May 7, 2009
Best deal in town? $10 for lunch at Spataro

As everyone knows, the competition for the Sacramento dining dollar is tougher than ever. There are more and more good restaurants, and with the retrenching economy, the dollars are only going so far.

Enter the lunchtime price war. The winner so far? It would be tough to beat Spataro. I recently stopped in for lunch with Ryan Lillis, The Bee's city hall reporter par excellence and occasional morning golf buddy. Ryan also happens to be a discerning food guy.

While I ordered a very nice thin-crust Neapolitan pizza with prosciutto, Ryan went with the special, which changes daily. On this day, it was chicken parmesan. We agreed it was an incredible deal. The chicken breast was very large and perfectly cooked, the sauce full of flavor. Then there were extra-smooth mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach.

What's more, Ryan had a good-sized Romaine lettuce salad and vegetable soup included. He couldn't finish the chicken and barely was able to nibble on the salad, so I chipped in and helped.

All this in an upscale, elegant dining room overlooking Capitol Park. We'll be looking for other deals in the days ahead, but as we walked outside and headed back to work, Ryan and I agreed that Spataro's entry into the lunchtime price war is going to be tough to beat.

By the way, my pizza, with that thin, charred crust that is crispy on the outside and slightly chewy inside, was very good. We're also getting ready for an indepth assessment of Sacramento's newfound reputation as a pizza town and search for who is making the best pies. This pizza will be a contender.

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