When Jack Russo opened up Pasta al Dente in 2009, he wanted a wonderful restaurant to share his wonderful Italian recipes in a place where friends and family could gather around the table and enjoy a fine meal and a bottle of wine. Today, that same restaurant is Russo's Neighborhood Ristorante and Bar, located on Naples Island in Long Beach, California.
I recently was invited to a media tasting for the upcoming Dine Out Long Beach Restaurant Week 2.0, of which, Russo's is thankfully, one of the participating restaurants. Russo's has a casual and friendly atmosphere. Offering a lovely array of Italian dishes and an extensive list of wines to compliment your meal, it is the perfect place to meet up with friends and family.
My friend Cara and I sat down and were excited to try this eatery and catch up on our lives. We also made a deal that we were going to share our dishes with each other so we could taste other dishes. I just love friends that agree to things like that, don't you?
We were seated by their welcoming staff and soon they brought us their freshly baked foccacia bread with oil and vinegar and cheese.
Upon owner Jack Russo's recommendation, we started with the Russo's Delight - rock shrimp, avocado, garlic and cheese on a crostini served with a cilantro pesto sauce, the Grilled Artichoke (served with a garlic pesto sauce), and some Coconut Shrimp, jumbo shrimp rolled and cooked in sweet coconut with pineapple mango chutney sauce. All were deliciously light starts to a memorable meal.
Next, we tried the Lobster Ravioili (it was Valentine's week when we went so it was heart-shaped), lobster baked in ravioli and served with a tasty cream sauce, and the San Remo Spaghetti Bolognese with Meatballs, wonderfully made with their special family recipe meat sauce, which by the way, is a local favorite.
We also loved the Macadamia Nut crusted Alaskan Halibut - A hearty Alaskan halibut filet crusted with delicate Macadamia nuts and coconut and served with a tasty and tangy red pepper sauce. So tender and flavorful with a crunchy crust.
I was particularly happy to see that after tasting all this great food that we both had a little room for dessert. We tried the House Special Cannoli, a wonderful Chocolate dipped cannoli shell with filled sweet ricotta and chocolate bits and drizzled with chcolate and strawberry sauce,
and the Tiramisu, which was freaking outstanding! Delicate Ladyfinger cookies soaked in espresso, brandy, coffee liquor, all layered with wonderfully light and creamy mascarpone cheese filling and served with vanilla and chocolate garnish.
What a fantastic and slightly decadent way to finish a delicious meal! I hear that their creme brulee is wonderful and will have to try it next time.
At Russo's Neighborhood Ristorante, you will find a charming authentic Italian eatery with lots of good food and good wine.
Russo's Ristorante and Bar
5856 E. Naples Plaza
Long Beach (Naples Island), CA 90803
Be sure to check them out during Long Beach Restaurant Week