Saturday, December 17, 2011

Coltello Ristorante Italiano - Crosswicks, NJ

For the second year in a row, I have held my holiday party at Coltello Ristorante Italiano in Crosswicks, NJ, and based on tonight's performance, you bet we'll try to book Coltello again next year!

We had a party of 42 tonight, and Chef Dominic and the Coltello staff had us. set up at one HUGE table down the left hand side of the restaurant.  The setup was perfect, with 2 large round tables at either end, and rectangular tables joining the two down the middle.  The festivities started with the Commander making some a few statements, and then we were on our way to yet another one of Chef Dominic's incredible meals.

The first course of the evening was a Spedini alla Romana, a thin, pan fried mozzarella that is breaded, with an anchovy and caper sauce served family style.  Everyone LOVES fried mozz, and this was a great way to set the tone for tonight's meal.  The mozz was fresh, and fried to a crispy golden brown, and the anchovy sauce paired with the capers gave it some great flavor.  Everyone ranted and raved about this, and I am guessing that half of our people wouldn't have touched it had they known it was an anchovy sauce!  But what they don't know, won't kill them!  ;-)

The second course was a flatbread, topped with an aged cheddar cheese, prosciutto, and a sunny side up egg.  The flatbread itself had the perfect texture, with a nice crunch on the outside, with a soft chewy center.   I'm not sure if Chef Dominic makes the bread in house, but it sure tastes homemade!  The cheddar had great flavors, and the prosciutto was perfect...not too salty, and not bland at all.  This is the kind of prosciutto that I could snack on all day long.  I was a bit worried that people may not understand the sunny side up egg, but I found it to be an awesome element, and innovative.  The ones that didn't understand why the egg was on here just don't get it, but what a genius take this was for Chef Dom to come up with this.  This was absolutely awesome!

Needless to say, the appetizer plates were clean and crumb less, and and there was no shortage in portions.  Chef Dominic sent out a lot of food, and for the price what we paid for this party, I could not be any happier.  You just cannot get the quality of food at the price as we are tonight.

Next course was the salad course, with a fancy green salad of mixed greens and a house made balsamic vinaigrette. Again, served family style, and a huge helping of salad for the entire table.

From here, we went onto the pasta course, and Chef Dominic did not skimp once again, and pulled out all the stops.  I was actually walking around making sure all our personnel were enjoying themselves, and if it wasn't for the Commander filling my plate, I would have missed out as these giant bowls went fast.  This was a Rigatoni Carbonara, with pancetta and caramelized shallots with a Parmesan cream sauce that was to die for.  Again, delicious, and again, there were no leftovers here anywhere on the table.

For entrees tonight, Chef Dominic came up with 4 choices for us.  The first, and the entree that I could not pass up was a marinated flank steak with a jalapeno chimichurri sauce with grilled fingerling potatoes.  All I have to say about this is AWESOME!  The steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare/medium, and was juicy and tender.

This was so good in fact that many of us in the office were craving it the following morning, stating how good it would be with some eggs for breakfast.  This was perfectly seasoned, and the chimichurri added such great flavors, but this would have been good on it's own.  This is definitely an entree that I will order again, and I hope that Chef Dominic decides to leave this on the menu as it is such a great entree.

Some of the other entree selections tonight included a salmon dish with roasted corns and scallions.  I was actually hoping to get a bite of this from someone, but unfortunately, there was nobody near me who ordered it, and when I did finally make my way around there restaurant, there wasn't any left to be found.  From one person I talked to that had it, they said it was one of their favorite salmon preparations ever, and that the salmon was fresh and cooked perfectly.

We also had the option of a chicken marsala, with wild mushrooms, and a marsala wine demi-glace.  This is a staple in any Italian restaurant, and Chef Dominic does it right.   Again, everyone who had this enjoyed it, and enjoyed the freshness of the mushrooms, and the flavors in the sauce.

Finally, Chef Dominic also prepared a pork tenderloin, with wild mushrooms and a truffled demi-glace.  Again, the pork was flavorful and juicy, and once again, the plates were clean!

By this point of the evening, the rest of the restaurant had been turned over, and all the tables had been reset and filled.  In talking with my Squadron, everyone had been having an enjoyable evening, and there wasn't an empty stomach in the house.  The food was absolutely amazing, and everyone could not have been any happier...and many said that they will be back often.

I also brought plenty of wines to be shared with the table, and some of the selections went over very well.  Some wines to note that were enjoyed by many included a 2007 Stefania Haut Tubee, 2009 Congruence Zinfandel, 2009 Stefania Chardonnay Chaine D'Or, 2007 Curran Grenache Blanc, and a 2005 Stefania Uvas Creek cabernet sauvignon.  All of these showed very well, and even the non-wine drinkers enjoyed them.  That being said, how can you not absolutely LOVE the fact that Coltello Ristorante is BYOB friendly?

From here, HUGE helpings of cannoli's were brought out to the tables, along with coffee.  The shells of he cannoli's were crunchy, and the filling was sweet and creamy and delicious.  Though already stuffed, I forced myself to eat one, and it hit the spot.  It actually drank really nicely also with the zinfandel, so I was a happy camper.

At the end of the evening, I have no doubt in my mind that we threw the best holiday party within the Wing, and we were truly blessed to break bread with our Air Force family tonight.  Our squadron was lucky enough to be joined with our Wing Commander and Command Chief, and all had a great time.  People ranted and raved about the menu, the atmosphere, decor, etc.  We couldn't be happier, and we hope to have Chef Dominic and the crew at Coltello Ristorante host us again.

I have said it before, and I will say it again.  Coltello is hands down the best Italian restaurant in this part of New Jersey, and when I need a go to Italian restaurant, Coltello is the place!

On behalf of our entire Squadron, we cannot thank Chef Dominic, the entire staff at Coltello, and the Conti family for all of the support they show for the United States Air Force.  For what we paid per head for tonight's dinner, there is absolutely no way any restaurant could match the quality of cuisine that we had tonight, and we are all truly grateful!  Thanks a million for your support Coltello Ristorante, and we look forward to spending many more holidays with you!  Thank you for being such good friends, and know that your generosity is second to none!  Cheers!

Coltello Ristorante Italiano
460 Main Street
Crosswicks, NJ  08515
Phone:  (609)298-6128

Photos compliments of:
| r media photography and design | | rashad pleasant | phone:  202-642-6642 |




Anonymous said...

Where is the "LIKE" button? Very nice write up! I saw this post on your Facebook page. Will have to try it next time I am in Hamilton! Is it strictly BYOB? Or do they have a bar also?

Anonymous said...

Hands down the best Italian within an hour! Love this place!