Nobody likes a sad, skinny baby...nobody!

Whether I’m ordering a meal at a restaurant or cooking up something at home, enjoying what I eat brings me immense satisfaction. On the other hand, being disappointed in a meal sends me into tantrum mode.

I expect certain things out of a dining experience. I’m realistic about the standards I hold for each place, from the local taco bar to the five star steak house. What I've decided is that it's about a perfect balance between service, food quality, ambiance and price. That may seem like a lot to juggle, but Houston is a big city with a plethora of restaurants to choose from. There’s no reason to expect anything less than the best.

If you strip my needs down to the bare essentials, you'll find I'm very much like a baby; I love tasty food and I love to be happy. If an experience doesn't generate a sense of fulfillment for those two basic needs...you're gonna hear me cry.

Nobody likes a sad, skinny baby...nobody!

Pronto Cucinino- Give it a Try


The Skinny: Go for some decent Italian-American fare in a laid back place with reasonable prices.

The Fat: It's an order-at-the-counter place, but the food is hearty and the service is uncomplicated. When I wanna take a quick walk through the neighborhood (Montrose) to get some decent pasta, I think of Pronto's. It has a chain/local restaurant appeal. It's clean, well furnished and adorned with tasteful family photos of the owner's trips to Italy, circa 1980's...gotta love that. Sure, it's not a "traditional" Italian eatery, but if you can handle a little US influence, you'll enjoy it just the same.

I always get giddy when I order Ravioli. I feel like I'm six years old, but at Pronto's it's so good; eight fat pasta pockets filled with an Italian blend of cheeses and sauteed spinach smothered in a creamy tomato sauce. Yum.

Order a glass of wine. Sure the wine's not uber top-notch, but it's not bad.
Good wine doesn't have to break the bank, but it can certainly elevate the experience from "Fast Food Italian" to "Enjoy the Moment Italian."

Each dish comes with a light Ciabatta roll. I prefer to ask for the roll early so that I can dip it into my own blend of oil,vinegar, Parmesan and crushed red pepper while I wait for my food. There's a self service center in the middle of the dining room with utensils and all the Italian accoutrement.

Be sure to order the chopped salad. It's a fantastic mix of leafy greens, delicate peppers, artichoke hearts, walnuts and garbanzo beans. Get the half order, it's only $3 and the perfect addition to any entree.

The seating inside is spacious and warm. If the weather's nice, consider sitting outside . There's a great street side patio with a relaxing fountain to offset the hustling Montrose traffic. The waitstaff is friendly and attentive (sometimes a little too attentive.) They may repeatedly ask if they can clear a plate from your table. It's all good though, they're just trying to move things along.

Just know that it's not a lingering dinner joint, but if you want to enjoy a relaxing meal you're more than welcome to do so. Just be sure to let them know at the counter that you want a little space between courses so that all your food doesn't arrive at the same time.

P.S. Mostly you get what you pay for at Pronto's. Good fare, fair price. It's a sure thing.

Location: 1401 Montrose

2 comments:

Nicholas said...

I couldn't have put it better myself. Combine it with delightful, yet non-threateningly handsome company, and you've got yourself a meal out.

Tad Radish said...

I've been to Pronto's and was pleasantly surprised. I agree with the review wholeheartedly.

Great call with the 1/2 chopped salad for $3! I wish more reviews had suggestions like that.

One complaint -- I was expecting a non-threateningly handsome crowd. All I saw was some guy who looked a lot like some minor character for an old sitcom (couldn't remember who), and gave of a vibe like all all the guys in the boys choir, this one seemed like he'd killed a guy. Oh well - Better luck time I guess.