Manhattan-Meets-Lambertville

“The hippest restaurant, in the oldest bar, in the smallest city, in the USA… where you can feast on traditional Italian with passion and style.” So says the website, and so say we…

First introduced to DeAnna’s Restaurant by my cousin Tom and his wife Jacqui, it’s now been nearly 5 years (where has the time gone?) since we last patronized the place with other friends, Ira and Beth. Way past time to make an appearance, so that’s exactly what we did on a recent Saturday evening. Lucky for us, they had a last minute cancellation, and we got the reservation.

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Twenty years ago, DeAnna’s began as a cozy 30-seat restaurant then grew to include a bar and expanded seating at the larger current location, with all the original ambience intact. Their food is straightforward, authentic Italian cuisine. Chef-owner DeAnna considers herself a traditionalist but brings an original style and passion to her menu. They have a bar, full liquor license and a well-thought-out wine list.

They offer locally grown organic greens and produce whenever possible, and include a handful of creative daily additions to the menu that always incorporate fish and meat selections—but they specialize in homemade pasta and ravioli. DeAnna’s is able to meet most dietary requests such as vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Famous for their ever-changing themed decor, we arrived a few nights post-Halloween but it was still festooned with holiday ornamentation. After just a couple minute wait—in an almost nonexistent waiting area—we scored a quieter corner table. Oddly, though the weather wasn’t too cold outside, I was freezing in my seat. Within minutes however, I realized someone had raised the window under the blind, which I quickly closed. Crisis averted.

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After a while, a family vacated the seats right next to us. When they left we noticed the entire wall had sofa seating.

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The whole grain garlic bread was worth a taste and melted in your mouth.

With a bottle of tempranillo on the way, and an order of garlic bread getting happy, we both decided to share the most interesting Fried Cheese appetizer (pecorino romano) with seasonal fruit—in this case grapes, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and orange slices topped with mint and a balsamic reduction. Fantastico!

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Our entrées each came with a side salad.

For entrées we both decided on specials of the night, with sides of steamed broccoli as opposed to pasta since we’d already indulged in some of that top-notch garlic bread. For Russ it was all about the Pork Osso Buco which came plated larger than life swimming in a bowl of sauce. It must have been delicious because he devoured it in it’s entirety.

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I was in a seafood kind of mood and chose the Mediterranean Swordfish cooked perfectly medium in a tomato sauce with capers, black olives, fresh chives,  a sprig of fresh thyme and adorned with a gorgeous edible red flower.

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Too big to finish, the swordfish made for a great lunch a few days later.

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DeAnna’s is devotedly managed by her partner, Lisa Nichols, who maintains the beautiful decor, coordinates daily operations and parties and who bakes all of the scrumptious desserts. She is the idea person and aesthetic police. It’s the perfect combination, Lisa in the front of the house with DeAnna creating culinary magic in the kitchen.

 

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