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Nicchio Ristorante - Belmar

Heads up - this new upscale Italian restaurant owned by the people from Mossuto Market in Wall wiil soon open at 1000 Main St and 10th avenue in Belmar. A peek in the other day revealed a very nice space which includes a beautiful L shaped bar. The quality of the food and service remain to be seen but you can bet it will be one of the nicest places at the shore. Keep an eye open...

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  1. Just curious anything new on this one?

    2 Replies
    1. re: shabbystorm

      The usual construction and town inspection delays, but they should be open in a week or so. They are just now putting the finishing touches on this place.

    2. We went Friday night. They were still waiting for the liquor license to be approved, so the very nice bar was basically filled with diners (you can BYO for now), but we were very happy and impressed.

      I was definitely skeptical, echoing equal_mark in thinking that the last thing we need in the area is yet another Italian restaurant. However, this is no ordinary, red-sauce Italian-America restaurant and they should be proud of themselves. They've taken great pains to make the menu as authentic and affordable as possible. You can get cheese or meat plates, apps, pastas, meats, contorni... didn't see anything over $32 and I believe that was a single veal chop... the rest of the entree items were $24 (for aged T-Bone steak) and down to $11-$12 for pastas and to $8 burgers. The bread was fresh, though I would have preferred butter over the olive oil that was available. We were told that several tables were to be replaced soon with booths (still on the way), and the bar will be serving from an extensive wine list, cocktails... and patrons will be able to enjoy dinner at the bar for those who like it (we do, can't wait). It seems they've hired a professional staff with some greenhorns mixed in as bussers, greeters, etc.

      For $42, we had an outstanding calamari dish, a great roasted beet salad with mint and ricotta salata, fresh pasta with clams and garlic as well as the aforementioned pasta rags/peas/onions/butter/parm. I picked up a decent white wine down the street for $12 and considering the not-so-casual decor and excellent table service, we were more than pleased with the results.

      There are definitely kinks to work out, but we were both impressed at how well the place was running on just the sixth night of operation. I think this is a place to watch, but let's see how it's going in December. Certainly beats local Italian joints like Citrico's (across the board) or Uvo in Bradley Beach (from what I hear, prices are killing customers and the food isn't blowing anyone away). NIcchio is not to be in the same sentence as the red-sauce set like Vic's, Don's, Jimmy's... it's just not the same thing, which is nice.

      1. Our first impression of Nicchio is very favorable considering, as stated prior, they are only open for a week or two. The space is top notch and goes to the head of the class for decor and ambience. The staff were all very professional and efficient. And now for the food: we shared a delicious salad for $8, my dinner was house made linguini with clams in a white sauce for $12 and the wife had an aged ribeye steak for $24. Both of these were delicious. We finished with espresso for $2.50 and shared a piece of italian cheesecake for $6. The bread served at the start of the meal was exceptional and there was plenty of it as well.

        Total cost $64 before tip. - exceptional value considering the quality of the food and service. Just as Aklein stated - this is no ordinary or run of the mill Italian restaurant like we are all use to but in a class unto themselves for this area. Still a BYO as of last Sunday but soon to get their license approved. As I mentioned this place is owned by the Mossuto Market people in Wall and they have many years of experience satisfying the locals with their Italian food and provisions.

        I think that we may have just finally found an Italian restaurant that will give us pause to drive to Staten Island or the City for really authentic and quality Italian food. We can't wait to try them again and see what they manage to do with the bar and wine service. I'm sure they will get it right ...

        2 Replies
        1. re: JerzeyShore

          going back tonight with a party of 7... still byo as of 30 mins ago... anxious to see how they're doing, though little doubt they'll be on top of their game... shall report back soon

          1. re: aklein

            We're thinking about going on Thursday for a birthday. I can't wait to read your report.

