Had dinner at The Risotto House in Hasbrouck Heights. There is another location in Rutherford. I had been wanting to get here for quite some time, and I am very glad I finally did. Both locations are BYO.
Looks are deceiving for this simple, store-front type, on the main drag, kind of place. You know, the old fashioned awning, old type of restaurant looking place, LOL. Well, inside it's more like fine dining -- nice atmosphere and ambiance, very nice, polite and professional service, tables not close together, well placed, intimate, nice tablecloths and dinnerware, etc. We were greeted, seated at a nice table, and our wine (which we brought) was immediately attended to. Service was excellent throughout -- very professional, not stuffy or pretentious, very personable, and attentive. These guys were pro's -- real pro's
We started with a cold seafood salad, consisting of shrimp, mussels, scallops, and calamari, marinated for just the right balance. I am a fan of seafood salad, and many places just throw it together, sprinkle this, drizzle that, etc. This one was very good and prepared very well. The seafood was good quality and fresh -- nice size shrimp, plump, tasty, and very nice scallops as well -- also plump with very nice taste. We also had the stuffed mushrooms -- which I often avoid, unless I am at a very good, fine dining, etc., restaurant. I've just found too many poor efforts at stuffed mushrooms -- watery, overcooked, pre-made, poor stuffing, wet, soggy, etc. We decided to give this a shot here -- and we really enjoyed it. Their version were large portobello mushrooms, stuffed with sausage, roasted peppers, and parmesan cheese. It was excellent and executed extremely well. There was a lot of flavor here, and you could get the nuances of the sausage and cheese, and the flavors blended together very well. Very nice balance, blended together very well. I really liked this appetizer a lot.
There was also a "daily special" menu -- a one page menu, with several appetizers and several entrees, all of which sounded very appetizing. They also had a special risotto and another two entrees which were reviewed by our waiter. Regarding our waiter -- he was a very nice, polite young man. He knew the menu exceptionally well. After we asked a question or two, which he answered exceptionally well, he asked us a question or two about our likes, dislikes, preferences, etc. -- and he suggested an appetizer for our next visit. Very professional. I watched other waiters, and they were all very polite, personable, and very professional. I recognized one of the waiters, who is a real pro, a seasoned veteran of a few fine dining establishments in Northern NJ.
On to the entrees -- simply put, this place is called The Risotto House, so what do you expect? LOL. Check out their website. Actually, they have a good selection of chicken, veal, meat, fish, and a few pastas -- there is good and diverse depth here on the menu. But, again...it's The Risotto House! LOL. They have a very extensive list of various risotto dishes, in excess of a dozen, not including the specials. We went with a risotto with mixed mushrooms and the risotto del mare (seafood -- with shrimp, clams, mussels, scallops and calamari/squid). Now, I've always said that risotto is a make or break dish. It may sound simple, or easy to do, you may not think twice about it, and so on. However, it really needs to be prepared well -- "just right" -- or else the dish can be a flop. Depending on the ingredients, additions, etc., they have to be coordinated as well. That said, bottom line -- both risotto dishes were done perfectly in my opinion. They both had just the right cook time, balance between the cream, sauce, ingredients, and so on, and the delicate risotto itself. Both were excellent and I enjoyed both very much. I found them to be the perfect balance, not heavy and pasty or too creamy, soupy, and not too mushy or not combined well. Really just done perfectly in my opinion.
Two appetizers and two entrees were about $55. Excellent value in my opinion. We brought our own bottle of wine of course.
The Risotto House was very, very good. I enjoyed it a lot. A return visit will be very soon. It was a very nice night, an excellent experience, and very good food.