We went to the new From the Boot in Ambler last night, I was so excited to try it, and am so glad I did!
It was a little chaotic so it felt more like a soft opening. There is both an upstairs and a downstairs to the restaurant, and only the upstairs was open. The floorplan of the upstairs dining room was fairly open so there were not that many available tables. For a Tuesday night the place was very crowded, so it was a little hectic and there was a 20-30 minute wait (they only take reservations for parties of 5 or more). Normally that would be aggravating but the host and the rest of the staff were so nice and kept us informed of the status that it was not that bad of a wait. Further, the bar was not yet open (they are BYO until they get their liquor license, planned for this fall) so they had bottles of inexpensive italian wine available free at the bar for everyone waiting. It was a nice touch and made the wait easier for everyone.
The atmosphere was nice and casual. For those of you that remember the former Agave restaurant, it is basically the same layout. They redecorated in warm shades of wood, orange and gold with maps of Italy and black and white photographs on the wall. The menus were really nice (I know, it's random to notice the menus), they were made of soft cork.
The food was great. They served garlic rolls topped with grated cheese and they were so good. We started with the fried calamari and also the roasted peppers. The calamari were great, not too heavy or greasy. The peppers were tasty and homemade (though they served it with plain deli sliced provolone, sharp provolone would have been much better). I ordered veal and peppers - breaded veal with tomato sauce and peppers, so good. Our table also had veal parm, shrimp parm, and a chicken dish with fresh mozarella, provolone, and proscuitto. Everyone loved their meals. Those of us that had breaded dishes loved the breading, it was very flavorful and garlic-y. All meals came with a side of pasta. Their sauce (always a sign of a good italian restaurant) was full of basil and garlic, very good. The only complaint is that my husband thought the pasta was a little heavy. Unfortunately no pasta was made in house ( I asked!).
Service was good, extremely nice and friendly, but you could tell the servers were still learning the menu. Our waiter was great but he could not answer most of our questions on the menu (but he did check to get an answer which is the right way to handle it). But since the restaurant is so new I'll chalk that up to growing pains.
Prices were very reasonable - completely in line with what a neighborhood restaurant should be. Entrees were $11 - $20-ish, appetizers were in the $7-$8 range. They offered sides for the table like meatballs and sausage for $4. They had a huge selection of sandwiches and pizzas too, and a nice lunch menu. Our bill for a table of four was only $90 and we ate really well and left stuffed.
We did not have dessert but they offered your standard italian restaurant selections - cheesecake, tirimisu, etc. They did offer gelato, the gelato of the day was Donatello (hazelnut) gelot which is one of Toto's signature flavors. I would be so thrilled if they served Toto's gelato, it is the best! I asked the server and, as expected, he did not know, but that is ok!
Speaking of gelato, we walked across the street after dinner and had gelato at Cafe Maida. I need to give a shout out to their banana carmel flavor, it was so good. But I digress....
Overall, I am so glad that Ambler FINALLY has a good italian restaurant, a nice local place, with reasonable prices, and most importantly, good food. We have been waiting for a place like this for so long!