Romano’s shrimp rigatoni steals the show

By By Johnathan Manning / American Press

Spinach was up to its old tricks at the newly opened Romano’s Italian Restaurant.

While appearing to be a disgusting green vegetable that only a nutrient freak like Popeye would eat, it turned out to be a

pleasant addition in the restaurant’s shrimp rigatoni.

I joined my co-worker, Mike Cooper and

his wife, Erin, for lunch to try out the new restaurant. Erin had

already been to Romano’s

and she suggested we try the pizza, while she chose a new dish,

the rigatoni.

While we enjoyed the pizza, the rigatoni stole the show.

Described as spinach and baby shrimp in a creamy sauce (which I believe was Alfredo-based), it was served over ziti.

As is my style, I arrived at the restaurant fashionably late, to find rolls and Alfredo sauce already served.

The rolls and Alfredo sauce were similar to what you will find in other local Italian restaurants, such as Joe’s Pizza and

Pasta in Sulphur, albeit with their own distinct taste.

Cooper made the astute observation that the pizza dough tasted similar to the rolls.

There are 16 specialty, brick-oven pizzas. We chose the Romano’s Special, which was topped with chicken, basil and creamy

pink sauce.

Cooper enjoyed it more than I did, although I’d like to give the crust another go with different toppings.

That will be down the road, though, because on my next trip to Romano’s I’m going to sample a baked casserole.

Baked casseroles come in 14 variations,

ranging from lasagna to lobster ravioli. From what I could tell from

the menu, they’re

baked in individual dishes. I’m considering the Tour of Italy

(lasagna, chicken parmesan and fettuccine Alfredo), but if you’ve

been to the restaurant and have another suggestion, let me know.

There’s also a large section of chicken entrées on the menu.

Romano’s prices average around $12 to $13, although the 13 weekday lunch specials are $8.99.

The restaurant is located downtown, two doors down from Luna Bar and Grill.

Like the other businesses and restaurants in the surrounding area, the exposed brick walls and Times Square ceiling tiles

give Romano’s the same downtown atmosphere.

It is the first Louisiana franchise for the small Texas chain.

Romano’s is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.