Gerardi's Cafe, South Yarmouth MA.
I'm very interested in hearing the review of Girardis. I went last year (Summer of 2008) for the 1st time and here is the review I wrote back then when I went with my wife:
Pre-visit note: First let me say that the former restaurant that was here (902 on Main) was a truly remarkable, Nantucket-worthy dining spot on rte 28 of the Cape. It had only been open for 2 years or so but we had gotten there at least 3 times to my recollection. It was a place I looked forward to going every year for many years - especially since we could walk there from our cottage.
When my mother told me this spring that it had closed I was devastated; the closing wasn't due to lack of interest by the public, but supposedly burnout by the owners, so they sold the business.
Just a few days prior to our July trip to the Cape, we found out that Gerardi's (formerly of Dennis) was moving in. In all the research I could find online, Gerardi's of Dennis was a local favorite, classic Italian place that was very small and hard to get in. The owners wanted to expand so they bought and moved to 902 - - not that 902 was big by any stretch, but it was bigger than the former Gerardi location and was more elegant and upscale in terms of design/appearance.
I figured this could go 1 of 2 ways: Gerardi keeps everything the same and moves down the street, or Gerardi's moves down the street and "upscales" their menu a bit to match the new setting.
Based on my online research it appears to be a bit of the former, so I'm guessing my current review of Gerardi's would have been the same as if we had eaten in their old Dennis location.
On to the actual review:
The sign out front on their restaurant indicates "authentic Italian cuisine" - - - I would agree if it said authentic Italian-American cuisine. What do I mean? Half the menu consisted of chicken 3 ways and veal 3 ways (picata, parm, and milanese). In addition, the preparation of the dishes was often over-sauced - another pitfall in the Americanized-Italian-menu.
However, I will say that the food itself was very good. I started with a homemade lobster and crab ravioli in an oil, garlic, parmesan dressing. This was a single, huge ravioli that was made well and stuffed well. The oil and parmesan were of good quality and the garlic was cooked just right - but it just had a bit too much oil; rather than being lightly dressed, it was sitting in a small pool which I had to drain off a bit. Liz's risotto balls (fried) lacked a bit of flavor (probably needed a good helping of parmesan inside) and the red sauce it came with was very pasty; it was not a light, fresh pomodore sauce, but rather a thick, rich, hearty, pasty "Americanized" red sauce. This appetizer was our least liked dish.
For the main courses, Liz ordered the chicken marsala which came soaked in a dark, rich, brown sauce with mushrooms. The chicken itself was of very good quality and the sauce, while not delicate, had a lot of depth of flavor. My dish consisted of crab stuffed flounder over pesto linguini. The flounder and crab were excellent and the pasta was well cooked. The pesto, while tasting very nice and not overdressed at all, was just a bit dry - - - it could have used a slight touch of oil when it was twirled into the pasta (though I will say I was very happy that it was dressed exceptionally well - - not at all oversauced as many pesto dishes are.)
We split a dessert - a flourless chocolate cake - and it was nice, but not spectacular.
As for the wine list, it was probably a "C" rating for range of selections but an A for price. Mixed with a B for quality, it gets an overall B- rating.
The restaurant overall: Authentic: No Good: Yes
I ended up scoring them a B+ rating for the food. I wouldn't call this an "authentic" Italian restaurant by any means, but the quality of the food is good and if you are in the mood for some comforting Italian-American food, it's definitely worth a stop - - - especially on the Cape where good Italian is few and far between.
PS: My wife and I just got back from the Cape for our first visit of 2009 and we hit Columbo's in Hyannis. A detailed review will be written soon....