Finding a restaurant that can satisfy with food, atmosphere and service is extremely difficult. Sometimes one aspect can make-up for a short coming. But, to be able to put it all together, is rare. I have been to many Italian restaurants in my day. Many are "cookie cutter" places that don't really offer anything unique or that show little inspiration from the region of Italy they claim to be from. But at Tiberio's you will find true contemporary cuisine influenced by the regions of Naples and Tuscany.
Before getting to the food, Tiberio's offers a very comfortable dining space. You are not hit with loud cliche music playing. The dining room is stylish and the lighting goes unnoticed. Which is great. Not too bright, not too dark. The staff is attentive, calm, polite and professionally charming. When tables were cleared, I did not hear any clanging or banging of dishes or glasses. All in all, very peaceful. It may seem unusual to mention aspects like this but I think it is important for a restaurant to have a great aura about it. I want to feel comfortable and I want to peacefully anticipate my meal. Tiberio's atmosphere will let you sit back, relax and enjoy.
Tiberio's menu is simple yet complex. They don't overwhelm you with too many dishes yet each dish, whether an entree or appetizer, is complex with it's ingredients, seasoning and sophisticated flavors. Before I get to what we had for dinner let me comment on three of the samplings the chef sent to our table. The first caught me off-guard. Unless you live in the Mediterranean, you wouldn't normally have what arrived. In front of me was served a Polipo Condito, or, Octopus Salad. I never would have tried this. But, being a blogger.... Anyway, The salad was served cold with thinly sliced pieces of octopus marinated in a vinaigrette and mixed with greens. Ummmm, what to expect? What I found was octopus has very little flavor of its own. The center of the tentacles have a nice texture and are not chewy. The natural flavor actually comes from the outer skin and is quite nice except for.... the texture. For me, it is a little slimy or fatty. If you don't like that texture you won't like this salad. If it is not a problem for you, it is really amazing. Everything in this salad was extremely fresh. In case you were wondering, the octopus comes from Portugal not the Long Island Sound. $11.00
Unfortunately, for our third sample, I forgot to take a picture. I'm sorry. I'm very sorry because it was awesome. The chef prepared three large scallops which were cooked to perfection. The scallops don't usually come alone but are included in a shrimp and scallop entree.
During all this gorging, we did order the appetizer special, Piedina. Piedina is a cold dish consisting of creamy ricotta cheese spread on flat bread with roasted red peppers and topped with prosciuttto. Very nice way to set-up your palette. Again, I'm sorry I forgot to take a picture. It looked so amazing; we just dug right in.
Our salads came next. After the three samplings and the Piedina I wasn't going to take up much room with my salad but I did have a enough bites to report....fresh, crisp and a unique blueberry dressing.
Now, it is time for the main course. We ordered three different dishes. One from the fish section, one from the meat section and finally mine from the pasta section.
The fish entree was Branzino al Forno. Which is also known as a Mediterranean seabass or in Northern Italy, as spigola. It is an extremely popular fish and light on bones that are easily removed. At Tiberio's it is filleted and pan cooked with garlic herbs, tomato and white wine. It is also prepared with the skin intact on one side. So be prepared as you use your fork or flip the fish over. As for the taste: Just wonderful. Perfectly cooked with great texture. If you like our white fish you'll love this. $24.00
Branzin al Forno
From the meat section came Misto di Carne. This actually had three different meats. A New York Strip, a Pork Chop and Sausage. All grilled and served with roasted potatoes and an Italian Vegetable Salsa. What struck me most about this dish was the pork chop. Yes, I said the pork chop. Unbelievable. I am so incredibly picking about meats. But this was mouth watering. The chop was quite thick, close to an inch and a half, yet, so tender. I mean, this chop was perfect. The seasonings on all three pieces were terrific and included one of my favorites, rosemary. Also, the potatoes were really great. I hate to come on too strong but these guys know what they are doing. The only drawback for me was the sausage. I don't mean the flavor. The sausage had some grissel and I just don't care for that. But if you love pork and a New York Strip, you can just nibble on the sausage. $26.00.
Mistro di Carne