Last night, after eagerly awaiting their grand re-opening, my husband and I finally tried Buona Via, which has replaced Ristorante Mediterraneo on Horsham Road. The new building itself is very nice. The focus of the entryway is the enormous, grand stone staircase, which is flanked by the very large bar area on the left, and the dining room on the right. The bar, while we did not spend time there, is well-stocked and BIG -- almost too big, but by the time we left the restaurant last night it was packed, so the space may be necessary. The dining room itself is also large, but not overly so. While it lacks the intimate atmosphere of Mediterraneo, it is nicely decorated, with a beautiful, working stone (perhaps travertine) fireplace in the back of the room. The service was pretty decent, especially since they have hired much more staff than they had at the old place. The only reason I wouldn't say that the staff was great is because they are new, and there are some kinks to be ironed out. For example, the hostess sat us very close to another couple, and when I asked if we could be moved to one of the four or five empty tables for two nearby, she hesitated, then said no, then hesitated again, then said maybe, then left us standing there, only to return and say that we should just sit in the seats she first brought us to. Also, our very pleasant and attentive waitress did not have any information about the fish specials other than what was provided in the description, so when my husband and I asked questions, she could not answer them. Again, neither of these things is terrible and can be chalked up to only being open for about a week or so with lots of new staff. Judging from the excellent service at the old place, this will likely be corrected.
Now on to the food. . . in a word, fantastic. I started with a salad of mixed greens on a bed of proscuitto, topped with poached pears, shaved parmesan, and a port wine dressing. The proscuitto was just right, the pears were amazing, the greens fresh and crisp, offset perfectly by the sweet dressing that had just enough of a vinegar tang. My husband had his standby, a Caesar, which was also done well. For my entree, I chose the grilled langostines with asparagus, on top of artichoke risotto. There are not enough compliments to describe this dish -- smoky, tender, flavorful langostino meat popped out of each shell, and paired well with the grilled asparagus. Both were served on top of creamy risotto with chunks of melt-in-your-mouth artichoke mixed in. My husband ate capellini with crabmeat in a red sauce -- homemade pasta topped generously with crabmeat in a red sauce with just enough sweet/bite to be interesting. It was also very tasty. To end our meal, we each had a slice of dark chocolate mousse cake (if it can be called cake, since it was mostly mousse). It was moist, rich, chocolatey. They had this at the old place and it is still one of our favorites, but this time they did not serve it accompanied by the raspberry coulis, which detracted from the flavors. Still, it was yummy enough for us to polish it off in no time flat! Other odds and ends -- still the same wine menu, which is good since it has lots of good, reasonably priced choices. The place can get kind of loud, but there were several large parties there last night which had something to do with it.
Overall, a great experience, wonderful food, and I expect that the service issues will be easily resolved.
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