Show off your holiday lights and you could win an iPad! Enter your photo by December 13. Winner will be selected by popular vote.
JEANNA DUERSCHERL | The Roanoke Times
Amber Richardson takes an order for Pat Heaton (right), B.J. Bailey and Donna Lancaster (not pictured) at Norberto's.
JEANNA DUERSCHERL | The Roanoke Times
Chicken Saltimbocca and Norberto's Italian Ristorante.
Friday, March 29, 2013
For years, Norberto’s, located on Memorial Avenue in Grandin Village, was one of my favorite places for a good dish of pasta. The various pasta preparations served in plentiful portions could be quite good and the accompanying main course entrees were well prepared.
Since Kevin Jarvis and his wife, Jargal, bought Norberto Silva’s namesake restaurant in November 2011, little has changed except the updated dark walls and new art work .
He continues using the familiar Norberto’s menu, which is a good decision because the dishes are well liked by the restaurant’s clientele. Jarvis had been a chef at Montano’s for 15 years before branching out on his own.
The small interior gives the dining space a European charm not found in many local restaurants.
During the times I have been there, good times and good food were happening at many tables, and a sufficient number of servers were efficiently taking care of the patrons . Prices correspond with food quality and generous portion size. The adequate wine list easily matches up with meals.
Antipastos include hot antipasto ($9.95), a dish chock full of tasty ingredients, such as crabmeat-stuffed clams casino baked in the shell, a sampling of eggplant Parmigiana, and tender bits of Italian sausage. Plump New Zealand green mussels ($6.95) in a white wine sauce and tender, large shrimp in lemon and oil ($7.95) started our dinners at one meal and both dishes burst with flavor.
Captivated by the array of pasta preparations, my dining partner selected linguine in white fresh clam sauce ($13.95) and as familiar as the combination is, Jarvis’ preparation was as good as it gets.
Dinner highlights, veal Francese and chicken Francese ($12.95 each) — two exemplary, amply portioned offerings — arrived sputtering in their sauces. These lightly sauteed dishes contained just enough of their lemon butter and white wine deglazing juices to make them divine and to season the pasta sides.
Lunch is a good introduction to the new Norberto’s.
Start with tasty fresh herb and olive oil marinated cubed mozzarella with outstanding in-house roasted tomatoes ($9.95). This is the Norberto’s spin on the classic caprese salad, but the mozzarella cubes could be larger. They were cut too small, much like a condiment. Also, the nice pools of olive oil and herb marinade needed mopping up with hard rolls but only a few slices of an insipid loaf were available.
Follow up with bountiful salad plates. Salmon salad ($9.95), featuring a crisp, pan-seared salmon filet served over a bed of soft and crunchy lettuces is terrific, but a little difficult to eat: Large pieces of iceberg needed cutting, a tricky task because of the overflowing pile of lettuces on the plate.
Chunky, delicious chicken salad, lightly dressed and seasoned, came surrounded by a plateful of lettuces with quartered tomatoes ($8.95).
The grilled ahi tuna salad ($10.95) featured a minimally seared, barely warm piece of high-quality tuna atop a mound of not thoroughly dry lettuces. Even though my guest enjoyed the tuna, she felt it was not seared enough.
Whether you are at Norberto’s for lunch or dinner, don’t leave without having homemade flan ($4.95), the Spanish term for creme caramel and the restaurant’s signature dessert. This creamy baked custard sits in a pool of caramel sauce, and it is sublime.
Not to be picky but …
The iced tea needs longer brewing: It is weak and has little flavor.
The bottom line
The “new” Norberto’s offers many delights at reasonable prices . Servers are earnest and well informed about the menu. The folks in Grandin Village are lucky to have this tasty Italian cooking in the neighborhood.
Weather JournalEarly mix, then ice storm Sunday