Many of the Italian restaurants that we dine at have similar menus along with tasty food and attentive service. Il Goccino, had all of these features but differentiated themselves because of the quiet, relaxing and unrushed dinner we experienced on a weekend evening. We certainly will return.
Italian music wafts through the dining room, white tablecloths and napkins decorate the tables and nondescript Italian pictures bedeck the walls. The menu offers traditional Italian favorites including calamari fritti, pasta e fagioli, arugula salad, penne alla vodka, pollo scarpariello, vitello saltimbocca, and gamberi scampi. Specials were recited without the prices.
We started with a Caesar salad with a creamy dressing; mussels in a white wine garlic sauce; and broccoli rabe and sausage sautéed in garlic and oil. Milk-fed veal scallopini topped with eggplant, prosciutto di Parma and fontina cheese in a light brown sauce was well executed, as was my go-to dish of eggplant Parmesan. Clams and mussels in a light tomato sauce accented grouper accompanied with snow peas, julienne carrots and mashed potatoes. Veal Milanese, declared the favorite by all, was a hunk of butterflied meat that was breaded, fried and topped with arugula salad and flanked with large slices of tomato and fresh mozzarella.
Remember dessert trays? We have not seen this trend in a long time and of course we told the waiter the old joke, “Just leave the whole tray.” Choices were Limoncello mascarpone cake; Belgian chocolate mousse cake; chocolate cake; tiramisu; crème brulee and our choice of almond cake and rice pudding. Both were worth the calories.
Il Goccino Ristorante, 33 Main Street, Madison; 973-377-3800. Open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner. Saturday from 4 PM; Sunday from 1 PM.