Restaurant Review: Amici’s

by Cate on July 16, 2006

Tonight we celebrated my Mom’s birthday and her dinner choice was Amici’s Restaurant in Madison. A small place (only 10-12 tables), my parents go there often enough that the waitress knows them by now. I hadn’t been there before, not since it took over for Dee’s Hot Dogs, a very casual place that The Husband and I used to frequent years ago.

While we were checking out the menu, the waitress brought over plates of hot, crusty bread for dipping in olive oil (similar to Macaroni Grill), and plates of chunked Parmigianno cheese. Not having had lunch today, the cheese was a welcome sight.

Being part pizzeria, I knew finding Nicholas something to eat wouldn’t be difficult, given his penchant for black olive pizza. They don’t have a specific Children’s Menu, but have a very cute and accommodating notation that “our Children’s Menu is anything that will make them happy, in smaller portion and price.” How’s that for a smart move? Doubly smart … the waitress brought Nicholas a plate with a hunk of pizza dough to play with while waiting for his food to come. Needless to say, he loved that, especially since I’m not big on having playdoh in the house.

We ended up starting with Cold Antipasto (marinated artichokes, prosciutto, mozzarella and roasted red peppers on a plate of greens), and The Brother-in-Law ordered a small plate of meatballs. Interestingly, they were served on pieces of white bread, and then covered with homemade tomato sauce. The sauce was exceptionally fresh and delicious.

The menu is not very large, but everything sounds good enough to make the entree decision difficult. I ended up ordering the Amici Buccatini, thick tubular pasta with a saffron cream sauce, mussels, and shrimp, and then topped with fried calamari. I almost didn’t order it, because their description sounded a little heavy, but it turns out it’s one of Mom’s favorites. I would definitely get it again … the sauce is fragrant and creamy, without being too overbearing. I would swap out the buccatini for a different pasta next time though — buccatini is a pain to twirl and not as malleable as its counterparts. I was happily surprised with the calamari. Calamari is one of those things that is hard to get done right. It seems restaurants either turn it into tough, rubbery rings, or they serve up perfection and it just melts in your mouth. Unfortunately, it seems that the places that do it right are few and far between. So far, the one to beat is Mama’s in Hackettstown.

Alright folks, all for tonight. Having a get-together here tomorrow afternoon, and I, for one am tired and could use some shut-eye. After the party, The Husbands take over the kitchen. Tune in to see what they cook up for dinner. Until then…

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juliebean July 16, 2006 at 7:09 pm

Again, Happy Bday, Mom! Amici’s reminds me of a place that we go to here in this area, Joe’s Italian Villa…yummy!

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