in Overland Park has served Italian food to appreciative diners
for 15 years. Part of a family restaurant dynasty, the original
Cascones opened its doors in North Kansas City 50 years
ago. Sinatra would like the Old World atmosphere the Cascone
family presents, and in return he is so honored as Sinatras
voice and songs croon to patrons daily through the restaurants
Cascone's classic lasagne. (photos by Jessica Chapman)
On a balmy Sunday evening my teenage daughters, Jessica and
Stephanie, preferred to dip rather than butter their bread,
so we ordered Olive Oil Dipping Sauce ($2.95). Our breadbasket
soon emptied as we mopped up the delectable combination of oil,
red pepper, roasted garlic, basil, Parmesan and salt. More bread
arrived. Although spending a few extra bucks didnt hurt
our pocketbook, I would have preferred not to have had paid
for the extra bread.
We then shared two appetizers: A small bowl of sweet, red sauce
accompanied three, lightly breaded one-inch-wide gooey cheese
sticks on the Fried Mozzarella ($5.95) platter and
our second were four large Stuffed Mushroom Caps ($6.95) filled
with mildly seasoned crab and shrimp meat, topped with a white
herb butter sauce. My husband, Mark, found them bland but I
liked their subtlety.
Complementary salad or soup preceded our entrees. Caesar salads
($4.50, a la carte) featured large, crunchy croutons, Parmesan
sprinkles and a slightly sweet dressing, atop Romaine. The house
salad featured mixed lettuces, cherry tomatoes and carrot, and
red cabbage gratings, all dressed with an overly sweet Italian
vinaigrette. My chicken soup was the best choice, from its perfectly
seasoned broth to the barley-shaped pasta, large carrot pennies,
celery bits and succulent chicken.
Pork neck bones flavor the slow-simmered sweet red sugo
sauce found in many Johnny Cascones entrees. Italian grandmothers
have made it for generations. Vegetarians should look for menu
items with marinara sauce, which has no meat, such as eggplant
and seafood pasta dishes.
Sugo smothered the thick spaghetti noodles on the Chicken Parmagiana
platter ($14.95). Melted cheese topped the melt-in-your mouth
breaded chicken breast, which, in turn, was topped with the
spaghetti. It was an enormous portion for one person.
Johnny Cascones signature entrée, Chicken Limonata
Elaina ($15.95), combined a breaded chicken breast with a nicely
balanced white wine and lemon butter sauce. Mild Parmesan flavored
the slightly bland but creamy Alfredo sauce that topped a side
of Fettuccini noodles.
Franks Pasta ($14.95) honors co-owner Frank Cascone. Although
I relished the flavors of sautéed spinach, bite-sized
tomato pieces, about a dozen shrimp and fettuccini tossed in
a light garlic butter sauce with a hint of lemon flavor, I took
half the dish home with me no doubt a common occurrence
among Cascones patrons.
I enjoy pasta as much as the next person; heck - go back far
enough on my mothers side of the family and Im Italian.
But I have never eaten half a pound of pasta at one sitting.
My husbands Bistecca Modiga ($21.95) included a 10-ounce
filet encased in breadcrumbs and covered with melted Provel
cheese. Lightly grilled, skin-on Italian potato wafers popped
with herbal flavor. The size of this entree came closest to
making sense as a meal for one person.
If you have a small stomach, you want to enjoy multiple courses
without gorging yourself, or if your pocketbook is stretched
a little thin, consider asking for split dinner service ($5).
Split service at lunch is $2. Or enjoy $10.95 early dinner specials
from 3 to 6 p.m., which include soup or salad, customers
choice from four entrées and spumoni ice cream (no split
Johnny Cascones serves more than 30 wines by the glass
(average $4.75-$5). Most are Italian with 10 whites and several
dozen reds. The restaurant also has an Italian beer, Moretti,
We took part of our entrees home and shared a single serving
of tiramisu ($5.95), another benchmark of Italian cuisine. Within
minutes we had devoured the liqueur-soaked ladyfingers, layer
of subtly sweetened mascarpone cheese, dollops of fresh whipped
cream, drizzles of chocolate sauce and powdered sugar sprinkles.
Jessica, who is nuts about tiramisu, proclaimed it a good rendition.
Lunch offerings at Johnny Cascones include melt-in-your
mouth roast brisket of beef ($8.49) served with chunky mashed
potatoes and gravy, chicken fried steak ($8.49), grilled liver
with onions ($8.49), chopped sirloin steak and a dozen pasta
offerings. My Italian Combo lunch special ($7.95) paired a four-inch
square of ground beef and Ricotta dense lasagna with a side
of spaghetti and a flavorful two-inch meatball.
Our waitresses watched our water glasses, breadbaskets and plates
carefully during both visits. Our evening waitress only made
one mistake. She forgot to offer freshly grated Parmesan. And
whats an Italian meal without fresh Parmesan?
6863 W 91st St., Overland Park, KS 66212
Lunch: Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Dinner: Mon.-Thurs. and Sun., 4-9 p.m.
Ratings: (out of four stars)
Key: $-under $10
$$-$10 to $20 $$$-over $20