6601 Veterans Memorial Blvd
Metairie , LA 70003
Napoleon's Rating - **/*****
Sandro's has been around since 2003, quietly doing business in the middle of a large Metairie shopping center. Its Tuscan-style menu of Italian comfort food promises large plates of familiar flavors done just a bit differently. At it's best, this place is like a dose of home cooking, and the restaurant itself feels like a find.
Hard to spot from the street, Sandro's is a pleasant surprise for those who visit for the first time and a comfortable den for those already in the know. Push open the door and you'll find a dining room painted in warm colors and adorned with reclaimed woodwork. The strip mall parking lot and adjacent daiquiri shop suddenly feel very far away. Weekends see large family groups dining together, while lunch has many business people and retired couples out for a mid-day meal.
Service is responsive and friendly, though at times it seems the waiters aren't all that familiar with their menu. Forget getting any wine advice here.
The pastas and entrees come with house salads or a choice of soups. I like the lentil soup best, and found the minestrone too watery. With these built-in first courses and large portions across the board, you can safely forego an appetizer and know that you'll have a satisfying meal. Still, the antipasto plate is a good choice for a group to share, with lots of Italian meats and cheeses plus sautéed spinach. Another good appetizer is the steamed mussels in a broth of butter, wine and garlic, which can also be ordered as an entrée with pasta added.
There is a distinctive home-style touch to the cooking here, as well as the presentation. The focus here is on big, familiar flavors, rather than anything particularly creative or new. Fettuccine is served in huge, family-sized portions and is tossed with Alfredo sauce, with rich, nutty-tasting brown butter or with a forest of large, sliced mushrooms. Thin, wide cuts of paneed veal or pork, bowls of meatballs or crisp-crusted sausage in tomato sauce, and grilled shrimp are optional additions served on separate side plates. The most regal dish is the pork osso bucco, a braised shank so tender it easily falls from the bone into a cacciatore sauce over an enormous pile of spaghetti. The lunch menu repeats much of the dinner menu and adds panini, which are decent but not worth crossing town to try.
The basic and predictable Italian restaurant desserts are all available here. I like the flan better than the tiramisu but you can't go wrong with a lighter cup of gelato or Italian ice.
There is a full bar, though Italian wine is the default here. Even at lunch, everyone seems to be drinking either iced tea or house red. If you want a nice, pleasant, reasonably-priced chianti, you're in the right place, but Sandro's does not offer much significantly higher up the ladder.
Prices are reasonable and quantities are so large that most people take home leftovers. You have to order the filet to find a dish priced over $20 on the regular menu. Even the mammoth osso bucco is $19.
Sandro's has familiar flavors done in a style just a little different from the local norm of Creole-Italian. It's very satisfying if not too fussy and makes a value-oriented, family-friendly place for a big feast in the 'burbs.