Gina’s used to be Nick’s Pasta Place, but was reborn after Ike destroyed the restaurant, windows, patio ceiling, and all. It’s the same manager, same chef, even the same waiters, but it’s been rechristened with the owner’s name.
Nick’s was a favorite spot for my mother and my step-father. A replacement for Papamia’s, where they had their wedding reception and which closed shortly after. They’re crazy about Italian food. I never really was until I studied abroad in Italy for three months, and now I’m really not. I’m not saying there isn’t fantastic Italian food in Houston, I’m just saying that I don’t know where to get it, nor do I really wish to weather the disappointments of trial and error.
Gina’s is a reliable choice for good Italian food. Not fantastic, not let me walk into town and devour gnocchi at the market, but good. It’s a nice place to come for dinner in the spring because they have a beautiful covered patio with fairy lights and waiters that don’t rush you.
The garlic bread is soft and has just the right kick of spice to it, and the house dressing has a Caesar-like creaminess to it. For my entree, I went with the special because it had some very delicious ingredients: chicken, spinach, cheese, prosciutto, and Marsala sauce.
Unfortunately, the ingredients didn’t quite cohere. The spinach was sauteed in a lot of butter and pulled from the heat before it became mush; the cheese was melted all the way through; the prosciutto was good, although the texture didn’t feel so nice with the chicken and the saltiness of it was overwhelmed by the spinach and the cheese. I ended up picking out the filling and eating the different components on their own. It tasted good, it just didn’t live up to my expectations.