        2. We were back once again Saturday night (party of 7) and Nicchio's did not disappoint. The staff is still on the ball, maybe everything is slightly slow but mostly just giving the patron time to breath and talk. I heard one or two murmurs of "such small portions" around our table but overall there were no complaints. My Finnochio salad (fennel, orange salad) was refreshing and was a great starter before my excellent pork osso buco over polenta (though I wished it was topped with gremolata so as to cut through the richness). Two others order a platter-sized pork chop Milanese, pounded, breaded and fried over greens. One order of beef short rib over homemade pasta was excellent, I was told, but the single (if large) short rib disappointed the diner. I thought it looked just right. Another ordered a pasta with broccoli rabe and sausage and from the looks of things she was ready to slurp up the remaining sauce at the bottom of the empty bowl.

          My only complaints (both minor): they are still waiting for their liquor license to come through, so it is still BYO, which is a blessing in disguise); the pastry chef came to the table to introduce her offerings, which is a nice touch, but of the few desserts at the table, the molten chocolate cake was just overcooked enough not to be molten anymore... it wasn't dry, just a decent chocolate cake, and the other dessert (a cinnamon pastry with cinnamon ice cream was ordinary; it seems the biggest hurdle will be to smooth out the dessert portion of the menu.

          The entire bill was under $200 --- for 7.

          Regardless, we will happily return. The place was packed, a good sign even in Belmar in the summer. I am looking forward to a Thursday night in the fall, sitting at the bar with some good wine and (hopefully) quality Italian food. And if Nicchio's never gets a liquor license, so much the better as we can bring what we want at a better bargain, but it would be sad since they are set up for wine and cocktails.

          5 Replies
          1. re: aklein

            Nice to see that your second visit was an enjoyable experience and thanks for sharing it with us. Yes they are not perfect but who is and considering the short time that they are open I have high hopes for this place. But, time will tell and I'm sure that their future wine selection and pricing will determine the overall value of this new Belmar establishment and ultimately their acceptance.

            1. re: JerzeyShore

              I am rooting for them in a big way, especially since I am local and want a new go-to favorite beyond the Boathouse, which we still love ... but it couldn't be more the opposite

              1. re: aklein

                Thanks aklein! We will be going tonight...can't wait.

                1. re: robvolo

                  my first visit to nicchio was somewhat less than spectacular. first the air conditioning is a big problem on a hot day. their system just can't cool the place down if the outside temperature is above 80 degrees. the fuller the place gets the higher the temperature rise.

                  the food was ok to good and priced very fairly. they still have some kinks to work out in the kitchen. A lot of thought went into the decor and the menu, it would be a shame if the food were not brought up to snuff!

                  We voiced a complaint to the female floor manager and were very disappointed in her response. she would be fired if this restaurant were in ny.

                  overall, this could wind up being an interesting place to go once the summer is over. my friends and i will be watching to see if "an attention to detail" is brought to the kitchen. right now that is lacking and it showed in several of the plates.


                  I will go back and see how things progress. when they get their liquor license, this restaurant will be much less attractive to me, but for now it's byob.

                  if your plate comes out cold or lukewarm and it's supposed to be hot, SEND IT BACK!

                  1. re: whitetruffle

                    wow, big difference from our experience, though I can't argue with the warmth last saturday night but I can't hold it against them if they have to get someone in to fix it... sorry you had a rough go of it, hope they improve the kinks..

                    maybe I was just stunned and a little enamored by how well things ARE considering they've only been open a few weeks and the area is starved for something even close to what they're doing....

          2. We went Thursday night and had a wonderful dinner. A couple of small issues...more of the attention to detail thing that others have mentioned. We started with the antipasto plate and the littleneck clams. Both were delicious, but there were a couple of unopened clams in the dish, which I didn't like. I had the short rib for dinner, my husband and daughter had steak (in an italian restaurant???) and my son had ravioli, The short rib was wonderful and the ravioli was delicious. The steak was good. We all had dessert, which we never do, but we were celebrating a birthday. Cannoli, NY style cheesecake, molten chocolate cake and my favorite, a warm cinnamon bun served with cinnamon ice cream. I love cinnamon, so this was right up my alley. One pet peeve though, we sat down about 7pm in the front of the dining room. The setting sun was blinding and many people were in the dining room with sunglasses on. Would have moved if there was somewhere to go, but all tables were full. The host mentioned something about awnings and the town, but I didn't get the whole story. BTW, does anyone recognize the host from Cafe des Artistes in Spring Lake? We will definitely be going back.

