Sal DeForte's Ristorante was a fixture in Trenton’s old Chambersburg neighborhood, which was once a regional dining destination for Italian food. Most of the old places have closed or moved, with Sal DeForte's among the latter. For the last year or so it has been in a strip mall in Ewing Township, which makes up in convenience and easy parking for what it lacks in local character.
With Mrs MercerChow and friends, I finally got around to trying the relocated Sal’s on a recent Saturday night. If the essence of the old Chambersburg was reliable, home-style food at reasonable prices in a family atmosphere with no frou-frou, then the transplant has been successful.
I can report on three entrées from the regular menu. The Medaglioni di Vitello Alla Francese was a well-prepared version of the classic veal dish, though the green beans on the side were flaccid. The Farfalle Con Spinaci included not only the bowtie pasta and spinach, but also cannelloni, mushrooms, and gorgonzola cheese – definitely a hit. The Linguine Puttanesca appeared to be a classic preparation, but turned out to be much spicier than expected – fine if you don't mind a little heat.
One diner ordered an entrée sized appetizer from the specials menu – mussels in white wine, which was terrific (would love to find out where they get their mussels from). But the real star of the meal was another special starter, Polenta Portabella, with slices of polenta layered with portabellas and roasted red peppers and covered in melted mozzarella. There was no room for dessert.
Tab for four was ~$90 plus tip, which all declared a good value. One other feature worth noting was the relaxed pace of service – not slow, but plenty of time between courses and never any sense of being rushed, despite the place being full on a Saturday night. Definitely will return.
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