Archive for the BYOB Restaurant Reviews Category

GIAMPINO’S CUCINA ITALIANA – BYOB

Posted in BYOB Restaurant Reviews, Giambino's Cucina Italiano, Philly BYOB Reviews, Wine Dinners on August 4, 2010 by ballymote

Before I begin let me apologize for the lack of pictures. I have them, but for some unknown reason, I have been unable to upload them to the website. I will try and find out why and add them as soon as possible.

It has been a couple of months since my old “neighborhhood” foodies got together for one of our weeknight dinners. Four of us met last night at Giampina’s Cucina Italiana on West Chester Pike in Manoa, PA to drink some wine, enjoy some food and retell the same stories we have been entertaining each other with for more years than we like to admit. Steve J.,  Frank D., Ange C. and myself arrived about 6:15 and our capable server, Shannon was nice enough to move us from a table next to a rather loud group to a nice round table in the rear of the attractively designed bistro. She brought some warm bread to the table while we talked and looked over the menu.

 My wine for the night was a 2007 Xavier, Ventoux, a soft, aromatic southern Rhone from a great vintage that is just made for a wide variety of rich foods. I had bought this a few weeks ago at Moore Brothers in Pennsauken, NJ and I thought it was just perfect at $14.00.

After careful deliberation Steve found just the right appetizer to accompany his taste tempting little bottle of Cavit Pinot Grigio, actually, he had two little bottles of Cavit Pinot Grigio because, let’s face it, who can drink just one of those thirst quenching nectars. He ordered the Lobster Ravioli, which, at $11.50 was about 14 times what his wine cost. I chose the Bruschetta which was not bad at $5.00 for four nice sized pieces.

Between laughs and lies we managed to finish our salads and select our entrees and I settled on the Chicken Voldastano- Stuffed with smoked mozzarella cheese, broccoli rabe and prosciutto finished in a mushroom sauce. Shannon said there would be no problem substituting the marinara sauce for the mushroom sauce and that sounded perfect. My dish, which was accompanied by a side of spaghetti, was tasty and the wine was perfect for the rich Italian flavors.

Ange decided he was going for a veal dish and chose the Veal Giampino- Egg-dipped medallions topped with grilled eggplant, grilled zucchini and mozzarella cheese finished in an Aurora sauce. This one looked pretty good and I have to confess that even my dreaded eggplant phobia seemed misplaced as I viewed this nicely plated item. He really did enjoy his choice.

Not quite as pleased with his dinner was Frank D. who also went the veal route with Veal Marsala- Medallions sautéed with Marsala wine, mushrooms and onions. He wasn’t totally disappointed he just felt that he had enjoyed better Veal Marsala at other times. Frank did very much like the wine that I had brought for him the 2008 Finca LUZON from Jumilla, Spain.

Steve J. was not in a very adventurous mood this evening and he went with the relative safety of the house Lasagna- Layered with ground beef, mozzarella cheese, Ricotta cheese and tomato sauce. He had no complaints and took a little of it home for another meal.

Shannon insisted that we still had room to share a couple of desserts and she sold us on the Tira Misu and the Skors cake along with four spoons. We passed them around and they made a nice ending to the meal.

There were a few folks missing this time who are usually present for these weekday dinners but the four of us still had a great time and are certainly looking forward to our next opportunity to enjoy each others company.

CATELLI’S RESTAURANT – NOT A BYOB

Posted in BYOB Restaurant Reviews, Catelli's Restaurant (review), South Jersey BYOB Reviews, Wine Dinners with tags , , on July 25, 2010 by ballymote

This Farm to Fork Week in South Jersey is proving to be a culinary endeavor. So many restaurants, so little time. Last night the eight of us were at Catelli’s in Voorhees, NJ for their four course $35.00 meal. Either my friends all have a limited vocabulary, or the meal was off to a great start, because I heard the word “DELICIOUS” uttered by everyone, and we were only 3 minutes into the appetizers. Let’s take a look at some of the starters that evoked such prolific usage of this descriptor.

Carol B. and I had both selected for our first course, the Cheese Steak Egg Roll- Tender Steak “Wit” & House Made “Whiz”.  This tasted about how I thought it would, a simple offering that should taste good if it has anywhere close to the makings of a cheesesteak. The sauce was very good as were all the sauces, all night.

