Carr Mill Mall
Hours: Tue-Sat: 5:30-10:30 pm
Review Date: March 17, 2000
Reviewers: David Erb, Mike Germano, Cassandra Germano, Donna Hughes, Manon Baratt, Linda McGown, Michael Pocink
Our evening at Panzanella was very enjoyable, partially due to the atmosphere, and partially due to the food selection and overall quality. The decor is that of a trendy upscale converted warehouse .... high brick walls, wood floors and pleasant lighting. It was a bit noisy, but not enough to be really annoying. I can imagine that on a not-so-busy evening, Panzanella could be very cozy. The staff is willing to make adjustments to accommodate vegetarian or vegan needs, and the menu, although quite small, features a good variety of creative vegetarian dishes. The desserts in particular were excellent, and most reviewers agreed that they enjoyed the entrees (although there were a couple of comments indicating that the food was rather bland). The service was slightly rushed, but it was a very busy Friday night (St. Patrick's Day).
Panzanella offers a large selection of appetizers, all of which appear to be vegetarian, as well as several that are vegan or could easily be vegan if the accompanying cheese were left off. Two reviewers ordered Winter Vegetable Minestrone with Asagio ($4.50), and commented that it was very chunky and filled with beans and veggies, but could use more spices. Two others had the Creamy Polenta with Fontina & Wild Mushrooms ($4.75), which was reported as being excellent. Mixed Organic Greens Vinaigrette & Grana Padano ($4.25) was also ordered, with no complaints.
Five pizza entrees are available, four of which are vegetarian. One person had the Pizza Margherita ($7.95), which was described as superb, with fresh cheese and lots of fresh flavor.
Four of the seven non-pizza entrees are vegetarian. The Roasted Vegetable Caponata over Polenta ($8.95) was accompanied by a side dish of kale (very unusual in a restaurant!). Comments from the two that ordered it were "roasted vegetables were too mushy, overall tasted rather bland," and "like good home cooking - the polenta was quite mild but had some nice delicate flavors." Two people had Orecchiette with Garlicky Chard & Chickpeas ($8.95), and said it was "too garlicky - the garlic and the bitter taste of chard didn't go well together," and "very tasty." One reviewer ordered Risotto Cakes with Butternut Squash Gratin & Greens ($9.50), saying that the risotto cakes were a little dry and more like veggie burgers, but still very good.
The desserts (all $4.75) sounded so tempting that most people ordered one of the several offerings. General comments about the desserts were "very flavorful, delicious, and excellent." The coffee and cappuccino ($2.00) were also excellent. Reviewers orderered Tuscan Cornmeal Pound Cake, Lemon Tart, Apple-Rosemary Crostata, and Pear-Cranberry Compote. None of us ordered the Chocolate Almond Torte, but it is probably as delicious as the rest of the desserts.
Panzanella is a nice place for a tasty vegetarian meal, with plenty to choose from, and should definitely be sampled by people who are fond of excellent desserts.