Basil Pizza & Pasta- Merritt Island- 3 Stars for Subs
3 Star Subs, everything else is disgusting
In my unabated quest to review every restaurant within the Tri-County area, I found myself sitting in the parking lot of Basil Pizza and Pasta in Merritt Island staring at the outside and debating on whether or not I wanted more Italian food. Who am I kidding? Of course I did! I took the "Help Wanted" sign on the door as a good indicator that the place did a spritely lunch and dinner hour, ergo, it must not suck.
The inside is warm, spacious and well maintained. As I approached the counter I was greeted by the man, Basil, himself. No lackeys around here (remember the aforementioned "help wanted" sign). Basil is the real deal. He is an immigrant from Italy and brought the old country recipes with him. He is personable, charming, engaging and very passionate about his place and meeting the needs of his customers.
I placed an order with Basil for a plate of spaghetti with sausage and peppers, one tuna sub and one Philly Cheesesteak Sub.
After taking our order, Basil then went to the kitchen and began concocting our pablum. It didn't take him too long before he was done plying his trade and we began to feast. First up was the order of Spaghetti with Sausage and Peppers. If you are a regular follower of mine, you know that this is the measuring stick my trusty sidekick uses when in an Italian establishment. The sauce was made with care and blended with obvious skill from a chef who knows his way around a kitchen. It was, colorful, flavorful and had just the right amount of sweet for my taste buds to enjoy. The sausage, however, was not good. It had long past its prime while sitting in the freezer and was freezer burned beyond all taste. It had to be the blandest sausage I have yet had to force down my gullet. The side salad was a cheap, crappy, iceberg salad with one slice of tomato, one slice of onion and a couple of canned black olives tossed haphazardly on top. The dressing, while flavorful, was a bit on the oily side. The garlic knots that accompanied the meal were old and reheated in the microwave. You could tell as the bread was a hard chewy as only microwaved bread is.
The tuna in the tuna sub was not 100% white albacore tuna, but rather the chunk light kind of mixed light and dark. In other words, it was not USDA prime tuna, but rather a low grade. On the bright side, the bread was still warm from the oven and was certainly made on site that day. Basil also worked his magic on the tuna and spiced it up so that it was actually rather tasty (though still sub-par). The Philly Cheesesteak sub was, after all this, surprisingly good. The meat was a good grade, though not Prime, the bread was fresh and the peppers, onions and cheese all blended perfectly for an authentic cheesesteak taste.
As with the owner of previously reviewed MASH Hoagies, I feel the owner of Basil's suffers from mild solipsism. If he could get past his own self and use a different food purveyor, this place would be top notch all the way. The tuna sub we had is a perfect example of this. He took crappy, pedestrian tuna and elevated it to a whole different level with his skill and passion for good food. If he can do this with chunk light tuna...imagine the possibilities he could do with good stock?
The Big Boy says, "Until he gets better quality ingredients, go for the subs, but avoid the rest." #bigboydiningout #iamthebigboy