Restaurants & Bars

Santino's in Robbinsville - Review

Gwendolen | Mar 20, 200809:21 AM

My friend and I decided to try Santino's, a fairly new Italian "restaurant" (and I say that loosely) in Robbinsville located near Foxmoor (below the new "Loft" apartments).

Firstly, this establishment is really a nightclub than a restaurant. If you enjoy flashing lights and loud techno-electronic music thumping during dinner, you would enjoy this place. There is very little division between the bar/nightclub and the small dining area. There is no sound barrier.

We waited approximately 20 minutes for a server to acknowledge us. We asked for water but apparently, the runners have to do that. After reading the specials, the waiter left to tend to another table. Although we tried to get the attention of a runner, we were ignored. The waiter did not return until about 15 minutes later, still no water. We placed our order, and I stated twice (and had him repeat back to me) no peppers or onions on anything on my dinner. (When I can barely understand the server (in America) due to an extraordinarily thick accent, I cringe when I have a special request).

Another 20 minutes passed before my friend obtained her crab soup, which was more thick heavy cream with lots of dill and a glop of some kind of cheese on top. Not a piece of crab to be found or tasted. We again had to ask the waiter for water. Apparently this task is far beneath him. He finally sent the runner finally came over with water. That was the last time we saw the runner.

Our dinners arrived 15 minutes after the soup dish was cleared (approximately 10 minutes after she finished eating). My friend ordered the zuppa di pesce (sans scallops). It consisted of a about 8 mussels and 2 or 3 shrimp, and lots of sliced garlic. She said the seafood was cooked well, and there was enough spaghetti for five meals.

I ordered Free Range Grilled Chicken breast. The vegetables consisted of of some greens and a whole lot of roasted red pepper strips. A 10 minute discussion ensued with the waiter because he insisted I pick them out or the kitchen will just pick them out. I had to explain my severe food allergy to him and he promised me a new plate. Two minutes later, he brought the dinner and I questioned if it was really new. Apparently it was and he offered to bring the old one back for me to see. The chicken was really more of a very small grilled thigh, served with over cooked (dried out) a few diced roasted baby potatoes, broccoli rabe which was surprisingly very good, and a very small portion of arugula with one cherry tomato sliced in half in a lemon dressing. Portion sizes on this plate were extremely small.

We passed on the specialty coffees and dessert, as we had already been there far too long as we had wanted.

Average appetizer prices range between $8.00 and $15.00. Dinners range from $16-$35.

We also noted that the chef came out several times and was conversing with the table next to us. We also noted he was mingling at the bar for a goodly amount of time. We wondered if he is spending most of his time on the floor, who is supervising the kitchen? We recognized him from someplace else, perhaps the now-defunct Genovese's in Hightstown, but we could have been mistaken.

While we usually give a newer restaurant at least 3 tries before crossing it off our list, we only needed this one visit to know we will not return. The extremely poor service, too high prices for italian food and undesirable atmosphere, all made me wish I had listened to my instincts and went a few doors down to DeLorenzo's!

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