Restaurant Review: Borgata #2
Borgata swept onto the local dining scene out of nowhere a few years ago. It’s not run by a famous restauranteur. It didn’t set up shop in a hip neighborhood like the Short North or Grandview. But, it’s attracted the loving attention of the local eating population. The original joint, acclaimed for its pizza, was just off of 161 on its east side. Borgata’s new location balances out the geography, already going gangbusters up on the west side of 161 in a new mega-development that towers over Linworth.
It looks just like you’d expect a new fancy strip-mall joint to look: big windows, lots of brick accents, and a giant open pizza kitchen. From the dining area, the view of the kitchen and its inhabitants is exceptional. There’s a great deal of dough being flipped, and bowls being stirred by a very busy team.
The menu is familiar, and happily, experience suggests that the quality is consistent. At the original Borgata, ginormous portions, fresh bread, and good pizza were all memorable. So memorable, in fact, that it’s hard to want to venture into uncharted territory at the new spot. You could argue that a science demands the exact same samples between the two Borgata trials: consistency.
But, nobody wants to read the same thing twice, as nice as it would be for the author to eat the same things twice.
So, venturing into the House Meatballs ($10.50), the verdict is good: large, smooth-textured, but not rubbery, and teamed with a thick tomato sauce with little pops of sweet tomato chunks, mozzarella, and the chewy, warm house bread. You could view it as a mammoth deconstructed meatball sandwich: outstanding value.
Pasta-wise, there are several sauce choices (including marinara, pesto,and Alfredo) that can be teamed with the house spaghetti, gnocchi or cavatele. The Gnocchi ($10.50), a little chewy, was underwhelming. There’s no real hint interesting flavor (typically potato), which is what makes the pasta interesting. It was teamed with a competent pesto, but together, the duo fell flat.
The Cavatele ($10.50), on the other hand, gets a thumbs up. Being a ricotta pasta, it has a silky texture and richness that teams nicely with the Tuscan Vegetable treatment ($3). The veggies are soft-roasted eggplant, zucchini, red peppers and spinach enhanced with more creamy ricotta to match the cavatele itself.
The vegetable mix also makes a fine pizza topping ($14), although it’s difficult to compete with the Meat Combo ($14). Both are based on a quality crust, with the airy, chewy and soft characteristics that make every inch of the pie very much worth eating. The meat topping delivers a beloved briny, cured mix of ham, pepperoni, sausage and bacon with mozzarella and a mildly sweet red sauce. It scores on two accounts: 1) The cured meats teamed with the sauce deliver a sublime balance of salty and sweet, and 2) The meats are finely distributed so each bite contains a bit of everything -the pie is absent clumsy, thoughtless chunks.
You can find the new digs, and a menu that consistently pleases, at 2285 W. Dublin-Granville Rd and online at borgatapizzacafe.com.