            1 Reply
            1. re: robvolo

              i returned to Nicchio for a second try very hopeful that the problems of my first visit would have been resolved. unfortunately the air conditioning was still a BIG Problem. it just can't handle a full house on a hot night. This, of course is inexcusable and will eventually result in patrons going elsewhere if they haven't already. In addition, the setting sun shines right into the restaurant and just makes matters worse. A curtain or shade would solve this problem and would also help to keep the place cooler. why they haven't made this adjustment is just beyond me.

              The service is still mediocre; no silverware, no silverware replaced, waiter/waitress never returning...........these are all management issues. The staff needs to be trained and those that can't be trained should be let go. we are in a recession and there should be no trouble finding good capable employees.

              Atmosphere: take $500 and add a few plants to the room. That $500 will make the place look like a million dollars.

              The Food: Overall very good! The fried calamari was crisp and tender and came out hot! The two pasta's that we had were also excellent. Again, both came out of the kitchen hot and the mix of flavors was just wonderful. we finished off with the italian cheesecake. it was fresh and flavorful and a nice way to end the evening.

              With a little management attention, this new restaurant could certainly be a success.

            2. I went to Nicchio on a Thursday night at about 9:20 pm with 4 friends. They sat us at a table in front of the kitchen, which was loud. So we moved, on our own, one table over. It was just one table. An extremely rude waitress or hostess or somebody came over and basically yelled at us. She said- "You didnt like your table? Well, you should have told us because we have reservations." The place was practically empty and it was 9:30 by that point on a Thursday night. Not a single person walked in after us all night. While she was talking, her voice was dripping with disdain. We had to apologize to her. It definitely tainted the beginning of the evening.

              We then had a very nice waitress though, and a friendly host explain the specials and make recommendations. We had the fried calamari appetizer and the artichoke heart franchaise. Those were both very good. Eveyone then had different pasta dishes for dinner, including linguini with clams, sausage and broccoli rabe over pasta, and I had penne amatriciana. Mine was just ok (nothing compared to Italy), but I ate the whole thing anyway so it was apparently fine. Others seemed to be pleased with their food. We took our time with the meal, and although the restaruant was completely empty except for us, nobody rushed us out. We stayed until about 11:30. It came to under 20$ each. We gave our waitress a very good tip, although it annoyed us that the woman that was nasty to us was the one who collected our check.

              Overall, I had a generally nice experience and I would go back. The restaurant is quite large and I dont think it will be hard to get a table even in the Summer. Hopefully they will have gotten rid of the nasty waitress by the time I go back.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Local Girl

                While there's no excuse for the rudeness and anger of the hostess, table hopping in a restaurant isn't exactly fair, either. Maybe that table was reserved and for a specific number of people, or it was requested. Maybe she just had a bad night, but doesn't necessarily deserve to lose her job. You just don't know. Besides, once you sit and if you touch anything, I'd imagine the staff would need to re-set the table, also an added burden. You could have asked before jumping tables. I've been there several times and everyone has been more than nice and accommodating, though I don't doubt your experience was less than professional.

                1. re: aklein

                  I agree that we probably should have asked first, but we actually didnt even sit down at the first table, so whoever showed us the table sure disappeared quickly. I agree that there could have been reservations and the other things you mention, but there were plenty of tables empty and we literally sat at the next table, and it was exactly the same size. Regardless, her attitude was totally off putting and just wasnt deserved. We literally got scolded. She could have said the same thing nicely. We still apologized, but I've actually never had to do that before. But I didnt base the review on her. Every business has a bad egg. I reviewed the restaurant fairly.

