Food Quality: 2 1/2 Stars
Service: 2 1/2 Stars
Decor: 3 Stars
Overall Rating: 2 1/2 Stars
Note: Four star Rating System from 1/2 Star = Poor to Four stars = Best in Class
Well prepared Italian food using high quality local farm to table produce and imported ingredients
Attractive Rustic Tuscan decor, energetic ambiance.
Poor acoustics. Conversation can be difficult and diners may need to shout loud to rise above the noise level.
Value: Fair to Good
Noise Level: Moderate - Very High
Recommended For: Diners who enjoy well prepared Italian food in a trendy, rustic setting
Not Recommended For: Budget conscious diners who prefer a lower priced traditional Italian menu with heavy red sauces, or for diners who enjoy a quiet, BYOB restaurant.
Recommended dishes: When available, The Orata, Mediterranean Sea bream, served whole and de boned at your table; The Homemade Agno lot ti, mini-ravioli; The Porchetta, herb-stuffed and rolled pork:; and The 35-day Dry-Aged Steak.
Liquor: Full Service bar, good wine selection and many aperitifs, including limoncello and cherry grappa. They allow BYOB with a $35 charge for corkage.
Osteria Cucina Rusitca is one of the most popual fine dining restaurants in the Western Monmouth County area.
Dining patrons who are accustomed to dining in the Freehold, Manalapan, and Marlboro area with its myriad of mediocre heavy sauce Italian restaurant are apt to find that they will have to pay a higher price at Osteria Cucina Rusitca for well prepared Italian food using higher quality ingredients.
Also, if you are looking for quick service this is not the place for you as the dishes are not prepared franchise restaurant cookie cutter style, they are fresh cooked “alla minute” or in English “cooked to order.”
Co-owners Angelo Bongiovanni, Executive Chef Steven Botta, and Nellie Bongiovanni are not newcomers to the restaurant scene. They also run the highly rated Brando’s Citi Cucina in Asbury Park.
Angelo Bongiovanni graduated New York City Technical College with a culinary degree. Steven Botta, grew up in Brooklyn and learned many of the recipes from his mother.
The Rustic Italian menu, listed in Italian with a description in English, is prepared using high quality fresh Ingredients. The sourcing of ingredients includes; locally sourced, fresh seasonal ingredients from Freehold and Colts Neck in addition to seasonal organic produce from other sources. Other ingredients such as fresh organic Bufala Mozzarella is imported from Italy weekly. Seafood is delivered daily, many from overseas locations using only line caught fish. Their meats are also of the highest quality using humanely raised milk fed veal, poultry is sourced from Bell & Evans
The menu also includes a variety of Neapolitan Pizzas cooked in a wood-burning oven at 900 degrees. On Sundays, in typical Italian family tradition, they feature homemade sauce with slow braised ribs, their signature meatballs, sausage, and braciola.
Gluten free and whole wheat pasta also available.
Service is " Old World Italian". The wait staff is well trained, attentive and friendly. Men waiters are dressed in lab-style white coats .
Desserts are homemade on the premises.
The decor is very attractive with a Tuscan style farm house ambiance featuring 100-year old reclaimed random width floors from torn down barns. There are two dining rooms that together can seat 120. One of the rooms is a private wine room where diners can enjoy a custom-tailored wine and food-pairing menu. Uncovered distressed wood tables are set with linen table napkins. Walls are earth toned stucco with wood beam ceilings.
Other features include the open kitchen with glass walls where you can watch the chefs prepare meals, and a chefs table in a cozy part of the restaurant alongside the private wine room.
While the interior is rustic upscale, improvement is needed in controlling the poor acoustics. With many tables spaced close together, conversation can be difficult at times.
During the warmer months there is outdoor dining on the patio.
Osteria Cucina Rusitca is open seven days/ week. For lunch they are open five days/week from Wednesday - Saturday from 12pm-4pm and Sunday they open at 3pm
Dinner: Monday - Thursday 5pm-10:30pm, Friday - Saturday 5pm-11:30pm & Sunday 3 pm-10pm
Happy Hour is Monday - Friday 4pm-7pm
(updated: October, 2016)
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