I'd like to give a heads up on 2 new places to eat in Naples, hoping people will spread the word and these establishments will be able to survive the off season. These are family places without the deep pockets of a Flemings, etc.
The first is Naples Tomato, an Italian restaurant/gourmet market in a lonely looking strip mall on Hwy 41, just north of Wiggins Pass Road. What caught my eye when I entered was an area directly to my left with large wooden tables and pasta machines. Most of the pastas(ravioli, fettucini, etc.) are homemade on premises, and are light years better than the dried pastas served at most places. The sauces are equally delectable. I was with MSRev and another friend and we sampled fettucini with Vodka Sauce, Lasagne, and a couple other dishes. All were equal to the food I'm used to in the old Italian neighborhoods in Chicago. There's many interesting items in the gourmet store, including a nice selection of wines. A unique policy is that they charge a $7 corkage fee above the retail price of their bottles for any wine purchased at dinner. Their retail prices are high but restaurant prices very reasonable for these wines. Food prices are moderate.
The next gem is Le Comptoir des Gourmets, a small french store with meals to go, located next to a sister restaurant called Bamboo Cafe. They have a regular menu of items available daily, including soups, salads, and entrees such as Coq au Vin, Blanquette de Veau, and other classic French dishes. There's also a list of specialty items which need 48 hour advance noticed, including Foie Gras, Sweetbreads, Lobster dishes, and other lucscious treats. We ordered Cassoulet, which is normally a specialty item but was a featured special of the day, and veal breast braised with orange and lemon zest. I also sprung for some escargots, which came stuffed in their shells and were perfectly prepared. The veal was excellent, but the Cassoulet was unbelievable, with a fabulous leg/thigh portion of duck confit, a very good homemade sausage, and beans with a rich, duck fat flavor to die for. The chef was cooking in France for over 40 years, and it shows. Unlike so many establishments in Naples, this won't kill your pocketbook. The escargot were $9, the Veal $12, and the Cassoulet $16. All items were brought home and warmed in the oven for a few minutes. I suspect Bamboo Cafe is a winner also.
757 12th Ave. S.
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