At The Original Primo Pizza & Grill, chefs whirl handmade dough and whole, peeled tomatoes into a variety of thin-crust pizzas. While the menu includes classic standbys such as the hawaiian pizza, customers can also create their own perfect pies from toppings such as garlic, mushrooms, pepperoni, and sausage. What really shines through, however, is the restaurant’s large selection of specialty pies: buffalo-chicken pizza is topped with chicken and zesty buffalo sauce; Nutella pizza with brown and powdered sugar; and the American-style pizza gets topped with steak, peppers, onions, american cheese, and a pervasive dislike of the metric system.
While pizza dominates the menu, diners can also explore traditional Italian entrees, including dinner specialties such as chicken scampi, veal milanese, and spaghetti with clam sauce.
Don't be fooled by the name?Mulberry Street is actually located on Rahway Avenue in Woodbridge. There's nothing else this place is hiding, though, from its flat-screen TVs to its spacious dining room lined with exposed brick. Even if the chefs here wanted to keep their food a secret, they'd find it a difficult task. That's what happens when your menu includes thin-crust pizzas, chicken and shrimp rigatoni, 12-ounce ribeye steaks, and other Italian-American staples done to perfection. Wines hailing from Italy and California are available to complement the feasts, as are specialty coffees spiked with chocolate-flavored liqueur.
At Luigi's Pizza & Restaurant, the chefs make sure their ingredients don?t have to travel far from field to plate. They cull all their produce from local farmers?from the spinach tossed atop New York?style pizzas to the fire-roasted peppers that tuck into paninis and wraps. This attention to quality goes throughout their extensive menu that boasts more than 100 options, which would have made for a light appetizer for King Henry VIII. They serve whole pies and pizza-by-the-slice, whose flavor combinations range from the traditional?margherita and Meat Lovers' pizzas?to the more avant garde?the buffalo chicken pizza and the Vodka Pie with fresh mozzarella and vodka sauce. Beyond pizza, the chefs bake classic Italian entrees, such as chicken marsala and eggplant parmigiana, and pasta dishes including tortellini dressed in a bacon alfredo sauce and shrimp scampi.
Inside an expansive dining room, servers float between elegant table settings carrying Italian dishes that have earned various accolades since Panico’s inception in 1987. Below the diffused light of wall sconces, conversations buzz along the expansive leather banquette as vodka-sauce penne, pan-seared lamb, and seafood-stuffed ravioli make their way from the kitchen. Diligent servers painstakingly debone the grilled whole fish of the day tableside before pouring bottles of red and white vino from the extensive wine list. To conclude meals or inadvertently incite stooge-level food fights, they serve a lineup of desserts that includes Italian sorbetti, amaretto cheesecakes, chocolate-chip cannolis, and apple and pear cobblers.
Bensi co-owner Genci Previzi helms an immense menu of classic Italian cuisine, including hearty homestyle dishes with roots in Calabria, Italy. Entrees, joined by a house salad or cup of comforting housemade soup, range from spaghetti and meatballs to gluten-free grilled chicken in a lemon-garlic marinade served over a veggie medley. The chefs also prepare an array of specials such as pignoli-crusted goat cheese and arugula salad, barolo-braised veal osso buco, pan-seared Chilean sea bass with eggplant caponata, and nutella chocolate pizza with fresh strawberries. The dishes are served in a modern dining atmosphere where minimal table settings and simple dark-wood furniture keep the focus on the vibrant cuisine.
Fine Italian Cuisine | Handmade Pasta | Raw Bar | Colossal Wine List | Award-Winning Restaurateur
The Chef: Wisconsin native Michael White has built his career on crafting authentic and innovative Italian cuisine. The eateries in his Altamarea Group have received heaps of praise, including the title of Best New Restaurant from GQ magazine and the James Beard Foundation.
While You're Waiting: Settle by the circular bar near Due Mari's front entrance for a pour from its 15-page list of wines and spirits.
What's in a Name? In Italian, due mari translates to "two seas." It's an apt moniker for Chef White's eatery, which specializes in Italian seafood such as local swordfish and daily selections of oysters.
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Trace earth's geological journey with minerals, fossils, and specimens at Rutgers Geology Museum (85 Somerset Street).
After: Yuk it up with emerging and veteran jokesters at Stress Factory Comedy Club (90 Church Street).
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Sample more of Chef White's Italian cuisine at his other New Jersey eatery, Osteria Morini (107 Morristown Road, Bernardsville).