth of new local eateries cropping up in the metro and even more coming. If they’re not on your radar, they should be. From the comfy atmosphere at The Barrel on Western Avenue to the laid-back vibe at the Plaza District’s coffee shop, you might find a new regular hangout.

— by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman

07/16/2014 | Comments 0


Ah, the perils of working with special dietary needs. It can make dining out a pain. Luckily, with restaurateurs becoming more savvy to their diners’ needs, there are a bevy of places in OKC to satisfy your craving for the foods you love without losing taste. All choices this week have been road-tested by gluten-sensitive foodies to guarantee satisfaction.
07/09/2014 | Comments 0
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Restaurant Reviews

Italian, Venezia-style

An Italian chain surprises with pizzas and desserts worth coming back for.

Greg Elwell March 26th, 2014

Venezia Italian Ristorante

8109 Northwest Expressway

What works: Chicken picatta, pizzas and desserts.

What needs work: Some of sauces are a touch too bland.

The tip: When in doubt, get the meatballs.

Limoncello cake
Photo by Shannon Cornman

Italian chain restaurants have become shorthand for describing those who don’t like “real” food or aren’t “shopping local.”

Now here’s an unpopular position: They’re not that bad. Not really. I mean, if you’re craving the most authentic Italian food in Oklahoma City, you’re already facing a bit of an uphill battle. But the way some people talk, you’d think Olive Garden was literally serving poison.

Great Italian food is deceptive. It can look extremely simple, but it’s the hidden nuance that elevates the dishes you remember above the rabble.

Now let’s talk about Venezia Italian Ristorante, 8109 Northwest Expressway, which is a small chain (there’s also one in Del City) and has a menu with a few hits and a few misses.

They say pizza is like sex, but that’s not true because I have pizza all the time. (Is that why I’m not ... you know what? Save that for another day.) And Venezia makes a nice pie.

While I was hoping the Venezia’s white ($10.95 for an extra large) would steal my heart, it was a pleasant, if subtle, taste.

Instead, it was the classic Italian ($14.95 for an extra large) that had me swooning. It had meatballs, paired with pepperoni and sausage. Big, bold, punch-you-in-the-mouth flavors. And the onions are the perfect complement — not diced but long strips capable of generating crunch and that sweet caramelized flavor everybody loves.

The pasta combo has cannelloni, manicotti and lasagna, but it was difficult telling one from the other; lots of ricotta, but not a ton of flavor.

The ravioli and meatballs were better. The ravioli were still largely just ricotta vessels, but they were pillowy and soft, and the meatballs were tender and tasty.

I also tried the Rigatoni Veronese ($10.95), which features Venezia’s alla panna sauce over ziti with a mix of sauteed mushrooms, meatballs and sausage.

The meatballs, again, are pretty nice, but the mushrooms were the real treat. Some places go cheap and easy and use canned mushrooms, but these were browned and flavorful. Mushroom pasta at Venezia is definitely the way to go.

The lighter the sauce, the better the dish — at least for me. The chicken picatta ($10.95) made a much better impression. It’s lightly sauteed chicken, still moist, served with a lemon and white wine sauce with chopped capers. This was, by far, my favorite dish ... until the pizza arrived.

By the way, they make their own desserts. The tiramisu ($4.50) is nice, but the limoncello cake ($4.50) was like eating a glass of lemonade. And that’s a good thing.

Venezia isn’t perfect, but it’s trying. I might avoid a few of the appetizers next time, but with pizzas and a few Italian classics up its sleeve, I will definitely be back for more.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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