I looked across the table into my lover’s eyes. In the low light of Mimmo’s Ristorante and Pizzeria dining room, they shined with mischievous promise. She mouthed something with her eyebrow cocked. I leaned in to hear her sweet words. In the booth behind me, an elderly woman coughed without covering her mouth. The sound was ragged and phlegmy, like paper being torn by a broken fan.“I didn’t never like reading the Book of Revelations,” she said to her husband, “It’s scary!”I pretended to stretch and looked over my shoulder to search for an imaginary person. The back of her husband’s bald head was stained with sweat trails despite the cool restaurant. The wire frames of his spectacles curled back over his satellite dish ears. Across from him, the sloppy pile of a woman unconsciously made eye contact with me before letting go of another unguarded hack, her little pink tongue sticking out of her wet mouth and pointing at the table. Her husband looked out the window and ignored her with a serenity that came from years of practice.I turned back around and tried to keep my disgust from showing. Our server had arrived and was watching me with detached professionalism. Were we ready? Yes, we were.My companion ordered “gamberi della casa,” saying the name slowly and methodically to make sure she pronounced it right. “Shrimp Alfredo?” the server asked right back. “Um,” she said, “Yeah. Shrimp Alfredo.” Despite myself, I let out the smallest bark of a laugh, but I quickly put my hand over my face. I ordered the melanzane alla Parmigiana (eggplant Parmesan) with a chicken soup and calamari fritti (fried squid) for an appetizer.I watched our server walk away and eyeballed the buffet we had passed on the way in. I’m usually leery of all-you-can-eats, but the steaming, melty pizza and fresh-looking salad was making me regret ordering off the menu. I was still wondering what was under the steel lids lining the buffet’s counter when our server came back with the calamari. We’d chosen the “single,” thinking it would be a tiny thing we could poke at before dinner, but what he laid out was a massive plate piled high with buttery fried squid. It was large enough to make a meal, begging the question of what squid-powered machine would need a double. It was crispy and tender—perfectly fried—but a bit bland. Dipping it in the side of tart and chunky house marinara made up for it, though.My date’s side salad showed up—a heaping beast of random items from the salad bar. She had been looking oddly at the person who brought it. When they walked away again, she whispered to me, “I think I was supposed to go make it myself. Did you hear him say that?” I hadn’t. “I’m pretty sure he did, and since I didn’t hear him, he just sent someone over to make it.” She squinted. “Why wouldn’t he just remind me?” I shrugged and tried my chicken soup. It was full of fresh green beans and carrots and had a real homey taste.Our massive main course soon arrived, and we immediately pounced. The eggplant took up its entire plate, with a bowl of spaghetti in the house marinara on the side that could’ve been its own entree. Each tender strip of eggplant that I forked rose with an increasingly generous amount of cheese. It’s likely that some sort of witchcraft or quantum chicanery was at play—a cheese singularity hidden within the purple fruit. Or it was stuffed. I was too busy enjoying it to take a close enough look.The shrimp alfredo—a decent helping of larger-than-your-thumb shrimp on top of fettucini in a white sauce—was like a punch in the face, it was so good. Rich, buttery and creamy, it was by far the best alfredo I’ve ever had. There is a tendency for these dishes to show up with Parmesan clump islands floating in lakes of oil, but care and time were obviously put into the construction of this incredible sauce, with attention paid to the texture as well as the—Hack. Sputter. Blechem. The walking infection center in the booth behind me was at it again, this time wheezing between mouthfuls of a delicious looking slice of cake. I gave up on the rest of my dinner and asked our wooden waiter for doggie bags. I will definitely be making a return trip, but I might need to get a Hazmat suit first.
Mimmo's Ristorante and Pizzeria3301 Coors NW505-831-4191Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11am to 9pm, Fridays and Saturdays 11am to 10pmVibe: Relaxed and casual accompanied by the soundtrack from the Black PlagueAlibi recommends: gamberi della casa, melanzane alla Parmigiana