Good Italian food is always a dinner winner, and a good place to try (or return to) is Napoli's in Broken Arrow. Locally owned and operated, this restaurant brings an authentic taste of Italian cuisine to its diners, some of whom are eager to indulge in homemade Italian.
On this particular evening, dining in was not an option, so I placed a substantial to-go order to enjoy at home with hungry friends. Napoli's is easy to spot in the Oakwood Plaza strip center--just look for the red, green and white Italian flag painted on the windows. Upon entering, I was warmly greeted and presented a menu for review. Napoli's menu is packed with traditional Italian entrees, so many in fact that it was a challenge to decide what to order.
Napoli's has five versions of sauce from which to choose--Marinara, Alfredo, Olive oil, Garlic and Basil, and Alla Panna (Alfredo with a little marinara). Appetizers, Sandwiches, Homemade Baked Pastas, Entrees, House Specialties, Chicken and Veal, Seafood and Pizza were other options. I was feeding many mouths this evening, so I ordered the following: Fried Mozzarella Cheese ($3.95), Caesar Salad ($4.95), Manicotti ($6.95), Spaghetti with Meatballs ($6.95), Arrabiata with Chicken ($8.95), Shrimp Scaloppini ($13.95), White Pizza ($9.95, medium) and, naturally, I needed to sample a few desserts--Cannoli Cream ($2.75) and Tiramisu ($3.75).
I patiently waited for approximately 25 minutes as my order was being assembled. During this time, I enjoyed the mellow music of Frank Sinatra while my thoughts wandered into the romantic pictures of Venetian scenes. My brief respite then ended and I headed home with a full-scale meal.
Beginning with the Fried Mozzarella Cheese, the five cheesy sticks were a hit among the children, as well as the adults. Lightly breaded (and not greasy), the cheese was rich and creamy and definitely good with or without the marinara sauce. Next, some of the adults had a few bites of the Caesar Salad. A generous portion of Romaine lettuce was tossed with an even more generous portion of a fair version of Caesar dressing. We thought for a take-home salad, placing the dressing on the side would have been a better means of preparation. Too much dressing had compromised the crispness of the lettuce.
I assembled the entrees family style, and I was very pleased to see that the cooks at Napoli's secured each entree in a sturdy aluminum pan with a cardboard top. This proved to be a much better option than leaky Styrofoam containers.
The Spaghetti with Meatballs was a definite hit with the children. The sauce was very mild, almost sweet, and the meatballs were tender and mild to the taste. Stuffed and rolled with ricotta cheese and then topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese, the Manicotti was well received. This dish was very cheesy and the pasta was very soft, a little too soft for the adults but perfect for the children's tastes (My preference is pasta a little on the al dente side, to hold their shape and offer firmness to each bite).
I was pleasantly surprised with the Arrabiatta dish, a variation of the version I am accustomed to which has tomatoes as the sauce base.
This Arrabiatta, (meaning "angry") rather, was a sauce made with sautéed mushrooms, shallots and hot cherry peppers in white wine and then served over spaghetti. A thinly sliced and very tender chicken breast was also served. The adults really enjoyed this entrée; the sauce was light and dotted with very spicy cherry peppers rather than red pepper flakes, which is what I usually find in Arrabiatta.
The Shrimp Scaloppini rivals the goodness of the Arrabiatta. Filled with sautéed plump shrimp, mussels and scallops, this sauce was an immediate hit. The seafood was fresh and plentiful and served with the sauce over linguini.
The children also enjoyed the White Pizza, which was a simple thin-crust pie of garlic, ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. Overall, the pizza was light and a bit dry; it had a good, simple taste.
Desserts were a hard sell after a meal like this, but some people shared a few bites of the Cannoli and Tiramisu. Cannoli, a traditional Italian dessert, historically can be traced to a treat during Carnival season (and possibly created as a fertility symbol according to some culinary historians). These "little tubes" or shells are usually filled with a creamy mixture of mascarpone and sweetened ricotta cheese. Napoli's has a good version of this classic dessert. The Tiramisu was the big winner, though, with its layers of rich cream and mocha-soaked cake (or lady fingers). This Tuscan trifle is traced to the beautiful city of Siena.
Napoli's is a definite stop for those seeking solid homemade Italian food. The options are many and the flavor is truly Italian.
Napoli's Italian Restaurant
2039-A West Houston, Broken Arrow
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