Spaghetti, like a hammerhead shark, is rigid and boring until it’s submerged in water, at which point it quickly springs to life and develops a taste for swimmers. Celebrate this predatory noodle with today's Groupon: for $25, you get $50 worth of upscale Italian cuisine and drinks at Tre Amici in Long Branch.
A champion of the Food Network's Chopped, Chef Matthew Zappoli and his culinary crew craft traditional Italian fare with a contemporary spin at the upscale Tre Amici. With a resumé bursting with kitchen experience in Manhattan, Las Vegas, and Sonoma wine country, Chef Zappoli churns out a delicious array of innovative cuisine culminating in an extensive menu. Cured beef carpaccio comes sprinkled with pickled bermuda onions, capers tapenade, balsamic reduction, and basil oil ($12), while gnocchi sorrentina weaves together homemade potato gnocchi, pomodoro, mozzarella, pecorino, and basil ($20). The seared sea scallops, with shrimp risotto and chive-herbed pan sauce, lull palates into beachside escape fantasies and prompt tongues to reminisce about maiden ocean voyages helmed by eye-patched parrots ($26). The restaurant's BYOB policy, which includes complimentary uncorking, invites guests to tote along their own spirits for tableside toasts and roasts.
The name Tre Amici, or "Three Friends," comes from the childhood bond of Chef Zappoli, brother Paul, and their lifelong friend, Michael Cacciuttolo, who created a welcoming atmosphere with sunset-hued walls, white cloth tabletops, and simple decor. After delighting taste buds, diners can taste a homegrown fig from the restaurant's fig tree, or showcase two left feet during live entertainment on Friday nights.
- Overall, this dining experience was a home-run. Whether you’re looking for traditional Italian or nouveau Northern Italian Cuisine, you’ll find it here. – thedynamiclife, Long Branch Live
- For a main course, I had a beef short rib with pumpkin risotto and my wife had sauteed branzino with brussel sprouts. The branzino was perfectly cooked with a nice crispy outside and the short rib was amazingly delicious. – M. K., Yelp, 10/25/10
Tre Amici Modern Italian Restaurant & Bar
Brothers Paul and Matthew Zappoli went out into the world to make their fortunes, but a chance to build something together brought them back to New Jersey. Chef Matthew Zappoli, a 2010 winner of Food Network's Chopped expertly plates Italian favorites, such as chicken piccata or veal parmesan. Each bite attests to epicurean abilities, honed at the Culinary Institute of America, that have earned the chef praise from Bon Appétit and appearances as the featured chef at The James Beard House.
Hand-crafted pasta lounges in fresh sauce, and local ingredients make up appetite-trouncing accouterments. On some weekend evenings, warm tangles of guitar notes drift from the playing area laid out before the wood-burning oven. And a row of outdoor seats lets diners bask in the sun or maintain the hope that a lost kite will still come back.