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MATT GENTRY | The Roanoke Times
Milano Family Italian Restaurant
MATT GENTRY | The Roanoke Times
On the menu at Milano Family Italian Restaurant: chicken gyros, garlic knots with cheese, french fries and eggplant Parmesan subs.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Milano Italian Restaurant is the most recent establishment to set up shop at 50 Merrimac Road in Christiansburg. Over the past five years or so, the space has been home to a Japanese restaurant, a bar and grill, and a coffee shop. This time, Milano’s is bringing Italian eat-in and delivery fare to the table and to your door.
I recently stopped in with my kids for a quick to-go dinner after an evening theater practice . Everything was ready at the promised time, securely packaged for travel, and handed over with a smile.
My 6 -year-old requested the 10 -inch cheese pizza ($6.99). While the crust was a bit chewy, the sauce and cheese were applied in perfect ratios, and the entire pie was quickly consumed. The nine-year-old went for the cheese ravioli ($6.99). The sauce was thick and rich, the pasta tender and well-cooked. This dish was likewise polished off with no complaints.
I chose the small vegetarian calzone ($8.99), wondering if the chef could successfully include all eight promised vegetables without making it soggy. On opening the box, an enormous calzone (I can’t imagine how massive a large must be) looked good crust-wise. However, as I feared, the inside was a sodden affair, loosely held together with cheese. Flavor was decent, aside from a tinny taste attributable to canned mushrooms. But ultimately, the calzone’s consistency was too distracting to make it enjoyable.
I headed back for a lunch date with a couple of friends. The restaurant was empty, so we had our choice of seats. I asked for garlic knots with cheese ($4.99) to start. These arrived soon after we placed our lunch order. They were well-cooked — buttery without being soggy — and topped with mozzarella cheese. These were a hit with the table. We agreed the only improvement might be more garlic.
My eight-inch eggplant Parmigiana sub ($5.75) arrived shortly after with a small side of fries ($1.69). I’m a sucker for fries, and these were golden, salty and delicious. The eggplant sub was likewise tasty, smothered in the same rich sauce as the ravioli. Eggplant was well-cooked, flavorful and well-portioned with sauce to make a substantial but manageable sub.
One friend had the flounder with fries ($5.99).
The flounder was not as great as the perfect fries. Breaded and fried, it came with tartar sauce on the side. But even the sauce couldn’t perk up the fish’s bland flavor or dry, rubbery texture.
My other friend ordered a chicken gyro ($5.99) and the individual tuna salad ($7.99). The salad was a surprise, consisting of a serving-sized bowl of iceberg lettuce and various vegetables. And on top, about a cup of tuna. Not tuna salad. Just tuna. It was good tuna and there was salad, so technically its description was accurate. However, plain fish atop a green salad is not the general “tuna salad” expectation.
The chicken gyro, by contrast, was great. Served on fluffy pita bread with onions and tomatoes, it featured a yummy cucumber sauce. The chicken was tender and nicely seasoned, and all of the ingredients worked well together for a successful dish.
Service note: While service was great overall, no plates were cleared during or after our lunch. As a former server, this is a prevalent dining pet peeve of mine.
In summation, it’s good to see a restaurant in this space again. Hopefully delivery service will provide enough extra business for Milano’s to thrive. Prices are fair, service friendly, and portions very generous.
There are some hit-and-miss items, but the menu offers enough choices that there should be something for just about everyone.
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