Monday, April 29, 2013

Let Me Begin With a Heart-Warming Story…

“It all started back in 1967 when Sicilian born Giovanni Smecca decided to move to Galveston, Texas from Patterson, New Jersey after hearing Glen Campbell’s famous ‘Galveston’ during a card game. Giovanni always dreamed of being a professional fisherman, so he decided to give it a shot and made the drive to Galveston. After battles of sea sickness, Giovanni quickly decided that the fish business wasn’t for him.

“Heartbroken, Giovanni was about to move back to New Jersey when he met Mario Bonaccorso who was trying to open a pizzeria. The two became great friends, and together, these two young Italian entrepreneurs started Mario’s Flying Pizza and brought the ‘pizza pie’ to Galveston Island” (mariosristorante.com).

Wait a minute.

Wrong Mario’s. This is from the website of Mario’s Ristorante and not Mario’s Seawall Italian Restaurant at which we dined. As Gilda Radner (as Emily Litella on SNL) would say “Never mind.”

Then again…Mario’s Seawall is part of the Galveston Restaurant Group whose patriarch is Tony Smecca. Is Tony Smecca related to the aforementioned Giovanni Smecca? Inquiring minds want to know.

Anyway…We are at Mario’s Seawall because it was voted Galveston Island's best pizza and best Italian cuisine. Can we visit a new city without trying pizza? Of course not.

You enter Mario’s Seawall though the front patio. Had we intended to have just drinks and gelato it might have been a pleasant place to sit and watch the Gulf. But the day was a bit too cool for outdoor dining so we ventured inside to a dining room decorated in large—and again somewhat tacky—painted murals.

The big thing at Mario’s—or at least at lunch—is the buffet. After a brief reconnoiter, I decided the offerings (pollack, meatballs, roast pork, spaghetti with marinara, chicken, assorted veggies, and three types of pizza) just did not fill me with excitement. Especially the pizza sitting under a warming lamp.

So back to the menu I went. We decided not to break any new ground in the pizza department and ordered one medium Margherita and one medium cheese and sausage pizza. Oh, and light on the cheese.

And then we waited…and waited…and waited.

I had been forewarned that the kitchen could be slow, but there was almost no one else in the restaurant. And we waited some more.

I am freezing cold. Air conditioners in Texas are set on frigid—I think to remove the humidity from the air. We waited some more. I was ready to pull my chair over to the buffet and begin eating. And this was after eating my share of a loaf of good warm bread.

Finally. Here are our pizzas. Were they worth the wait?

Not really.


First, I knew going in that Mario’s Seawall served New York-style pizza and the crust is thicker than I like. But there were other problems. The Margherita had way too much cheese, although we
need to take partial responsibility for this. The request for light cheese came after we ordered the cheese and sausage, so I surmise that our server thought that request only applied to that pizza. But the Margherita was also lacking in flavor and I think that the olive oil base could have benefited from some garlic. But they do get points for putting the fresh basil on after the pie had been taken from the oven so it retained its fresh flavor.

The cheese and sausage still had a bit more cheese than ideal but was the better of the two choices and was topped with a copious amount of good fennel sausage.

The equivalent of three-quarters of a pizza came home with us and fed me breakfast for the next three days.

We finished by sharing a small dish of chocolate-hazelnut gelato. Thank heaven it was only a small dish after all of that filling pizza.

Mario’s Seawall Italian Restaurant may have Galveston’s best pizza, but to me it merits no more than 2.5 Addies.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

2 comments:

Franca Smecca said...

Ha!! That's cute. And yes, we're related. Tony is my uncle and Godfather ;)
Everything on our website is true. Also I Was Baptized IN Patterson NJ. Just to get the time line of who was first. My aunt and uncle lived there. We already had Mario's on Ave P 1/2

Franca Smecca said...

Ha!! That's cute. And yes, we're related. Tony is my uncle and Godfather ;)
Everything on our website is true. Also I Was Baptized IN Patterson NJ. Just to get the time line of who was first. My aunt and uncle lived there. We already had Mario's on Ave P 1/2