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Eats beat: New Portofino Italian Grill brings old friends together

Posted 8:54am on Saturday, Feb. 09, 2013

Campisi's is still a season away.

But Ridglea is already busting out with new restaurants.

Across the street from the future Campisi's, long-ago owners and employees from La Bistro in Hurst and Portofino in Arlington have combined to open a new Portofino Italian Grill.

If the name is familiar, a Portofino in Arlington closed not too many years ago. The new location includes some former employees of Portofino and cousin On Broadway, along with cousins from the Jumerovski and Metouski families of pizza-and-pasta acclaim.

The new Portofino is a white-tablecloth Italian restaurant with a menu a step up from pizza cafes, offering more than 30 steak, veal, chicken and fish entrees at $8-$32 and more than 20 pastas at $7-$10.

A visit at lunch this week turned up a combination pasta lunch: lasagna, ravioli, ziti and manicotti, all for $6.95.

If you're accustomed to pizza-and-pasta cafes, this is about the same, but adds $15 seafood platters and $20 or $30 steaks. (No pizza.)

Portofino doesn't have its liquor license yet, so it's BYOB for now; 6115 Camp Bowie Blvd., 817-735-1768.

In the same shopping center with Campisi's, Little Lilly Sushi is bringing new rolls and new style to the west side.

Chef Jesus Garcia came from Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck in Dallas and has worked at other Fort Worth restaurants. He wrote by email that he wants to "push the envelope" at Little Lilly, combining traditional rolls, nigiri and sashima with some less familiar fresh-fish specials, bento boxes and a wine list including a choice of 12 sakes.

Like Tokyo Cafe nearby and Shinjuku Station on the south side, Little Lilly is a 21st-century sushi restuarant, relying as much on flavor and freshness as on spices or sauces.

Little Lilly is open for lunch and dinner daily; 6100 Camp Bowie Blvd., 817-989-8886; www.littlelillysushi.com or www.facebook.com/LittleLillySushi

Yes, Campisi's is still planning to open, now in April. (Dates flexible.)

And this is a good time to mention that the timeless Lunch Box soup-sandwich-and-salad cafe is now open for Sunday lunch in the center courtyard of the shops at 6333 Camp Bowie Blvd.

Opening Sundays for the first time in 40 years, the Lunch Box has a special Sunday introductory offer: free pie. It's open for lunch only daily; 817-738-2181, eatthelunchbox.com.

Chef Tim Love's Denton prime steakhouse now has a name.

Queenie's Steakhouse -- Love calls it a tribute to his mom -- will replace a former Love Shack, giving Denton a new upscale dining option.

Love Shacks remain in the Fort Worth Stockyards and on Blue Bonnet Circle, and will land at DFW Airport.

Bud Kennedy's Eats Beat appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 817-390-7538

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Twitter: @eatsbeat

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