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Where's the wine?

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Trilogy's pizza & wine menu favors the pie

Apizza & wine bistro sounds like a good idea on the surface of it: Create a bistro serving three popular styles of pizza, add a little pasta, pair it all with wine. What's not to like?

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Pizza chef Javier Flores tosses a crust at Trilogy Bistro and Wine Bar. (Photo by Mark Greenberg)

On the food side of the ampersand, there's much to like. The house bread, may be nothing more than pizza dough on steroids, but it's dense, good, brushed with a little olive oil, and perhaps sprinkled with salt and a hint of herbs. Tossed in the air a few times (enthusiastically, but not necessarily expertly) one evening, the dough is the foundation for three styles of pizza: New York (the quintessential, Italian-American model), Chicago (the fully-loaded, deep-dish version), and California Gourmet (the upstart, anything-goes school of toppings).

A small A la Mexicana, California-style will set you back $10.99. The menu claims that the marinara is Mexican-spiced, and it may be marginally so, but most of the heat seems to come from the sliced jalapeños liberally scattered about. Personally, I'd hold back on the dry oregano and try to balance the heat by adding a little more spice to the marinara and the mild ground beef. The cheese-sauce ratio is good, and the crust, despite a slight doughiness at the sauce interface, is reasonably thin and crisp. This baby reheats well, too, a crucial criterion in my book.

Balance was the issue with a small spinach salad, as well; the balsamic dressing tasted good, but there was way too much of it. Otherwise, the combination of spinach with bacon, mushrooms, onions and gorgonzola arrived fresh and fine.

For our first lunch experience, the dining room was nearly empty and the service, though pleasant, was curiously slow. Returning on a Friday evening, the place was packed, but service was, for the most part, swift and efficient. Go figure: Maybe they like being challenged. We ordered at the narrow bar lining the entry wall, moved to a slightly more accommodating peninsula for the appetizer, and finally made it to the grownups' tables for the main event Be sure to ask for house bread with the baked shrimp appetizer if it isn't offered; the shrimp leaves a little butter behind, and it's worth sopping up. I'll quibble with the description of the shrimp as "jumbo," but their combination with prosciutto, white wine, garlic butter, and mozzarella works well.

Pausing for pasta, we picked the Pomodoro Primavera, a pleasant blend of (mostly) zucchini with too many indifferent black olives but a good amount of fresh tomato and mushroom. Detectable fresh basil would be a good idea, and less olive oil wouldn't be remiss, but there wasn't a shred of spaghetti left at the end of the evening. Much of the pizzas, of course, we had to take home.

Trilogy Pizza & Wine Bistro

19141 Stone Oak Parkway
404-1818
Hours: 11am-10pm Sun-Thu,
11am-midnight Fri-sat
Price range: $8.88-$18.99
Major credit cards
Wheelchair accessible
Now, imagine, if you can, a New York style pizza, labeled The Texan, whose most prominent ingredient is Canadian bacon. Pepperoni and Italian sausage were the other major components, layered atop the usual marinara and mozzarella. In all, it was a pleasant but curiously low-key combo for a pie meant to evoke Lone Star largesse. (How about a little "Q" instead of Canadian bacon?) For its exuberance alone, the Chicago-style Capone at least had attitude on its side. Now, realizing that I'm running the risk of a knee-capping, I've got to admit that the Chicago just isn't my style: too much stuff atop too thick a crust. But for those who like it, Trilogy piles theirs high and slathers a good, chunky marinara on top of it all. For me, it was better cold than hot.

The wine special that had helped fuel good spirits during the evening was a 2003 malbec by Argentina's Los Cardos ($19), a vintner offering dependable wines at low prices throughout its range of types. We also hung around long enough to go through a bottle of '02 Jake's Fault California Shiraz, another decent wine at a reasonable price. But it bears remarking that the wine side of the ampersand doesn't live up to the food side. There are 29 wines on the list plus specials, and though two sparklers and, even more surprisingly, two Ports are included, this just doesn't cut it in terms of both quantity and quality. A lot of restaurants without "wine" in their name do better, and wine art on the walls doesn't change the picture. Perhaps better (and more) wine will come with time. Now would be good.


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