Fashionable dining

Isola Gozo offers an oasis for NorthPark power shoppers

Pasta entrees are not as good as the rest of the food, except for the lasagna of the day. Farfalline con salmone was coated in a sticky white sauce flavored with strong, fishy salmon and studded with pasty pale peas. Fettucine aglio, olio e pomodoro wound ribbons of pasta around crushed tomatoes seasoned with minty fresh basil--light, yes, but also somewhat lightweight. Salads, though we missed our cheese and artichokes, were a delight. Orange-zested beets lay buried under a pile of leaves, garnished with creamy, lemony goat cheese and toasted walnuts. The "Crescentina" doesn't sound like a salad on the menu, but it could as fairly be labeled that as "antipasti." Thin wedges of crusty pizza bread are filled with sliced, oiled vegetables and smoky provolone, then heaped with a sheerly dressed salad of baby greens. It's my pick for the perfect plate on the menu if you really want something light but satisfying. The "Isola Gozo" salad was, I suppose, an example of the new menu's Mediterranean stress; anywhere else the plate of romaine, tomato, artichoke, cucumber, sweet onion, and snowy feta could have been accurately called a "Greek" salad, although there were only four olives at compass points of the plate. Maybe that's why it was attributed to the Maltese island in NorthPark instead.

There are, I was informed, plans to expand Isola Gozo: whether into Barneys or in other locations, I wasn't told. And only hindsight can tell us if that's a smart move.

Isola Gozo, NorthPark, (214) 691-0488. Open Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday noon-6 p.m.

Isolo Gozo:
Crescentina $7.00
Di Barbe e Caprino $8.00
Siciliana Panini $6.50
Capricciosa Pizza $9.50
Fettucine Aglio, Olio e Pomodoro $9.50

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