italian pantry in cranford
Has anyone been to the new Italian Pantry Bistro in Cranford? Any recs?
We were there last week and had a very nice meal. The space is very comfortable and cozy (in realtor vernacular). We happened to stop there on the spur of the moment and grabbed the one available table at 7:00 p.m.. We started with a fantastic salad w/walnuts and goat cheese and reduced balsamic and pear (i think). One main course was homemade pumpkin ravioli (huge) in a brown butter. It was the most rich vegeetarian meal i've ever tasted. They use a very high quality butter which the chef/owner will be happy to show you. Our other main course was the pasta w/"Sunday sauce". It was delicious, choice of pasta with a gravy/sauce that included oxtail, sausage and very special meatballs. All the pastas are homemade, the bread basket was great, and the owners are there. They had fish on the menu which is brought in almost daily. Enjoy.
I completely agree with the first reply. The wait staff greeted us immediately and our wine was opened just as quickly. Nothing disappointed on our first visit. Our appetizers were the stuffed squid and the italian carpaccio. I liked both, but think I won by ordering the carpaccio. The main courses were the pasta with Sunday sauce and the osso bucco. Both were excellent. The reply by jnk said "very special meatballs" and that was no exaggeration. Also, I'm usually one that skips dessert, but I'm glad we tried the nutella ravioli. Yum! We will definitely be going back and plan on bringing friends. The menu was full of options that I'd like to try and I'm interested to see if a return trip can match our first experience.
re: The food guru
See this is the first time you are posting to chowhound.
Specifically what did you eat? Reason I am asking is that the details you provide can be very helpful.
1. People on Chowhound can learn more about your dining experience.
2. People that search the Internet for restaurants and find this post, can make informed choices.
3. Chefs and Restaurant Owners can learn how customers interpret the dining experience at their restaurants. They may use this knowledge to change what is being served, modify portions to reduce costs, or understand how their staff is treating customers since they are unable to oversee every aspect of their business at any given moment, on any given day.
It's all good. So any additional details, we would love to hear them.
Have a good day!
I was there recently, and was not impressed. Dishes we tried were the mixed veg. napoleon, which was nothing more than grilled squash and red pepper layered with mascarpone, corn soup (eh), whole wheat pizza with mushrooms and mozz. (not a contender), and zuppa de pesce with some sort of homemade pasta. The zuppa was OK--very fresh shellfish in a light tomato broth; the pasta--a huge bowl I could not dent--was a total bore. Overall, I would say the food suffered from underseasoning that left us both unsatisfied. Dessert was a blueberry shortcake that skimped on the blueberries and whipped cream, leaving way too much dry biscuit to make the combination work.
Went last night for dinner on a Friday evening with no reservations and we were seated immediately. The bread board was great and included a selection of olives. We had the risotto special with skirt steak and summer vegetables and the grilled chicken panini. We shared both and the kitchen was nice enough to split the plates for us in the kitchen, which was VERY appreciated. It was a ton of food, and really one entree split would have been fine for us. I think the next visit will be an appetizer and a split entree. The prices are in the teens-twenties with a few higher items but the portions are large and the food excellent. We were too full for desert but I am looking forward to that on our next visit.
I recently ate there and was disappointed...I wanted to like it, I really did. I'm always excited about local people starting out...The lady owner seated us and opened our wine right away. She was sweet. The waiter was annoying. The ambiance was cozy but very underdecorated...maybe in time this will change as they just opened.
The appetizer was great...smoked chorizo with french bread, pesto, spinach and shrimp. seriously delicious. The rest of the meal fell flat...a soupy underseasoned pasta special of chicken and a corn alfredo sauce (no discernable corn or cheese) and overcooked, mushy, tastless risotto. We kinda lost our appetite for dessert. I hear the sunday sauce is good and they make their own pasta...only pappardelle and spaghetti though...not the rigatoni or other pastas on the menu. Why not just serve the home made ones? I don't get it.
My recommendations for the place would be more fresh herbs...more salt and seasoning...more decor...don't be afraid to step out of that comfort zone! I'll come back for the sunday sauce...