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New Brunswick: Moma Lombardi


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One of my associates had dinner at this new place a few weeks ago, and spoke very well of it. Karla Cook agrees in her NYT regional review, and offers a Very Good. The review doesn't read quite like a VG, however.

 

But I'm getting ahead of the menu. Beyond the seafood salad, a sublime mix in a lemon-garlic dressing, other cold antipasti standouts included the house-made mozzarella with roasted peppers and a summery basil-olive oil drizzle; a tumble of translucent prosciutto with Parmigiano-Reggiano and its hoard of dried cherries dressed in balsamic vinegar; and a standard-setting carpaccio. As for the hot antipasti, I really wanted to love the stuffed calamari, but despite the tenderness of the meat and the light and tender filling of squid, green olives, parsley and garlic, the dish didn't come together. Bread-based dishes were uninspired. The arugula and Parmigiano-Reggiano salad was fresh and light, and was too lemony only one of two visits.

 

If pasta is your craving, Anthony Bucco, the 30-year-old executive chef for both restaurants, can fulfill your desire. Best of the bunch is the ricotta-mozzarella-Parmesan-stuffed rigatoni with meat sauce. Runners-up include orecchiette with broccoli raab and sausage; and a beguiling linguine with garlic and shrimp flavored with a sauce of Chardonnay, lemon juice and butter. But the lasagna with meatballs and sausage held a large oval disc of bone that made it into a dinner companion's mouth before he discovered it, mid-chew.

 

NY Times

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This place had a very strong opening, IMO. some Stage Left mailing list folks were invited to a pre opening..I did not attend but heard good stuff. recently, I went w/ a decorator, who had heard raves from 3 different people about the "shade of red" that ML is..that might have captured as much notice as the food from the opening parties. I went last week for dinner, and felt it was solid, promising..I think I am pickier than most, so to be impressed enough just weeks after opening...I'll be back.

 

I thought the pasta showed the most adventure, thinking outside the ravioli/gnocci box...not all red sauces, nothing with the words "lobster creme" or "portobello cream" ...in a state where buzzwords multiply like rabbits.

 

The guys @ SL know their market, and the business...I predict a success.

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