Much More Than the Name Implies- Italian Grille and Deli

 italian-grille-outsideSusan says…

 Where do you go in the Teays Valley area when you are too lazy to cook and you want something good?  I usually suggest Taste of Asia, but Ron is sick of going there.  Neither one of us count Bob Evans as a valid destination so it was out.  I have really had a craving for a fish sandwich, so much so, that I considered eating at Shoney’s!  Totre’s was out because of the smoking.  If I eat Mexican, only Cozumel, Three Amigos or East Tenampa will do, all too far away for Ron’s mood this evening.

I suggest we try the Italian Grille & Deli, formerly known as Stefano’s.  Loyal reader LAL recommended it and since she also likes River’s Edge Cafe, Ron was all about her suggestion. 

Admitedly, I was fearful that this place was going to be a hole in the wall and perhaps a bit scary inside since it was in an older shopping plaza.  Not so!!  It was cheerful and tastefully decorated inside with black and red tablecovers, pictures or mirrors flanked by wrought iron candleholders, and wrought iron fence detailing the tops of the half-walls.  The special on the dry-erase board greeting us at the door sounded so good, I didn’t really need to see the menu.  But you know I did – and I read over it twice anyway.


Look! It's a Knot!

Several appetizers, including fried ravioli and bruschetta began the choices.  Pastas, pizzas, Italian-style sandwiches and salads fill out the menu along with steaks.  Prices range from $8 to $18, generally speaking.  I was pleasantly surprised to find adult beverages available – beer prices were “ok” according to Ron and the wine by-the-glass was priced at a very affordable $3.95, although the selection is limited.  Sodas are priced at $1.95, causing me to ask why you wouldn’t just order wine, given the small difference in price. 

After my second reading, I ultimately decided on the pasta special – penne with shrimp, bell peppers, tomatoes, and mushrooms in a light spicy sauce for $12.95. Included with the pasta dish is a side salad and we received a basket of freshly made bread and marinara sauce for our table to enjoy while waiting on the entrees.

Twisted into a knot, the bread was indeed fresh and slightly doughy.  The marinara sauce was a nice, unexpected accompaniment as most restaurants only provide butter or olive oil.


Veggies abound in the side salad.  Crisp iceberg lettuce, cucumber, tomato, black olives, red onion, green pepper and carrots combined with a delicious homemade Italian dressing to kick off this meal.  The size was perfect.  Even though I prefer mixed greens as opposed to strictly iceberg, the salad was satisfying.

My entree was large in size and flavor.  The light sauce, sweetened with honey, had a heat that slowly built throughout the meal.  I love it when that happens.  I don’t love it when a dish features shrimp and the shrimp are truly shrimpy in size.  My plate held nine nickel-sized shrimp that had a taste that admitted they came from the freezer.  The shrimp should have been larger, and fewer of them, to make up for the cost difference.  With better seafood and a bit more veg, this dish would have been a knockout.  As it was, it simply stunned me for a count of about 3.


I was full after eating about half the penne and all the “good stuff”.  Of course I had already devoured a roll and the yummy salad.  I had to quit without cleaning my plate: Hope & I made a decision when we heard the words “the Chef’s Grandmother makes the desserts from scratch – she used to be a wedding cake maker” and “yes, we have tiramisu”.  That decision was to order dessert. 

I rarely order dessert at restaurants due to severe calorie-guilt afterward when I realize it really wasn’t worth it.  The one dessert that I can rarely resist, however, is tiramisu.  Hearing that it is homemade by a former baker using her authentic Italian recipes pushed me over the little brink that remained.  Hope was all too happy to grab a fork and assist.


See the cake layers in lieu of ladyfingers? Delish!

I had to fight that little redhead off!  She was eating it too quickly – too quickly to savor the wonderfulness of the dish.  The Italian Grille serves tiramisu not with ladyfingers, but with two cake layers, reminiscent of pound cake maybe,  separated by traditional zambilione.  The top, dusted with cocoa powder, was the perfect chocolate finish.   I was eating it slowly, taking small bites that lingered in my mouth to taste every drop of the cream, coffee and cocoa.  Hope was ordered to cease and desist while I finished what was left of my half.  This dessert was worth every penney of the $5.95 price tag.  And I am sure Hope would agree.  Especially since she wasn’t paying.

Service was a tad slow, but would have been a nice pace for a romantic date.  The place was very busy, so slowish service probably couldn’t be helped.  Our server was polite and knowledgeable.

This is much more than just a grille & deli, with the pastas and steaks, along with legal beverages.  Impressed by this quaint little local spot, Ron and I will definitely be back for another THREE FORK experience. 


