city fare
July 6, 2007

‘Italian’ that’s more than satisfying
by Lisa Waterman Gray

If you have a sweet tooth, save room for dessert at Ricco’s Italian Bistro, 11801 College Blvd., Overland Park, KS. During two visits we tried tiramisu, triple chocolate mousse and cannoli (2) for $4.95. Serving them at room temperature seemed to enhance their flavors, while chocolate syrup pools and drizzles complemented each one.

I can’t remember a better cannoli. Small chocolate chips dotted ultra-creamy ricotta wrapped in soft yet crunchy shells. A four-by-four-inch slice of tiramisu combined layers of moist cake and creamy mascarpone with just the right bit of sweetness, a hint of coffee and a generous dusting of dark cocoa. The mousse featured thin, fluffy cake topped with half-inch layers of airy dark, milk and white chocolate mousse, and white chocolate shavings.

A Crab Cake plate featured fettuccine in a light, smooth lobster cream sauce and house veggies.
(photo by Ron Johnson)

Ricco’s is the definition of “bistro,” from the brick pizza oven and black vinyl tablecloths to dark woods and upholstery. Decorative wrought iron, bright oil paintings and tile floors enhanced the ambience.

“We reopened four years ago, on October 1st,” said co-owner, Joe Santaniello. “I’ve been in the business for quite a few years and I own a Mr. Good Sense, and my partner’s husband is in the business. We wanted to do something full-service.”

Appetizers include Four Cheese Flatbread ($5.99), a nine-inch-round, thin and chewy crust topped with roasted garlic, olive oil and feta, Parmesan, mozzarella and provolone. It was light brown and bubbly with heat from red pepper flakes. Stuffed Portobello ($8.99) was a savory blend of cream cheese, cooked, chopped spinach and smoky bacon stuffed inside two medium-size mushroom caps with melted Parmesan shavings on top.

We also tried the Sampler Platter ($9.99). Rosemary accented a plate of flat bread to accompany roasted garlic — a large whole head of cloves caramelized so they were more sweet than biting; creamy, buttery artichoke dip and a sliver of Sonoma Torte — mascarpone, goat and cream cheese layered with spicy, sun-dried tomato pesto and pungent basil pesto.

Melted blue cheese crumbles and a small Portobello cap topped Mark’s Balsamic Glazed Filet ($21.99), with a complementary Caesar salad. Much as he likes blue cheese, Mark scraped most of it off of the eight-ounce filet because it made the meat seem dry. The mushroom cap was moist and tender, and a huge helping of creamy mashed potatoes had good doses of salt and chives. House veggies included tender-crisp red pepper, carrot, tiny broccoli flowerets, corn and beans.

Mark’s Caesar featured fresh romaine lettuce, plenty of mild dressing and crunchy, bite-sized croutons. On a second visit, loads of grated Parmesan improved the salad. Creamy, tangy, house Italian dressing topped mixed leaf lettuces, red onion and cucumber slices, and small tomato wedges for my house salad. It looked as good as it tasted, and chilled glass plates for both salads were a bonus.

My rich and satisfying Crab Cake ($15.99) plate featured a 5-inch diameter, 3/4-inch tall crab cake. Moist and flaky, bursting with crab flavor and topped with grated fresh Parmesan. The cake flanked fettuccine in a light, smooth lobster cream sauce and house veggies.

On another visit, giant shrimp and small scallops dotted a spicy sauce that coated penne pasta in my Seafood Combo in a Light Tomato Basil Sauce ($14.99). Plenty of basil ribbons decorated and seasoned the large serving. Mark ordered a house specialty, Veal Parmesan ($14.99), which combined two large slices of lightly breaded, fork-tender veal, topped with melted cheese. The plate also included linguine in spicy red sauce and plump, tender-crisp snow peas.

Ricco’s popular oak wood fired pizzas carry names like Garbage Truck (pepperoni, spicy Italian sausage, hamburger, mushroom, onion, green pepper, mozzarella, provolone and Ricco’s Marinara, $8.49 and $11.99); Artie & Basil (grilled chicken, artichokes, pesto, mozzarella and provolone, $7.49 and $10.99) and Chicken Mary (roasted potato, grilled chicken, rosemary, garlic butter, mozzarella and provolone, $7.49, $10.99). Try one of five other inventive options or build your own.

Order a sandwich or baked pasta dishes — from ravioli to manicotti. Other entrées include Chicken Marsala, Florentine and Parmesan; Mushroom Penne and Chicken Artichoke Linguine. Salads and soups round out the expansive menu.

Service was pleasant and efficient on two visits and the weekly specials are sure to bring us back. From cheap martinis on Saturdays, to half-price appetizers on weekday afternoons, complete spaghetti dinners for only $6.95, every Sunday, and half-price pizzas from 9-11 p.m., Ricco’s offers something for everyone — and then some.

Lisa Waterman Gray can be contacted at

Ricco’s Italian Bistro

11801 College Blvd.
Overland Park, KS


Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.–10 p.m.,
Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun., 4-9 p.m

(photo by Ron Johnson)

Ratings: (out of four stars)

FOOD ***

Key: $-under $10 • $$-$10 to $20 • $$$-over $20


fork, knife, spoon


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