On the never-ending restaurant row that is Washington Avenue, it is easy to overlook Polovina Italian Cafe with its generic facade and mini-strip mall locale. Or, perhaps, people do look at Polovina and are confused. The menu features many red sauce Italian-American classics like chicken marsala, fettuccine alfredo, and eggplant parmesan, but there's also outlier dishes like cannelloni stuffed with chicken and vegetables and "straw and hay" (egg and spinach fettuccine tossed with mushrooms and peas in a cream sauce), which seem more adventurous if not more "authentic" Italian. Other parts of the menu suggest an over-eagerness to cater to broader palates. The build-your-own pizza section, for example, offers unconventional toppings such as avocado, crawfish, and shrimp, and the array of "signature" pastas are available in wheat, gluten-free, and spinach forms.
The latter offering particularly suggests a willingness to accommodate children and adults with special dining needs and in combination with the very casual opening dining space, initially leads you to conclude, "Okay, this is a place where I can take the whole family, even gluten-intolerant little Timmy and Mediterranean food-loathing Uncle Ralph."
But then there's the heavily advertised daily drink specials, which make you wonder if Tuesday, "Bourbon Night $3," is the best time to take the pee-wee football team for a post-game supper.More »