Review and photographs by Joseph Daniel
Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013
(updated to reflect current menu prices)

Look Beyond Pizza at Lizzano’s

The loaded pies are good, but so are the pasta dishes.

If you know Lizzano’s, you probably know it for its pizza. Hand-tossed dough is the pride of the place: thick and soft with crispy edges.

It’s a modest, cash-only business with a small dining area, easily filled by the warm scent of fresh-baked bread and garlic.

You’ll find the classics, like Alfredo and Supreme pizzas, along with some not-so-common pies like the Mediterranean pizza with eggplant and the Barbecue pizza with chicken and barbecue sauce ($9.95-$19.95).

Some are available by the slice ($2.95-$5.95), or you can choose your own toppings from among Canadian bacon, hamburger, mushrooms, pepperoni, sausage and other options (35 cents each).

The Margherita, for example, comes with thick tomatoes and melted strips of mozzarella, with plenty of basil tossed on top. We liked the chef’s special pizza, a blend of seasoned chicken, tomatoes and artichokes, which added a mild flavor and texture.

If you like olives — I mean really like them — go for the Mediterranean pizza; the olive flavor is actually a bit overpowering. Whatever you choose, slices come loaded. Two slices would be more than enough for most diners. Order a whole pie and you’ll have leftovers for a week.

And as amazing as they are, there’s actually more to Lizzano’s than just pizzas. Be prepared for a carb-induced coma — the pasta dishes stand up well against the pies.

The Combination Pasta ($8.95) includes cannelloni, lasagna and manicotti filled with ricotta and mozzarella cheese covered in a tangy, but not overwhelming, tomato sauce. It was the perfect portion for the price, and the sauce went well atop the house-made rolls. (The combo is also one of the most popular dishes at Lizzano’s.)

Ziti Bolognese ($8.95), al dente, was a slightly sweeter, more herbal option.

There are larger entrees, like the Chicken Jerusalem ($11.95) with a lemon and rosemary sauce. Thin slices of chicken were complemented by the mild flavor of lemon and the twang of artichokes.

Two soups are available: Tomato Basil and Italian Wedding ($4.95). The Tomato Basil bowl was a little chunky and slightly creamy, and like the sauce in the pasta dishes, came with a tangy but balanced bite.

Sandwiches include Meatball Parmigiana ($6.95), Chicken Parmigiana and Sausage Parmigiana ($6.95), with thin sausage slices covered in red sauce and a thin blanket of cheese. The bread was just as soft as the dough used in the pizza, and held up quite well.

With Italian pastas, it’s easy for the sauce to overpower the rest of the ingredients. But at Lizzano’s, from pizza to pasta, most dishes maintained a nice mix of cheese, sauce and other ingredients.

And that’s really no surprise. According to the restaurant’s website, owner Tony Rika has been tossing dough and honing his skills for more than 40 years, first in Italy and then in New York.

And that’s exactly why, if you know Lizzano’s, you know it for the pizza.

(updated to reflect current menu prices)