Went to Monticello as it was cold and rainy and we live right nearby. I believe it just opened up?
Anyway, overall, while not horrible, it was certainly nothing to write home about. The tuna capaccio (our mistake for ordering this at an Italian restaurant, but you know those cravings...) as an appetizer started things off extremely badly, with the typical over-sauced, less than stellar tuna with an avocado carelessly sliced on top
The entrees were not as disappointing, and while seemingly good ideas for flavor combinations, they felt short on execution. I had the Papardelle with Seared Duck, Shaved Parmesan Cheese and Chestnuts with (I think) a Cabernet sauce. Overall, this really was a successful dish, but poorly put together in the bowl. The chestnuts sat at the bottom in the cabernet sauce (I didn't realize they were in the dish until about halfway through), the duck on top, and all of the boring , yet tasty, papardelle in the middle. As such, the dish had no continuity and you really had to try and mix everything together to shed light on the attempted flavor combination. I should say, however, that upon doing so, the flavors did work nicely together, and it was certainly at least something a bit different.
My fiance had the Gnocchi with Goat Cheese Brandy Sauce, Peas, and Shrimp. The flavors were definitely interesting in this dish (she loves goat cheese and enjoyed the sauce more than I did) but again the dish fell short on execution with the most important ingredient: the gnocchi. It was too chewy and gummy and this made the dish difficult to enjoy.
In the Red Bank area, there are so many shortfalls when it comes to Italian food and I fear this may suffer the same fate. Still, an attempt at an innovative menu should be somewhat rewarded and we wish the owners the best of luck. The restaurant itself is quite beautiful, and if they can iron out some of the culinary kinks, they have the potential to improve and maybe warrant a second try soon.
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