Friday, June 3, 2011

Puglioni's Pasta & Pizza

Ranking high up there on my list of most favorite restaurants in Morgantown, Puglioni's is one of the best Italian restaurants I've ever been to. Puglioni's is located in Chelsea Square in Suncrest. It's a tucked-away little treasure for Morgantonians. It has a fairly small dining area, so you may expect a wait on busy Friday or Saturday nights since they don't take reservations usually. The wait will be worth it. It's more closed quarters than I'm usually comfortable with, but it makes for an intimate setting and good for one-on-one conversations.

Why is it called Puglioni's? I'm not sure, though there are a few pictures of pug dogs around. I know it was opened by a WVU alum, but not sure the back story.


On Thursday evening, good friend and mentor throughout my collegiate career Jan Boyles and I took to Puglioni's for our farewell dinner. Jan has an amazing opportunity in D.C. at American University, and she's snatching it up. Which means, Martin Hall will be void of the happy, perky advising superwoman. We talked about all of this and more at Puglioni's.

We didn't have much of a wait as we walked in. We were sat at a small table, and our drink orders were placed. Soon after, two generous salads and their famous buttery bread were placed on our table. The salad contains lettuce, tomato, black olives, onion and your choice of dressing. Since a friend ordered it before, I've been on a kick with French dressing, and theirs is absolutely divine. The bit of sweetness with the crisp lettuce makes for a salad that I usually devour, which is unusual for me and salads.

The bread is also out of this world. I'm not usually a person who focuses on bread. It's usually just ... well, bread to me. But this fresh-baked loaf sits in a delicious buttery garlic mixture that gives the bread a delicious flavor while keeping the the crunch and flakiness in tact. The only downside to eating this bread is actually cutting it. For all the times I've gone to Puglioni's, I have no idea how to cut into the beast without me looking like a savage. Jan dug it, and we just took it piece by piece from there.

For my entree, I ordered something a little different. Ever since I was introduced to Puglioni's, I was told to try their pasta carbonara, and I was hooked ever since. I order it nearly every time I'm there because it is THAT good. It's creamy, cheesey and speckled with bacon and ham. Though I don't usually like bacon and ham, it gives it that perfect saltiness with the cheese that just makes it out of this world. For someone who likes to try new things to usually stick to one dish because I don't think it could get any better says a lot. Seriously, try the pasta carbonara. Anyway, that's what Jan decided on.

I, however, wanted to be adventurous. I ordered the seafood pomodoro with rotini noodles. That's the other amazing thing at Puglioni's - they make all their pastas in house (sans the angel hair), and you get to choose which type of pasta you'd like with your dinner - spaghetti, fettucine, linguine, rotini or angel hair. Before I go too far, they also offer pizza, sandwiches and calzones. But when they make fresh pasta EVERY DAY, how could that not tempt you? It does me. I've also had the lasagna, which is to die for. Seven layers of meaty and cheesey goodness with a mouth-watering marinara - it doesn't get much better than that.

The seafood pomodoro had fresh shrimp and scallops, mushrooms, pomodoro tomatos, artichoke hearts and garlic. It was amazing. As amazing as the carbonara? No, but it was a nice refreshing change.The seafood was fresh, succulent and good, which is surprising for an Italian restaurant. Not surprising for Puglionis. The artichoke hearts were cooked great - not too hard or too mushy. And the mushrooms! They were plump and button-sized so you actually get the taste when you bite into it. The pomodoro tomatoes acted as the light, watery sauce. The dish was much lighter than my other two favorites, but it was filling nonetheless. I always have leftovers, which taste great for a later dinner or even the next day.

If I could give this restaurant higher than an A, I would. You just have to go to see for yourself.

Grade: A
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