Since my Mom wanted to have an early dinner, we had to pass on the wonderful recommendations everyone here provided and find a restaurant that served dinner before 5PM.
We ended up at Ristorante da Benito on Galloping Hill Rd. in Union and had an absolutely stellar meal. At 2PM there were just a few other diners...needless to say we received very attentive service! :)
Our server brought a basket of freshly baked hot breads, one of which was an amazing rosemary bread, and a bowl of basil dipping oil...heaven. We devoured the contents and were immediately given another.
The appetizers were fabulous...crab cakes with a carrot-apple salad with orange vinaigrette, and a grilled eggplant rollatini stuffed with goat cheese and served with a tomato and black olive salsa. Salads were equally good...a Caesar salad prepared tableside, an asparagus and goat cheese salad with roasted beets, and a baby arugula salad with tomatoes and marinated fennel.
The veal scallopine stuffed with prosciutto and parmesan was sauteed with mushrooms and served atop a bed of sauteed spinach...amazing. The osso bucco was also very good, although the saffron risotto didn't exactly blow my skirt up...the flavor somehow didn't complement the tender, fall-off-the-bone veal shank. I'd have preferred a polenta with a touch of gremolata instead.
Desserts were excellent: warm molten chocolate cake with homemade vanilla bean ice cream and a strawberry napoleon were the perfect ending, followed by icy glasses of grappa, espresso and cappucino.
The wine list is extensive, covering every type from nearly every corner of the globe. I asked for a tour of their wine cellar after dinner and they were more than happy to oblige...I could have spent all day in there.
My Mom had a wonderful birthday dinner!