Mactacular: Salvi's Bistro
Pasta Salvi Speciale
Located in Hilliard, Salvi's is a family-friendly Italian American stalwart with a long tradition of pleasing customers. Sprawled across three rooms, the large semi-upscale space contains lots of basic black accents, the obligatory pictures giving props to Italy and assorted visuals that casually say "Good Food Here."
Expect the music to be done Sinatra's way and the food to be solid, satisfying and comforting. And expect one legendary dish - let's call it the chairman of the board - to make your head shake in astonishment.
The Hook: Deep-fried brick house
When deep-fried mac and cheese started showing up at diners and state fairs the last couple of years, I found those dreary samples sounded considerably better than they ate. What's more (or less), they sounded like something that's made Salvi's deservedly famous for over two decades. Well, the original puts those dubious factory-produced pretenders to shame.
The Pasta Salvi is like a dreamy block of cream-cheesy lasagna laced with scallions, coated in coarse breadcrumbs and oil-crisped until it turns an "I gotta get that thing into my mouth now!" golden brown. It's like a brick of steaming hot comfort that goes from crazy crunchy to silky smooth and creamy. No doubt created by an evil genius, if you like your pasta fried, you'd be silly to settle for less.
1323 St. James Lutheran Ln., West Side