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.
The Carlino family serves authentic, home-style Italian fare as well as gluten-free versions of Italian favorites to satisfy pasta-craving customers. Diners commence with a small plate of stuffed artichoke or white anchovies with green olives and capers. Postantipasti, forks delve into plates of pasta with broccoli and baby shrimp or backflip into a ball pit of tender veal meatballs with house-made tomato sauce. Hearty entrees furnish equal parts meat and Old-World nostalgia, with seafood risotto and chicken cacciatore served with mushrooms, pancetta, and herbs splashed with a white-wine sauce to conjure memories of Nona's kitchen. A gluten-free menu accommodates the wheat-weary by carefully editing Italian staples, swapping regular pasta for gluten-free penne, topping eggplant parmigiana with gluten-free breadcrumbs, and outfitting the restaurant's resident angels with synthetic wigs instead of their traditional edible strands.
For more than 25 years, the aroma of traditional Italian food and tapas wafted through the kitchen and dining rooms of chef Dominick Anfuso's Al Di La. These days, however, that kitchen is the dominion of chef Peter Ingrasselino. Drawing upon nearly a quarter century of experience, chef Peter Ingrasselino, who was previously general manager and executive chef of Masina Trattoria Italiana in Weehawken, maintains the former chef's legacy while adding his own twists to the Italian-centered menu. He fills the kitchen with activity, tossing porcini and wild mushrooms with pappardelle noodles, brushing aged steak with a balsamic glaze, and wrapping sea scallops in pancetta.
Meals unfold in a dining room, where high ceilings and exposed brick evoke the ambiance of a café in Venice. Visitors sip drinks, their chatter punctuating music from live bands.