Benito’s Pizza And Pastabilities

Enter
11701 San Jose Blvd
Ste 23
Jacksonville, FL 32223

I am always looking for  the Italian restaurant, I would return to, and I’m still looking.  Benito’s may be the closest I have come so far. A family owned spot in this area for the last 13 years, I was up for some Italian food, so I picked this spot.

Situated in another mall, easy to access right off Loretto Road.

Samll space bar and table seating

Small space bar and table seating

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kitchen

A view into the kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tabel Decor

Table Decor

Service was quite relaxed, when I arrived it was well past lunch, but too early for dinner so I had the place to myself.  That’s always like a kiss of death, for me; you’re the only person in the place and everyone ignores you.  But to blow that myth out of the water, as I sat someone was rushing out of the kitchen to place a just out of the oven Bruschetta on my table, I was not going to complain.

Bruschetta

Bruschetta

The menu finally appeared, and I ordered something to drink as I read.  This is how it went.

First choice, the Eggplant Rollatini, fresh eggplant rolled with ricotta cheese, topped with mozzarella and marinara.  The sauce was quite nice, eggplant tasty and full or ricotta.  I make these at home,  I was not unhappy with their version.

Egg Plant Rolitini

Egg Plant Rollatini

Along with that the Mussels sautéed in spicy Fra Diavalo sauce.  They also offer a garlic oil version  I went spicy.

Mussels Maranaria

Mussels Maranaria

This dish was a big fail. The menu read 12 mussels, and there were clearly more which is never a bad thing right?  Here is the rub, many of the mussels were unopened, and had to be discarded, that along with the fact the sauce was full of broken shells, causing the diner to have to stir  the gravy in order to pluck them out so you don’t bite into one.  Total turn off.  The Fra Diavalo was quite good, sadly I am so turned off by now it was done.  What was sinful there was some beautiful garlic bread, served with the meal, that would have been happy to be dipped in the sauce.

Garlic Bread

Soft warm and full of garlic.

But the story has a happy ending.  I am a pretty basic pasta person,  my go to dish, wherever I am is Aglio e Olio, Spaghetti, and it’s always Linguini.  Good olive oil is a must and fresh garlic can make or break this dish. This dish made up for the lackluster service, bad mussels and every thing else that may have gone wrong that day.  It was brilliant.  Al dente, well salted, smooth light olive oil, ample amount of small diced garlic.  Truly a gem.

I would return just for the opportunity to eat this  dish again.  There are several items that deserve a test, and for sure I will return to do the testing.  Gather the besties, go hungry, and have some fun.

bon-appetit_63

Benito’s Pizza and Pastabilities Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s