Scordato’s Pizzeria re-opened at their new location the same week my mother turned 83. It was cause for a harmonic convergence around a table with good eats. So five of us gathered for lunch in the bigger and brighter space that has a touch of modern trattoria blended with old-fashioned rustic.
My sister and brother ordered salads sporting Bibb lettuce and tomatoes with sautéed chicken slices plus circles of mozzarella dressed in silky vinaigrette with Romano and the tang of balsamic reduction. ($10.50). My middle-aged brother is most at home in chain restaurants. He loves powdered donuts and convenience store hot dogs. So after a few bites of his salad, it was like watching someone eating real food for the first time as his face transformed from grimace to pleasure.
It wasn’t long before he and my sister were fencing forks into the shrimp arrabbiata (a.k.a. the angry sauce; to do it right you need to bring passion to the stove and a whole bunch of pepper flakes). This one had all the necessary heat and spice.
My mother’s salad had mounds of warm sautéed mushrooms showered across a bed of Bibb lettuce—all the textures complemented each other ($9.75).
We all shared chicken meatballs, which were well-spiced, bathed in tomato sauce and baked with ricotta.
My eggplant was sautéed, then baked with the right balance of the stronger flavors of Romano and fontina then topped with a melting of mozzarella, layered with their house marinara ($8.95), one of the tastiest I’ve had in Tucson.
Most Italian places have one of two notes. Either they’re old style red sauce joints or fancy dining establishments with starched-clothed waiters, white linen, and fancy silverware. Scordato’s offers Italian home-style cooking but lighter and updated.
We tried their groovy minestrone that was chock full of fresh veggies — spinach, tomato, celery, chicken, white beans, carrot, potato, pasta —simmered in a light broth and sparsely salted.
My family has forever been obsessed with food. Someone is always eating too much, another is counting Weight Watcher points, another is memorizing carbs, and another can’t stop shoveling in sweets.
This lunch was a relief—fresh ingredients that weren’t about flash, but comfort. The service has always been fast and friendly at Scordato’s. Their family has long been in the local restaurant business and their food, from their awesome crispy pizzas (charred on the outside) to their salads and entrees, is consistently excellent.
And of course, my mother ordered a birthday dessert—the almond praline gelato—filled with crunchy nibs, then topped with whipped cream ($5.95) . Our spoons were all in.
4911 North Stone Avenue
Tucson, AZ 85704
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11:00am-9:00pm, Friday-Saturday 11:00am-10:00pm, Sunday 4:00-9:00pm.