Monday, August 20, 2012

Sal DeFortes Restaurant Review 1987

SAl DeFortes Review 1987 Philly Inquirer..ANOTHER WINNER IN THIS TRENTON SPOT
Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA) - Sunday, November 1, 1987
Author: John V. R. Bull, Inquirer Staff Writer
There seems to be something special about the intersection of Fulton and Roebling Streets in the Chambersburg section of Trenton that attracts good restaurants.

Johnny Boston's Cafe, generally acknowledged to be one of Trenton 's best restaurants, occupied this location for many years until being succeeded in 1985 by Sal DeForte's Ristorante, a worthy replacement. Indeed, in an area filled with notable Italian restaurants, DeForte's is one of the best, although it is no match for nearby Francesco's.

While the menu offers an extensive selection of traditional dishes, the day's blackboard specials proved irresistible. From the ill-lighted but compelling list came cappellini imperial ($7.95), an expensive but excellent appetizer of al dente angel-hair pasta studded with giant lumps of delicate backfin crabmeat. The dish was bathed in a rich Alfredo sauce sprinkled with parsley flakes and a few twists from a pepper mill.

Roasted peppers with anchovies and chunks of provolone ($4.95) was a zesty appetizer jazzed up with both green and black olives and a pair of fiery peppers. Homemade escarole and bean soup ($1), thick with white beans, greens and carrot, offered a tasty melange of flavors. Napkin-wrapped buttered Italian bread crisp from the oven was served with foil-wrapped butter pats.

Chilled iceberg-lettuce salad filled with tomato, radish, cucumber, celery and carrots was dressed in a refreshingly sweet vinaigrette and served in a large clear-glass bowl.

Veal St. James ($16.95), another worthy blackboard special, offered sampler portions of three dishes - thin medallions of veal, melt-in-your-mouth filet mignon and moist chicken filets in heavy cream sauce - accompanied by al dente pasta pencil points in home-cooked tomato sauce grainy with grated parmesan.

Also from the blackboard, tagliatelle con pesce ($14.95) consisted of egg spaghetti heaped with delicate deep-sea scallops, jumbo shrimp, fresh plum tomatoes and crunchy broccoli flowers in a gentle white wine sauce.

Triple-layered apricot/walnut torte ($2.95), wonderfully moist cake with apricot filling, was drizzled with chocolate and finished with chopped walnuts. Tartufo ($3.50) was a tennis ball-sized scoop of both vanilla and chocolate ice cream glazed with chocolate and ringed with canned whipped cream.

Although the cappuccino machine didn't work properly, it nonetheless scared patrons out of their wits with periodic loud buzzing. Service was pleasant and informed, but the kitchen was extraordinarily slow. The blackboard's nearly illegible writing didn't make much difference since the lighting was so poor anyway.

Thanks to dark wood wainscoting and pleated drapes blocking even a ray of outside light, the small dining room is like a cocoon, although two mirror- paneled walls make the room seem larger than one that is snug with only 12 tables.

Frank Sinatra recordings play in the background, and tables are set with pink cloths, burgundy cotton napkins, salmon paper placemats, pink silk flowers, a picnic candle with red globe and red vinyl-covered convention chairs.

An additional five tables are in the adjoining bar, which boasts a tile trough beneath the bar stools that apparently was used before bathrooms became standard fixtures.


200 Fulton St., Trenton , 396-6856.

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