Having enjoyed privately catered events and several meals at Toto Schiavone’s Moonstruck restaurant I was excited to find that he was opening a new restaurant close to my home in Blue Bell. I had read about the concept: A small number of full dinner plates but mostly “small plates”. Some are appetizer sized, some a little larger. They recommend you order 3 or 4 “Assagi” (Italian for ‘taste’) if you’re looking to make a meal out of the small plates.
Since I love to taste a little bit of everything I was looking forward to visiting Radice and waited for about six weeks after opening to let them work out any kinks. My party of three adults and one 8 year old was greeted at the door by Toto himself, who seemed to be on site until around 7:30 p.m. or so.
We were immediately seated in the pleasant dining room. Despite hardwood floors, noisewas not a problem in the main dining room but I imagine when the restaurant is full in both the front and rear (opened up nicely since it was a private dining room in the prior restaurants at this location) it can get noisy. A wood fired oven dominates the semi-open kitchen and is utilized for many dishes and the pizzas.
Drink orders were taken and delivered quickly and the waitress explained the menu concept and answered questions. My friend Paul, working in the kitchen, also visited the table and made recommendations as well.
Toto stopped by and let us know that the kitchen would make anything the 8 year old would like for dinner. She asked for some pasta and tomato sauce. They accommodated her and she was quite pleased with the offering, finishing almost all of it (and tasting a lot of the food served to the adults).
A variety of three different kinds of fresh bread was served with olive oil and herbs. A “Wedge” salad made with Bibb lettuce, pancetta and bleu cheese was reported to be excellent and Ruchetta Arugula salad I had was excellent (and plentiful).
The Braciolini, delicate but generous meatballs, were shared by three of us and were very good. Tender and flavorful, not at all heavy with a flavorful tomato sauce. The creamy gorgonzola
gnocchi were heaven. The sauce with just enough flavor to compliment but not overpower the light and freshly made gnocchi. The other small plate I enjoyed, Frascatole, a ricotta polenta was served volcanically hot. It was very tasty but the scalding from my first bite took away from my enjoyment of it. The polenta was moist and creamy and I would try it again but probably be more careful on my first bite.
Seafood small plates were more a mixed bag. The baby clams were reported to be tasty and the bed of small pasta balls underneath were eaten until the plate was clean. Also reported to be excellent was the grilled squid which looked appetizing even though I don’t enjoy squid. The scallops were served mashed into a crab cake style presentation and were not as highly recommended as the other two dishes. More a case of “not what I expected” then anything being especially wrong with them.
A pizza topped with spinach, prosciutto, and goat cheese (I think) was enjoyed by the person who ordered it but not by her husband who tasted it.
Dessert was a little hodge podge. Cappucino was served before the dessert order was taken and was strong but reported to be very tasty. Chocolate gelato and blackberry gelato were served with a homemade chocolate biscotti that was not too hard and looked tasty. I ordered peaches warmed with an orange liquor sauce and served with a scoop of vanilla gelato. The last dessert of the evening was mixed berries served in a light cream.
The gelato was tasty. My peach dessert was also very tasty, though it probably needed an extra scoop of gelato to go with the generous serving of peaches. The mixed berries were more of a mixed bag. They were just “ok”, with some berries being very hot and other being ice cold. But 3 out of 4 wasn’t bad and the berries may have just had an off night.
However, the desserts did come out scattershot, 1 first, then 2, then the berries after everyone had finished their other desserts. The waitress did apologize profusely for the delay and did update on us the delay when the 2nd round of desserts was delivered. Attentiveness provides for a lot of forgiveness.
722 W. Dekalb Pike
Village Square Shopping Center
Blue Bell, PA