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I think we finally found "it"....

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
...that is...a "regular" place for us to dine.

Sure, we have favorite restaurants for either food, or atmosphere, or drinks, or proximity.....but are lacking in other areas, sure we have perfect restaurants, but are a little expensive to be "that regular"

but last night, I think we finally found the place.

We've been to the bar of this place once before, and enjoyed it a lot, we had reservations at another place, so did not stay for dinner that evening, but returned last night. finally.

First, it is close proximity to home, a few miles. Second, it has a great cocktail bar. By great I mean it's cozy, and it's a "real" cocktail bar, smaller, not crowded. The staff was great. First we had a drink at the bar....I had some questions regarding recommendations on trying a new/different bourbon..and while the bartender didn't know much without asking got someone who did. After giving a recommendation, he went somewhere for a few minutes, and came out with even a nice big ice cube for my drink. Simple, easy, and sure it's frozen water, but taking the time to go to another part of the restaurant (actually, to be honest I think he went downstairs to the sister restaurant) just for ice....just for me sure made me feel special. (on another note, my fiance peeped the head bartender at a great bar close-by sitting next to us at the bar with his date, that says something as well)

Turns out, it's the owner. We chat for a bit and he asks if we will be dining there, we say absolutely. He gets us a nice table and we order. Their wine selection is interesting, with a good selection of different kinds of wines, that, unless you are a wine expert, probably don't know much about. The owner asks what we were looking for and based on a few lousy descriptions he picks out a wine that I've never heard of...mentioning, "I'll pour each of you a taste, and if you like it, it's what you have for dinner tonight, if not, it's what I have for dinner tonight"..... that wine has now entered into my top 5 list. Heck, the feeling I got throughout the whole meal was that I was being treated like a "regular". The meal/food was good. It wasn't 3-star haute cuisine good, but it was local, fresh ingredient good. which brings me to my other "sold on" point. The owners are big on local produce, so much that they even do much canning and preserving for say....serving a tomato dish with local NJ tomatoes in the winter. If they don't have local tomatos for a caprese salad, they won't serve a caprese salad. This also leads to constantly having different specials and dishes based on what was had that week. I like that.

The price, it was not bad, a little expensive, but under 200 for pre dinner drinks, (one of which was a single barrel bourbon on the rock) a beautiful bottle of wine (75$) appetizer, entree, garlic bread, and dessert.

One could easily go for much much less.

Another thing I like about the place is the decor, and atmosphere. Very elegant, colors on the walls are great, decor is great, but casual enough that I didn't mind going in in a nice pair of jeans and a dress shirt (nor did the table next to us in shorts and a polo). No white table clothes on the tables....no table cloths at all actually.

The menu, as mentioned before, is good, it's an Italian American restaurant, labels itself as such and doesn't try to be "authentic" italian.

They have a very good cold antipasti selection, where you can choose between 3-6 or 9 different selections.

I should note, that I went to this place after hearing from a couple of different friends, that it wasn't great......glad I didn't take thier opinion as gospel. To be honest, I haven't heard much "great" about the place...which, not to be selfish (or to indeed be!), is just fine by me!!!

I almost don't want to give the name out.....

BTW - the cocktail menu and drinks change with the produce as well...and if you're a "go green" freak, I couldn't recommend a better dining establishment...as the owners are very much green as can be, complete with solar panel power.

great view too actually.

Ok Ok here is the place.....

Welcome to Catherine Lombardi

ssshhhh don't tell anyone. please.

this is "MY" place. Lot's of places have great food, or good atmosphere, or are local....but we've been searching for that "well rounded" place for some time now.....

p.s. the wine was Antichi Vigneti Di Cantalupo Ghemme 2004 and it was after my fiance mentioned she liked Oregon Pinot Noirs and we were looking for a light...end of summer italian....paired with our main (pasta...mine was tomato and fennel ravioli with a truffle sauce, fiance tortelloni). The education I received about the wine by the owner, was worth the markup on the wine alone.

I'm a simple man, all it took was a special piece of frozen water to make me happy...
post #2 of 4
Thread Starter 
Just an update. This is why I love this place.

went to a nice wine tasting last weekend there....25 wines...good list, stayed for an appetizer upstairs and went downstairs (to the more formal/upscale restaurant) for a steak.

received this in my inbox today :lol:

granted, I've spent more in the establishment in Sept. than I did on my mortgage...:p

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
post #4 of 4
Hey you really like the place eh? ;)
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