Marcello Ristorante

November 30, 2011

Look no further for your next winter time date night destination. Marcello Ristorante in the Roosevelt neighborhood is perfect for a dinner out with your special lady or man friend. With its warm ambiance and central fireplace, you’ll stay toasty while you sip red wine and feast on authentic, Italian cuisine.

Marcello's modest exterior

This family-owned joint has an upscale ambiance without losing its cozy atmosphere. The service is relaxed and warm while still making you feel like you are having a luxurious night out. We were there on a busy Friday night and during our 2 1/2 hour meal we never felt rushed to leave.

The wine list has a good, but not overwhelming selection of Italian wines from various regions. Some moderately priced like the bottle of Montepulciano ($41) we picked, but also popular favorites like Sangiovese ($28). We also ordered a plate of bruschetta ($8), which was fresh and delicious with the perfect blend of tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and basil.

Pollo Affumicato

Before my main course I had the spinach salad. It was tasty with gorgonzola, pine nuts, and a vinaigrette dressing, but nothing truly special. Next time I’ll definitely have to try one of their homemade pastas instead, which teased me as they were carried by to other tables.

However, I was more than happy with my entree: Vitello al Porto ($19), a healthy portion of veal topped with roasted garlic, figs, gorgonzola, and a reduced port wine sauce. It was incredibly rich and the mingling of sharp, sweet, and savory flavors was amazing. As a vegetarian of 4 years (several years ago obviously), I never thought I could enjoy veal, but I’ll tell you, guilt has never tasted so good. My date also enjoyed his Pollo Affumicato ($18), a chicken breast in a creamy tomato sauce with prosciutto, mushrooms, and smoked mozzarella. However, he felt the smoked cheese somewhat overwhelmed the dish.

Vitello al Porto

At Marcello, they really feed you. The portions were generous and each main came with wilted, seasonal greens and roasted potatoes. Somehow we still had room for dessert, though, which was vanilla and chocolate gelato with cherries and almonds and covered in a dark chocolate shell. I enjoyed it, particularly the dark chocolate shell, but it was not exactly what I expected. I didn’t notice any almonds and only saw one cherry so it was mostly just ice cream.

No matter, I left satisfied and with a contentment that only comes from a healthy amount of red wine and delicious food.

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