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May 29, 2009 02:07 PM

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....

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