The Return of Mondo's Ristorante' Italiano

Though we eat out far more often than we should, I rarely mention the places--except Flemings, Flemings Steakhouse is to die for! Most of the places we eat are chain restaurants and are "okay", but not great. We do try to stay away from fast food, but have been known to eat at Panda Express more often than most.

Tulsa has a decent amount of restaurant diversity, but has been sadly lacking in the good Italian realm. Oh, we have your basic Zios (good food, love the 'dipping' herbs, but noisy), Olive Garden (we stopped going there when hubby found a piece of raw chicken in his tortillini and they didn't even comp the dish! Poor management), Carinos, Carrabas, and Macaroni Grill (seriously overpriced for the quality of food. Unless they do something about it, their doors will close. I still have $50 worth of freebies sitting unused).

But over 15 years ago, one of the best Italian restaurants in town had closed its doors--Mondo's.

Mondo's isn't a chain, but it's a local biz. I don't know the reasons behind their original closure--though we've been known to speculate--but I'm sure glad they're back!

We went there on Saturday, a little on the early side (5:45) and had a small wait. This new location is right in the middle of Brookside in a small building that has an interior design place on one side and an eclectic furniture store on the other. I believe it's a new building where the Sunset Grill used to be--ah, good times, good times at the Sunset Grill! It's not a huge restaurant and by the time we left, the sidewalk was crowded with at least 20 people waiting to get in.

When we ordered, we made a point of picking a few of the items that we enjoyed--ravioli with meat sauce, sausage & pepperoni pizza, and manacotti with marinara.

In the past, Mondo's had a salad bar, but this time they delivered the salads--and it was very reminiscent of how I would have picked from the salad bar. I had the Italian dressing on the side--I'm pretty sure they make their own--it was seriously awesome! I ate too much garlic bread--it was okay, but nothing to write home about.

And then our food arrived, delivered by a dapper gray-haired gentleman, dressed in white. It was the owner.

My daughter had the manicotti, but she seemed far more interested in my ravioli.

Now, most people think of ravioli as those thin things like you pour out of the Chef Boyrdee cans. Not this ravioli. My plate had three plump pillows of goodness. Each ravioli was 2-3 inches squared and 1 1/2- 2 inches tall., filled with cheesy goodness inside the thick pasta shell. The meat sauce was a beautiful dark red with just enough meat to be tasty, but no chunks to get in the way of eating the ravioli. Sorry, I didn't take a camera, so no pictures.  I had a tough time eating just one plump pillow of happiness. The hubby and daughter shared the second pillow and we took one home with part of the manicotti.

The hubby's pizza was exactly like we remembered it. Thin, hand-tossed crust with just the right amount of sauce and cheese, but the real star of the pizza is the sausage. I don't know for sure, but I bet they grind and spice their own sausage--wonderful flavor with a nice kick to it.

When we paid the bill, we found out the chef was the same one who used to cook all those years ago. YUM! We might have to drive a bit farther than we normally do to eat out--especially with all the road construction going on!--but it will be worth it.

I'm so glad Mondo's has come back to town.

Welcome home!


Cynthia D'Alba said...

Sounds yummy!

I read an article the other day that revenues at Olive Garden and Red Lobster (owned by same company) are way down. We went to Red Lobster the other day, looked at the menu, decided the prices were just too rich for our blood, got up and left without ordering. IMHO, the local Red Lobster is starting to look very dated.

I don't mind paying for food, but nothing leaves a bad taste in my mouth more than paying for bad or marginal food!

M. A. Golla said...

It doesn't surprise me that revenue is down, Cyndi. In this economy, people are more frugal than ever before. Don't charge me $12.99 for a spinach 'salad' when all it has is spinach drizzled with olive oil.

Twisted Sister said...

I'm so glad you did this! I love hearing reviews of local places.

M. A. Golla said...

You're welcome, Meg. The next time you come to T-town, we can all meet for lunch!

Jody Werner said...

Is there still a Goldies in Tulsa? That was always my very favorite!

M. A. Golla said...

Jody--Goldies are still around, but they are looking a little dated and run down.

That said, the burgers are still wonderful--some of the names have been changed--and they have the pickle bar still, though they've added the burger toppings to it at the Goldies I ate at.