You have to wonder about a restaurant where the appetizers outshine the entrée. It doesn't happen often, however, at Zio's Italian Kitchen in Georgetown, Texas, the salad and appetizer were so outstanding that it was a bit of a letdown when the main course showed up.
Not that the Chicken Cannelloni wasn't good – it was very good. It's just that the salad and pepperoni bread were superb. How great can a salad be, you say? It was the addition of artichoke along with other fresh ingredients that turned this ordinary house salad into a delight. It's hard to imagine one unexpected ingredient transforming a simple salad into a major meal component, but that's exactly how it struck me.
Then the pepperoni bread showed up and stole the show.
This delicious concoction is basically a calzone, but it was so perfect as to elevate it far above the usual such designation. Often, a calzone is a huge piece of bread, with some pepperoni and cheese added almost as an afterthought. Not at Zio's.
The pepperoni bread had all the usual ingredients, and they were perfect. The bread was in proper proportion to the filling, allowing all parts to shine through in a flawless blend of tastes. It was thick enough to be bread, yet thin enough as to not overpower the dish. The pepperoni inside was fresh and tasty, so much so as to be noteworthy.
"This pepperoni is terrific," said my Mom, a gourmet cook and food expert who was also enjoying this great meal. I know what I like and don't like, but when someone else's cooking impresses Mom, I take notice.
Incorrect proportions of ingredients can ruin any dish, as in too much bread and not enough filling, or too much cheese, etc. That did not happen with Zio's outstanding pepperoni bread. It was a perfectly balanced combination of bread, pepperoni, and cheese – a fantastic entrée all by itself.
The next time I visit Zio's in Georgetown, Texas, I'll be having the salad and the pepperoni bread and skip the entrée. As mentioned, it's not because of any deficiency in the main course – it's only because of the superiority of the salad and the perfect pepperoni bread. Yes, the salad and appetizer were that good at Zio's Italian Kitchen in Georgetown, Texas.
Larry Manch is an author, teacher, guitar player, freelance writer, and columnist. His books include: 'The Toughest Hundred Dollars & Other Rock & Roll Stories', 'A Sports Junkie', 'The Avery Appointment', 'Between the Fuzzy Parts'.
He also writes about baseball for Climbing Tal's Hill, food and travel on Miles & Meals, and music/guitars on The Backbeat.
He lives in Central Texas with his wife and family.