BARTOLINO'S ITALIAN RESTAURANT
By Teresa Barile
The dining room of this lovely restaurant resembles an Italian villa, with cream colored walls, alabaster columns and cool tile floors. Soft lighting, a roaring fireplace in the winter and an outdoor patio in the summer make any night special. Bartolino's is the perfect venue for a romantic dinner for two, or an evening with friends, family or co-workers. What's more, Bartolino's provides expert catering for up to 200 people with 5 different party packages available.
Start with a bottle of fine wine from the extensive wine list such as Montepulciano, from Tuscany, or a cocktail from the fully stocked bar. Mario recited the evening's specials which included Bartolino's famous fresh octopus salad with cubes of potato, red onion and diced red and green bell peppers in a lemony dressing. Clams Casino are topped with smoky bacon and broiled till crispy and golden. Fresh briny oysters were prepared in similar fashion that evening. A specially tossed salad of fresh arugula, olives, pine nuts and slices of orange was topped with shaved parmigiano for a wonderful composition of flavors. Hot appetizers on the menu include mussels Luciano, prepared in a light white sauce with tender cannellini beans or mussels Posillipo with a garlicky red sauce. Soak it all up with warm, crusty bread brought to your table. The chef's house made escarole soup or pasta e fagioli will warm you up just right.
In Italy, pasta is the "primo piatto" or "first plate". Bartolino's pasta dishes are prepared to order and served in generous portions. The pasta special was tender, handmade ravioli filled with sweet lobster meat, finished with a tomato vodka sauce. At 6 to a portion, this first dish could also be an appetizer when shared by two. Who could resist a creamy, decadent treat of fettuccine Alfredo, or the Roman classic, spaghetti carbonara with smoky pancetta, finely chopped onions and a touch of cream? Penne with broccoli rabe and sausage is soul-satisfying ($18), and there are also classic pasta dishes such as spaghetti Bolognese in a rich meat sauce with just a touch of cream and linguine with white or red clam sauce. Home style lasagna, baked ziti and manicotti will remind you of grandma, and even the kids will like them.
Fresh seafood and fish is available each night, when plump shrimp can be prepared a number of ways, including marinara, fra diavolo or parmigiana style. Each shrimp dish is served with a mound of linguine. Fillet of red snapper lemonata is prepared with olive oil, garlic, white wine and lemon. We had the Chilean sea bass, the catch of the day, prepared in a lemon and butter sauce with tangy capers. The house favorite is fillet of salmon Asa Ciento, over a bed of spinach in a creamy garlic sauce.
Tender veal or chicken cutlets are prepared in several styles including Francese, Marsala, parmigiana, Milanese or Florentine, with prosciutto and provolone, finished with a light cream sauce and spinach. Chicken vagostella is a house favorite and with good reason. These fork-tender chicken cutlets are topped with prosciutto and mozzarella and a mushroom wine sauce. Veal saltimbocca is a classic Italian dish, topped with spinach and cheese. Chicken scarpariello is prepared on the bone, though the meat just falls off when you touch it with a fork. Pollo Vesuvio, the special chicken dish of the evening, was gently sautéed with artichoke hearts and a veal stock reduction. Broiled steak alla pizzaiola is a Neopolitan favorite, but you can have a straight up New York shell steak or pork chop if you prefer.
Desserts imported from Italy include refreshing pineapple sorbet, served in a pineapple half, or creamy coconut sorbetto, served in a coconut shell. Next time I'll try the Italian cheese cake made with ricotta cheese or the fluffy tiramisu. An espresso, cappuccino or after dinner liqueur tops off a wonderful meal.
Bartolino's offers professionally catered private parties for up to 200 people. To make your party planning a breeze, just visit Bartolino's website (www.bartolinosastoria.com) and view the 5 different party packages available. There's one for every budget and your party is sure to be a success. Call as early as possible to reserve your graduation, communion, engagement party or other joyous event.
Bartolino's makes any night special with excellent food, wine, ambience and expert service. Bartolino's is closed on Tuesdays, but open for dinner from 3-11pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and from 12-11pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Free delivery is available or just pick up your fine Italian meal on your way home from work.