Elena's Pizza House gets thumbs up
It's easy to get carried away when you are hungry and order from a menu loaded with goodies.
The Lunch Bunch over-indulged with a takeout order from Elena's Pizza House in New Kensington. Pizza wasn't the only thing on our minds as our growling tummies took over reason. Before we hung up the phone, we had ordered two pizzas, four appetizers, some sandwiches and a couple of salads for a hungry newsroom.
The good news for this new takeout eatery is everything got thumbs up. Elena's is an offshoot from the dine-in Italian restaurant in Hillcrest Shopping Center in Lower Burrell.
Our order arrived on time, and it was correct.
We opened our bags and munched away. The Fried Mushrooms ($3.99) were large and juicy and just the way we like them.
The Fried Zucchini ($3.99) featured thin strips of zucchini breaded and seasoned.
While we were on a fried kick, we also ordered the Provolone Sticks ($4.75), which were slender fingers of cheese that skipped the grease and had a nice flavor with the crispy seasoned breading.
How could we resist something called Macaroni and Cheese Wedges ($4.25)• In the interest of serving our readers, we felt obligated to try them. These deep-fried triangles are way cool. They received thumbs up, and we figure kids would go for them in a heartbeat. The dipping sauce livens them, too.
The Specialty Margarita Pizza ($7.25 for a 6-cut) was fresh and delicious with a good tomato-basil flavor. We found it to be a nice change of pace from regular pizza, but not a huge departure from traditional taste, so you needn't be in an adventurous mood to try it. Our staff gave high marks to the chewy, crispy crust and the tangy flavor of the sauce.
If you like pizza, bacon and barbecue chicken -- you'll love the BBQ Pizza ($7.75), the other specialty pizza we sampled. First, apply a zesty barbecue sauce, then add plenty of bite-sized pieces of tender barbecue chicken, crisp bacon and mozzarella cheese for a tasty and filling specialty pizza. One veteran Lunch Buncher could manage to eat only one piece of this pizza.
Another guest who never would have ordered such a pizza decided to be adventurous and found he liked it. Any meat lover, especially one who enjoys barbecues and chicken wings, would enjoy this pizza. The best part was the crust. "I can only imagine how good a regular cheese and pepperoni pizza from this place would be," he wrote.
On to the sandwiches: the Italian Hoagie ($5.75) tastes exactly like an Italian hoagie should -- zesty and juicy with lots of meat and just of touch of mild pepper rings.
The Veggie Hoagie ($4.95) featured seasoned mushrooms, green peppers, olives, onions, cheese, lettuce, tomato and a zippy Italian dressing. This is an excellent choice for our resident vegetarians.
If you try the Smoked Turkey Sandwich ($4.75), remember: safety first. You'll want to keep both hands on this sandwich, which is almost big enough to qualify for hoagie status. Turkey, tomatoes, purple onions, provolone and lettuce are stuffed into an Italian roll.
We had varied remarks about the Chicken Tenders Salad ($6.95). While one luncher enjoyed it, another didn't think it traveled well, because the warm chicken wilted the lettuce beneath it. One guest Lunch Buncher wrote and ate at the same time and deemed the chicken salad very good. Fresh greens, (although mostly iceberg -- but it was fresh) tomatoes, and lots of french fries, mozzarella cheese and fried chicken strips.Yum.
Compiled by Rebecca Killian, Sis Reola, Matt Sober, Jim Ware, Liz Hayes, Rob Amen, Carol Pinto-Smith and others.
Meals are paid for by the Valley News Dispatch and are unrelated to advertising.
Restaurant InformationElena's Pizza House
Address: 81 Tarentum Bridge Road, New Kensington.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; closed Sundays.
Credit cards: All major cards are accepted.
Handicapped accessible: Limited access. Restrooms are not accessible, but the eatery is.
Prices: Pizzas, $6.75 to $9.95; sandswiches and hoagies, $4.75 to $6.50; appetizers $1.95 to $7.75.