Katie Lee’s menu draws inspiration from her time abroad in Florence, Italy, though one of the better appetizers came from closer to home. The homemade toasted ravioli was a decadent vegetarian take on the St. Louis classic. They had a crispy exterior, and the filling of artichoke hearts, feta cheese and spicy red pepper created a nice, creamy heat. The dipping sauce, a simple housemade pesto, was spot-on. Another hit was a salad of prawns and citrus that showcased the perfectly marinated and seared shellfish against a backdrop of grapefruit segments, arugula, fennel, olives and pistachios. The texture on the prawns was superb.
Hours: 11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., 11:00 a.m.-midnight Fri. and Sat.
Katie Lee builds on the success of her popular Clayton pizzeria with her second effort, Katie’s Pizza & Pasta, in Rock Hill. Inspired by her time living in Florence, Italy, Lee aims to capture casual Italian osteria at her newest location, this time expanding the menu to include house-made pasta. Fans of the original outpost should rest assured that her signature pies feature prominently on the menu — a medley of butternut squash, figs, pancetta and goat cheese drizzled with balsamic encapsulates her style. For Neapolitan purists, however, the Margherita does not capture the classic. Pastas are equally hit or miss. Katie’s is at its best when it does classic pesto and meatballs, but the liberties it takes with carbonara fall flat. The charm of the place makes these inconsistencies more bearable, however. Lee has managed to take a plain, shotgun-style storefront in a strip mall and turn it into a cozy, shabby-chic space. The open kitchen and packed bar give the place a bustling energy, and the bar has a creative selection of Italian influenced craft cocktails while patrons wait amid the throngs of admirers for a table.