Takeout Trials: Buca to Go at Buca di Beppo

Although there's no shortage of restaurants that offer takeout in Houston, the options for old-fashioned red gravy Italian are somewhat limited. Buca Di Beppo is not the place to go when you want to a to-go dinner of handmade tortellini with truffles, but if you're jonesin' to rewatch Season 3 of The Sopranos while sharing some pasta and gravy with your inamorato, then why not?

Such was the question I sought to answer when I tried out Buca To Go, Buca di Beppo's takeout service that allows you to call in or go online to arrange an order to be picked up curbside. Well, technically you have to go inside, but for the sake of convenience there is a special window set up devoted exclusively to processing Buca To Go Orders. Good!

Thanks to an Internet coupon for joining Buca's eclub, I got a free small pasta (choice of spaghetti marinara, fettuccine alfredo, or baked ziti) with any purchase (no minimum). Good!

I chose calamari and the baked ziti; the friendly voice at the other end of the phone said the order would be ready in 20 minutes. It was ready five minutes earlier and he gave me extra bread. Good!

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Joanna O'Leary