An Anne & Steve review
Mazzeo’s ingenious takeover of Aster’s has been a boon to them as well as to the whole area. We had a grand time in the large opulent surroundings not altered too much from the last incarnation, as Aster’s was if nothing else a beautiful and comfortable place.
Anne began with the Polenta al Forno which was a firm polenta with the nice grill marks accompanied by sausage and chicken pieces covered in house marinara sauce. She also had the Portobello Caprese appetizer which was a good portion of portobello mushroom nicely bathed in balsamic with pieces of roasted pepper.
Our mystery guest opted for the dual appetizers instead of an entrée plan as well and was pleasantly surprised by the delicate homemade Gnocchi with caramelized butter sauce and her other dish, Calamari Frita which she, being a greater food writer than us, was very pleased to dip into the sweet house marinara once and again before getting the rest to go for another meal.
Mazzeo's is known for not skimping on the portions and they indeed do not skimp. Plentiful is the word commonly used to describe these portions. Steve had a Caesar salad with anchovies for the asking that was very good and also the cheese garlic bread which was lighter than you’d expect so it won’t spoil your appetite.
Steve was the lone main course tester and he opted for the Pomegranate Glazed Duck special which reminded him of when he was a kid and used to get a whole cherry glazed duck. Nowadays it seems that there’s never a leg or a thigh but this dish had it all. The leg and thigh were juicy and succulent with the crispy fatty skin on top just delicious and on the side were large medallions of duck breast with the skin and fatty layer and meat so fresh and so good. The sides were a nice shaved potato cake that was simply the perfect complement even though it wasn’t expected and the well-cooked and well-oiled broccoli rabe, which is his favorite vegetable. The entrées are huge so bring your appetito and mangia! Home cooked Italian food just like mama used to make.
The wine list has interesting descriptions. Our Chianti selection was OK, but with "hints of saddle leather" who could resist and it went down well with the food.
The service is spectacular, friendly and welcoming and the bar looks like a nice place to hang out if there’s no other space.
Mazzeo’s is booked solid for the weekends and the huge parking lot fills up early. Advanced reservations are a must in season.