Restaurants & Bars 5

Della Solla, Freehold

jsfein | Jan 28, 200806:27 AM

Tried this place for the first time over the weekend. This is a new-ish (about 4 mos. old) Italian restaurant that took over the space formerly occupied by Citrus on Main Street in the Borough. While our overall experience had some ups and downs, the food itself was pretty good.

Della Solla touts itself as a restaurant to "Bring Friends" and "Bring Family." Indeed, their website (dellasolla.com) touts itself as a family oriented restaurant. With that in mind, I arrived with my kids in tow. The space when occupied by Citrus was very attractive and, to their credit, Della Solla left much of what made the space so attractive in place. High, decorative tin ceilings, brick exposed walls, etc. give the place a sleek, but comfortable environment. When we arrived, there was but one other table occupied. Eerily similar to my experiences with Citrus. Also, it was so cold in the restaurant that we had to ask for the heat to be turned up.

Upon opening the menu, I did not find the children's menu which was listed on the restaurant's website. When I mentioned the missing children's menu, our server recited the kids offerings. I commented to the server that a restaurant that advertises itself as a "family restaurant" and includes a kids menu on its website should really have a printed children's menu. To his credit, our server indicated that he would mention it to the owner.

With the cold restaurant and missing kids menu out of the way, on to the food. A really good bread basket with assorted breads and oil were served which we made quick work of and had restocked. Both my wife and I had pastas not listed on the website. In fact, I seem to recall several dishes off of the regular menu that are not listed on the website (as well as many specials). I had a short rib ragu over homemade pappardelle. This dish was very tasty, but also very heavy (think stew over noodles). My wife had spicy garlic shrimp over penne ... also very good. We shared an order of well prepared creamy polenta which was enormous and we could not finish it. The kids had pizza margherita (very good with a nice crispy thin crust) and chicken tenders that were actually chicken cutlets and not the usual deep fried stuff. There was a bit of a mix-up with the kids' desserts, but it was resolved and they were happy. We had a chance to chat briefly with one of the owners (a husband and wife team) and she told us that despite their efforts to make the restaurant family-oriented, my family with young kids was a rarity for them.

Despite a few non-food related miscues, we enjoyed what we ate and will probably return.

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