Piattello Italian restaurant stars in Fort Worth’s Waterside

The terrace of

The terrace as seen from “The Grove” at Piattello Italian.

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Yes, Mule Alley is shiny and both cookies and cakes are now available in the South Main Village.

But for the past four years, Fort Worth dining has been all about curves, banks, forks and sides.

The WestBend, Left Bank, Clearfork and Waterside shopping centers are part of our daily lives. Some anchor restaurants are already in their fifth year.

They all have something worth trying. WestBend has a new Ascension Coffee. The left bank draws crowds for snooze. Clearfork Shoiwcases steaks at B & B Butchers, cookies at Fixe Southern House and casual French cuisine at Rise nº3 Soufflé.

Meanwhile, Waterside has a special occasion Italian restaurant that has become an everyday Italian favorite.

After a revision of the dining room and a menu update, it’s worth taking another look at the Piattello Italian Kitchen, 5924 Convair Drive, on Bryant Irvin Road.

Piattello was named one of the top 10 best new restaurants in Texas the year it opened, but lunchtime business never developed. The crowd swayed along with Waterside.

(The first restaurant next door, Taco Diner, is closed and will be replaced within a few days by Chef Keith Hicks’ The Rim. Traffic at Whole Foods Market appears to have decreased now that Amazon.com is bringing it to our doors.)

IMG-9077.jpg Clockwise from top left: Linguine scampi, a strawberry and beet salad, asparagus Milanese, linguine with mussels and pancetta, an octopus farro salad, pasta with braised lamb and (medium) crostini with crabs. Anna Caplan Handout photo

For one weekend, Piattello’s audience was the biggest and busiest in Waterside. It filled the deck and brought crowds to play in the common space called the Grove.

“Restaurants take on their own personality, and a lot depends on who finds you. It turned out to be a great place for families, ”said Chef Marcus Paslay, also owner of Clay Pigeon and Provender Hall.

Kids can eat and play pizza at the Grove while their parents share cacio e pepe, asparagus milanese, and a strawberry and beet salad.

IMG-9078.jpg Ricotta pizza with asparagus and pesto at Piattello. Anna Caplan Handout photo

Paslay’s Italian shop window restaurant has become more of a meeting point in the neighborhood.

He expanded the seating in the bar, brought in oversized plants, and even changed the lighting to soften a dining room that was strong and expansive.

“It’s warmer and cozier,” said Paslay.

From the age of five, Piattello is “about family and community,” he said.

“It’s a nice little casual restaurant with great Italian food.”

Chef Scott Lewis’ dishes are several steps away from your noodle cafe.

If you’ve watched CNN’s In Search of Italy series, you’ll find some of the local Italian dishes that focus more on fresh pasta with a light marinara or sauce.

This is not an “Italian red sauce”.

“It’s the difference between Italian food and American-Italian food,” said Paslay.

Order plenty of starters for the table and a pasta dish or pizza.

IMG-9093.jpg Lobster ravioli in Piattello’s Italian kitchen. Handout photo

Try the asparagus milanese ($ 14), pork meatballs ($ 12), and fried calamari ($ 14) or a strawberry and beet salad ($ 14), plus an order of eggplant parmigiana ($ 20), shrimp scampi ($ 20) or pasta with clams and pancetta ($ 22).

Appetizers are over $ 30 for grilled seafood or osso bucco, but the pizzas are $ 17-22.

Waiters can help with the list of Italian wines.

An octopus and farro salad, linguine scampi and an asparagus pesto pizza with ricotta are new.

For dessert there is vanilla bean panna cotta, tiramisu or a rich chocolate hazelnut cake.

Piattello only serves lasagna on Tuesdays. On Sundays there is “Sunday Sauce”, a thick ragu.

The restaurant opens for dinner every evening; 817-349-0484, piattelloitaliankitchen.com.

Columnist Bud Kennedy is a Fort Worth man who covered high school soccer at age 16 and attended two Super Bowls, seven political conventions, and 15 legislative sessions in Texas. Since 1985, he has also written more than 2,000 “Eats Beat” columns on restaurants, dining and eating in Texas.

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