Wednesday, March 20, 2013

UPDATE #2: amo la Pizza 022-395-5317


If you haven’t read about amo la Pizza before, please read my earlier posts at:  amo la Pizza and HERE.
Address:  宮城県仙台市太白区鹿野2-14-14、グローリアス鹿野102.   Located about a four-minute walk from The Mall Part 2, next to the giant Paradiso Pachinko Parlor in Nagamachi-minami.
Map:  Scroll down below.
Open:   Lunch:  11 am – 2:30 pm  Dinner:  5:30 pm  - 9:00 pm
Closed Mondays.
We simply LOVE this place and because of our nearly weekly visits, my wife and I have become regulars at the amo (they don’t capitalize the “a” in “amo”).  But getting a table is still a feat since amo was featured on the 仙台放送 program あらあらかしこ.
The skillful owner, Yoshiki Katsuta, has totally revamped the menus for both lunch and dinner and has taken his restaurant into a new, exciting direction, going from a simple pizza joint to a refined choice for dining.
I’ll begin with the new and improved lunch menu.  There are two menu choices for lunch:  the Lunch Course or the Pizza Lunch.  The Lunch Course is only offered on weekends and holidays, but I’ve ordered it during the week after calling in and requesting it.  It includes an appetizer platter, salad, soup, pizza, gelato, and a drink, all for 1480 yen.  For an additional 300 yen, an alcoholic drink can be served.  Unfortunately, only the first ten orders for the Lunch Course can be served daily.  If you'd like to try the Lunch Course, I suggest calling ahead and reserving both the course and a table.

The appetizer platter features three different samplers: an Italian omelette with balsamic dressing, a slice of Milano and Mortadella ham in olive oil, and pickled vegetables.


I have never been a fan of omelettes, but I have to admit that the combo of balsamic sauce mixed with this bacon bit omelette is outstanding!  The pickles are delightful, and the ham slices with olives round out a great starter to the meal.
Next, comes the vegetable salad topped with the wonderful Sendai miso dressing.  On any given day, the veggies could include red daikon, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, red cabbage, turnips, endive, onions, mizuna, mini cabbage, and romaine lettuce.

Salad w/Sendai Miso Dressing

Following the salad is the minestrone soup.  Along with the salad, the vegetables in the soup scream “freshness” in every bite.

Minestrone Soup

When selecting your pizza from the Lunch Course, there are six varieties of pizzas to choose from (Margherita, Italian Sausage, Four Cheese, Vegetable, Bacon & Mushroom Cream, and Seafood Genovesa), or you can order a half & half pizza.  On some days, I’ll go with the one topping of homemade salsiccia Italian sausage, on other days I’ll go with a half & half pizza.  I’m not sure if it’s because they staff knows I write this restaurant blog, or if it’s because we are regular customers, or if it’s that amo likes to satisfy its customers whenever it can, but my off-menu requests are often fulfilled.  When ordering off the beaten track, I’ve ordered a half & half pizza with either the ham and rucola topping or the grilled chicken with the salsiccia sausage.

A side note concerning the salsiccia (“sausage” in Italian).  To me, this Italian sausage tastes exactly like my mother’s meatballs in her Mexican albondigas soup.  My mother’s albondigas soup is one of my all-time favorite dishes, so to have a 懐かしい moment while dining in Japan warms the cockles of my heart.
The vanilla gelato accompanied with whipped cream and berries is a wonderful finisher to a delightful meal.


But if the lunch course seems a bit much for you, perhaps ordering from the regular pizza lunch menu would be more to your liking.
The same six varieties of pizzas are available a la carte or with a drink set.  The pizza sets range from 900 yen to 1100 yen, with the choice of drinks being hot/iced coffee or tea, orange juice, or oolong tea.  Beer or house wine is an additional 300 yen.  A 100 yen discount is deducted if you choose not to have a drink.  Dessert is also available for 200 yen.

Below are photos of the various pizzas I’ve encountered.

Half & Half:  Ham/Rucola and Italian Sausage





Now on to the restyled dinner menu.  The 1900 yen Set Menu is quite similar to the Lunch Course, but there are a few differences.  First, there must be at least two people ordering the Set Menu.  Secondly, it’s one pizza for two people, but you can still order a half & half pizza.  Lastly, the pasta of the day is included!  
The menu states that, like the Lunch Course, your dining experience starts out with three appetizer samplers.  Again, I don’t know if Katsuta-san was just taking care of us this evening, but we were served four delicious hors d’ oeuvres.   In addition to the lunch course’s Italian omelette and pickles, a delightful mixture of broccoli and shrimp in balsamic sauce plus a refreshing caponata were placed in front of us.  My only complaint was that the caponata was a bit difficult to eat in the spoon/bowl that they served it in.

Dinner Set Appetizer Sampler

The pasta d’jour was chicken and gobou (burdock root) in tomato sauce.  The gobou was soft and delicious, which was surprising to me because gobou has never been one of my favorites, while the chicken possessed a savory soy sauce seasoning to it.

Chicken and Burdock (ごぼう) in Tomato Sauce Pasta

As you can see from the menu photos below, amo la Pizza now offers a fine dining experience with a variety of culinary delights for all. I've yet to try amo's selection of nomihoudai party courses which are available upon request, but their menus are enticing.  And with the lovely waitress, Honami, attending to you, who could ask for anything more?

Dinner Menu

Dinner Menu pg. 2

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