The Squirt: Great place for truly delicious Italian food in an eclectic intimate atmosphere.
Must Eats: Very Garlic Bread; Lasagna; Pork Osso Bucco
Prices: Moderate to Expensive
Ren and I had an exceptional dinner at Catherine Lombardi located in the Theatre District of New Brunswick, NJ. It is a wonderful Italian restaurant with a really eclectic, upscale and elegant atmosphere. The two cozy fireplaces add a real cozy intimate feel to one’s experience. There is plenty of stone, cream painted moldings and red accents to keep you visually occupied for a while upon entering. They offer various types of seating including sofas, chairs and curved booths with high backs. There is also a small bar area in addition to the large dining room. Catherine Lombardi is located on the second floor, above their other restaurant, Stage Left. At the front entrance, there is a friendly attendant to open the door for you. For those not wanting to ascend the long staircase up to the second level, there is an elevator available.
Our server for the evening, was Jane, but we were mainly served by Stephanie who was really fantastic. Stephanie was very knowledgeable about the menu and offered her own helpful suggestions of menu items that we might enjoy. Thank you, Stephanie. We were also greeted by and given excellent wine suggestions by Mark, the manager and resident wine expert. Catherine Lombardi has a really extensive wine list displayed in a thick binder, from reasonably priced to extremely expensive. Being that it was an extra special occasion for us, we did splurge on a pricey bottle of wine. We ordered the Cantalupo Ghemme for $75. Mark decanted it for us into a really nicely shaped crystal decanter. It was a totally wonderful rich red wine. Truly exceptional!
There were so many items on the menu that we wanted to try, but we did manage to make our selections. Ren and I didn’t order appetizers this evening. Instead of an appetizer, we ordered the Lasagna with Meatballs and Sausage. The beef was actually small chunks of shredded beef with ground sausage nestled between ricotta and mozzerella cheeses. This lasagna was totally delicious. We definitely recommend that you try their lasagna and it is definitely a good choice for an appetizer to share.
We both ordered the Pork Osso Bucco, which was a wonderful recommendation by Stephanie. It was simply delicious. The meat was tender and fell of the bone with ease. It was placed on top of a totally yummy creamy polenta and topped with sauteed spinach. Ren and I really enjoyed the polenta, which was the first time that Ren had ever tasted it. It was also the first time that I actually liked polenta. There are not many things that I don’t like, and polenta is one of them, If it was always prepared this way, it would actually be on my hit list. To accompany our meals, we were served Italian bread along with really delicious olive oil. We really have been having some extra great olive oil lately. We also ordered the Very Garlic Bread. Oh man, their garlic bread is awesome. There is plenty of fresh garlic and savory butter melted on small crispy pieces of Italian bread. Wow!
Ren and I really had a wonderful time at Catherine Lombardi. Between our usual enjoyable conversation, expert service by Stephanie and Mark, the wonderful atmosphere and the marvelous meal, it was the perfect evening. We look forward to going to Catherine Lombardi again very soon. Perhaps we may be able to have Sunday Dinner there.
Update: We had such a nice time at Catherine Lombardi’s, we took Ria there for a special Christmas weekend dinner! We had another great server, Mike, who it turns out, remembers up from Bensi, (which coincidentally was our very first review!) as well as Dierdre. This time, we ate practically the same yummy meal, we just topped it off with a delicious Dark Chocolate Martini (Thanks Dierdre!) Mmm Mmm Good!