RED BANK: PATRIZIA’S AMBROSIAL SIDE

090814 patrizias dessertA sampling of desserts from Patrizia’s. Below: the caramel cone. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

090814 patrizias caramelIn a perfect world, calories would not count and sugary treats would be good for us. But this is not a perfect world, and so we have to be selective about when we allow ourselves to indulge in desserts.

At Patrizia’s on Broad Street in Red Bank, the pizza and pasta are not to be missed. But it would be a good idea to leave a little extra time, and room, for dessert when you visit.

090714 Patrizia nutella pizzaThe Nutella pizza that shows up on most celebratory tables. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

The staff at Patrizia’s is good at making customers feel special, especially if your party is there for a birthday or other celebration. On a recent PieHole visit, the Nutella pizza ($12.95) was served at several tables with a lit candle stuck in the middle. Loud congratulatory music surprises everyone in the dining room, then the waiters come out waving napkins above their heads to make sure the celebrant has been well feted.

Order cappuccino, espresso, or coffee and choose something from the beautiful dessert platter. Most of the desserts are about $5.95, with New York-style cheesecake, Tiramisu, and Nutella crepes consistent with the menu.

The caramel cone was missing from the dessert tray on our second visit, but promises that it would return were music to our ears. While the traditional and expected cannoli was no where to be seen, the caramel cone was so much more interesting. A lacy, tuile cookie, it’s made sturdy when dipped into a honeyed caramel bath. The delicate whipped cream cheese filling makes the dessert ethereally light, a little sticky and crunchy. This is the kind of treat that requires two forks for sharing and a bit of extra stomach room. Calories? You can resume counting them again tomorrow.

The world seems like a much happier place when you take the time for a scrumptious indulgence, and Patrizia’s has a knack for making you feel both sated and pampered.