Il Cane Rosso: When the Moon Hits Your Eye Like a Big Pizza Pie

Where would you go for dinner after watching an Assassination City Roller Derby bout? A burger place or a pizza joint? It was a pretty tough choice for my date and me. We ended up picking pizza and ate at Il Cane Rosso in Deep Ellum.

We strolled into Cane Rosso at 9:30 on a Saturday night without a reservation and didn't have to wait. The hostess sat us right away. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating. There was no question; we were eating inside even though the space felt chilly (a server actually increased the thermostat's heat setting while we dined and it made for a more comfortable meal)--a Mavs playoff game was on the restaurant's flat screen and we could see it from our table.

A television doesn't bode well for a positive dating experience if your companion is more interested in watching the game than talking to you, but neither of us had that problem. Our dinner date consisted of equal parts basketball viewing and good quality conversation--come on, we'd just seen our first roller derby and had to have a debriefing to rank our favorite players and the best power jams of the night.

I'd been lobbying for pizza all along--trying to carb and bread up before Passover started--and managed to avoid the tempting chili dogs and nachos at the flat-track. Both my date and I had heard Cane Rosso made great pizza, so we ordered two pies: the Funghi and the Che Cazzo--just to be sure. We weren't disappointed. I thought I'd like the tomatoes, mozzarella, mushrooms and basil on the Funghi better than the hyped up "spiciest pizza on the menu," but I didn't. The Che Cazzo topped with caramelized onions, mushrooms, mozzarella, hot soppressata ham, sambal sauce, and the progressive heat of Calabrian chiles was to die for. I even ate my crusts.

We didn't come close to finishing either pizza and took home a lot of leftovers, which was fine with us because it meant we could order an "ender" from Cane Rosso's dessert menu. We chose the S'mores Calzone. The warm, oozing marshmallow and chocolate tasted incredible, proving that graham crackers are optional, but only if they're oozing out of Cane Rosso's cooked pizza dough.

We had started off our meal with sangria. A drink server set our sangria on our table in a plastic Kettle One vodka pitcher, but he didn't offer to pour it for us. That and the fact that our food server grabbed for our plates a couple of times while one of us was still eating generated the only low points of the date.

Other than that, Cane Rosso made for a solid date place. It wasn't too loud or crowded. The tables with bench seating had a variety of pillows to lean on to make sitting through dinner comfy. Besides, the food was a boon -- mouthwatering and didn't break the bank.