Rizzo’s Malabar Inn – January & February 2011

My Uncle has been wanting to go to Rizzo’s for a few months now after he read an article in the newspaper about them, then we went to a food & wine show at the Monroeville Convention Center and tasted a little of their food and he wanted to go even more. So on New Years Eve the whole family took the trip out for dinner. Rizzo’s is so popular in the area that they have 2 locations across the street from one another, the main restaurant and then the bar across the street that also serves the full menu. For New Years reservations were so busy that we ate at the bar. Funny thing is that the restaurant is the only kitchen so the staff actually has to cart the food over to the bar for service, but I will give them credit that the food is as hot as it would be eating on the restaurant side of the street.


For starters we ordered some stuffed banana peppers, at least we thought they were supposed to be stuffed because when they came out they were only the peppers sautéed in oil and garlic topped with asiago cheese. Wasn’t really crazy about this dish, I think it would’ve been better if it had some type of sausage or beef stuffing. My family also ordered some Polenta with marinara sauce. I am not a fan of polenta but I tried it to try it and wasn’t bad. I think you have to have a taste for polenta and I just don’t have it.


For the main course, I love it when a restaurant I have never been to before points something out on the menu that they are known for or is a signature dish. On Rizzo’s menu next to the Veal Parmigiana they list it as “WORLD FAMOUS”. I just had to get that with a side of spaghetti. The Veal on the menu is listed as fresh hand-breaded, milk fed veal topped with mushrooms, melted provolone cheese and sauce. When the meal came, the first thing I noticed was how sauce heavy the plates were. I am not sure if I should complain about that because some Italian restaurants don’t put enough sauce on so I am inconsistent on my thoughts about if I liked how much sauce was on the dish. The main problem I had with it is that I felt the sauce was trying to cover something up, the veal in my opinion was very small for the amount of sauce, I felt like I was paying more for the sauce and not the Veal. What I could eat of it was tasty and seemed to be cooked well, but I just felt like I was eating more sauce than anything in the meal. Just off of that dinner I wasn’t crazy about making a return trip seeing as 2 things I was looking forward to (peppers and veal) disappointed me especially with one dish being labled as “world famous”.


In February was my Uncle’s birthday and my sister and I wanted to treat him to the dinner of his choice, he chose a return trip to Rizzo’s. We got there and started our meals with a Caesar Salad and this was the biggest dinner salad I have ever had, it was almost a full salad bowl filled for each of us. For new years we each had a dinner side salad and this topped that for sure! Basic Caesar with Romaine Lettuce topped with Caesar dressing, shredded provolone, croutons and of course anchovies! That was almost a meal in itself, but we still had dinner coming. I had the Chicken and Broccoli Rab Ravioli, a lot of Italians love Broccoli Rab and talk about it a lot, my family has never had it so that was a selling point for me on this dish. It was Ravioli filled with a mixture of ricotta cheese, chicken and broccoli rab topped with melted asiago cheese and choice of marinara or alfredo sauce. I went with the alfredo, figured it would make it almost like a Fettuccine Alfredo. Once again the meal wasn’t without fault, the ravioli pasta broke very easily and was inconsistent in texture and cooking that some pasta tasted raw. Once again the dish was very heavy sauced and again I felt like the sauce was covering something up.


I’m not sure if a third trip will ever be made to Rizzo’s, I know I won’t recommend it but if that’s where the family wants to go I guess I will have to follow. It’s hard for me to belive that Rizzo’s is as popular as they are in the area and the good things I have heard. For the 30-45 minute drive for me to get there I know I won’t make the trip myself or take people, but if you are close to the restaurant it might be exactly what you are looking for in a close Italian restaurant.


123 Keener Dr
Crabtree, PA

Phone- 724-836-4323

Web- http://www.rizzosmalabarinn.com/

Rizzo's Malabar Inn on Urbanspoon


One comment

  1. disagree, although they are very sauce heavy, the food was good. i will agree that i don’t know if it’s a place i want to go to on a whim seeing as it takes almost an hour to get there. but the food was very good. i had the gnocchi with red sauce and melted fresh mozzerella mixed in the sauce. heavy, filling, but every bit delicious.

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