Fanatico has been around for awhile, hidden away just across Broadway from my favorite Red Lobster, since 2006! (Yes, I like Red Lobster and I don’t have to defend myself!). I’m not sure why I’ve never heard of it, but I know I’ve never seen it – hidden away like that in the corner of the first shopping center off the Northern Parkway. I only came upon it now because they joined Open Table (which is my favorite way to find a new restaurant). Ok, its not new, but it certainly looks new, or modern or updated, and definitely trendy. They make a mean Dirty Martini, as you’ll see when you check out the pictures of that and the bread basket. So lets jump right into that bread basket. Be careful, be very careful. Its brought to the table warm quickly, with butter (or oil which is already on the table), seductive, and delicious, and it will be gone before you finish that martini.
When I chose it, and when we walked in, I thought it was new and I was prepared for your everyday (ok I have to say it “Olive Garden” food). But we were pleasantly surprised – even after eating all the bread. We shared a Hot Antipasto for 1 (which almost could have been for 2) and the meatballs w/ melted mozzarella. It was all good, and it was all different. The meatballs were mini-meatballs, with their own special sauce. The Antipasto had whole baby baked clams, fried shrimp and baked mushrooms – each with their own individual tastes. I hate to go to a restaurant where the seasonings on everything are the same. Then, there were 2 piping hot slices of garlic bread and a nice sized eggplant rolletini. I tried to get the bigger half! We both agreed that all the appetizer samples we got were excellent, except maybe for the melted mozzarella ball that had gotten cold under the warming lights.
By this time, the restaurant was packed, the crowd was lively, and the take-out door never stopped. It takes a lot of organization to run a kitchen like that. Yet our main courses arrived piping hot. I ordered the Risotto with caramelized onions, mushrooms and crumbled sausage. I expected lots of risotto and a bit of sausage crumbled on top. As you can see, I got just the opposite – a steaming bowl of risotto filled with sweet caramelized onions and thinly shaved mushrooms and so much crumbled sausage (out of the casing) that I had to look for the rice! It was full of flavor and exactly what I imagined, but didn’t dare expect. What a nice surprise, and such a generous portion I couldn’t finish it. My husband ordered one of the specials of the day, a Filet of Red Snapper with baby clams and mussels with a light red tomato broth over sautéed spinach. I was concerned about this choice but you never know unless you try. That bite of Red Snapper was one of the freshest and sweetest fish I have eaten that wasn’t sushi. The dish was excellent.
In the end, there was no room for dessert, so I cannot comment. I can tell you that the prices are excellent and a bill of just about $90.00 including drinks, tax and tip is a bargain anywhere these days. The service was competent, but you did have to flag down a waiter if you needed something. On a friday night in a restaurant that busy, I’m not going to complain, and from the way that take-out door was moving, I’m ordering a pizza next!
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