Restaurants & Bars

New Jersey

Review - Deanna's in Lambertville


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Restaurants & Bars New Jersey

Review - Deanna's in Lambertville

SarahEats | | Oct 9, 2006 06:25 PM

My husband and I had heard good things about this place (homemade pasta, Italian chef who learned to cook from old family recipes) so we went there on Sunday for dinner. The posted hours said they closed at 8:30, but when we walked in at 7:40 the bartender told us we could only sit at the bar since the kitchen was closing at 8. Not a big deal. We'd been picturing a Chambersburg-style Italian restaurant with red and white checked tablecloths, so we were a bit taken aback by the upscale ambiance, but we forged ahead with the promise of good pasta.

The menu is extremely limited and they were out of most of the specials by that point, so we kept it simple. I got the pasta arrabiata and my husband got pasta with chicken and mushrooms in a gorgonzola cream sauce. He also got a whiskey sour which was so bad he only drank half of it. His description - "It was like the whiskey and sour mix just happened to be in the same place at the same time." Our entrees came with bread and the house salad. The bartender was our waitress and she seemed to not really know what to do. After a few minutes she realized we didn't have our bread so she got someone to get some for us. The bread was cold and came with two of butter pats. Once the bread arrived the bartender gave us a small pot of olive oil and some grated cheese, but no plate to put the oil on, so we rationed the butter.

After about 15 minutes we were still without salads. I caught the bartender's eye and it dawned on her that the space in front of us was still empty so she ran to the kitchen for the salads, which turned out to be nothing special. A very small serving of mixed greens was barely dressed with a vinaigrette. I added some of the grated cheese to try and perk it up. We were about halfway through the salads when a waitress arrived with our entrees. Since we were at the bar we had barely any room for food as it was, so I had to hold my salad plate up in the air while she deposited my entree, which was steaming hot. It was obvious that since our salads had been delayed the timing of the entrees were off, but since our plates were literally steaming hot, I don't see why they couldn't have held them back in the kitchen a few minutes. As it was, I couldn't take a bite until it cooled off substantially. As she was putting our food down the waitress said, "We're not trying to rush you." Ummm...that's certainly not the feeling we were getting.

Perhaps because it was Sunday the regular chef wasn't working, but the pasta was horrible. It was gummy, like it had been cooked hours beforehand and reheated. It was hard to pierce it with a fork because it just disintegrated. The arrabiatta had no flavor other than heat from the red pepper flakes. A few spots held pieces of garlic and basil, which was good, but the majority of the dish just tasted spicy. I gave up eating it when a waitress started cleaning the tables behind us (glass-topped) with Windex and the smell mixed with the scent of my pasta was a huge turn off. My husband fared slightly better. His pasta was also gummy, but the chicken was perfectly cooked and the gorgonzola sauce saved the dish.

By that point we'd overheard two other couples in the bar area who seemed unhappy as well. Maybe it was an off night, but we certainly won't be going back. We were uncomfortable from the minute we walked in the door and we really should have listened to our instincts and gone somewhere else. The only reason we didn't is that Lambertville shuts down early and we were worried about finding another place to eat.

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