Now That’s Italian!

Ravello by Toscano in Robbinsville, NJ is a fabulous Italian restaurant that deserves a top spot on our growing list of BYOs. After a recent visit with good friends Rosanne and Gary (Mr. & Mrs. Z), Russ and I were over-the-top impressed with our perfectly prepared and presented meals.

While the menu itself is not overwhelming in size, the portions certainly present a WOW factor! In addition to a half dozen nightly Chef Specialties, the menu contains six to eight options each under Appetizers, Salads, Pastas and Entrées, along with several Sides, and a few choice Desserts.

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While we did have a bit to nosh, nibble and sip at the Z’s prior to heading to the restaurant, we decided to go ahead and order a couple of appetizers anyway once we got there. Which probably wasn’t necessary, especially given the large hunk of crusty, garlicky bread and herbed olives that come gratis with dinner.

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It seems Russ and I have been on a meatball kick lately, so we couldn’t pass up Emma’s Meatballs—a meal unto itself. And the Z’s zeroed in on Mussels Chorizo, which looked fabulous, and everyone but me (I don’t eat them) agreed they were exquisitely delectable.

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Emma’s Meatballs
—Pan-fried, topped with lots of Sunday gravy (read red sauce), whipped fresh ricotta accompanied by parmesan crostini

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Mussels Chorizo
—Chorizo, Calabrian pepper in a saffron tomato au jus

For entrées, Gary knew instantly that he wanted the Veal Parm; while Rosanne waffled between her usual Veal Ravello and the Shrimp & Clams Linguine, which won out in the end. But Russ ended up selecting the Veal, and I chose it’s counterpart, the Chicken & Shrimp Ravello.

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Veal Parmigiano
—Veal cutlet with house made fresh mozzarella, ricotta gnocchi and topped with their Sunday gravy

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Chicken & Shrimp Ravello
—contained chorizo sausage, cherry peppers, San Marzano tomatoes, with melted provolone over a bed of tagliatelle

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Veal Ravello
—Plated with wild mushrooms, wilted arugula, cavatelli, crispy prosciutto marsala porcini cream

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Shrimp and Clams Linguine
—Fresh shucked clams in a San Marzano tomato basil sauce

Even though some of us had a large portion of leftovers to take home, the guys were in a dessert mode. And if Crème Brûlée is on the menu, you can bet Russ is at least thinking of it. After experiencing the lip-smacking dinner, he knew he just had to try their version—and he was not disappointed.

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Crème Brûlée

Gary on the other hand went in a different direction with his Olive Oil Cake selection. It was artistically plated with vertical slices of moist cake served with fresh whipped creme and mint, then topped with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar. Incredible!

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Olive Oil Cake

After all of that, it was time to roll ourselves back to the car…

Everything about the dinner and service was top notch, our only complaint was we were all a bit chilly. Perhaps it could’ve been our table situated next to a window with the frigid temps outside. But it is not enough though to keep us from going back.

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