Saturday, April 24, 2010

DeAnna's - Lambertville, NJ

We’ve been told about DeAnna’s in Lambertville many times, but have yet to visit. We have heard great things about their homemade pasta, and after hearing it come up in conversation again last night, we decided to head to Lambertville tonight and give it a whirl.

We arrived at Deana’s a few minutes early, and Lambertville was definitely buzzing tonight as it was the weekend of The Shad Festival. I found parking in their lot, and we walked in a few minutes early. Upon walking in, the restaurant was packed, and had a great vibe. The décor was nice, the lighting was perfect, and it looked like such a wonderful place. From the vibe the bar gave off, to the giant peacock hanging above the bar, to the gorgeous red lamps on the corner of the bar, it just had such a nice feel.

We were seated at a two top behind the bar, and greeted by our waiter Luigi. It’s not often that we go to a restaurant that is not a BYO, and upon looking at the wine list, they had a few nice wines on their by the bottle, but we opted for cocktails tonight. Zelda with her usual Tanqueray and tonic, and I opted for a Stella tonight. Luigi came back and gave us the specials for the evening, and we were ready to order.

For starters, we went with the Fried Peccorino Romano in a balsamic vinegar with fresh fruits. This came out as two nice slices of pan fried cheese on a plate, with fresh strawberries, blackberries, and red grapes. The cheese itself was firm and salty, but the balsamic gave it a nice sweetness to neutralize the salt. Overall, I think this was a good dish, but if it were me, I think I would have given the cheese a few more minutes in the pan to soften it just a bit, and heat it all the way through. We also received a basket of nice, hot, crisp bread, served with butter. The bread was very good, and I am assuming that it was homemade.

Next out where the salads that accompanied our dishes, consisting of some fancy lettuce and a balsamic vinaigrette. This was plain and simple, but there really wasn’t much to it. Lettuce! And only lettuce. As we’ve said before, it is not hard to dress up a salad to make it more interesting, but maybe this isn’t what Deanna is going for here. It was OK, but left room for improvement. Maybe just a couple half sliced cherry or plum tomatoes, or even a few simple croutons or freshly shaved parmesan. It could have made this salad a lot better.

For entrees, Zelda opted for the gnocchi as she is a huge gnocchi fan, and seeing as they were homemade, she really looked forward to trying it. The gnocchi themselves were good, but in all honesty, I don’t know that I ever would have guessed that these were homemade as there was nothing really distinguishing it from other gnocchi we’ve had. The sauce itself was a bit boring and uninspiring, and seemed to be very watery. There were some chunks of tomatoes here and there, but overall, the sauce reminded me of a can of crushed Red Pack tomato with a little salt and pepper. Just a bit bland, and a bit blasé.

I ended up opting for the manicotti special tonight, which was served in an alfredo sauce, with shallots and prosciutto. This dish looked gorgeous, however, like Zelda’s gnocchi, it too was a bit bland. The cheese filling needed some salt and seasoning, although, I really did appreciate the texture of the cheese. If it weren’t for the salt in the prosciutto, this dish would have been very under seasoned. The sauce itself was good, but again, not mind blowing.

We ended up skipping dessert, grabbing our check, and heading back towards home. Overall, the restaurant has everything it needs to be fantastic, from the ambiance, to the menu. Maybe we caught the chef on a bad night, but we just found it to be very uninspiring, and overall our dishes just seemed bland and uninspiring. Maybe we’ll give it a shot again in the future, but I don’t see us going out of our way to return. Cheers. –F. Scott

DeAnna’s Restaurant | Bar
PHONE: 609-397-8957

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