Starry Nights at Mezzaluna

By Anna Mokas and Taylor Hill, 2013

Of all the eateries in Hendersonville, something specifically drew us to Mezzaluna. Part of this could have been the enchanting name of the restaurant (which translates to “half-moon” in English), the enticing aroma of baking bread and Italian spices emitting from the doors that relentlessly teased our empty stomachs, or the seemingly satisfying menu that was displayed on the outer windows. Whether or not it was one or a mixture of these things was irrelevant because, regardless of cause, our appetites were about to lead us to severely scrumptious Italian cuisine.

Walking into Mezzaluna, it was difficult not to take notice to the mural of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” displayed largely on the expansive back wall. Adorning the painting were beautiful brass light fixtures, which were a reoccurring theme throughout the restaurant. The ceilings were lined with an arrangement of dull pewter, emerald green and blood orange rafters that merged fittingly with the surrounding rustic features. More art pieces lined the walls, while classical jazz created a soothing ambiance, despite the influx of more diners coming in to partake of dinner.

The two of us noticed our obvious fortune with having arrived at the restaurant at 5:30, because in the minutes following, droves of hungry patrons arrived simultaneously. By then, we had already been seated comfortably and were given warm, fresh rolls of bread with our choice of homemade garlic and herb butter that we quickly devoured. Upon first observing the menu, we noticed that the prices were higher than the places that we had been accustomed to dining at so far on the trip; the entrees averaging at around $17. After much perusing and browsing however, one of us settled for the classic calzone with Italian sausage and pepperoni, while the other ordered kale salad with a side order of spaghetti and marinara sauce.

The kale salad was fresh and delicious, dressed with crunchy pine nuts, juicy tomato and a tangy lemon vinaigrette that unified all of the flavors beautifully. It was the perfect healthy choice that also had a kick of zest that was hard to miss. The side of spaghetti was warm and its sauce was pleasantly sweet, deeming a scraping of the bowl necessary.

Calzones are hard to do wrong, and Mezzaluna hit the nail on the head. This particular one was bloated with thick and melted parmesan and ricotta cheese, spicy pepperoni and perfectly seasoned Italian sausage that was oozing with a blend of glistening grease and herbs. The entire thing reeked of fresh basil and good times, and was not a problem to consume. Although not the most healthy option, it was extremely delectable and filling, it remnants fitting perfectly inside the to-go box.

The waiting staff was polite and managed the large crowd of guests that surrounded us with poise and grace. It was evident that they were used to appeasing larger crowds on the weekends, which shows how popular a restaurant they are, and for good reason. The meals were respectively $9 for the calzone (one of the cheaper items) and roughly $13 for the kale salad and side of pasta. Our pockets were not too damaged because we chose to take part in some of the some of the more inexpensive options, but we are sure that the heftily priced options were well worth the dollars.

In all, Mezzaluna represents the perfect cohesion of striking inner décor, delicate ambiance and heartwarming and flavorsome Italian cuisine that aims to please, and does just that.

Visit Mezzaluna’s site here!