(Logo taken from Benvenuti's Website)
Located in River Vale, NJ, Benvenuti offers a wide range of Italian specialties to please any palate. I am not incredibly familiar with Benvenuti. This was the second time the wife and I had dined with them. The first time we chose to give them a shot was on a whim. It was our "date night" and we were looking to eat somewhere else, Crecco's Cafe. Once we walked into Crecco's Cafe, we realized that it was not what we thought it was and decided to leave. We looked across the street and saw Benvenuti. Our experience during our first visit was great, which prompted us to go back and see if they can WOW us again.
I know, the photo above is a small bowl of olives. I just wanted to show that Benvenuti gives each table these delicious olives when they put the bread basket on the table. Fortunately for me, my wife hates olives and I get them all to myself. When I asked for seconds, I felt as if I could keep asking for as much as I wanted and they would not hesitate to bring more.
The Fried Calamari was some of the best I have had. The Calamari were perfectly cooked and not greasy from the oil. The portion is huge and would be a good size for a party of four. As you can see, they only serve Calamari rings in the appetizer. I am a big fan of the tentacles and how crispy they can get. The only change I would make to the dish is to have a balance of rings and tentacles. But please do not misunderstand, the tentacles not being there does not take anything away from the dish.
This is the Cappellini Crabmeat. It is described as Jumbo Lump Crabmeat and diced tomato with a garlic herb sauce over Cappellini pasta. This was DELICIOUS. The pasta was perfectly cooked al dente. The basil was not overpowering and added a nice flavor to the dish. The tomatoes were fresh and delightful. The texture of the crabmeat only elevated the wonderful textures and flavors of the dish. Be aware that the dish is heavier than it looks as I was not able to finish it. I am one who always finishes what is in my plate. I physically could not though because I was overly full while attempting to finish the dish. I can always be seen using the bread on the table to finish off the sauce in my plate. My only regret of my experience was that I was unable to do so.
My wife had the Cappellini Fratelli. Sadly I do not have a picture of it, but it is still worth the mention. It has Shrimp, arugula, shiitake mushrooms in a tomato basil sauce over cappellini. She loved this dish. Again just like me though, she could not finish the dish though.
I would have loved to have talked about their desserts, but again I was too full to order any. Maybe next time. However, Benvenuti offers complimentary sambuca and lemoncello shots for each person to cap off the experience which is quite nice.
Service-wise, Benvenuti offers high quality fine dining service. Every member of their staff truly cares about giving you the best possible service and leave you wanting for nothing. The Maitre'D, Gaz, is there to greet you with a warm smile and firm handshake upon your arrival. He formally introduces himself to you not just as a step of service, but he genuinely wants to get to know his guests.
Just so you all know, Benvenuti is BYOB. They do not serve alcohol. For those who would bring your own bottle of wine like we do, there are no corkage fees. There is a liquor within walking distance next to the 7-11.
We will be back to dine with Gaz and the great Benvenuti staff soon. I hope that you all will do so as well.