Some of the other amazing creations were Sue C.’s Tasting of Jersey Tomatoes, Tomato Water Shooter, Heirloom Tomato, Roasted Pepper & Mozzarella Napoleon, Roasted Tomato Sorbet. I had no idea there were that many different ways to serve tomato. Sue enjoyed the unique starter. Joe B. went with the Crispy Stuffed Jersey Long Hots, Short rib filling, Roasted Garlic Aioli. Joe has a penchant for “hot n spicy” so he felt right at home with his choice. Jerry C. & Tom T. each picked the Crab Cake and Seafood Corn Chowder which must have been what they were hoping for because they were part of the “delicious” voters. My wife, Kathy was totally thrilled with her Eggplant Rollatine filled with ricotta, basil and mozzarella actually declaring it to possibly be the BEST eggplant rollatine she has ever had. Barbara had trouble finding the words to adequately describe her Jersey Shore Shellfish Plate, Local Oysters, Farm Raised Clams, (seriously, farm raised…what a sheltered life I must live having never been to a clam farm) Blue Crab Fingers, Chilled Shrimp with a trio of Dipping Sauces. The meal was off to a good start.

Catelli’s, not being a BYOB (except on Monday nights), seemed like a place to skip wine for the evening and Jerry and I went with beers. I had a Bass Ale many of the others chose martini’s of one exotic type or another, and we enjoyed our drinks while anticipating the second course. These next dishes proved to be just as exotic as the first and had my erudite friends fumbling for new superlatives. Most sounded something like, “excellent”, spectacular and I belive Barbara T even managed to use “scrumptiolicious” which she assures me can be found in Webster’s 12th edition. I did hear one not very enthusiastic “ehhhh” from Carol B. but we will talk more about that in a minute.

The eight of us chose three different second course items from the 7 offerings. Two of the ladies had the Roasted Pear Salad, Candied Cashews, Dried Cranberries, Cinnamon Croutons, Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette. The reviews on this were thumbs up from both of them. The Roasted Beet Salad, Goat Cheese, Granny Smith Apples, Spiced Walnuts, Baby Arugula, Beet Sorbet, Holt’s Farm Wildflower Honey Vinaigrette was enthusiastically received by my wife, and a few others. I had a taste of this and was pleasantly surprised what can be done with beats in the skilled hands of a creative chef. The other item that several of us had as our second course, the Crab Bolognese, Jersey Hard Shell Crab “Gravy”, House Made Fettuccine, Jumbo Lump Crab (pictured on the right above) was slightly less than I expected. I enjoyed it but the flavors were more subtle than I would have predicted. Joe B. had no problem with it but Carol B. searched long and hard to come up with her descriptive “Ehhh”. I didn’t totally agree with her but I did know what she meant.

The packed restaurant was beginning to empty out as it was now past 10:00 P.M. (we had 8:30 reservations) and it was time for our main entrees.

Joe B. had the Filet & Crab, Smashed Local Fingerling Potatoes, Local Green Beans, Roasted Garlic and Parsley Bernaise. It looked delicious (there’s that word, again) and Joe remarked that it tasted even better than it looked. He had made a great choice from the nine offerings.

Sue C. and Tom T. both ordered one of the 5 fish offerings, theirs being the Basil Crusted Tilapia, Pistachio Crust, Eggplant Caponata, Citrus Butter Sauce, Crab and Potato Filled Ravioli. Despite the fact that this tilapia did NOT come from a local tilapia farm, they still thought the blend of seasonings were just right in making this a great entree.

Barbara T. had the Lobster and Shrimp Fra Diavalo, Baby Lobster Tail, Jumbo Shrimp, Rigatoni Pasta. OK, it was sorta like that. Actually, she requested they hold the “Fra Diavalo” and skip the Shrimp. They were nice enough to substitute another baby lobster tail and she declared the dish to be exquisite, which, I believe, is two steps up from delicious.

My wife, Kathy, after some serious deliberation and thru a personal process of elimination settled on the “Back Yard Barbecue”, Peach BBQ Boneless SHort Ribs, Grilled Corn on the Cob, Seasonal Vegetable Slaw. Carol B. also picked this item and both thought it was very good with just a tad too much salt in the sauce. Cathy enjoyed the veggie slaw but Carol thought it wasn’t something she would pair with the dish and gave her share to Joe.

I went back and forth on no less than five of the nine selections before finally deciding on the Stuffed Soft Shell Crabs, Shrimp & Crab Filling, Sauteed Crispy Sweet Corn Risotto, Dijon Cream Sauce. Quite honestly, it was the inclusion of the sweet corn risotto which swayed my decision. It was a great blend of flavors and I was pleased with the dish. I was tempted to get the Basil Crusted Salmon based on last week’s shockingly good salmon enjoyed at this very same restaurant.

