By Donna Ward
This casual Italian eatery was established in 1988 and is located at 1619 Grant Avenue in the Grant Plaza II. Randi’s offers a not-so-formal sit down dinner atmosphere for families and is also accompanied by a full bar area for adults. This is a great place for those who enjoy relaxed, casual dinning at affordable prices.
Parking was easily obtainable in front of the restaurant, since Randi’s is located in a strip mall. Once inside the restaurant, I noticed it was kept in an orderly fashion, and the tables were draped with white cloths. Nothing remarkable stood out about the simple décor, however the tables and linens were kept clean. The wait staff was attentive, friendly and did not overstay their welcome.
I began my meal with a Caesar Salad, which was very ordinary, but decent. The lettuce was crisp but drenched in dressing that was sub-par. For an, appetizer I sampled the Stuffed Mushrooms, which had crab imperial inside and a light lemon cream sauce drizzled on top. The crab was very tasty and the lemon sauce added a hint of sweet flavor to this delightful starter.
For an entrée, I ordered the Penne Alla Vodka dish that served pasta penne in a tomato cream sauce with a touch of vodka. The dish was presented stylishly with a garnish of parsley, and the serving was more than adequate, but I was disappointed with the quality. The pasta was very soft and a little over done, and the sauce was very thin and lacking in flavor.
A full dessert platter was offered by tray with an assortment of homemade treats, and I chose the Tiramisu, which was average. The savoiardi (ladyfingers) were not over-soaked with espresso, which was pleasant to see, but the creamy mixture of egg yolks, mascarpone and sugar was a little too thick. The piece of Tiramisu was large and adorned with coco sprinklings on top, and on the plate as well for a nice presentation.
The bar area for after-dinner drinks and socializing was very pleasant. The drinks were prepared correctly and with an elegant flair at a fair price. The atmosphere was warm and inviting, and the bartender was very friendly and knowledgeable.
The prices are very reasonable and the quantity of food is more than adequate. Expect to take home a doggie bag if you dine at Randi’s, as the portions are quite sizeable. The staff was attentive throughout the enter meal, and though the restaurant is crowed most nights, you can expect to be seated promptly.
A delightful and rare surprise at Randi’s is the live piano music beginning at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings. Randi’s also offers an extensive take-out menu for those on the go, and is available seven days a week for lunch and dinner.
For reasonable priced average Italian dining, Randi’s in the NEast is a place to venture.
Food For Thought is a NEast restaurant review column written by Donna Ward that runs every other Thursday.