Sunday, December 19, 2010

At I Gemelli Ristorante in South Hackensack

Gemelli pasta close up.Image via Wikipedia
Gemelli, or twins, has two strands of pasta that are braided together.


I Gemelli means "The Twins" in Italian, and there's a good chance that when you visit this terrific South Hackensack restaurant, you'll be greeted by one of the twin brothers who own the place, Luigi and Saverio.

The brothers, who have an Italian mother and Spanish father, took over the venerable Aldo and Gianni Restaurant about four years ago, and operated the BYO under that name for two years. 

This is not an inexpensive restaurant, but entrees are served on oversized plates and are ideal for sharing. We loved everything we tried and even brought home a small container of leftovers. The wonderfully crusty bread is from Clemente Bakery, also in South Hackensack.

The price for the whole bronzino has remained $30, but the fish served to us in November 2013, above, is about half the size of the one we enjoyed in December 2010, as described below.

My wife really enjoyed her stracciatella a la Romana, a spinach-and-egg soup made with chicken broth, and my son didn't leave a drop of the broth in his meat tortellini soup ($5.95 each). My tri-color salad of arugula, radicchio and Belgian endive had a nice, creamy dressing ($6.95).

We ordered only two entree, not knowing the portion size, and were pleasantly surprised there was more than enough food for three. We had to wait a bit for our entrees, which were made to order.

A creamy risotto with seafood and white wine ($17.95) had jumbo shrimp, mussels, clams and extremely tender squid rings. Next time, I'll order it made with red wine.

We love a whole fish, because we don't fight over it. My son eats a nice section of the tail, my wife gets the head and part of the body, and I take the middle section.

Our whole bronzino (Mediterranean sea bass) was prepared in a white wine-lemon sauce and weighed at least 2 pounds before cleaning ($30). We demolished it. 

We also ordered a side of bitter broccoli rabe, which was sauteed with plenty of garlic ($7.95).

We arrived around 5 p.m. Saturday, and the restaurant soon filled up. Reservations are taken for six or more. The surroundings are simple, with light sconces and framed paintings.

Our bill for three was $82.12 with tax but not tip.

I Gemelli Ristorante Italiano, 268 Huyler St., South Hackensack; 201-487-4220. BYO. Open seven days. 

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