                  1. re: Local Girl

                    You were fair. I hope you didn't get the impression I thought you were unfair... was just commenting on something I think a lot of restaurants get a little freaky about (sections, reservations, extra work). She could have been more understanding or at least less angry, but I was just pointing out some possibilities to explain at least the reaction, not the anger. Overall, glad you liked the place (as did I).

                    1. re: aklein

                      table hopping is not cool, asking to be resat is cool ....The place looks very nice but i know enough good Italian places ...wish it was a different menu

              2. Just tried it and have a mixed review. Atmosphere is lovely and all staff that we encountered were very friendly. The food however was a mixed bag. We split the calamari appetizer and it was very oily. One of our pastas was quite good -- the gnochi - but the other, orrechiette with broccoli rabe was just average. When the server dropped off the meals, she said that the chef recommended adding a drop of olive oil (which was on the table) to each meal. They were both swimming in a sauce to begin with so we did not heed that advice.

                Our waiter seemed to be new to the profession -- we were in mid toast to celebrate a big occasion and he walked right up to interrupt and ask if we were ready to order. Given where we were sitting and the few tables seated near us, it had to pretty obvious that we were in the middle of something!

                The price was definitely right -- our two pastas and split appetizer came to just over $32 -- needless to say when the liquor license arrives, this will go up.

                Liked it, didn't love it, but will absolutely give it another chance.

                1. Summer crowds on the wane we decided to give Nicchio another try in Belmar this week and we are very glad that we did. Everything was exceptional, starting off with a Romana which is one of their excellent salads then on to an aged ribeye for the wife and vitello parmigina for me. Each entree was delicious, great bread was served and a marvelous NY style cheese cake topped the meal.

                  Seems that they are hitting on all cylinders now with delicious food and expert and friendly service. Still waiting on their liquor license though because of the Jersey red tape I assume, but don't let that stop you from going here to this excellent and very up scale BYOB.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: JerzeyShore

                    is there a menu for this place anywhere? i've been meaning to try it since it opened

                    1. re: cling0017

                      Sorry but not that I can find. Unfortunately they do not have a web site as yet, which is a real mistake on their part. But that said stop in if you get a chance and take a look at the menu. All thing considered the food selection and pricing are very good.

                      1. re: JerzeyShore

                        We went to Nicchio italian restaurant in Belmar last night and the food was great. We started out with their special salad which was delicious. My wife had the pork chop milanese which was pounded thin with bone in and breaded and fried. It came with a fresh arugula salad.....she said it was heavenly. I had cod fish over escarole and beans....very very good. The bread was great too. They also have a dessert chef...who came to the table and explained the desserts. We chose the "chocolate duo" which was a chocolate nutella brownie served warm with vanilla ice cream and a demitase (sp) cup size of warm melted real hot chocolate topped with whipped cream. Both were delicious. Also they expect the bar to be opened with a full liquor license just after the first of the year.

                        1. re: JerzeyShore

                          Jerzey - That dessert sounds fantastic. Do you recall what the other offerings were?

                          1. re: bgut1


                            A few I can remember were cheese cake, pecan pie and banana foster bread pudding. They brought a tray with the offerings over to the table and then the pastry chef came out to explain them - nice touch I thought.

                              1. re: bgut1

                                No problem bgut1, hope you enjoy the double chocolate desert if you try this restaurant ...

                                1. re: JerzeyShore

                                  I already have my Favorite BYOB, Matisse on the beach, I was hoping to have a nice place in Belmar.. upscale to have a Scotch ... has Nicchio gotten a Liquor License yet?

                                  1. re: beentheredonethat

                                    No they have not opened the bar yet and I'm not sure why. The last time I spoke with the owner in early January he indicated it would be open soon.
                                    I think something must have gone wrong here concerning their ability to open their bar.

                                    1. re: JerzeyShore

                                      Menu here: http://www.mossutosmarket.com/Nicchio...

                                      Tonight my wife had the romaine salad, I had the tricolore, she had the short ribs over pasta and I the pork chop milanese with arugula. The food was deftly prepared and well served. Salads were small for $8, but not ridiculously so, the entrees for $22 were generous. The only wrong note was the music...too loud. We'll be back. Still no liquor license.