Any mention of the word L-A-M-B on a menu usually draws the immediate attention of Jerry C and tonight was no exception. He deftly chose the Lamb Loin Chop, Marinated and Grilled Lamb T-Bone, Basil Mashed Potatoes, Garlic Spinach and Shallot Au Jus. The dish looked terrific and Jerry silently immersed himself in his food which could only mean he found it to be, dare I say it, DELICIOUS (where is my thesaurus when I need it?).

We had debated which of the three dessert offerings we would select to complete our four course dinner and wondered why we had not been approached by our server, Nick,  to make our choices. Our quandary was answered when a plate with ALL THREE of the dessert offering was presented as part of a birthday acknowledgment for Joe B. who will be celebrating his 29th (again) this coming Tuesday. Left to right on the plate below we have the White Chocolate Tiramisu with raspberry Puree, the Blueberry and Vanilla Filled Crepe and the Peach Crisp with Cinnamon Peach Gelato. Most of us had planned on ordering the Peach crisp but as it turned out we all unanimously agreed that the Blueberry crepe was easily the best of the trio.

It was a very enjoyable evening at Catelli’s. The restaurant offered a wine pairing with each course for an additional $20 per person. I wasn’t enthralled with the wines they had selected so I was fine with an evening without my vino. It appears that several local restaurants are going to extend Farm to Fork Week for another few days so it just could be we will all be gathered somewhere else next Friday for what we hope will be an equally great experience.

TORTILLA PRESS – BYOB

Posted in BYOB Restaurant Reviews, South Jersey BYOB Reviews, Tortilla Press with tags , , , , , , on July 24, 2010 by ballymote

This was a spur of the moment Friday night venture to another of the many SJ restaurants taking part in Farm to Fork Week. It had been a couple of years since I was here and I was excited about the prospect of a return visit. Tortilla Press was offering a four course prix fix menu at $30 per person and the eight Friday night regulars were all hungry. Hunger and food are always a good combination.

The interior of Tortilla Press is bright and cheery with colorful Mexican themed paintings adorning bright orange walls. We had the table at the window and some of our group were able to watch the stream of wine-toting diners advancing to and from the many excellent restaurants in the Collingswood neighborhood.  Our server brought out some chips and salza, both spicy and mild, and we munched away while trying to make decisions from the special four course menu. There were three appetizer choices and our group ended up with all three.

On the left we had my selection, Dressed Classic Ceviche “Taco Tostada”
Springdale Farms pico de gallo, extra virgin olive oil, avocado & our classic ceviche
tossed together & served over greens in a crispy mini corn tortilla bowl. In the center is Joe B.’s Fried Masa Planks
with roasted tomato, zucchini & local peppers salsa
zucchini & peppers from Flaim Farms and on the right is Jerry C.’s Flaim Farm’s Squash Blossom Soup
With zucchini, potatoes, poblano peppers & corn in a lightly creamed vegetable broth. All of these starters were well received by everyone with the lime dressed ceviche having a nice tangy flavor.

I ordered the Mexican Cobb Salad
With mixed lettuces, corn, cucumbers, yellow grape tomatoes, black beans, bacon & queso fresco cubes tossed with roasted jersey tomato vinaigrette. Tomatoes & corn from Springdale Farms. It didn’t look like much but the flavors blended together nicely to make this an enjoyable salad.

My entree choice was the Grilled Pork Loin with Schober Orchard Peach~Serrano Chile Salsa
Served with peach cider~ancho chile glaze, coconut rice & sautéed garlic jersey green beans. Jerry C. also had the pork and when I mentioned that mine was little tough he had me try his which clearly was a better example of the same dish. It wasn’t enough to send back but it certainly was a flaw in the meal.

Joe B. went with the Pan Seared Scallop and Shrimp
Served in a Flaim Farm cilantro pesto sauce garnished with toasted pumpkin seeds & pine nuts
Served with a Mexican style roasted eggplant & zucchini ragout. He was happy with his choice. The blend of unique flavors adding a certain charm to the dish.

Sue C. went with the third of the prix fix entrees the 

Chile Rellenos & Cheese Enchiladas Verde Platter
served with red rice & black beans… poblanos & tomatillos from Flaim Farms. This offering looked more like the typical “Mexican food” entree one would expect and she thought it was very good. My wife, Kathy and Tom T. both ordered off of the regular menu and Kathy had the Salmon with peach flavored barbecue sauce with chipotle potatoes. She finished what she could and the remainder is currently resting comfortable in our refrigerator.

