Thursday, March 19, 2009

Portobello Café Review: Quantity and Quality in Excessive Amounts

Do you ever find yourself some days just craving that perfect bowl of pasta, one that’s been smothered with a homemade marinara sauce and grated cheese? Or maybe you’re a Chicken Parmagiana kind of person who just can’t say no to a dinner plate sized chicken breast, breaded to perfection, and absolutely dripping with delicious melted fresh mozzarella cheese. Either way, Portobello Café located at 4221 Hylan Blvd. has your Italian meal of choice.

Portobello Café is an average sized restaurant, with a comfortable and inviting environment. The staff is very attentive and ensures you get exactly what you want, although I did encounter an isolated incident where our waitress was unaware that she had our table that evening. I had to call the maitre d’ over in order to get someone to take our order. But he was incredibly helpful and we got our drinks right away. Portobello Cafe offers a just right sized menu with a long list of deliciously detailed appetizers and a perfect amount of entrée selections. While the menu isn’t especially long, you will have trouble deciding because everything on the menu sounds so delicious, and I can attest, it is all as good as it sounds. You have all of your basics covered in this little Italian hotspot. Pastas dishes, chicken dishes, fish dishes and various meat dishes are all here to satisfy your palette’s Italian desires. Suspiciously absent however, was an Eggplant Parmagiana entrée, much to my girlfriend’s disappointment.

Now, here’s where it gets good, you definitely want to pay attention to this. Portobello Café, for years now, has run a mid week special on their entrees and never more so than now has this special been more welcomed, given the current economic climate. Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening from 4pm until 10pm, Portobello Café offers buy one entrée and get the 2nd for FREE. That’s right BOGO (buy one, get one) on sensationally delicious, incredibly high quality Italian food on Staten Island. Where else can you get that at a top quality restaurant? Oh and did I mention that the portions are absolutely HUGE. Make sure you bring your appetite when you go, because just because it’s BOGO, Portobello Café doesn’t skip on quality or quantity, both are present in excessively welcomed amounts.

While entrees are appropriately priced at $15.95-$21.95 a piece, a couple on a budget could easily enjoy a top quality Italian meal with leftovers for around $25. Not too shabby for what you are getting. So bring your date, definitely bring your appetite and leave your credit cards at home, because Portobello Café doesn’t accept credit cards for their weekday specials. And make sure you arrive early, because as you can imagine, this place gets jam-packed during the week. With the economy dragging down people’s spirits and bank accounts, Portobello Café offers the kind of food that lifts those spirits at prices that won’t hurt your wallets.

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