                  2. Menu here: http://www.mossutosmarket.com/Nicchio...

                    Tonight my wife had the romaine salad, I had the tricolore, she had the short ribs over pasta and I the pork chop milanese with arugula. The food was deftly prepared and well served. Salads were small for $8, but not ridiculously so, the entrees for $22 were generous. The only wrong note was the music...too loud. We'll be back. Still no liquor license

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: catboat385

                      Just to let everyone know, Nicchio did finally receive its liquor license. However, they will be waiving a corkage fee until Memorial Day.

                      1000 Main Street, Belmar, NJ 07719

                    2. Street talk is that Nicchio has shuttered the doors and cleared out... any truth to this?

                      1000 Main Street, Belmar, NJ 07719

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: aklein

                        drove by tonight, seemed open to me..... lights were on, could see the TV at the bar was on as well.....

                      2. Nicchio Restaurant was sold and did close for a period of time due to winter storm damage and repair. Bennie Mosutto is no longer involved in the restaurant but the original chef is still running the kitchen. They are open for business.

                        1000 Main Street, Belmar, NJ 07719

                        1. You can now purchase gift certificates for Nicchio's on restaurant.com, 80% off.

                          1000 Main Street, Belmar, NJ 07719

                          1. Went over to Nicchio the other day for an exceptionally blah meal. I had heard good things about this place but apparently they have a new chef or management or something.

                            The best part of our food were the apps. The calamari was solid (though one of my friends thought it was a little fishy), and the tuna carpaccio was quite tasty. Another friend got a roasted pear salad that tasted pretty good, but seemed quite overpriced at 7$.

                            The main course though, was a total failure. I got a strip steak - a 36 dollar offering - that was possibly the worst steak I have ever paid money for. There was no seasoning on the steak, no browning on it from a good sear. The steak was way too lean, too tough, and underdone (ordered rare, got blue). I needed to drizzle olive oil on it for it to be acceptable. For 36 bucks I got this terrible steak, and a couple of stalks of boring broccoli rabe, and 3 little chickpea fritters. Not my idea of a good meal.

                            A couple of my friends ordered pasta - there was some kind of balsamic onion fettuccine that was ruined by excessive balsamic - it just completely dominated the dish. Another friend got gnocci which was way too chewy and had no semblance of the fluffy pillowy goodness that makes a gnocci. Another friend got a seafood stew type thing which was actually decent.

                            If I had paid full price for this meal I would have been pissed, but luckily I had a coupon...whew!

                            For my money Brandos in Asbury is way better.

                            1000 Main Street, Belmar, NJ 07719

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: joonjoon


                              We too had dinner at Nicchio's but had exactly the opposite experience! We shared several delicious apps. All consisted of very generous portions. Easily enough for 5-6 people to share.
                              We loved the rich, almost decadent moscapone dip with crunchy pasta chips as well as the caprese with smoked mozzarella, pesto, and tart, roasted tomatoes. The duck empanada was simply outstanding, as was the watermelon wrapped with paper thin slices of prosciutto.
                              The always filled basket of bread featured crusty italian bread as well as thick slices of tasty olive bread studded with salty bits of olive. Both butter and basil infused olive oil were served.
                              Our entrees were, for the most part, very good. We shared several pasta dishes.On our visit, the gnocchi itself was light and melt-in-your-mouth, silky with a robust, tomato sauce, laden with sauteed onions, roasted garlic and chopped pancetta.The tagliatelle genovese in a pork ragu was really hearty and delicious. Orechiette (We asked for a switch from fettucine to orechiette and they were happy to comply) with artichokes, lemon,and spinich sauteed with garlic and white wine, was a great way to cut through the rich, tomato based flavors of the heavier, tomato based pasta dishes.We then shared perfectly prepared dishes of salmon, tilapia, and black bass. The weakest dishes were a pedestrian chicken saltimboca and a slightly dry, otherwise unremarkable, pork chop dish.
                              The dessert menu was tempting but at that point we were way past stuffed.
                              We had sangria which is supposed to be a house specialty. It was just ok.
                              Our Server was both friendly and professional and did an excellent job of caring for our table. . The restaurant itself was well lighted and the decor was inviting.

