Pietro’s Famiglia Ristorante Italiano834 Victorian Ave.
Sparks, NV 89431
I love dining with my parents. I could go on and on about how it’s because I love them, they’re great, etc., but let’s be honest, they always pick up the tab and let me pick out the wine. Win-win as far as I’m concerned. They came to town on a recent Sunday, and I figured since they were paying, I might as well go somewhere I don’t get to go often, so off to Sparks we went.
To get to Pietro’s, you go up a flight of stairs that go through the middle of the Blind Onion. Once you get up the stairs into the restaurant, it’s sort of like a bizarro Italian cave, with pink and purple sponge-painted walls, old tan booths, a trellis with fake vines hanging from from the popcorn ceiling and a large “Mona Lisa” print toward the back. I say this with love, but it’s just frigging horrible-looking. However, I didn’t come for the décor, I came for everything else, including a featured singer who does Sinatra and Martin songs.
Our friendly waitress, Emily, arrived with several wine suggestions, including the 2008 J Lohr Cabernet Sauvignon ($38) and 2008 Da Vinci Chianti ($29). Unsure of which one I wanted—both—Emily brought over two samples for us to try. Smart girl, because this was all it took to get my parents on board with the two-bottle plan. To start, we went with the bruschetta ($7.50,) probably some of the best I’ve ever had. The tomatoes tasted so fresh, but also like they had been marinated in garlic, olive oil and basil for about a week, with crumbled gorgonzola on top.
For entrées, my mom had the chicken piccatta ($15.95), large portions of skinless chicken breast with capers over a pile of angel hair pasta. The chicken was so moist and the noodles so well-seasoned with garlic, that despite its simplicity, it was a great dish. My dad and I ordered off the specials menu. He had the lean cod ($24.95), which was served lightly breaded and over linguini noodles with red pepper flakes that gave it a kick. The portions were huge, and the fish was perfectly cooked and not over-breaded. I ordered the scallops ($26.95), which were light brown on the outside and moist on the inside, with a sweet, buttery taste. The scallops didn’t last long because everyone at the table loved them. However, I didn’t go hungry because the scallops came served over a large serving of garlic pasta, and I stole a bunch of grilled vegetables from my dad.
The Sullivans are a gluttonous group, so even after all that food, we knew we had to have the tiramisu ($5.50) once the word “homemade” were uttered. The tiramisu was so light and moist I knew that probably not being able to walk down the stairs was going to be worth it. A light layer of cinnamon brought out the flavors even more.
Once our eating frenzy finally ended, we rolled ourselves away from the table as the singer wished us good night. After taking another look around at the pink and purple walls and fake flowers, I realized that the crazy décor is part of the charm, because I really couldn’t imagine Pietro’s any other way. Besides, when you serve food that tastes this good, you could probably convince me to sit in the parking lot and eat my meal.