Dan's Papers review by Roy Bradbrook
Dan's Papers review by Roy Bradbrook
In a culinary world where longevity is not the norm, Jerry Dicecco's quaintly named restaurant, just a block east of the Aquarium, must be doing something right, because it is now fifteen years since he first opened and today it is going stronger than ever. Even more unusual in this day and age, his son Jerry Jr., has followed in his father's footsteps, despite all his attempts to dissuade him. Jerry Jr., graduated from Johnson and Wales Culinary Institute with high grades, spent six months in Italy cooking, and then had a spell at the prestigious DB Bistro of Daniel Boulud in Manhattan before joining his father and taking over as Executive Chef, as Jerry Senior looks to spend a little more time in relaxation.
You can sit indoors or on the porch and there is an enclosed deck that looks over the pool and marina of the adjacent marina, which provides a steady stream of customers in the season. The restaurant also has a core of regular local customers who enjoy their meals here year round. The menu is seafood based, but they also make sure that non fish lovers are well cared for. Jerry Jr., has just introduced a new menu that still includes the dishes that have become very popular, but now also includes a number of new offerings.
We left ourselves in the two Jerry's hands and started with one of the new appetizers, a chilled ahi tuna spring roll. The roll was very interesting with the differing textures and tastes of very fresh tuna that was wrapped with some vermicelli and served with a tangy dipping sauce that complemented but did not swamp the tuna. This was a very good start and we realized only when Jerry told us that what we had enjoyed actually was a half portion. You do not go away hungry here! The classic mozzarella and tomato was everything it should be with good cheese and ripe tasty tomatoes. Next came a selection of the hot appetizers. Incidentally, when I first read the menu my thoughts were that I could really have a great meal just based on the appetizers.
We loved the buffalo wings, they were crisp, non-greasy had a nice amount of meat on them and the sauce was exactly hot enough. It was easy to understand how these have become one of their signature dishes over the years and Jerry was loath to tell us all of his secrets in the ingredients - but they really were very good and I am not known as a buffalo wings enthusiast. Coconut shrimp were crispy and well cooked. Then came some delicate and very tender calamari, cooked with yellow peppers that gave the dish an unusual touch of acidity and a slight heat that made this one of the very best renditions of calamari we have ever enjoyed. Oysters Rockefeller is a classic dish that was perfectly executed. Steamers are a specialty here, when available, and we were fortunate for some had just been delivered, Jerry sources these from the North Shore because he believes they have the best taste, and we could only agree as we devoured them after immersing them in a gorgeously fragrant broth of white, wine, garlic and herbs.
Moving on to the main courses, Jerry Jr. selected the pignoli-crusted grouper for us and we totally enjoyed a perfectly cooked piece of fish where the liberally applied pignoli infused a very special taste to the fish. The meat dish was much more robust. Now I was not familiar with the term 'flat iron' steak but now thanks to Google I know much more! The result of skilled butchering and subtle marinating was an extremely tender, very tasty piece of meat. Very often accompanying vegetables seem, in many restaurants, just to be an afterthought or a plate filler. This was not the case here, because the mélange of julienne peppers and excellent green beans plus a baked potato fully matched the quality of the meat.
The iconic dessert here is a large ice cream crepe with homemade hot fudge and whipped cream, which we just about had enough room left to taste and to understand its popularity. Finally, a very palate cleansing kiwi and strawberry sorbet with a cup of intense deep espresso and a drop of Jerry Jr.'s home made limo cello brought a very satisfying tasting experience to a close. The limo cello is not on the drinks menu, but if you see Jerry Jr. and you enjoy limo cello, ask to try his version.
There is a full lunch menu and also a children's menu. Both Jerry's are strong believers in healthy eating and they are members of Mather Hospital's new Heart Healthy program. Appetizers run from $6.50 to $10.50: Main courses that include vegetable and a salad are from $14.95 to $25.95. This is a very friendly, informal restaurant that opens seven days a week from 11.30 a.m. till last orders and stays open until 4 a.m for Karaoke on Friday and Saturday nights.
As Jerry continues to hand over the reins to his son, based on our experience the restaurant will be in very sure hands hopefully for the next fifteen years and more.