 Tom T. can’t eat a lot of spicy foods so bringing him here to Tortilla Press was a little bit like bringing an alcoholic to a keg party. After lengthy negotiations with our server they signed a treaty forever to be known as the Tortilla Press July Accord and worked out a dish that featured steak and grilled shrimp with some veggies and a baked potato. Tom was at peace with his meal.

Most of the crew had opted for margaritas with Carol and Joe bringing a bottle of tequila and Tortilla Press providing pitchers of margarita mix, one lime and one mango (we were only charged for the lime).

I brought a bottle of the 2007 Susana Balbo, Signature Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina. This wine was a cut above her regular Malbec offering and the bright cherry flavors were a good match for the south of the border spices in our dinner. I wish I had picked up a couple more bottles of this one. I should have offered Joe some but I didn’t think he would get the true flavors of the wine to cut thru the margarita.

Dessert was part of our four course meal and we couldn’t refuse that part of the meal. Most of us opted for the Peach & Blueberry Bread Pudding with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
while the remainder of our party went with the Flan with Jersey Blueberry Compote. Both desserts were good and overall it was a pretty good experience. As nice as the prix fix deals are, there is still something to be said for being able to order from the full menu. My dinner was good but I’m not sure it’s what I would have had the same meal if there had been more selections.

A FEW WORDS ON CATELLI’S RESTAURANT IN VOORHEES, NJ

Posted in BYOB Restaurant Reviews, Catelli's Restaurant (not a review) with tags , , on July 18, 2010 by ballymote

This is NOT a review of Catelli’s Restaurant in Voorhees, NJ. We went there on Friday evening as it was the setting for a surprise 75th birthday party for a family member. My wife, Kathy, and I did not expect anything other than that we would, at some point, be fed some type of meal. As with many of these pre-planned functions, there was a limited choice of four  items from a specially created for the occasion menu. I do NOT consider this as a fair representation of their menu and that is why I had no intention of treating this as a dinner where I would do my customary review. The reason I am writing this is to give you a very brief account of what was just a fantastic dining experience and one that was totally unexpected.

The four entree choices were Veal Florentine, Chicken Marsala, Filet Mignon and Onion Crusted Salmon Balsamico. It would have appeared to be a no-brainer in choosing the Filet Mignon, but for some strange reason both my wife and I selected the Salmon. Many of those who selected the filet remarked that it was wonderful, so tender you could almost cut it with your fork. Kathy and didn’t care because our salmon was better than that. It was absolute cooked perfection. The carmelized onions and rich sauce, in combination with the melt in your mouth potatoes, was just sheer culinary magic. There is nothing better than having low expectations and then being stunned by a meal that was simply splendid.

We can not wait to make a return visit to Catelli’s for a full-course dinner.

THE FIVE BEST RESTAURANT EXPERIENCES OF THE PAST YEAR

Posted in A La Maison, BYOB Restaurant Reviews, Dream Cuisine Cafe, Food and Wine Lists, Gilmores Restaurant, Modo Mio Restaurant, Sonata Restaurant with tags on July 15, 2010 by ballymote

It was my original intention that this list would be titled “My FIVE Best Restaurants for the Past Year”. The problem with that was that two of my selections would have only fit that title on the first visit with the second visit falling somewhat short of the first. I decided on the current title because I really did want to include those two eateries because the original visit was outstanding. Keep in mind, therefore, this isn’t a ringing endorsement of any of these restaurants but simply a reflection on MY experience while dining there. The five are in no particular order as it is tough enough to select five from a group of 60 without listing them in order. Here they are then, my TOP FIVE DINING EXPERIENCES IN THE PAST YEAR:

 A LA MAISON    53 W. Lancaster Ave. Ardmore, PA 19003

 The food and service on our visit here were outstanding. It was just a few days before Christmas with plenty of snow on the ground but the mood inside was warm and inviting. Our server, Fabien, was a guy who knew his job and did it well. Great stemware for our wines, a first class menu and great conversations including a nice chat with owner Darlene Boline-Moseng made dinner at A La Maison an easy choice for my Top Five.

GILMORE’S            133 E. Gay Street      West Chester, PA 19380

Gilmore’s is a BYOB that makes just about every “foodie’s” Top 5 List in the Delaware Valley. That’s the kind of high expectations that I had prior to our visit and fully expected it might be a letdown. It was NOT. We had the second of the two nightly servings at 8:30 on a Saturday night in March and words just don’t adequately describe the outstanding food and service. Visit my review on this website and just look at how tempting the food photos are. I don’t think any restaurant I visited in the past year did as good a job as Gilmore’s at food presentation. This one was an easy choice for my TOP FIVE.

