DeAngelo’s: Casual luxury

There are six DeAngelo’s restaurants in the Baton Rouge area, and each one has its own particular look and atmosphere.

The one in Denham Springs, located in a strip of businesses perpendicular to Range Avenue, is surprisingly spacious.

Painted in warm colors and decorated with an eclectic collection of artwork, the restaurant features a number of gracious rooms of good size. The word “casual” might be in the restaurant title, but there’s nonetheless something a little luxurious about the restaurant’s look and the dishes it serves.

It’s comfort food with a sophisticated flair.

For an appetizer, we chose calamari fritti ($10.50), pieces of squid fried in a deliciously seasoned batter. It came with two sauces, a good marina and a zesty pepper jelly.

With a diverse menu featuring pasta, salad, focaccia, sandwiches, calzones and pizza, it wasn’t hard for dinner guests to find just what appealed to them on a recent visit.

The baked eggplant parmigiana ($14.25) is a favorite, with layers of thinly sliced eggplant in a marinara sauce, with different cheeses adding to the delicious flavor. A take-home box was required.

The menu’s description of the Mona Lisa pasta dish ($17.95) reveals its appeal: “jumbo lump crabmeat and Gulf shrimp in a roasted pepper cream sauce, over angel hair pasta.”

The crabmeat was tender and the shrimp tasty and both were in plentiful supply. The pepper cream sauce of the pasta was so rich, it was a dish better enjoyed slowly and leisurely.

The penne reggiano was a generous platter of penne pasta topped with parmesan cream sauce and sautéed mushrooms. It came with a choice of grilled chicken breast ($13.95) or Gulf shrimp ($15.95). Our guest chose the chicken breast and found it moist and tender.

The above dishes were served with garlic cheese bread, a treat in its own right.

The chicken Caesar wrap ($9.95) was a favorite, with well-seasoned grilled chicken breast meat, served warm and topped with Romaine lettuce, Caesar dressing, grape tomatoes and cheese, served in warm, grilled flatbread.

It’s hard to pick a dessert here. The white chocolate bread pudding? Toasted almond cream cake? We went with the warm chocolate chip cookie pizza ($6). Can you blame us? The large cookie underneath the ice cream and chocolate sauce was soft enough to eat with a spoon.