The $10 Challenge: Sicilian Pizza and Pasta

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August 13, 2010 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

(Note to readers: I’m the master of losing things, and that has happened with great form as I write this post. I can’t find the cords, card reader, etc. that I need to upload pictures from my digital camera, so this post will be sans pics until I can find it. Sorry, folks. Carry on.)

A couple of bites into this week’s Challenge, I left the kitchen table to find some crushed red pepper.

That’s never a good sign.

Unlike my dad, whose behind has barely grazed his seat before he stretches for the salt and pepper shakers, I leave my food alone and trust the folks who were paid to prepare it.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t restrain myself while eating lasagna from Sicilian Pizza and Pasta.

The Italian restaurant, located in downtown Louisville about a few blocks away from the mouth of Fourth Street Live, had many things going for it when I began my research for this week’s Challenge:

  • Free delivery
  • Wide variety of inexpensive food
  • Printable, online coupons
  • Praise from Urbanspoon.com users

The menu offers a lot of dishes that you expect from a typical pizza/pasta joint at very reasonable prices. There are six options for the calzones and strombolis ($8.99 for an 8-inch regular), including Hawaiian with pineapple and ham and spinach with fresh garlic and four types of cheeses. The 8-inch subs are only $5.49, and you can add chips and a drink for only $1.99. And pizzas start at $7.99 for a small cheese and extend to $17.99 for an extra-large gourmet pie (interesting options include bacon double-cheeseburger, Greek with feta cheese and black olives and chicken alfredo).

I should have known from the Urbanspoon reviews to stick with the pizza, which one foodie raved was the “best dough on pizza I’ve eaten.” But one of the coupons on Sicilian’s website was for any two pastas, salad and breadsticks for only $14.99, a Challenge-friendly deal for my boyfriend and I if I ever saw one.

Dinner portions of Sicilian’s baked pastas are normally $8.49 and include a salad and a breadstick, so the coupon provided $1.99 in savings. I ordered the meat lasagna and my partner-in-crime ordered the cheese ravioli.

The food arrived after about 30 to 45 minutes, pretty good time for a dinner rush.

But the first sign of trouble occurred when I opened our boxes of entrees. The lasagna and ravioli looked exactly the same – coated in a layer of toasted brown mozzarella cheese and bright red marinara sauce. I love me some cheese, so I was simultaneously thrilled and scared that the dishes were nearly indistinguishable because of all that dairy.

After the BF and I gorged on the huge salads (fresh and delicious), I dove into my lasagna.

I came up disappointed.

Lasagna is all about what is between the noodles, be it ricotta, Italian sausage or spinach. If you read between Sicilian’s noodles, there was little to offer in terms of flavor and substance. Pieces of sausage and tangy marinara were the only substantive ingredients within the lasagna, and the layer of melted mozzarella on top easily overshadowed the noodles and sparse filling. A couple of palmfuls of oregano, more meat and some ricotta cheese could have made this lasagna sing, but as it was, it just hummed along. BF’s ravioli wasn’t much better. Though the pillows of pasta had plenty of cheese inside, the filling wasn’t fresh and paled in comparison to the gooey mozzarella that topped the dish. This was one of the few instances in my life in which throwing on some extra cheese didn’t make everything better.

I want to put the blame on myself for the lackluster meal. Who goes to a pizza joint and orders pasta? Well, I do, especially if there is a coupon involved. The price was right for the dish, but my expectations for some outstanding flavors were quickly dashed.

I’ll give Sicilian another chance, but next time, I will stick with a pizza pie.

Notes on Sicilian Pizza and Pasta:

  • There are eight coupons available on the restaurant’s website that don’t have an expiration date. Use them.
  • You can fax your order.
  • The restaurant offers a cheap lunch menu.

The Stats:

  • Sicilian Pizza and Pasta, 631 S. Fourth Street, Louisville, Ky.
  • Meat lasagna, cheese ravioli, two salads, two breadsticks: $14.99 (with coupon)
  • Total (with tax and tip): $17
  • Total for each person: $8.50

Mission: Accomplished

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