MODO MIO        161 W. Lehigh Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19123

Located in the shadow of the Piazza at Schmidt’s in Brewerytown, Modo Mio is one of the two BYOB’s that did not perform as well on the second visit as it did on the first. In the case of both, the first was so enjoyable that they qualified for the list despite a less than stellar encore performance. Tha first visit last March, following a day at the Franklin Institute, was absolutely terrific. Our server, Maher was top-notch and Chef Peter McAndrews was on the top of his home-style Italian food game. Obviously, another visit to this popular Philly BYOB is required to clarify the culinary confusion. Still, it was so nice it qualified for my TOP FIVE.

DREAM CUISINE CAFE    1900 Marlton Pike (Rt. 70) Cherry Hill, NJ 08003

It was a dark and stormy night last October when we ducked into the somewhat difficult to find Dream Cuisine Cafe tucked into the shadows of the Tuscany Marketplace on Rt. 70 in Cherry Hill. The brightly lit room broke the gloom of the weather and Chris, our enthusiastic server helped make the setting just right. We had some great wines to go with Chef/Owner Vincent Fanari’s creative dishes  and all in all it was just a perfect evening. It was so good that we were anxious to bring other friends to share what we had found. Unfortunately, the second visit was not quite up to par but, that October meal still qualified as a bona fide entry for my TOP FIVE.

SONATA           1030 N. American St.    Philadelphia, PA  19123

This Northern Liberties gem was unknown to me until I found some reviews on it while looking for a BYOB located equidistant from 3 different areas. I am so glad I found it because although parking wasn’t easy, the food and ambiance were first class. Chef Mark Tropea does a fantastic job of creating flavorful dishes that sound good on the menu and taste even better on the plate. This is another BYOB that didn’t take a lot of thought in making my TOP FIVE for the year.

MORTON’S STEAKHOUSE – NOT A BYOB

Posted in BYOB Restaurant Reviews, Morton's Steakhouse, Philly BYOB Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2010 by ballymote

I’ve been to a few different Morton’s Steakhouses over the years. When they are good, they are very good, when they are bad, they are memorably bad. Morton’s in the King of Prussia Mall is VERY good. Our company was hosting some out of town visitors and this was one of three dinners they will attend during their two weeks in town. If the other two are as good as this they should leave Philly a few pounds heavier. We ordered from a pre-arranged limited menu but what it lacked in quantity of choices it made up for in quality of product. It seemed that none of the eight diners were able to ascertain what the letters S-A-L-M-O-N spelled because no one ordered any and the same held true for C-H-I-C-K-E-N. It was if they had all attended a secret meeting before arriving where someone whispered to them “Psssst….if you go to Morton’s, order the S-T-E-A-K.” Fortunately, I was able to persuade Kelly from Charleston, SC to split the chicken with me so that I’d have another entrée photo for the blog.

Our server was also named Kelly and although she shared my pain that we were both missing the evening’s episode of “The Bachelorette” she did a great job of  unobtrusively making sure that all of our dining needs were taken care of all evening.

She suggested a couple of appetizer sampler trays, one cold, and the other baked. The trays were huge with heaping portions of shrimp, crab, lobster, oysters and clams on the cold tray and yummy scallops wrapped in bacon, mini-crab cakes, huge breaded coconut shrimp and other delights from the sea on the baked plate. The warm onion loaf bread was also delicious and if the meal ended right here I’m sure none of us would have left hungry.

We had a couple of nice wines. The first was the always dependable Estancia Meritage, a 2006 vintage. The other was a 2007 Duck Pond Pinot Noir from Oregon. When Kelly saw how much I enjoyed the Pinot she brought us a sample of the 2007 Tony Soter , Mineral Springs Ranch. It was terrific and I rightfully ordered the rest of the bottle. Everyone at the table seemed to enjoy the wines and the conversation was lively and enjoyable as we all learned things about each other.

The chatter around the table came to a screeching halt as the steaks arrived, each accompanied by perfectly cooked green beans and a piping hot baked potato. The lone chicken platter arrived the same way with not one or two but THREE large portions of tender breast meat. Most of the guests tried to finish as much as they could because they were staying at a hotel and had no way to protect leftovers. I was more fortunate as I took most of my chicken and potato home for another meal. We would have all been ready to stagger away from the table but there was dessert to come. A tempting slice of cheesecake made it’s way to some; a delectable key lime pie found a home with a couple, and most had opted for a devilishly sweet chocolate mousse. All provided a nice ending to a very enjoyable meal. If good food, good wine and good conversation all make for memorable evenings then Morton’s did a good job of making that happen.

