By Guest Blogger: Anne Berenson
copyright 2013 Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc.
At The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm we always get’ invites’ to some of the best restaurants and this was no exception.’ Yours truly’ got to attend the Grand Re-Opening of one of the Philadelphia areas’ beloved neighborhood restaurants….so many were happy to see this( authentic) family style restaurant return. So I had the great pleasure of eating dinner recently at the Grand Re-Opening of Viggiano’s in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.
Chef/Owner Mark Viggiano is very friendly and welcoming. The Viggiano’s are a part of a large family. Mark’s grandparents were from southern Italy. Viggiano’s family style restaurant was inspired by the owner’s memories of family dinners eaten around a large table while surrounded by their family, sharing great food and good conversation. If you happen to be Italian, dining at Viggiano’s will more than likely remind you of your traditional Sunday family dinners.
Their heritage is proudly displayed throughout the restaurant with photographs of generations of family and friends.
Eating at Viggiano’s was a delightful and enjoyable dining experience. The restaurant has a very comfortable and inviting atmosphere. Dining at Viggiano’s you will feel like it is Sunday dinner with family and friends. It is truly a wonderful place to share an Italian dinner.
I like Viggiano’s menu because it gives you choices of entree sizes. There are two entree sizes: piccolo is one individual portion and grande serves two. Also it is al a carte so that you may compliment your entree with a side of pasta or vegetable. The salads, as well as their appetizers and desserts are large enough to be shared.
The dinner began with an appetizer of Grilled Portabella Mushrooms. Grilled Portabella Mushrooms – Portabella mushrooms marinated with balsamic vinegar and garlic, grilled, sliced and garnished with julienne roasted peppers – The grilled portabella mushrooms were grilled to perfection marinated just enough while still bringing out the fresh flavor of the portabella mushrooms. The roasted red peppers, were a nice addition that paired well with the mushrooms. This appetizer is a portion size enough for at least two.
Then the entrees were served. The first entrée was on the Menu Special-Crab Cakes with Red Pepper Aioli on a bed of spinach leaves – Their crab cakes were delicately prepared using fresh crab meat. I enjoyed ever bite of this dish. It was a very light dish, not breaded or fried which brought out the true flavor of the crab. The crab cakes were paired nicely with the red pepper aioli – just enough aioli to taste but not overpower the flavor of the crab. This dish came with two crab cakes, just the right size to share with another.
The second entrée was a dish of Eggplant Parmesan. Eggplant Parmesan – Fresh eggplant seasoned, breaded, fried and topped with our original marinara sauce and Italian cheeses – The Eggplant Parmesan was a well prepared dish of layered eggplant slices, nicely breaded and fried just right, topped with the perfect amount of marinara sauce and cheese, just enough to cover the top of the eggplant parmesan without losing the taste of the fresh eggplant slices – The eggplant was a delicious and satisfyingly light dish. Not heavy, greasy, or salty like some eggplant parmesan dishes I have eaten and disliked. This dish was a generous portion for one person and leftovers to enjoy at home..a delicious memory for the next day!
For dessert ….(a heavenly) Viggiano’s Zucchetto Cake – Their Zucchetto Cake is a sponge cake infused with rum, layered with chocolate mousse and hazelnut whipped cream with chocolate chips and drizzled with a chocolate sauce. The sponge cake was lightly infused with rum, just the right amount of rum to taste. The chocolate mousse layer was light and airy, it had the perfect taste, not too rich. The mousse layer paired nicely with the hazelnut whipped cream layer which was mixed with chocolate chips too add some texture. Then Viggiano’s added ( just the perfect drizzle of) chocolate sauce to finish off this sweet creation. This dessert is perfect to be shared by two. But you may want to keep this slice of heaven all to yourself and exercise it off tomorrow!
I highly recommend Viggiano’s restaurant in Conshohocken, PA, as a delicious family style Italian restaurant with delicious food, friendly service, and lots of character.
Viggiano’s is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday and it’s a good place to go for great Italian food to share with your family and friends. So if you are looking for an enjoyable Italian restaurant Viggiano’s has my vote.
For great recipes get your copy of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition