Short Orders: Bene Bene

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Bene Bene
4727 Frankford

Old school Italian joints dot the area's northern reaches. Don't know why, really--but if you want typical lasagna, chicken parmigiana, bruschetta with nothing fancier than garlic and basil, or any other dish common to Italian restaurants up through the 1980s, your best options exist in a swath just above 635.

Although Bene Bene sits in a shopping center, they've daubed it in warm colors and found space for a patio outside and a fountain in. Otherwise, there's nothing fancy about the place: caprese, pasta, pizza and, yes, chicken parmigiana star on their menu.

Tomato soup, for instance, is exactly what it says--a broth of pureed tomato, which lends a sharp twang to the bowl, underscored by a clever meaty essence. Considering the quality of tomatoes available, it's an excellent example of classic Italian cooking.

Some of Bene Bene's dishes meet this standard. Unfortunately, others follow the example of their ravioli: run of the mill pasta stuffed with surprisingly blank ricotta and dull spinach. Only the sauce provides interest, and it was--on this occasion--another tomato puree, this time thicker and more robust.

But don't ask for parmesan on the side. The stuff they spooned out for me had captured off flavors from the walk-in.

Bene Bene and some of the other stalwart Italian spots in North Dallas and Addison draw enough business to survive. I'm guessing that's because people grow tired of flashier destinations inside the loop.

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