Sunday, October 05, 2014

Now That's (New Jersey) Italian: Giumarello's, Haddon Township, NJ

I am slowly working my way through Italian restaurants in New Jersey, and we all know there are a lot of them. A lot.

My current victim, Giumarello's in Haddon Township. The challenge is that, still, nothing holds a candle to Marie's Italians specialties. Giumarello's did try, though. 

This is NJ dining at it's best - straight out of Real Housewives complete with a faux fireplace, a valet and a cougar-filled bar. (Not that that there's anything wrong with that).

We chose a quiet table in the back room with a waiter named Rocky, yes, Philadelphia is just a few minutes away. 

We opted for Martinis from their extensive list which included everything from a pumpkin pie to a white chocolate. I chose a pear with Prosecco and Saint-Germain. It was so strong. And when Rocky accidentally knocked my glass spilling a few drops, I was given a second that I could not come close to finishing.

The bread course was a highlight which offered a pizza bread and a plain Italian bread as well as a sweet pepper salsa of sorts. 

We split three appetizers - fried calamari, pancetta wrapped shrimp and eggplant meatballs. That's right, an eggplant meatball. Meatball is a misnomer since there was no meat. Simply put, it was eggplant parm in a meatball shape. Given that I'll take eggplant parm in any shape, this was a hit. Fried calamari was standard and the shrimp was puzzling. Bacon-wrapped shrimp is usually a winner in my book but the horseradish mustard sauce was off-putting. I just wonder why the chef chose that combination. 

In lieu of a traditional entree, I selected the steak and shrimp salad.  What often bothers me about restaurants is what information is on the menu. I know I can always ask but when my salad arrived covered in Gorgonzola I was surprised. Why omit such a polarizing ingredient? A tomato I understand but cheese is substantial. 

Aside from me, my table had all fish dishes. These were substantial if not a little plain. Fish, potato, asparagus. Where was the Italian flair? 

The flair came back at dessert with a presented dessert tray of the Italian favorites - cannoli, cheesecake, tiramisu. 

We tried a "light" cheesecake which I enjoyed until I got a taste of the balsamic drizzle. And I will admit the peanut butter mousse in an Oreo crust, although not the least bit Italian, was almost stellar. 

Adequate? Yes. A standout? No. 
Marie's is still the winner. 

Until our next burger,

329 Haddon Ave.
Haddon Township, NJ

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