Ron says…

 {Editors Note: – the following paragraphs may lead one to assume that it is Susan’s fault that this review has not been posted in such a long time.  That is not the case.  It is purely a well crafted and long practiced skill of Procrastination on Ron’s part that this review is only being typed now.  No ill will should be focused on Susan and please send all your blog love to me   ~ Ron }

Once again, Susan never posts the date when she starts these reviews.  So because it was so long ago I don’t remember exactly when it was.  Thus being under Susan’s thumb and pressured to type my review, I do so today – April 5th, 2009 – I’m sure about three weeks after eating here.

Susan does a good job of explaining how we came about choosing this fine establishment to have our grub.  I wasn’t really in the mood for beer that eve, I remember that because I remember I was OK with eating at Shoney’s, and the only reason I’d be Ok with that is if I wasn’t interested in drinking. 

I also remember leaving the decision up to Susan’s youngest daughter Hope, between Applebees and Shoney’s.  If memory serves me correctly, (and it may not) Hope chose our Neighborhood Bar and Grill.   However turning into Liberty Plaza, I think was when Susan suggested the new Italian place.   

Upon this suggestion I remembered grumbling because I had eaten at Stefano’s and thought it to be too expensive.   I thought this just may be the same thing under a different name.

I’m going to skip to the end, and say I’m giving it Three Forks.   I give it Three Forks only because this is my first time there.  If this had been my umpteenth visit and with the same consistent quality throughout each visit, I’d definitely give it Four Forks and border on Five.   But I’m trying to be honest with myself and before I bestow the crown jewels of forking, I’ll hold out for another dine.

Now for the Meal:  Look at that plate of food –



So I go with the Calzone for about $8.  I don’t remember why,but that’s what I wanted. 

While I waited, I nursed a few beers which were not expensive, and took in the scenery which was clean and had a certain style that is unknown to me.  I say “style” becuase it was very neatly decorated, unlike my office at work.

The service was good, I thought our server was too friendly, but she really took the time to explain the meals and what was made fresh and from scratch. And of course she said it was all good.  This last statement is why most of what she was saying was going in one ear and picking up speed and going straight out the other.     I simply hate asking the person who works there “what’s good?”   But what bugged me about her may not bug you, so that isn’t really relative is it?

My only complaint is that I think the food took awhile.

When it arrives… my plate was full. To be honest I couldn’t eat it all.  I actually ordered a box but that was prior to Susan ordering desert.  Once she ordered desert I simply continued to stuff my face, pause for digestion, and then continue to stuff.  Simply eating for the pure enjoyment of eating as I was full many bites ago.   But my Calzone was delicious. The sausage was somewhat spicy, the sauce was sweet, and my banana peppers sweet and spicy.

My only (other) complaint was that there was a bit much bread for me, I think I filled up mostly on this.   As before I closed shop I had dissassembled my calzone and just ate my sausage, sauce and peppers.

I’ll be back for more.   This was a very nice surprise.  Not too expensive and too much food to eat for the price.

THREE FORKS (probably deserves Four)

Italian Grille & Deli
17 Putnam Village Shopping Center
Hurricane, WV 25526

16 responses to “Much More Than the Name Implies- Italian Grille and Deli

  1. I’m glad you enjoyed it as much as we do. My husband and I ate there last Friday night and had a pizza ($13.95), a piece of Italian Wedding Cake and a piece of Chocolate Truffle pie. We already knew we loved the wedding cake. And we couldn’t decide if we wanted to give it up to try something else. We ended up with both. The choc. pie was “to die for” and I’m not usually a chocolate-lover. The pizza was really good with a chewy crust and really good toppings. Our server every time we’ve been there is the daughter of the owners. She even gave us the chocolate pie on the house because we couldn’t decide which to get (needless to say, we left her a very nice tip.) My husband also got a 32-oz. Amber Bock for $3.95, which we thought was a pretty good price.

  2. Sounds good. The KV has a terribly scant number of Italian places and the best are not very good.
    Look forward to checking this place out.

  3. Sounds lovely! I too am powerless against the lure of Tiramisu. I consider it The Perfect Dessert.

  4. Took the fambly there tonight. Parents liked their pasta: dad had linguine sicilian; mom spaghetti with marinara. Both were served al dente and not West Virginia style (boiled to the point the spaghetti get to be as fat as a nightcrawler). Parents also like their salads.

    Me, I got The Italian: a standard red sauce/mozzarella pie with sliced tomatoes, anchovies, and fresh garlic. F*** me was it good. Real good. As in, best pie I’ve had in WV in years good.

