First, thanks to Fred19 for recommending this restaurant. I know there are posters to this board who have had negative experiences, but we celebrated my mother's 85th birthday there last night, and the evening was perfect.
When we arrived, during that horrible storm, the maitre d' told us they a brief power outage, and had put votive candles throughout the room. I thought the room looked great (thank goodness they had power restored before we got there), and the candles were a festive touch.
We were a party of 12, and ordered caeser and another salad, fried calamari and garlic bread for apps, and chicken scapariello (on the bone), stuffed shells, penne vodka (which they made without prosciutto at my request), spaghetti with garlic, oil and broccoli, seafood marinara, eggplant and veal and shrimp oreganata. Oh yeah, and plain steamed broccoli for my sister-in-law, which was supposed to be for one person, and looked like an entire head of florets at least. Maybe two.
While I only had the broccoli/spaghetti and the penne vodka, everyone raved about the other dishes. The chicken looked particularly good, with regular size sausages, not those little pieces you usually see. Even with four skinny teenagers in our party, there was nothing left of any of the dishes, except for some pieces of garlic bread. (We do have some big eaters among the gents, and the ladies are no slouches either.)
There were a number of cocktails ordered, and we also had the large bottle of the house merlot. Certainly drinkable, if not outstanding. But you know what they say, only the first half glass is bad...
We had many coffees and cappi's along with a combo dessert platter for the "Happy Birthday" ending. The maitre d' also brought along a few healthy slabs of chocolate cake (I believe on the house) because he heard one of the girls saying she liked it. Very sweet.
We were there from 6 to 9 pm. Never felt rushed. At one point the maitre d' came over to me and asked if they should start serving the main dishes. I told him to "fire" in 10 minutes, and he just nodded and followed that schedule. Everything was leisurely, the service was tops and the food was indeed, quite good.
All told, the bill to about $350 for the 12 of us, plus tip. I mean really, for under 30 bucks per person, including drinks, dessert, coffees, everything! I would love to have the opportunity to go back again for another special occasion. I think this is a great place for groups, and I really, again, thank those who recommended it. Normally these family style places are horrid, and the food is mediocre. This was not the case here. The food, the atmosphere and the service was just terrific.