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Monday, September 30, 2013

Buon Compleanno to the Mr. at Bella Luna in Washingtonville

Choosing a place for dinner, especially for a special occasion, can be a daunting task.  Here are the two criteria I had to meet:

1.  Someplace we have never been before and
2.  Italian

Well, you may think the playing field is wide open, but we have tried MANY area Italian restaurants since that is the Mr.'s favorite. I also know his definition of Italian can be a bit restrictive. He prefers an old school or traditional style, no modern recreations and though he would be okay in a pizza place, I wanted something a bit more.

I have been holding on to a gift certificate to Bella Luna for quite some time and decided it was time. Sort of like holding on to the good dishes for just the right occasion. Silly. Just enjoy.

I called to make a reservation because I have learned it can be hard enough to get a table any where on a Friday or Saturday night, but with a party of 5, the chances are even slimmer.  I also asked if wearing jeans would be acceptable and the hostess hesitated before replying, "well, nice jeans."  I passed the word on to my older son and we had a bit of conversation about what the definition of "nice" is and for me, it wasn't so much about the jeans but the shirt.  The nicer the shirt, the dressier the jeans become, true?

I digress.  Off to Bella Luna..

We are greeted and brought to our table quite quickly.  A bread basket appears and our drink orders are placed. The lighting designed for atmosphere does not yield the prettiest pictures and I never use flash so I apologize for quality.

I love a cocktail menu and decide on a Raspberry Wisp which is lemon vodka, Chambord, fresh lemon juice and simple syrup.  Flavors I already know I love.

A brief discussion, well, me offering a few ideas, ensued and I ordered two appetizers for the table.  Classic mozzarella sticks (for the kid in all of us)

and the cold antipasto platter

The mozzarella sticks were what you would imagine, it was the sauce we loved.  The Mr. said confidently, "I knew it.  I just knew the sauce would be good here."  

The antipasto platter was similar to what I prepare at home with thinly sliced prosciutto, marinated mushrooms (the Mr.'s favorite), mozzarella, red peppers and provolone.  Ah, yum.

Salads for a few of us:

Word of caution:  entrees were offered with a CHOICE of salad or pasta.  This may work out wonderfully for some, but not always.  The Mr.'s classic dish (as well as our older son's girlfriend) would be a crime or perhaps ridiculous without pasta, but he was not offered a salad.  See what you think....

Main courses:

The Chicken Marsala (not ordered by the Mr. but by our younger son)

Stuffed Shells (no salad)

Seafood Alla Carmela (per the menu listing) shrimp and clams over penne in a pink sauce

Menu name and description:
Chicken alla Jaclyn:  breaded chicken topped with fresh tomato, roasted peppers, fresh mozzarella in a light pesto sauce

And last, but not least, the Mr.'s spaghetti and meatballs.  No salad?  He LOVED the flavor and amount of sauce.  Happy man!

Able to do a bit of people watching, I saw men in jeans with printed advertising on their t-shirts being seated in the dining room and loved watching men greet each other with a hearty hug and a smooch while their wives smile and nod their heads at each other.  Fun.

I asked around the table if everyone would return since to me that is the sign of happy diners and a good restaurant.  All in favor, aye.  We enjoyed celebrating the start of the Mr's. final year in his forties.  We skip dessert and hold off on the singing until the following night when we are joined by his mother.  I place the candles in a home made apple pie and we finish a weekend of happy birthday wishes by being Fed Well. Happy Birthday Mr.

Bella Luna Ristorante on Urbanspoon

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