Sunday, June 5, 2011

Salvatore's Take Two

Salvatore Cucina Italiana
27001 La Paz Road
Mission Viejo, CA 92691

I will preface this review by telling you that I have a strong sentimental pull when it comes to Salvatore Cucina Italiana. This was the spot for mine and Katie's first date. The food was okay that night, but took a backseat to the company. This is the first time we had been back since that fateful evening all those years ago. 

Salvatore's has been in the same location and under the same ownership for the last twenty-one years. That makes them one of the oldest Italian restaurants in Mission Viejo. Salvatore D' Abbusco came from Naples to the United States when he was 24 years old. He married a girl from Philadelphia, and they opened this place. Salvatore's is known for their, "Complete Dinners", a six course all inclusive meal. Let's take a look at it.

Starting off our complete dinner is the Bruschetta. I am not usually a big fan of bruschetta, but this one was fine. The Roma tomatoes were chopped finely, tasted fresh, and this also had a good deal of garlic on this.

With the complete dinner you also get both a soup and salad. The soup the night we were here was the Minestrone. Small elbow pasta and beans combined to make this soup. The broth was salty, but not overboard. There were not an abundance of beans or pasta in this, which would have made this better. The soup was average. The salad was your basic dinner salad. This one came with a creamy Italian dressing. It was a little too tangy for my taste. I should have gone with the ranch or blue cheese dressing.

Now on to the entrees. Katie selected the Penne Con Pollo. This rich dish came with chicken, mushrooms, peppers, and sun dried tomatoes, all in an Alfredo sauce. Katie felt that the chicken here was cooked really well. Very tender. What I remember most about this dish was that it came out scalding hot. It was steaming for a long time at the table. 

I also went with a pasta dish, the Penne Al Fungi. Mushrooms, pancetta, and peas were all featured in this dish, along with a creamy garlic sauce. This dish was okay when I first started eating it, then I doctored it up a little by adding some red pepper flakes, and it was made much better. I liked the sauce, but I would have been more happy with some extra pancetta on this. This dish was very rich, so I ended up taking some for lunch the next day. Like most pasta dishes, it was a little better the next day. 

After skipping the Coffee course, we went right into dessert with the items above. Katie wanted to try the Spumoni, multi-flavored ice cream with nuts and liquor, then rolled in chocolate chunks. This is not like the spumoni that you get at Spaghetti Factory. Katie loved this spumoni. She thought it had a great taste, and was really cold. I had the Torta di Triplo Cioccolato. My Italian is not the best, but I think this means triple chocolate cake. Who needs Rosetta Stone anyways. Back to the dessert, this was a cheesecake with a layer of chocolate, chocolate chips, and a chocolate sauce poured over it. I like chocolate, but this was way too rich. The cheesecake was very dense. I like a lighter cheesecake, so this was not my favorite dessert. 

The feel at Salvatore's is that of a rustic farmhouse. The restaurant is hard to find, kind of tucked away in a complex that looks more like a group of doctor's offices, instead of housing an Italian restaurant. The dining room is small, maybe fifteen tables. The service was friendly, but slow and leisurely. Do not come here if you have tickets to a movie in an hour, you will not make it on time. Value for the money is very good here. Dinners are reasonably priced, and you will go home with leftovers. Also, the menu is very large, so you will definitely find something that you will like here. It was nice coming back to Salvatore's, at least this time I could concentrate on the food. 

Out of five roads, (because the lead character of Jack Kerouac's, On the Road was named Salvatore), five being best to zero being worst, Salvatore's Cucina Italiana gets 2.5 roads. 

For more information about Salvatore's Cucina Italiana, click here:

 Salvatore Cucina Italiana on Urbanspoon

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