Well, slowly but surely we're eating my way through the Old Forge pizza kings. I say "slowly" because each time we go to a new one, it becomes our favorite, to the exclusion of all others, and then when we're in Old Forge we go nowhere else. First it was Arcaro & Genell's for years, then Revello's for the last year. This weekend I got a $25 gift certificate to Augustine's Club 17, which is reason enough to try something new!
We went to an early movie and got to the restaurant at about 7:50; we were the only customers. NOT a good sign, IMO. Augustine's is a nice homey place; it's a neighborhood tavern with a restaurant area more than a restaurant. Those of you who've been to Old Forge know what I mean. Every place I've been to is the same way, smoking and non-smoking mixed together, close, wobbly tables, and lots of friendly, boisterous people who know each other by nickname (except this night in Augustine's, obviously)!
Fortunately, the lack of business didn't seem to affect the dining experience, or the food quality. I ordered a "pizza carciofi", Old Forge style (pizza sauce, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, and monterey jack cheese). Mary Joan ordered chicken quesadillas, and Mary Jeanne ordered a "prime rib melt". We also ordered spinach-artichoke dip and mozzarella sticks, and a couple Sam Adams Octoberfests.
The spinach-artichoke dip is the same as it is everywhere else. The crackers are superior, though; they are light sesame and poppyseed wafers. The mozzarella sticks are also the same, but the dipping sauce is pretty good. Imagine if marinara sauce was barbeque sauce, and if you can do that you can imagine the taste, distinctly Italian but also a little sweet and a little hot. THAT's good.
I really don't know why Mary Joan ordered quesadillas in an Italian pizza joint, but she enjoyed them. I had a bite and thought they tasted like all the other chicken quesadillas she's ordered everywhere else. I mean, you can't go wrong starting with onions, peppers, cheese and garlic, but geez, woman, you're in a pizza place!
The Prime Rib melt is disappointing. I had a taste, and it's definitely not prime rib. Think mediocre cheesesteak. 'Nuff said, we wrapped it to go and my daughter had a ham sandwich when we got home.
The pizza carfioci made up for anything else ordered. This is EXCELLENT pizza. You know how it is when something is so good that you can't stuff enough of it in your mouth at once, and the flavor fills not just your mouth but your entire head, and for a moment the complexity of all the different tastes overwhelms your entire existence? THAT's Augustine's pizza carfioci. I must say that I was in Pizza Heaven! I continued eating well past being full; I forced myself to leave the last two slices on the plate. I can hardly wait until lunch tomorrow, for more pizza carfioci!
Total price, drinks, appetizers, and entrees, including tax but before tip, $41.60. Subtract off the $25 gift certificate I picked up on ebay for $7, and it came to $16.60; add back in the $7, and a decent tip, and it came to $32. Not bad for a night on the town, we couldn'ta done Denny's for less.
Overall, I think the report would have been 100% positive if the girls had ordered something like gnocchi, or risotto, or fettucini reggiano, y'know? I think they tanked it a bit. But, you can't tell someone what to eat, after all, unless you cooked it for them yourself.
Here's to good eating!