Tonight, because Kim can’t cook and didn’t think I should have to on my birthday, we decided to use one of our restaurant.com gift certificates and headed over to DeGidio’s Restaurant and Bar in St Paul for dinner.
After walking clear across the melting slush in the parking lot to take a photo of the restaurant’s sign next to the road, we walked in to a restaurant that was busy with the “blue hair set” but no where near full. The sign said to seat ourselves and we took over the only available booth and sat down. Kim already knew what she wanted to order (their Thursday special of sausage lasagna) but I hadn’t really made up my mind.
Within seconds of us sitting down the waitress had already visited our table to ask for our drinks and said she’d be right back with them and our menus. In the blink of an eye she made good on her promise and I spent a good bit of time looking over the menu which included a ton of the usual Italian dishes much like what I’d expect to be served at a family-style Italian restaurant. Even after looking over the menu I had only narrowed my choices to three and decided to ask the server what she recommended.
When she returned Kim ordered the lasagna (which came with choice of French onion soup or salad for $9.95) and their Baked Goat Cheese appetizer which is described as including their red sauce with a dollop of melted
goat cheese, served with toasted bread. I made good on my promise to ask the server what she recommended and she offered several options including what’s popular and her favorites. I ended up choosing the Spicy Penne Arrabiata which was listed as penne pasta with rubbed chicken, mushrooms, onions and plum tomatoes sautéed with crushed red pepper flakes and finished with a touch of cream for 10.95. The server said that she normally went sans red pepper flakes because it was spicy enough but of course I knew I’d be able to handle it and went for the full thing ;-)
The salad and soup came out first and they were both good sized portions. My salad was typical (I did ask for it with no black olives — one of the few things I will not eat) but there was too much dressing on it which wilted the lettuce a bit. Kim’s soup was good but spicy. She ate it all and while we both thought it was decent, it wasn’t the best I’ve ever had. In fact, it wasn’t even in my top 10 but it was nice on a chilly evening. Before I was even half-way through my salad our appetizer arrived. For $7.95 this fucker was huge. There was a good sized mound of goat cheese in the middle of the red sauce and there was a mountain of bread for dipping. Kim remarked that it was more than plenty for a table twice our size and while we both polished it off, it was a bit too filling! My first taste of the goat cheese made me believe that the goat cheese would be too strong for Kim but after it was slowly mixed in with the red sauce it ended up perfect. Kim said she never minded the goat cheese, so it might have just been me being stupid… The appetizer would be on the top of our list if we returned, especially if we were with a group. Highly recommended for value and taste.
We finished up our appetizer and soon afterward our entrees arrived. Even after seeing the size of the appetizer, I was pretty surprised to see the large portions of both my Spicy Penne Arrabiata and Kim’s Lasagna Special. Kim’s first words were, “you’ll have something for lunch tomorrow.” I didn’t really believe her but, as usual, she was right and my eyes were much bigger than my stomach. I soon began portioning off my plate for “tonight” and “tomorrow”. My meal was quite good. It came with two large pieces of garlic bread that were buttery and very soft — just the way I like it. None of that crusty, burned mess that you sometimes receive. The mushrooms were a good size, tasty, and plentiful. My sole complaint with the dish was that the chicken didn’t have much chicken flavor and I could have classified it as mystery meat if I hadn’t know what it actually was.
Kim’s dish looked great. I overheard two tables talking about the special and one couple, who sat down just after we had finished our meals, asked what we thought of the lasagna. They claimed to have heard that it’s some of the best around. From what I could tell, there was plenty of sausage tucked away inside and from my little bite, I felt it was a worthy dish. It also came with two pieces of garlic bread that were just as soft and tasty as mine. Kim was only able to eat about 2/3 of it and saved the rest for tomorrow (and allowed room for dessert!) I really didn’t care for the parsley all over the dish but aside from that, I’d recommend you trying it. Kim said she enjoyed the dish and that she’d order it again for sure. While I’m not so sure it’s the best I’ve ever had (or even close), I must admit that it was well worth the $9.95 price tag especially that it includes a soup or salad.
Kim ordered the Spumoni and it came out in a large bowl, with at least 4 scoops and two spoons. The only other time I’ve had Spumoni in recent memory was at Giuseppe’s in Burnsville and I must say that DeGidio’s version knocks the living fucking shit out of what I had there. Very good with plentiful pistachios (much to Kim’s delight). It was a big serving and while I ate way more than I should have (I’m not really an ice cream fan), Kim still had plenty of dessert left to be quite happy.
Overall, I had a very nice time tonight and I would recommend DeGidio’s to anyone looking for a relatively inexpensive meal (our bill was just over $36 after tax) of your typical Italian foods. There is absolutely nothing fancy here but the prices are right and the servings are enormous — more than plenty for another meal.
Have you eaten at DeGidio’s? What did you think? Comment on, we’d love to hear what you have to say!
DeGidio’s Restaurant and Bar
425 7th St
St Paul, MN 55102
Monday – Thursday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Friday: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Saturday: 12:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Sunday: 3:00 PM – 9:00 PM
See all the pictures from DeGidio’s on Flickr here.