Scalini Fedeli in Chatham

A Chatham institution for over 20 years, Scalini Fedeli still serves fine cuisine, but could use some sprucing up.

Scalini Fedeli is like my bathrobe from college; it’s comfortable, much liked and cozy, but showing signs of wear. This well respected, upscale establishment has been open since 1995 and still serves quality food and offers exemplary service. However, the dining room, from the industrial-looking carpet tiles to the faded menus—are a few indications that this restaurant is due for a sprucing up.

A three-course, prix-fixe menu costs $59 with a few surcharges. We appreciated the following lovely lagniappes, which all added to the dining experience: a choice of olive, pretzel and Italian breads: scrumptious focaccia topped with sautéed onions; an amuse (ours was shrimp with mushrooms, fennel and Dijon mustard sauce); pineapple-coconut sorbet as an intermezzo; and a tiered tray of biscotti, raspberries on a round of pastry and addictive chocolate-covered toffees before dessert. Additionally, the restaurant allows BYO on weekdays without a corkage fee. On Saturday if you BYO, it will cost you $25.

Along with some specials, the extensive menu still has favorites from when the restaurant opened. One luscious and opulent dish that we first had 20 years ago was the soft egg yolk raviolo filled with spinach and ricotta, topped with Parmigiano and drenched in a pool of melted truffle butter.

Creamy risotto with mushrooms and petit peas combined beautifully with a topping of crispy zucchini. Unfortunately, anchovies overwhelmed the gemelli in a spicy garlic and olive oil sauce with escarole and sausage. Penne with sausage, wild mushrooms and toasted fennel seeds in a tomato sauce was a classic well executed dish.

Roasted beets and mushrooms were served with potato-crusted snapper with a red wine (barbaresco) reduction. While the fish was first rate, we just wish the presentation was more enticing as the dark sauce topping the fish and on the plate was unattractive. The boneless veal chop Milanese wore a colorful salad topping of arugula, cherry tomato and bocconcini mozzarella. Lightly pounded Parmigiano-crusted rib pork chop was tender and a delightful twist on veal Milanese, except it was topped with a tricolor salad and a slice of prosciutto.

Desserts were superb: caramelized banana tart with hazelnut and praline was drizzled with a caramel sauce and served with caramel gelato; hazelnut gelato was paired with crispy hazelnut and pistachio cookies; and a lemon-lime mascarpone cream Napoleon was garnished with raspberries.

Open for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday; dinner Friday and Saturday. Closed Sunday.

Scalini Fedeli
63 Main Street
BYO allowed Monday through Friday
$25 corkage on Saturdays

Rib pork chop topped with a tricolor salad and prosciutto.

Boneless veal chop Milanese with a topping of arugula, cherry tomato and bocconcini mozzarella.

Photos courtesy of Lowell Saferstein

Please send press releases and restaurant news, including information on staff changes, wine tastings, and cooking classes, to [email protected].

Read more Eat & Drink, Table Hopping articles.

By submitting comments you grant permission for all or part of those comments to appear in the print edition of New Jersey Monthly.

Required not shown
Required not shown