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Tuesday, September 03, 2013

"ABBONDANZA" DESCRIBES MARCELLO'S IN SUFFERN, NEW YORK

I am going to blame the camera phone
for my Santa Claus cheeks and Marcello's Rudolfesque nose.
If you live near Rockland County, New York or are traveling nearby on the New York Thruway or Route 17, you should not miss an opportunity to have dinner at Marcello’s in Suffern, New York.  Not only will you feast one some of the best Italian food prepared innovatively by Chef Marcello but also you might meet him as he makes the round of tables during quieter moments.

Chef Marcello is more than the chef and owner of an upscale restaurant; he is a success story whose talents have taken him around the world, invited him into the worlds of movies, television, and radio, inspired him to write cookbooks, and to become a premier Italian chef performing his culinary art before some of the most important people in the world including several Italian premiers.  Marcello even has his own radio program.  Visit Marcello’s website for more of this man’s biographical information.  You will be impressed!

But let’s get back to our dinner.

Marcello’s has the friendliest staff.  We are greeted almost as family, and the wait staff is unerringly knowledgeable, charming, and ready to help with your choices.  The faces look familiar, and I’d venture to guess that many have been with Marcello for a long while.  They know the menu and the specials very well.
I was torn between an Eggplant Rollatini  (filled with ricotta, mushrooms, fontina chees and parmigiano baked in a light tomato sauce served with pasta) and a Boneless Stuffed Pork Chop (filled with prosciutto & fontina cheese crusted with panco breadcrumbs served in a light wine sauce served with farrotto [spelt similar to risotto])

You just read those descriptions.  Which would you choose?

When I mentioned my dilemma to our very attentive waiter, he tilted his head, smiled a bit and said aloud as he wrote my order, “Pork Chop.” 

Later Marcello came to our table and brought me a copy of his new book, Marcello Russodivito - The Story of My 25 Years as Chef-Owner, which he autographed. 

He then explained my dinner. They do not cut the pork chop in the kitchen because they do not want the abundance of cheese to drip.  When I was served this dish moments later, it was just at the right temperature to spare me the drippy cheese thereby keeping all the melded flavors as they were meant to be.  On a side note--he is absolutely cherubically charming!

Marcello takes a great deal of care in presentation.  Each dish we ordered was artistically arranged and quite beautiful.

We four began with drinks (of course) but none of the tempting appetizers.  We were thoroughly content with the crusty roll and focaccia.  There was a lot of talking to do.

Veal Coletta
The dinner specials, however, were too tempting to pass, and Iris and Joyce headed in that direction.  Joyce ordered the Veal Coletta with eggplant, mozzarella, and pasta.  Iris selected the Stuffed Veal Chop—a nice, big breaded chop stuffed with mozzarella and mushrooms.

Veal Saltimboca
Rob debated between a tuna dish and Veal Saltimboca, and finally decided on the veal.  Excellent.  It was served with mashed potatoes and green beans.

None of us had any space left for dessert; actually, Joyce and I took half our entrĂ©es home with us!  Portions are “hearty.” Abbondanza!  I add that what I took home became two excellent sandwiches for our lunch the following day. 

We did enjoy excellent coffee.  Despite the fact that we had no room for dessert, a lovely plate of tiny and delicious treats were brought, and somehow we found room to try and to enjoy them.

Marcello’s provided us with a charming atmosphere, a table where four good friends could enjoy a leisurely, excellent meal served by a friendly, competent staff.  That’s pretty, darned good! 
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