A taste of gourmet at a reasonable cost.
Filomena Lakeview – Deptford, NJ
1738 Cooper Street
Meal: Dinner (4 People) / 7pm / Weekend
Price: $134 (Excludes Tip)
Website: Step Right In
In this economy, we’re always looking for great places to eat without the buyer’s remorse that is most ‘gourmet’ establishments. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with charging $20 for a chicken dinner; we just want restaurants to earn that Andrew Jackson. When I learned that Autumn’s mother was throwing her a birthday dinner at Filomena, I couldn’t help but worry we’d be forking over hundreds to eat a dinner we could get elsewhere for a fraction of the price.
If you like restaurant eye-candy, Filomena’s does you right. From the complimentary (but somewhat unnecessary) valet parking, to the beautiful architecture of the exterior, you’ll not need to convince someone special that you’ve carefully chosen a sophisticated atmosphere to dine. Sure, the 24/7 mart next door kills some of the romance, but we can hardly fault Filomena for what’s built adjacent to their property. Inside, it only gets better – from the just-right dimly lit dining room (with real fireplace) and the spacious upstairs … each with their own bars. We opted for a second-level table near the window, and it provided for some nice visuals with our first signficiant snowfall outside.
The service wasn’t quite as elegant. Everyone was nice, mind you, but I didn’t feel like a VIP. The front desk help was on the younger side and didn’t take as much pride in their work as they should have. Our waitress seemed entry-level pleasant and no more. Only with the upstairs bartender did we really think someone wanted us to have a good stay. She answered all of our questions about the liquor they offered, and did so with a smile. Good for her, because we ended up getting 7 drinks. As far as they went, we thought they were fairly potent (a beer and two long island iced teas made me very ‘happy’) and with the exception of a strawberry daiquri that lacked flavor, the other wines and mixed drinks were perfect.
We ordered a broad selection of entrees and started with the crab cakes as the appetizer along with the complimentary bread and sauteed pepper dipping sauce. Everything was delicious. We asked for seconds on the bread and the crab cakes were out of this world. Wait time for our meal was fairly substantial, but given the abundance of bread and good alcohol the time seemed to pass quickly. I ordered my favorite entree – ahi tuna – along with orders of raviloi, shrimp fra diablo, and shrimp and scallop kabobs for the rest of the table.
To be short, everyone was very satisfied. My tuna was cooked to order, and a very close second to my still-favorite offering at Bahama Breeze. I had a taste of the scallops and found them to be very flavorful and cooked to the right tenderness. The shrimp through both platters were large and succulent. Pasta was deemed to hit the sweet spot; just cooked beyond al dente with rich, bold sauces.
We didn’t have any room left for dessert, but still got a look at the tray. Variety was common for a place of this size, about a half dozen calorie-heavy choices to choose from. In consolation, we ordered some coffees and teas; my cappuccino was fairly good, but not the best I’ve had.
– Very good atmopshere (especially for the winter)
– Very reasonable prices – nothing on the menu breaks $30.
– Delicious food across the board.
– Fairly strong and consistent drinks.
– Free valet parking
– Some service not in step with the price/food quality
– Poor system/structure for those waiting to seat and/or pay – lots of traffic at front door.
Guru’s Score: 4.4 Chews
Subjective rating: Exquisite.
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