Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ristorante Giorgia

Ristorante Giorgia
Rumson, NJ

Final Grade: A

            When a restaurant not too far from me gets reviewed by the NY Times, I can only do one thing: get a reservation. Luckily, getting reservations in NJ is, from my experience, a heck of a lot easier than in NY. Most places usually have openings on your desired weekend and will accommodate both small and large parties. And if you are a small party, say 3 or less, I know just the place for you to go and get cozy.

            Ristorante Giorgia, 102 Avenue of 2 Rivers, is exactly that place. I know what you are thinking…..”Rumson, oiy vey, let me go shine my shoes and have some clothes dry cleaned.” Not so fast my hungry friends. Giorgia’s is, yes, beautiful and glamorous but, no, nothing close to pretentious and stuffy. You won’t find valet attendants waiting for your arrival nor will your portions be smaller than your left eye. What you will find is a romantic and quaint rustic location where you and your guests will be treated to hearty Italian favorites, attentive service and an experience to remember.
            Let’s start with the fare. As for appetizers, we decided to go with a special of the evening. It was an easy decision to make as the sound of pureed roasted eggplant combined with crusty bread and parmesan then breaded and fried had us at first listen. The little rounds($14) were accompanied with a tomato sauce that added the right amount of acidity to balance the parmesan and smoky eggplant. Rather than order an additional appetizer, our intrigue of their menu led us to order a salad(10) comprised of arugula, oranges, beets ,fennel , and pistachios. Although heavy on ingredients, it came together light as a feather and left us with plenty of room for the main course.

            Any place that offers homemade pasta has a place in my heart. So with that, I had to go with some carbs that night. My husband was also in that pasta-mood since, as he put it, “this place makes me want a comfort-meal.” I went with the Tagliatelle con Funghi e Gamberi (16/24) and was in one happy place while eating. The combination of sautéed thick-cut mushrooms and seared shrimp both entangled in fresh pasta sheets drenched in a tomato cream sauce was downright dangerous. I was confused as to whether it was the sauce or the pasta that had me just fork-twirling away. Clearly, it was a great choice for the night. Matt went with a meat-lovers’ dream. His Penne con Salsiccia, nduja e Faggioli (15/20) had his name written all over it. To add to the beauty of the fresh pasta here was homemade hot and sweet sausage. To my objection, he asked to omit the cannellini beans but I honestly think they would have made the dish more cohesive. The pasta was consumed by very rich and fennel-laden meat which needed something to take it down a notch. Nevertheless, he had no complaints that it was hard to decipher between the pasta flavor from the pork flavor.

            To round out the night, and our bellies, we I decided on the Tiramisu cake. The slice was politely placed between us and the minute we both took a bite we arrived at the same conclusion: one slice is not enough. Eating this cake was, for real, like eating a slice of coffee-flavored cloud. Even though it was not made in-house, it had every marking of being crafted that day. I say crafted because the mascarpone layer had to done by someone with not only expertise but precision and caress. This dessert was a thing of splendor. Not that it was splendid enough to salvage, just good enough to be very thankful I always get the last bite.

            Service was not an issue. The hostess was quick to seat us while the water glasses were filled almost seamlessly throughout the night. Our wait staff was knowledgeable enough to field our newbie questions and adequately checked in on us to let us know they had our best interest. Wait time was impeccable and I am quite the stickler on that. I will spare you my soliloquy on being force fed courses, just know this place was a role model in that department.

            And so there it was, my first time at a NY Times reviewed spot. Did they hit the mark with their review? Well, let’s just say that although there isn’t much NY and NJ people agree on, I think this is one case where the lines will be blurred.

Ristorante Giorgia is located at 102 Avenue of 2 Rivers, Rumson, NJ 07760. More information can be found here.  

Total score 21/25

Final Grade: A

A: 21-25    B: 16-20    C: 11-15   D: 6-10    F: 0-5

Restaurant Rubric

Food Taste
Bland, boring, overcooked, underdone
Very little flavor, not much aroma
Flavors apparent, basic ability to please palates
Flavor worth discussing, chef’s use of ingredients impressive
Great flavor, taste lingers and leaves diner wanting more
Restaurant service
Inattentive staff, no regard for wait time
Staff average in helpfulness, timing alright, either more/less needed
Staff knowledgeable and attentive to needs without asking, timing very well executed
Remarkable and noteworthy, service so good you forget it is ever an issue elsewhere
Food Presentation
Cover it up please
Sloppy and the eater can tell little thought went into it
Descent presentation: looks alright, not worth a picture but enough to make you hungry
Admirable, it is apparent the chef plated with a consideration for presentation
Presentational talents are here. Looks beautiful and too good to dig in
Prices match quality
Prices are too high for quality
Prices are still too high but not outrageously
Some items are priced accordingly but not all
Most items are priced accordingly
All items are matched accordingly
Would I go back?
Not a chance ever
Looking forward to it
What time should I arrive?!?





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