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Darling Nicky's
The Margherita pie at Nicky's

When I stepped thorough the door of Nicky’s Pizzeria and Restaurant, I expected pizza and the usual suspects. What I found was a massive menu of pasta, salads, sandwiches and Italian–inspired seafood dishes.

With so many choices, my hungry friend and I chose an antipasto di casa plate to tame our appetites while we trolled the menu. We probably should have stopped with that mountain of food.

A bed of crisp lettuce was mounded up with cubes of Provolone cheese and homemade Mozzarella. Roasted green bell peppers added sweetness and countered the mild saltiness of two varieties of olives that dotted the plate. Big slices of salami and a layer of prosciutto gave us a protein shot — and brought another layer of flavor to this already mouthwatering antipasto.

Still, our inner gluttons were not satiated — and we dug deeper into the menu.

I chose Chicken Piccata and was blown away by the portion size. A large, pounded thin and tender chicken filet was perched atop a huge bed of fettuccine. The saucing was just right — not too much, but enough to add interest. Capers brought more complexity to the dish, but could have been reduced by half — in lieu of adding more tasty artichoke hearts.

The pasta component was prepared perfectly ... bravo!

I plan to go back — I want to sample the Bolognese sauce and meatballs.

We also scored a small Margherita pizza. Again, the quality of ingredients and presentation exceeded expectation. The thin, sturdy crust provided plenty of support for a surface topped with thick slices of Mozzarella, rich tomato sauce, fresh chopped basil and a delicate drizzle of olive oil. We were both impressed by the freshness and flavor of the pizza.

Despite our great experience, I’m concerned with the menu size. This small strip center restaurant offers nearly 30 sandwiches, 16 pasta sauce options and another 20 or so entree/main dish type meals. Did I mention there are 20 wrap choices? That means lots of frozen food — or long holding times. Honestly, we had a hard time making choices because the menu was so large.

The restaurant was quiet early, but filled up beginning around 7:30. While it is billed as counter service, we had a waiter who was very attentive, kept drink glasses full and provided lots of good information about the menu. Beverages are soft, drinks, iced tea or lemonade — no alcohol.

2 Park of Commerce, Chatham Parkway/358–0248

Monday–Thursday 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m./Friday–Saturday 11 a.m.–10 p.m.