Da Vinci’s is a typical deli and dinner, Italian style restaurant in Jersey. My wife and I ate there on a Saturday evening. I want to start the review with the last thing we ate, our dessert, the Bread Pudding Bananas Foster. It’s not Italian, but it was spectacular. Best way to describe it is to picture bread pudding covered with Bananas Foster all swimming in a sauce that tasted like melted vanilla ice cream. I loved it! Ok, back to the beginning. Our waitress brought several slices of crusty bread along with a basil/olive oil dip. Both the bread and dip were very good. We started dinner by splitting their lobster ravioli. The app came out with 3 large ravioli covered in a creamy, sun dried tomato pesto sauce. It arrived minutes after we had ordered it and a little less warm than I like, which made me think it had been prepared sometime before we arrived at the restaurant. But, the texture of the ravioli was al dente and the combined flavor (sauce and lobster) was excellent.
Regarding the entrees, my wife had the maccheroni ala Bolognese. The maccheroni was rigatoni. She thought it was good; my impression was that the Bolognese sauce was pretty bland. I had one of their specials – Shrimp Imperiale. The shrimp was stuffed with crab meat and covered with a cherry tomato sauce all on top of (a somewhat watery) sautéed spinach. For me, the dish had too much garlic. For Italian-type restaurants in the US, the addition of loads of garlic seems to be de rigueuer. Da Vinci’s continues what I think is a misinterpretation of Italian cuisine. The good news is that even though my entree was loaded with garlic, the garlic wasn’t overcooked and therefore not bitter – a good thing. In our family my Sicilian-born grandmother used garlic in a only a few dishes, and when she did she used it very sparingly. It was there to enhance the main dish and not there to be the major flavor. Also, the dish would have benefited from lump crab not the shredded variety that was used in the dish I had. We also ordered a side of grilled asparagus, which was tasty. Da Vinci’s is in a recently renovated location. It has a small dining area; however the tables are adequately spaced, so we didn’t feel too close to the other diners. There is outdoor dining available and the service is friendly and attentive. It is a BYOB establishment. The deli and dining areas appear very clean as was the restroom. Reservations are probably a good idea.
In summary, we had a great lobster ravioli appetizer and a fantastic dessert - bread pudding bananas Foster. The entrees fell short for me. The rigatoni was cooked well, but the sauce did not have a lot of taste. Regarding the shrimp dish, I know there are a lot of folks who enjoy dishes with lots of garlic, but that’s not me (and it’s really not Italian). In this case, I guess, the spinach provided the majority of the garlic. Also, I would have drained the water after the spinach was sautéed and added a little olive oil on the spinach before plating the shrimp. The dinner without drinks with tip and tax was about $109.00.
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