    And while I refrained from imbibing due to the particuarlly inclement weather I did note two Mountaineer Brewing beers on the menu at $3 each and CANS OF PABST FOR 99 CENTS. Crazy. That’s cheaper than dirt these days.

    Finally, the service was solid and the chef – he earned the title as far as I’m concerned – made the rounds to ask everyone how things were and to answer questions. Class act.

    Bottom line, I’ll go back and go back often. Next visit I’m going for The Godfather – sans mayo, of course. Highly recommended.

  5. Based on the original review my husband and I dined there last night. We were not disappointed. I had the Scallops over linguini with lemon butter garlic sauce. It was divine. My only complaint it that the dish could have been perfection if the scallops had been seared to give them some color. My DH had the stuffed peppers which he really enjoyed, and I felt they were even better than the ones my grandmother makes! We split dessert, we had the chocolate truffle pie one of the other posters mentioned. It was heavenly. Just the right mix of sweet caramel and bittersweet chocolate.

  6. OMG, what a place! Finally, a decent Italian restaurant aside from Rocco’s. My husband and I dined there this evening and the food was in a word, spectacular. He ordered the fettucine with clams and garlic and was not disappointed. In fact, when he was nearing the end of his dish he had more clams than fettucine. I had the hot Italian sausage with spaghetti. It was really good. The sausage could have been a bit spicier but it was still delicious with perfect grill marks on the outside. Near the end of the meal, the chef came out to ask how our entrees tasted which certainly impressed me. We both ordered dessert. I had the Chocolate Truffle Pie, if you go, you must try this. It is by far, the BEST dessert that has ever crossed my lips. I wish I could’ve eaten the entire piece but it was just too rich. My husband got the tiramisu which he thoroughly enjoyed. We accompanied dessert with an Italian Roast coffee. I asked what brand they used but was only told it was a Venetian blend. It was one of the best coffees I’ve had. There was no bitterness and a nice strong, smooth flavor. We had all of this for $45, not a bad price to pay for delicious food! We will no doubt be frequenting this place much more often.

  7. Had dinner here Saturday. I had The Godfather, she had Pasta Pesto. Both were very good. We mistakenly ordered an antipasta salad. Way too much to have with the other items. It’s lunch today. Also split one tiramisu. Each had Diet Coke. The tab was $44.00. Service was very good. As others have stated, the Chef came by to check in. We will add this to our rotation without fail.

  8. Ugh, another lousy WV Italian joint.
    This place is one of the worse.

    • Maybe you are thinking of the former italian joint in this location. The NEW Italian Grill and Deli has some of the best Italian food I’ve ever tasted!

  9. Hippie Killer

    When presenting what is clearly a minority opinion, it’s usually customary to back it up with, like, something. Just sayin’.

  10. I must agree with Hippie Killer. We have received so many positive comments about the Italian Grille, I would like to know, specifically, why you disagree with the masses.

    Bad service?

    Sauce not like Grandma’s?

    Beer to expensive? oh, no – that would be Ron’s gripe.

  11. Yes, Demo, if you didn’t like it, (if you actually ate there), at least mention why.

  12. Phil I. Stein

    No doubt, while globetrotting and doing his part to enhance the image of West Virginians internationally, the Hillbilly ate once at a place in Sicily the locals jealously gaurd from run of the mill tourists and to which he was granted entry only because he dazzled the local capo with his culinary expertise.

    Either that or he’s talkng out his butt again.

  13. Ooops, my last post was supposed to be directed to SagaciousHillbilly, not Demo. Sorry, Demo.

  14. Had dinner there last night. Our only complaint was the service and this is directed to just our server. (The other two servers seemed to be doing fine with their tables.) It appeared that her bad service was directed only to us. Her other tables got plenty of attention while we got very little. You always seat yourself at this place then you expect to be greeted and drink orders taken. It was close to 10 minutes before she acknowledged us, and only after I threw my hand up and waved at her from across the room. We ordered right then. After she brought our drinks and bread, we waited a while before she came back with the garlic bread we ordered. We then had to request our salads. She apparently hadn’t even began assembling our salads because it took a little too long to get them still.

    Our party of five all loved the food. My husband said the linguine sicilian was the best thing he’s gotten there. Two others loved their manicotti. I got the large (HUGE!) antipasti salad with Italian dressing and I thought it was really good too. The kids’ cheese pizza was really big, about the size of a 12″ pizza, but square-ish. It was a hit too.

    I know they are slow getting the entrees to the table and I expect that, but our server seemed to not care so much about us and much more about her other tables. I’d call her out by name, but she never mentioned it.

  15. I’m glad you posted your comment, Ashley. I didn’t know that place was there.

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