Rolling in dough

Metro Pizza & Grill

9500 Micron Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95827
Ste. 128

(916) 363-4347

If you ask me, this tongue-piercing thing is out of control. I don’t ponder what it means. I just complain about it. Like the other night when the Junebug, Banditsky No. 1 and I showed up for dinner at the Metro Oven & Grill, near 24 Hour Fitness off Bradshaw Road and Highway 50.“She seems like such a nice, wholesome girl,” I said to the Junebug in regard to our fresh-faced blonde escort. “Why’d she have to go and pierce her tongue?”

“What are you talking about? Your daughter has three tattoos.”


“A pierced tongue is way worse than tattoos.”

“Relativist bastard!”

It’s not really that piercing bothers me, it’s that every woman under 25 seems to have one.

Once a sign of rebellion.

But now conformity.

And you know how much I like that.

Speaking of which—and here comes the awkward transition—the decor at the Metro is pretty sedate. Lots of oak, wicker-backed chairs, purple overhead. The TV tuned to the Kings game looked pretty good.

But it’s early, isn’t it?

Which maybe was why the place was packed. A hearty, working-class crowd, not a yuppie in the bunch. Usually, a sign you might be getting your money’s worth.

But hark!

A small child juggling a softball-sized wad of dough.

What could it mean?

It means the Metro values its dough. Good enough for pizza and focaccia, and kids can play with it too! Looks like we won’t have to build that playground out front after all. It seems dough’s double meaning is well deserved.

Make that triple meaning.

Gummy, chewy, tasteless.

Even with the butter, sour cream, sun-dried tomato spread.

“It’s like Denny’s with an Italian twist,” said the Junebug.


How you gonna improve on that?

Loved the waiter, real nice fella, not a tattoo or a piercing on him. Didn’t bat an eye when asked to replace flat sodas. Replacements had a little more fizz. He was in a sack state.

Or maybe Sac State?

The menu is certainly more ambitious than Denny’s. Big ticket stuff. Linguini with prawns in beurre blanc sauce. Stuffed leg of lamb. Prime rib.

Fourteen large ($13.99) seemed a bit high for a twisted Italian Denny’s entrée, so I opted for the Philly cheese steak sandwich. It came with, no surprise, cheese, onions, peppers. But in yet another twist, this time Australian avian (ostrich) was on the ballot. I poked, and after vigorous chewing, the only hanging chad was the supermarket store-brand bun, which self-destructed after three bites.

The Junebug went for capellini con pollo di rosemary. Translation: some kind of pasta I can’t remember the shape of. Rosemary. Mucho large wedges of chicken. Mucho sun-dried tomato. Shredded mozzarella.

“They put cheese on everything,” the Junebug said.

“And sun-dried tomatoes,” I added.

Ate half, saved half.

Hate to waste that much protein.

No. 1 played it safe with pollo pesto pizza. Translation: that dough I was making fun of earlier. Pesto. Mucho large wedges of chicken. Mucho sun-dried tomato. A ton of shredded mozzarella.

“They put cheese on everything,” Banditsky No. 1 said.

“And sun-dried tomatoes,” I added.

Ate one-quarter, saved three.

You can’t not eat pizza.

What we have here is your basic modular food concept. Everything’s made from the same white buckets in the back. Mix ’n’ match. Nothing intrinsically wrong with that, but usually it’s not this transparent. A little artistry never hurt anyone.

After a meal like this, I need me a little hillbilly pie. Jumpin’ Jehosophat, they got it here! Pretty darned good, too, but they don’t make it on the premises. That’s the way it is. Metro is safe for get-in, get-out propositions.

But if you want to fall in love, you have to go someplace else.

So mostly, it just depends on what you want to do.