Why did Jerry Mancuso open Mancuso's Italian Table (2231 S. Voss, 713-953-9090)? He answers the question with a question: "Don't all Italians have to go into the restaurant business?" The Mancuso family emigrated from Sicily in the 1800s, first landing in New Orleans, then Galveston, then Houston.
This is Jerry's first restaurant, although he has been in the construction business for restaurants all his life. His partner in this venture is veteran restaurateur Dody Martel, and the manager is Joe Etor, who has 23 years of experience at restaurants such as The Brownstone, Rainbow Lodge and La Tour d'Argent.
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"It seems like today, everything is very modern and high-tech, and rather than continue to move things forward, we decided to go back in time 50 years, to the way things used to be," says Mancuso. "We wanted to create a great family-owned, neighborhood Italian restaurant."
As for the food, Mancuso says, "We're serving the very best Italian-American dishes, and many of the dishes use our family recipes. We have absolutely the very best veal piccata, and our Ted's Trio pasta, named in honor of Dody's father, which includes lasagna, ravioli and spaghetti and meatballs, has already become our most popular dish." Mancuso adds that his pasta is made from scratch, and the mozzarella is homemade. "We're trying to use only those ingredients that were available to our forefathers from local purveyors."
When Dish visited the first weekend Mancuso's opened, the dining room was already crowded and the line at the door never subsided. The Ted's Trio was indeed a terrific sampler platter, with the spaghetti cooked perfectly al dente. It was early evening, but the veal piccata was sold out. The chicken marsala, served on a bed of sautéed spinach, was a perfect substitute.
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