First a disclaimer: I have been to this restaurant at least four times over the last few years, and was even thinking about posting something about it a month ago. But I figured we go again soon, and I'd post while the experience was still fresh in my mind. Then on Sunday, October 10th, we were listening to Chris Shaw's radio show "Knives, Forks and Spoons", and we won his weekly contest by calling in with the correct answer to the quiz. (Did you know the Romans used caraway seeds as breath fresheners?) The surprise award was dinner for two at Cinque Figlie, a sponsor of the radio show. We decided to go for our 4th anniversary (last night). And, on Jim's advice, I am adding this disclaimer because we did get last night's dinner for free (although we have paid in the past, and will pay in the future).
Now, as Jim says, let's "cut to the chow":
Cinque Figlie (Italian for five daughters, which are the children of the chef/owner Joe Mucerino) is located at 26 Washington Street, Morristown, NJ, 973-359-8615. It's a rather crowded storefront restaurant, but Jason and I always ask to sit at the table for two by the front window, where there's a little more room to stretch out (for Jason, at least!).
Some dishes I remember fondly from past experience were the appetizer of crabmeat stuffed shitake mushrooms and a beet & asparagus salad. I'm usually tempted away from the regular menu by the fish specials, frequently crusted with nuts or breadcrumbs. On a previous visit the Chilean sea bass was wonderful. However, last night the fish was crusted with walnuts (which I dislike), so I was free to stick to my plan to order all the dishes I usually want to order, but dont!
I got the shrimp and asparagus over puff pastry appetizer, which was fabulously sensual, while Jason had the portobello mushrooms with polenta. Jason loved the strong cheese taste of the polenta; I thought it was too strong. For seconds, I had the roasted red pepper soup which tasted cleanly of charred red peppers with a nice touch of olive oil and parmesan shavings, Jason smiled and said "it's antipasto soup! Meanwhile, he had another appetizer of grilled, head-on shrimp with curry risotto. The shrimp were fantastic, but I didn't like curry taste of the risotto. It felt out of place to me, I wished I hadn't even tasted it on top of my soup. BTW - I had wanted to get the grilled calamari as a first course, but unfortunately they had run out.
For main courses, Jason had the crabmeat filled homemade agnoloti pasta with a shitake cream sauce and I had the lamb shank osso buco (they also had venison osso buco as a special, but I don't care for venison, however the people at the next table ordered it, and I could hear them commenting on how tender it was (the lamb was falling off the bone tender, too)). Both were terrific, though the crabmeat stuffing the large ravioli was surprisingly peppery. On past visits, I remember the frutti di mare as being excellent, too. There are versions of it with black linguine and black risotto; I guess Joe likes squid ink!
The service is usually friendly and responsive, although I have to admit that last night it was probably slightly more so than usual, as 1) we were their "contest winners", 2) they remembered us from previous visits, and 3) they knew it was our anniversary (I think the last time we were there it was for my birthday, too). Our dinner last night consisted of four courses each and the bill (which was accidentally compiled by the new server who forgot we were comped) came to $103 with tax. The Maitre D took the bill and apologized and we left a really big tip instead.
Anyway, if you are in the Morristown area, its definitely worth checking out. I think it is quite a romantic spot, and would never go there with a crowd, although some do (there was a large party of 8 or 10 there last night). Oh yeah, its BYOB, but there is a liquor store right across the street if you forget to plan ahead.
Has anyone else out there been there? Any comments?
Thats all folks! Rachel
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