New Jersey - Social media plays a huge roll in expanding my horizons, which is precisely how Kenny Shah who owns Riberto’s Italian Seafood Bistro and Steakhouse reached out to me. I enjoy being adventurous, so I hit the road in search of this new (to me) and delicious place to eat.
This BYOB restaurant located on a side street off one of the main roads in Kenilworth, NJ. Riberto’s Italian Seafood Bistro and Steakhouse (Riberto’s) was inviting from the outside. When you walk up to it you will see the outdoor seating area that reminded me of bistros in Europe. Inside the restaurant was equally inviting, with tables are not cramped together, and the decor closer to what you would find in dining establishments here.
However, that is not what lured me to accept Kenny Shah’s invitation. I am a lover of food, so I perused the online menu and was immediately excited. Although I learned from the owner that he is not a meat eater himself, he certainly made sure his menu is heavy with seafood and steak options.
I’m a huge fan of all forms of protein. However, my heart was set on taking a tour of the sea via way of my palate. So I started with two of Riberto’s appetizers; their Calamari and something I haven’t seen in other restaurants—a Lasagna Shrimp Roll Up.
The Calamari comes with their house-made gravy, but I also asked for a side of their Cimo sauce. The Calamari was excellent and crisp on the outside and the breading seasoned with a light amount of salt. The gravy (in my opinion) was delectable, but that’s because it tastes exactly how I would make it from scratch; a light sweetness to balance the acids from the tomatoes, and of course, it had garlic layered into the taste. However, I suggest you try the Cimo sauce too. Made with a variety of fruit, balsamic vinegar, onions, herbs, teriyaki sauce, and finishes out with a little spicy kick. It was sweet, salty, savory, and spicy, and I loved it so much I ate a few spoonfuls of it.
According to Mr. Shah, the Lasagna Shrimp Roll Up is a favorite of his guests, and it also won me over. Encased in a strip of lasagna pasta and topped with melted mozzarella with shrimp, ricotta cheese, and their house-made vodka sauce swimming together in creamy decadence. I thought I would have leftovers of each plate, but this delightful dish was so good that it was gone before I wanted it to be.
For my main course, I ordered the Frusta De Mare, which is like a seafood buffet on a plate. It is loaded with clams, mussels, calamari, scallops, shrimp, and salmon and lays on a bed of pasta (of your choosing). You are also given a choice between white or red sauce, and hot vs sweet. I opted for linguini pasta and sweet white sauce.
However, let’s get back to my main dish. Salt, as you may or may not know, is a main staple on how to season foods—I tend to be reserved with my culinary creations, but that’s due to my sensitivity to the ingredient. That being said, I could taste that the sauce was well seasoned and even though I am sensitive to salt, the dish was delicious.
As for the seafood, the clams, mussels, shrimp, and scallops were tender and succulent. The salmon was rich in flavor and cooked to medium—I forgot to ask for medium rare which is my preference and my fault for not asking. My only remark was that the calamari was a little too tough. However, given that the rest of the dish was well prepared with the correct texture, I am thinking that issue was a result of the batch of fresh calamari, not the Chef’s culinary skill.
I finished out my food-venture with a Cappuccino and Tiramisu. The Tiramisu had a sweet, moist, and dense base with its signature coffee laced into it. As for the whipped top, it was light and airy and showered with coco powder. I do love this dessert when I’ve over-indulged in my meal because it isn’t heavy, and it also combines two things I love—coffee and a sweet treat.
I enjoyed the atmosphere and friendliness of the staff, along with the wonderful meal I had that night. If you live near the area or are interested in trying out Riberto’s Italian Seafood Bistro and Steakhouse, you can call (908) 272-2180 or click on this link for reservations and more information.