Lasagna is the ultimate Italian comfort food -- a delicious multi-layered dish baked with cheese, pasta, tomato sauce, meat, and spices.
We ventured into two local restaurants, Giuseppe's on 28th and DeFalco's Italian Deli and Grocery (coincidentally, both have been featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives) to see who bakes the best lasagna.
In This Corner: DeFalco's Italian Deli and Grocery
The Setup: DeFalco's opened its doors in 1972. Geraldo and Judith DeFalco have kept their 100-year-old family recipes alive with the restaurant and passed on their knowledge to their son and current owner, Anthony DeFalco.
DeFalco's is small and usually packed with customers. Several shelves of Italian food, wine, and condiments line the restaurant. Tables are tucked in between the shelves, with a main dining area to the left of the main entrance. There is a patio area in the front of the restaurant if you prefer more space to dine.
The Good: We ordered the meat lasagna ($8.50 for a half) which was served with four cheeses, sausage, and red sauce. The cheese was plentiful. A side of garlic bread came with the lasagna. For the price, it was a good deal. Also, DeFalco's has a happy hour from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., which features $3 import beers or $1 off a glass of wine.
The Bad: The wait time for food. We waited for more than 45 minutes for our lasagna. Next time, we will call in our order. And the red sauce was a little plain.
In The Other Corner: Giuseppe's on 28th
The Setup: Giuseppe's is located in the Sprouts plaza at the intersection of 28th Street and Indian School Road. It's owned by Richard Bock, who studied cooking in Italy for nine years while performing in the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra. He bought Guiseppe's in 2002 and since has been sharing his Italian recipes at the mom-and-pop-style restaurant.
The restaurant is cozy and split into two main dining areas -- an outside patio that contains six or seven tables and a main indoor area with a window to order. Main dishes are priced from $13 to $27 and include everything from veal osso buco to classic pasta dishes such spaghetti and lasagna.
The Good: The lasagna ($14) was prepared quickly and arrived to our table within 15 minutes of ordering. The housemade pasta sauce was flavorful and complimented the piping-hot ricotta and mozzarella cheeses perfectly. Although we came just for lasagna, the servers were very knowledgeable on additional menu items. The owner was present and checking on patrons to see how their food was, which was nice.
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The Bad: Giuseppe's charges for garlic bread ($4). It would be ideal if it was included, since $14 is a little pricey for lasagna.
And The Winner Is . . . Giuseppe's! The lasagna was so good we ate the whole plate in record time, and although DeFalco's food usually is delicious, the lasagna we had lacked flavor.