, in the Main Street area of Voorhees, NJ, was a popular location for South Jersey “foodies”. They closed up there about a year ago but the chef and owners have opened a new version, Catelli Duo, in the Voorhees Town Center next to the Echelon Mall. The construction in the area continues and by the spring of 2012 it will be the site of several new restaurants and many unique shops.
Catelli Duo and their food offerings takes a little bit of explanation. The menu is quite extensive and it is unlikely that there won’t be several items that pique your culinary interest. Most items are offered in two columns, one marked “Social” and the other “Duo”. Quite simply, the “Social” portion is half the size of the “Duo” portion and usually priced at half the cost. They are similar to the “small plates” or “tapas” that many restaurants offer. The “Duo” portion is twice the size and usually can be shared with others. The same rules apply to the entree portion of the menu.
Our party of eight arrived at Catelli Duo (the reservation made on Open Table) and were promptly seated at an oval table that comfortably seated six, as was evidenced by the six place settings that were already there. The hostess proceeded to add two additional place settings and the eight of us tried our best to squeeze into the area assigned. Even with our twice daily trips to the local gym and our six-pack abs, the seating was uncomfortable. The restaurant was packed and it quickly became apparent that there was not going to be an alternative seating spot for our group. We decided to drown our sadness in drink but my first choice from the drink menu (this is NOT a BYOB) of a Brooklyn Lager was not to be as was the Sangria selection. They were out of both (it is 7:30 PM on a Saturday evening). Different selections were made and the drinks arrived. I ended up with an Arrogant Bastard Ale. The Hostess stopped by to inquire as to how the food was so far. Since we had only been served bread, it was a little difficult to make an appraisal.
Afer studying the menu I selected a “social” size portion of the Cheesesteak Eggrolls. I thought they tasted just “ok” but others at the table thought they were excellent.
Next, I chose from the pasta portion of the menu and selected the Spaghetti. It came with 2 small meatballs (this was also the “social” portion) and was bathed in a tasty red sauce. I really liked this item. I thought it was nicely prepared and had lots of flavor. My wife had a Chopped Salad and she also enjoyed that.
I must have been in a very pasta mood because as my entree I chose the Capellini Catelli, where you can have shrimp or crab in either a red, white or fra diavolo sauce. I went with the crab and fra diavolo (our server, Diane, declared it her personal favorite). This time I went with the “Duo” size portion. Often, when you order a fra diavolo sauce, the Chef seems to be afraid to make it too hot. This was NOT the case with this entree. It was HOT!! I think I needed three refills of my water-glass to get through the dish. My mouth was burning and I wanted to stop halfway through but to be honest, it tasted so damn good I kept going back for one more mouth torturing bite until my plate was clean.
Some of our friends went with one of the evening “speciasl”, a Veal Porterhouse served with mashed potatoes and green beans. They were all picking every last morsel of meat from the bone so I would assume they thought it was excellent.
My wife ordered the Seafood Ravioli, homemade pasta filled with shrimp crab and lobster cream in a pink blush sauce. She enjoyed her selection. She also chose a Malbec wine to accompany her meal.
We passed on dessert as we were going back to one of our party’s home for coffee and cake. The dessert menu did have some tempting choices on it and would be a “must do” next time. We got off to a bad start at Catelli Duo and I actually considered renaming it for this review, Catelli Buo, but the food redeemed them. I would say, Catelli Duo is a place for food, it is noisy and apparently popular. There are no romantic nooks to be found. It is definitely worth a visit.