Kenny's turns out a nicely tender calamari, easily the best of three hot appetizers I tried. Sausage and peppers seemed like a safe choice, but the dish was oddly reminiscent of an oily mound of pork and vegetables Rat Packers might have encountered in a chop suey joint. The sausages were sliced extraordinarily thin and tossed with slippery red pepper spears, leaving a dominant impression of grease.

Three billiard-ball sized meatballs, blanketed with a thick layer of cheese, were tainted with a fishy flavor, as though the ingredients had made one another's acquaintance in the cooler. Not that there was too much meat to worry about: The undercooked meatballs were stretched to the brink by breadcrumbs and onions.

Kenny's serves the usual lineup of pastas: There's fettuccine, ravioli and gnocchi with a pudding-like potato filling. The gnocchi are served with a floury Gorgonzola sauce, tempered with walnut and shredded bacon, and a bright tomato vodka sauce that's a smarter pairing for the house bread than the mild olive oil on offer.

Kenny's Italian Kitchen dishes out the familiar- and such large portions!
Sara Kerens
Kenny's Italian Kitchen dishes out the familiar- and such large portions!

Location Info

Map

Kenny's Italian Kitchen

5100 Beltline Road, Ste. 764
Dallas, TX 75254

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: North Dallas

Details

Kennyís Italian Kitchen 5100 Beltline Road, Suite 764, 972-661-9380, kennysitalian.com. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday; 5 p.m.-11 p.m., Saturday-Sunday. $$$


Calamari $9.99 Caesar salad $7.99 Chicken Parmesan $15.99 Meatball appetizer $7.99 Tomato burrata salad $9.99 Spaghetti and clams $19.99 Sausage appetizer $7.99 Veal picatta $21.99 Chicken Marsala $15.99 Tiramisu $9.99

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None of the pastas I tried could reasonably stand alone, which makes the restaurant's decision to serve unadorned mounds of spaghetti with every veal and chicken dish strange. Perhaps the kitchen realizes nobody could possibly polish off a stack of its soggy chicken Parmesan—yup, Kenny's piles chicken on top of chicken, double-down-style—and noodles too.

The veal and chicken preparations largely overlap, and if the veal picatta I tried is any indication, it doesn't really matter which meat you order. The picatta had an artificial lemon-detergent cast, and the dish didn't have any discernible veal flavor. The sauce on a chicken Marsala, laid beneath a pasture of limp sautéed mushrooms, was muddy and overpowering.

I did enjoy spaghetti with white clam sauce, mostly because the clams tasted fresh and oceanic. The sauce was a bit sour, suggestive of cheap cooking wine, but I'd order the entrée again.

I can't say the same for dessert: While the tiramisu might stem a tiramisu craving, I can't justify paying $10 for an enormous serving of a just serviceable dessert.

Perhaps overpriced, oversized dishes really were a hallmark of the Italian-American restaurants from which Kenny's draws its inspiration. If so, that's not a tradition worth reviving.

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