WHATS FOR LUNCH? PANINI AT PATRIZIA’S

080814 patrizias vegThe grilled vegetable panini hero shown above is vegetarian friendly. Below, the burrata. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

patrizia's 073014“It’s like going to your grandmother’s house on Sunday,” manager Santo Saitta said of the food and ambience at the week-old Patrizia’s on Broad Street in Red Bank.

If your grandmother has a dining room in a former bank building with a sky-high vaulted ceiling, a raging hot copper-clad pizza oven and remarkably good food, well then yes, it would be like that.

After a lunch here, you might want to visit nonna more often.

The suggested Burrata All’ Amalfitana appetizer ($13.95) – silky, salty, creamy and lightly seasoned with a smidge of olive oil – was terrific on its own, but the piquant caponata accompaniment made it a sexy, delicious starter.

080814 patrizias burrataThe burrata from the antipasti, or appetizer, menu. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

An unplanned, but happy surprise was that both PieHole staffers ordered vegetarian-friendly panini heroes on our visit last Friday. Patrizia’s has a number of options for those who don’t eat meat, which is a nice change, as there aren’t many restaurants on the greater Red Bank Green with vegetarian options on the menu.

The Grilled Vegetable Panini ($10.95), served on freshly baked, in-house made bread, came overstuffed with grilled red peppers, zucchini, onions, and mushrooms. The second panini was an eggplant parmigiana hero ($9.95), also served on the freshly made bread, but with just the right amount of thinly sliced, breaded and fried eggplant. There was a thin coating of cheese on this sandwich rendering it hand-holdable, and not messy or gloppy.

The attention to detail in these recipes is likely to keep Patrizia’s busy on a regular basis. Fresh ingredients, prepared properly, with a hint of industry in the kitchen makes all the difference.

There are some interesting menu items that we will be back to try, but let me send out this caveat: go hungry. The portions are not for the faint of heart, and the food is so good that you might not want to share. Consider yourself warned, and expect to see more about this fine restaurant in posts to come. Hint: the desserts are worth the calories.