BARONE TUSCAN GRILL – BYOB

Posted in Barone Tuscan Grill, BYOB Restaurant Reviews, South Jersey BYOB Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2010 by ballymote

Barone Tuscan Grill in Woolwich, NJ is new;VERY new. It’s the latest edition to the Barone Restaurant mini-empire. Their website has no information on this location except to say it is “coming soon”.  The Woolwich/Swedesboro area of southern Gloucester County is a fast-growing area for young families that was blossoming quickly before the real estate debacle took place. It’s evident even now that once the situation improves it’s an area that will continue to see explosive residential growth.

My son and his wife (Brian & Jenny) recently moved to this location from PA and we had dinner with them and our friends Jerry and Sue C. along with their son Tim, and his girlfriend, Kristen. We met here at Barone as a torrential summer shower drenched us on our run from the car to the shelter of the restaurant. Inside it was bright and cheery with a full house on this Friday evening. The front of the restaurant is lined with windows while the back features walls with large black and white scenes of Tuscany.

The strip mall that houses Barone Tuscan Grill also has a JB Liquors and I was able to pick up a couple of bottles for dinner.  We had the 2006 J Vidal – Fleury, Cotes du Rhone and it went very well with the rich, Italian foods. There were a few other bottles at the table, a German Riesling and a 2008 Falesco, Vitiano, another dependable inexpensive wine that JB’s sell for $11.99. We never did open the 2008 Erath, Pinot Noir, Oregon so that made the ride back home with us. Our server, Stephanie, confessed that she had not opened more than 8 bottles of wine in her short career at Barone Tuscan Grill so we gave her some assistance and told her that it’s a good thing that she admits that up front. She did a good job all night seeing to our needs.

We started with a few appetizers for the table, Mussels “Your Way” which in the case was in marinara sauce, Arancini, fried risotto balls stuffed with wild mushrooms and fontina cheese in a parmesan cream sauce and Parmesan Crisp, a flatbread Parmesan Crisp, herbed parmesan cheese with infused white truffle oil and melted provolone. The meal was off to a good start.

The rain was letting up and the late evening summer sun was beginning to peek thru the dark clouds which lit up the room. Several of our party mentioned that it was warm in the room. I’m not certain I recall what everyone had as an entree but I will do the best I can.

I wanted the meatloaf entree but was informed that it had been devoured by earlier diners so I went with my second choice, Pollo Rollatini, chicken breast stuffed with prusciutto, spinach and fontina cheese with a rich mushroom sauce. A nice portion of capellini accompanied the dish. It was tasty and a good-sized portion and I took half home and finished it for dinner just moments ago. My only minor gripe is that there were too many mushroom present but that’s just my anti-mushroom bias and many would take that news as a plus.

Kristen ordered the Ravioli Rosa, fresh lobster-filled hand-made ravioli in a pink basil cream sauce. This dish had beautiful color and Kristen thoroughly enjoyed what she finished before also taking some home for later.

Kathy can never pass up an eggplant dish so she predictably ordered the Melanzane Rollantini, eggplant rolled with ricotta and basil and served with mozzarella cheese. She chose the vermicelli as her side pasta dish and she also found the serving large enough to provide a second meal.

My daughter-in-law selected the pasta topped with crabmeat while my son had the Tuscan Alfredo, chicken in a lemon zest alfredo sauce. Both were a little disappointed in their meals feeling it lacked a lot of taste.

Sue had the Vitello San Angelo, egg battered veal with asparagus and mozzarella in a madiera demi glace. I thought her dish looked great and the ziti was a nice addition to the plate.

Tim was not in adventurous mood and he ended up with the old reliable Chicken Parmesan. For Kristen and Tim, the leftovers they took home will be there last American meal for three weeks as they left today for Australia and a fun-filled summer vacation diving off the Great Barrier Reef.

Because Barone Tuscan Grill (I want sooooo bad to called it Barone’s) is located so close to my son and his wife’s new home I am sure this is not our last visit to this place. They are experiencing the usual “new opening” pains but they are trying and the place certainly shows potential. The prices are reasonable and the portion sizes are good. There is a review of one of their other restaurants, Villa Barone,  in Collingswood, located elsewhere on my blog.

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