                              What a shame that your experience was so very, and disappointingly different from ours. :-(

                              1000 Main Street, Belmar, NJ 07719

                              1. re: Tay

                                Tay, when was your visit? We didn't get any olive bread - and all we had was the basil oil for bread. I'm wondering if perhaps something's changed since you were there?

                                1. re: joonjoon

                                  We were there last weekend. I don't know about the inclusion of olive bread.
                                  Perhaps it's a weekend only offering. Butter, as well as plain olive oil, was served

                                  1. re: JerseyShorely

                                    WOW. WHAT AN AMAZING MEAL! THE FOUR OF US JUST HAD A THREE COURSE MEAL AT NICCHIO. DESSERTS TO DIE FOR AND THEY GAVE US A QCUTE LITTLE MARKETING TREAT TO TAKE HOME TOO (ASSORTED COOKIES/BISCOTTI) . get the cheesecake, blueberry crisp, ravioli, tilapia, great wine selection. $200 for 4 people but would definitely go again for a special occasion. outstanding meal.

                                    1. re: billybauer17

                                      We were there a few weeks ago during the middle of the week. Place was empty. Limited menu - which in my opinion should be a good sign. But I ordered the old stand-by chicken parm - a mess. To start with it was cold - tried to cut it with a regular knife - no luck. Well, a steak knife should do it - well it didn't. Sent it back and it was taken off the bill. Husband had fish - said his was good. It was disappoining as it's a nice, comfortable place wih excellent service. It could just been an off night.

                                      1. re: oceanbaby41

                                        Hmmmm... This place is really 'Roller coasting'
                                        It's really puzzling since we've now dined there 3 times and each time we've enjoyed a variety of different dishes as well as some well received previously ordered repeats.. I've only been there om weekends so now I wonder if the inconsistancies are due to a rotating (wkdy Vs wknd) kitchen staff's lack of ability RE: Preparing specific menu items? After having read Joon joon's excellent review above (See 5/12/11,) and my own experiences, meat dishes seem to be a weak point. We've mainly stuck with Apps/pasta's/fish. and been very pleased with our dining experiences
                                        I'll be there with some friends next weekend. If the opportunity presents itself with the appropriate personnel, I'm going to bring it up. I'll report back

                                        1. re: Tay

                                          Returned for dinner with a group of friends. This time, our experience was somewhat uneven.We shared a variety of creative and very well prepared apps.
                                          (See my previous post of 5/13/11.)
                                          Entrees were hit or miss. Pasta's were pretty good, athough the portions were too small for the prices and they foolishly accentuate that by serving in ridiculously large bowls. Heavy handed with salt seemed to be the most universal complaint.. Aside from the pork chops which everyone liked. meat dishes seem to be their weak spot . EG: A simple dish like the chicken parm was dreadful in terms of preparation and taste. While entrees were served promptly, the kitchen was not able to maintain the temps, so some entrees were tepid, some hot. That's something an experienced kitchen staff should be able to control. It was not busy at the time so that should not have been a factor..
                                          Service was excellent from Host to Server including the pleasant young ladies who kept our bread bowls and water glasses filled.
                                          Desserts are just ok, but $12 for their signature sundae is ridiculous.
                                          We'll go back again but we might just have an app only meal.
                                          Lovely atmosphere, great location but based on this visit, the kitchen needs to tighten up.

                                          1. re: Tay

                                            Thanks for the report, Tay. I still have a couple of restaurant certs left that I need to use, I'll give them another shot.

                                            1. re: joonjoon

                                              Thanks joonjoon. If you can make a meal out of apps it might work out well.
                                              The fried calamari served with spicy marinara sauce has been delicious every time. They do watermelon 'sticks' wrapped in prosciutto that are wonderful and the mascarpone dip served with house made pasta chips is obscenely good.
                                              Please let us know how it goes.