Is this Little Italy, or is it Texas? Could be either at Dom & Luigi's BBQ Smoke House, which occupies what used to be Patsy's Pizzeria. If the combo of barbecued ribs, wood-oven pizza and chicken parm doesn't sound eccentric enough, the place also serves pulled-pork sushi (chopsticks on request) - and it's pretty good, at that.
The problem at D&L's, though, is an untrained crew that looks to be barely of voting age - with no senior management in sight. When a friend notes that one of the promised items in her dish is missing, the entire plate is whisked away, to be returned half an hour later - the addition made, the remainder reheated. No offer of so much as an apology.
The Margherita pizza remains the winner it was at Patsy's, with well-blistered crust and bright topping. Irresistible grilled clams are at once smoky and briny-sweet, while beef chili has fire power and depth. To cool down, there's a refreshing "summer" salad of arugula, toasted almonds and shaved Parmesan in a sprightly lemon dressing.
Sliders, billed as "not your typical small morsel," are oversized and bready. After pulling out the interiors of the rolls, I find the chicken parm and the sausage, pepper and onion fillings very good.
You'll be hard-pressed to finish the delectable porker burger, a smoky, juicy 12-ounce debauch stuffed and topped with pulled pork, crowned with bacon and Cheddar. On the side: first-rate hand-cut fries, fine slaw. Moist barbecued chicken is imbued with the flavor of the smoker. A surprise winner turns out to be the light, savory vegetable lasagna.
The meatball in one slider is nearly burned. Ribs have too much sauce, hard in some places, tender in others (new development: you can order them without sauce). Pulled pork is a mix of tender shreds and hard shards. Sweet potato fries are merely ordinary.
Dessert disaster: a pizza crust topped with sliced Granny Smith apples that's awash in sugary syrup, crowned with hillocks of dry powdered cinnamon simply dumped on top.
The missing ingredient? A knowledgeable and caring crew.