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Pasta Point of No Return

So much Italian food. So overcooked.

I made every effort to be fair to Mingalone. I went there first in mid-December -- when the place had been open a month -- and returned in mid-January. But the experience both times was much the same: indifferent. Some restaurants begin badly and gain in vigor. Others start well and run out of steam. Mingalone, on the evidence so far, plans to proceed the way it started: not really caring one way or the other.

Mingalone could be a first-rate restaurant. It looks terrific, the ambiance is great and the service staff is pleasant to a fault. There's a wonderful bustle about the place. And the diners here do seem to bond. The four men at the table next to mine acted as if they'd climbed Everest together, or had played on the same Davis Cup team. Just think what the place would be like were the food any good.

The restaurant's logo is a stylized eye, inspired, according to owner Antonio Mingalone, by his late father, who "always kept his eye on the cash register." I don't know Mr. Mingalone, but because I'd like to see him succeed, I'm going to offer a word of advice. Forget the cash register, and keep your eye -- both eyes -- on the kitchen. And I'd do it right away, if I were you. There isn't a moment to lose.

Location Info

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Mingalone Italian Bar & Grill

540 Texas
Houston, TX 77002

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Downtown/ Midtown

Mingalone Italian Bar and Grill, 540 Texas (in Bayou Place), 223-0088.

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