CLIFTON PARK Delmonico’s Italian Steakhouse has arrived here, with patio gas heaters blazing and Rat Pack music blaring. It’s stylishly designed and professionally decorated. They feature big portions, like the signature 24-ounce ribeye.
It looks and feel glamorous, all sleek and new, with statement twin gas fireplaces in the large dining room, soaring windows, and handsome polished wood furniture. But the experience feels a bit scripted, and the food is just OK.
Mom and I had a reservation for a weeknight early in the evening, and the place was just starting to hum. We were seated at a comfortable table for four in the main dining room. Our server, a friendly, energetic young woman, materialized immediately to bring menus and take our drink orders.
There’s a martini menu and reasonably priced wines by the glass, but I settled on lemon-flavored water and studied the menu.
Delmonico’s Italian Steakhouse
WHERE: 3 Northside Dr., Clifton Park, 383-5656, delmonicositaliansteakhouse.com
WHEN: 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 4 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday; 1 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday; 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday
HOW MUCH: $82.33, with one soda, tax, and tip
MORE INFO: Children’s menu. Wheelchair accessible. Credit cards: Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discover. Curbside pickup. Priority seating on weekends.
“Antipasti and Zuppa” included calamari ($10.99) to share, and Utica greens and beans. There’s also bruschetta, garlic bread, shrimp cocktail, and breaded fried mozzarella. We mentioned that we were eyeing the Bella Napoli (Italian fried pasta chips, olives, chopped tomato, asiago cheese sauce, sausage, with melted mozzarella cheese, $7.99) and the server offered to bring us a half order. “It’s not on the menu but we offer it,” she said.
A 16-ounce New York sirloin with penne marinara is $24.99, as is the 14-ounce filet mignon, also with pasta. The heroic 24-ounce ribeye is only $21.99. You can get garlic mashed potatoes, baked potato, or fettucini Alfredo with your steak, but no french fries.
If you don’t want steak, there’s the one-pound lasagna ($14.99), chicken prepared piccata, marsala, or Sinatra styles: over sautéed greens with hot peppers, mushrooms and provolone. There are old favorites like linguine with clam sauce, frutti de mare, and aglio olio.
The Bella Napoli half-order appetizer ($5) was delicious. The plate of puffed pasta chips was piled high and generously topped, the mozzarella still hot and melty, the diet-busting cheese sauce rich and delicious. The sausage had a nice fennel flavor but crumbled into small, dry pieces.
My salad came at the same time, along with the basket of bread. Salads are discounted if you order an entree, and I ordered a small garden salad with homemade balsamic vinaigrette poured over for $2.99. I liked the chilly plate, and the dressing, which was tangy but sweet. It’s mostly iceberg with a bit of Romaine and other greens, with thick slices of tomato, cucumber, red onion and a few black olives.
We got a small oblong loaf of Italian-style bread served in a black paper napkin-lined woven basket with a plastic cup of garlic butter. The butter wasn’t especially garlicky, with a consistency like cheese spread. The bread would have tasted better warmed.
Our dinners arrived before we finished the first course. My entree was put onto the table next to my salad, which I hadn’t quite finished. There should be pauses between courses for many reasons, among them conversation and contemplation. The used plates remained uncleared.
We unequivocally endorse the veal Parm ($21.99), two crispy breaded fillets so large they hung over the ends of the plate on a mountain of well-done fettucine. Mom liked it very much, although she found the sauce a bit “tart.” I don’t usually eat veal, but I liked the piece I tasted, pounded thin and topped with marinara sauce and cheese. This dish was easily enough for two people to share. Mom took most of it home and enjoyed it for another meal.
I ordered the filet mignon on the bone, at $30.99 the most expensive thing on the menu, because I don’t often see it and I love that cut. I remembered that the bone surrounded part of the meat and offered a slender handle, like a lamb chop appetizer, whereas at Delmonico’s the steak was hunkered into the corner of a heavy, L-shaped bone.
I could see the proper round filet in there but it was impossible to get at most of it with the oversized wooden-handled steak knife. Steak, pasta, and the plastic cup of Cabernet sauce were crowded on the dinner-sized plate, adding to the difficulty.
The steak was cooked perfectly and we thought it tasted OK but the angel hair pasta on the side was very good, topped with lots of chopped garlic and butter and cheese. I liked the Cabernet sauce and picked out the chunks of tomato.
We passed on dessert — cannoli, tartufo, Amaretto cheesecake, tiramisu and the like, priced between $6 and $7 and asked for the check. With one bottomless diet Coke, tax and tip it came to $82.33.
The restaurant is attractive, the servers friendly, and the portions oversized, but at less than an hour for the whole experience, it wasn’t exactly a night out.