Within a 1/2-day of receiving a restaurant tip from friend Jeremy, I made reservations at the relatively new Italian BYOB, Saluté Ristorante, located in small strip mall on West Trenton Avenue in Morrisville, PA. (In it’s previous life, it used to be Center Fruit Gourmet.)

Friends Barb and Brad accompanied us on our maiden voyage to check out the new digs. The joint was hopping when we got there for our 8:00 Friday night reservation—thank goodness we made one! We were seated immediately at a corner table by the front window. (Top photo shows Barb and Russ with some of the posterized head shots behind them.)

The decor is atypical, with a large lighted tree smack in the center of the dining room and pop-art portraiture pictures adorning the walls. Of those, the only person I recognized was the owner Vincenzo because I had previously perused their website. Another wall sports a “digital” fireplace lending a nice touch to the decidedly modern atmosphere.

A stock photo showing the dining room with a portrait of the owner Vincenzo, and the digital fireplace.

A bit blurry, but you get the sense of the lighted tree as a main focal point.

Vincenzo Severino’s cuisine is the encapsulation of his passion for food and his obsession to please his patrons. His inspiration comes from his trips back to his beloved Sicily, where he breathes in as much as he can in order to translate his journeys into new and exciting dishes for his and Kathleen’s customers.

While we scanned the menus, a basket of warm crusty bread was delivered to the table. Then Russ asked our waitress about the possibility of getting gluten-free for his side of pasta. Come to find out, irritatingly enough, you can only get gluten-free if you order a pasta entree, not for your side!

How odd, every other restaurant that we’ve patronized with gluten-free options always allowed for this type of request. But apparently because they serve the pasta side “family-style,” we’d receive only one bowl of ziti to share amongst all diners. Which may have worked if we all wanted gluten-free…

But the food was so good, we decided it was a minor glitch in an otherwise great dining experience. Except for the noise! Wow, it was really loud until many diners finished their meals and started leaving. Perhaps it’s a good thing to arrive on the later side.

Because of the gluten-free debacle, Russ altered his choice and chose the GIAMBOTTA: Sweet Italian sausage with oven roasted peppers and onions with garlic and Italian seasonings. I zeroed in on the ALL’ARRABIATTA: Chicken breasts with hot finger peppers (this was the clincher for me) sautéed in olive oil, garlic and finished with marinara sauce, topped with mozzarella cheese. OMG, the chicken was perfectly cooked and succulent! (BTW, any of these chicken dishes can also be ordered with veal for a few dollars more.)

For Russ, Giambotta—therefore avoiding the pasta issue.

Lynn loved her All’Arrabiatta.

Portobello mushrooms was the ingredient that grabbed the attention of both of our dining guests because Barb got the PORTOBELLO: Portobello mushrooms sautéed with sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers over chicken breasts and topped with fresh mozzarella cheese. And Mr. Brad followed suit with the TOSCANO: Chicken pieces with sliced portobello mushrooms, scallions, roasted garlic and pancetta bacon sautéed in marsala wine cream sauce.

Close up of Barb’s Chicken Portobello.

Brad’s divine Chicken Toscano.

Let’s suffice it to say, nobody went home hungry, in fact, most of us doggie-bagged a healthy portion of leftovers. Yes, we will definitely go again. But right now I’m getting ready to head out the door for another dining experience at Francisco’s along the Delaware River… Ciao!

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