Sitting in the sunny, comfortable, new Reginelli’s restaurant on Jefferson near Government, it took a minute to understand why the setting seemed familiar.
Then we realized the spot, in the Goodwood Shopping Center, was the former site of the much beloved Compact Disc Store that closed in 2011.
The new restaurant has a relaxed, friendly vibe that seems a fitting homage to the space’s previous retailer.
Based out of New Orleans, this Reginelli’s is the second in Baton Rouge, the first being on West Chimes Street.
Welcome, again, to the neighborhood, Reginelli’s.
The restaurant offers hand-tossed specialty pizzas, custom pizzas, focaccia sandwiches, pita press sandwiches, calzones and salads.
For an appetizer, we chose the hot trio plate ($11.25), generous portions of roasted garlic spread and spinach-and-artichoke dip, along with two different types of crunchy bread — slender grissini and broader strips of focaccia crostini, served imaginatively in paper bags like movie theater popcorn.
Also on the appetizer plate, was the porta New Orleans, a portabella mushroom cap baked on a pastry crust, along with sweet caramelized onions, grated Fontina cheese and chopped pancetta, Italian bacon.
It was delicious and tied with the nicely spicy spinach-and-artichoke dip as favorite appetizers. The creamy roasted garlic spread started off with a sweet flavor that changed to a more complicated one that some of the guests adored and others didn’t.
For entrées, the smokin’ chicken specialty pizza (for the small size, $11.95) took the prize, although all of the entrées were good and most called for to-go boxes.
The smokin’ chicken pizza was topped with spicy, smoked tomato sauce that set off a bounty of marinated chicken breast, mozzarella, caramelized onions, pancetta and green onions.
The pizza was shot through with a delicious, deep, smoky flavor.
Other entrées were the mid-city chicken sandwich ($8.25), cold chicken salad dressed with red onions, romaine lettuce and roma tomatoes on toasted focaccia bread; pesto tortellini ($8.95), cheese-filled tortellini served in a creamy pesto sauce; and Sergio’s special ($8.95), an impressive calzone.
The latter raised the theoretical question, “Can a calzone be too big?” Probably not. It was just that we were glad that the calzone, about the size of a small loaf of bread, went to the guest with the biggest appetite that day ... and it still required a to-go box.
It was excellent and stuffed with sausage, green peppers and onions, with marinara sauce, mozzarella and ricotta.
For dessert, we sampled the strawberry cheesecake and the tiramisu, both $4.95.
Both were delectable. We’ve seen the classic Italian dessert tiramisu, a layered confection of ladyfingers and mascarpone cheese, built in different ways in local restaurants.
This one had an appealing, home-style look, with the lady fingers served in soft mounds of cake.
Reginelli’s also serves a tomato basil soup on Mondays through Thursdays and a crawfish-and-corn chowder on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
If you visit the restaurant’s website, at http://www.reginellis.com, the new Reginelli’s on Jefferson is listed as the “Goodwood” site.