Fare: Modern Italian
Price: Expensive - Very Expensive
Food Quality: 4 Stars
Service: 3 Stars
Ambiance: 3.5 Stars
Overall Rating: 3.5 Stars
Note: Four star Rating System from 1/2 Star =Poor to Four stars = Best in Class
Noise Level: Low - Moderate
Dress: Business Casual
Recommended For: Diners who enjoy upscale dining in a beautiful setting with an artfully presented, creative menu of regional Italian dishes and American favorites, prepared with high quality, mostly organic, sustainable ingredients.
Not Recommended For: Cost conscious diners who enjoy a traditional "Old World" Italian red sauce menu served in huge portions.
Recommended dishes: When available, The Mugnaia pasta with Toasted Garlic, Pepperoncino Cruschi & Pecorino; The Halibut alla Piastra with Zucchini en Scapece, Confit Tomato, Tomato Vinaigrette, Mint & Pine Nut; and The 45 day dry aged Porterhouse
Il Nido, opened in March, 2019, has quickly become a success as one of the top Italian restaurants in Central Jersey. This is a destination restaurant that is not for just a night out for dinner --- Il Nido is a dining experience.
Unlike many old school traditional, red sauce Italian restaurants in Central Jersey, Il Nido (translated as "The Nest") sets itself apart with serving an inspired modern Italian menu with authentic specialties from the Abbruzzo/Puglia regions of Italy.
Il Nido originated as a vision by owner Joe Folgore, a successful local business entrepreneur who emigrated from Sicily, with the idea of creating an upscale Italian restaurant in Western Monmouth County that serves an inspired menu with dishes prepared using only the highest quality, healthy, organic ingredients
His vision became a reality when he secured the location of two former Italian restaurants, Brioso and L'Antica Trattoria, along with an adjacent storefront location, and recruited highly regarded Executive Chef Joseph Voller. The two teamed up to create a restaurant unlike many any of the other low to mid range traditional, Old World, red sauce Italian restaurants that dot the Central New Jersey landscape.
Chef Voller comes with impressive credentials. He received his formal culinary training at the Art Institute’s Culinary Arts School in Philadelphia, and later honed his culinary skills under famed Philadelphia chefs including Guillermo Pernot at the former Nuevo Latino restaurant, and Jose Garces at Alma de Cuba. He later became Executive Chef of Eno Terra, a high end Italian restaurant in Kingston, NJ, nun by The Terra Momo Group. Prior to coming to Il Nido, Chef Voller served as Executive Chef at both the famed Le Virtu and Brigantessa restaurants in south Philadelphia.
Chef Voller oversees the kitchen that serves a weekly changing menu with inspired, artfully presented dishes that are creatively prepared using healthy, high quality, mostly organic ingredients.
The seafood is sourced from Local 130 Seafood in Asbury Park specializes on locally caught, sustainable seafood. No farm raised seafood here. The meat products are sourced from Four Story Hill Farm in Pennsylvania that raises all-natural, apple-fed pigs, pastured chickens, and veal. No antibiotics, hormones, or unnatural supplements of any kind are ever used on the animals. The produce is sourced from Cherry Valley Cooperative in Montgomery, NJ, a collaboration of farmers, chefs, innovators, students, artists, and wellness professionals specializing in growing high diversity vegetables, berries, fruit, flowers, mushrooms, herbs and pasture raised eggs, lamb, and pork.
Most of the dry ingredients are imported from Italy. For example, the flour used in the home made pasta dishes is imported from Sicily.
One of the signature dishes at Il Nido is their homemade Mugnaia pasta, a chewy, rustic pasta. During a month long trip to the regions of Abbruzzo and Puglia, Italy, Chef Voller learned how to master the technique of making Mugnaia under the guidance of co-owner Antonietta of Ristorante La Bilancia, in Abbruzzo, Italy.
La Mugnaia, which literally translates to "the miller's wife's pasta", is rarely found in Italian restaurants in America. It is made by forming the dough into a doughnut shape and hand rolling into an 7-8 foot strands to a diameter of about 4–6 mm, where each strand is cooked and served un-cut, and unbroken.
Ai Il Nido, Chef Voller cooks it al-dente (retaining a bit of firmness ) covered with a light, tasty sauce made with flavorful cruschi peppers and toasted garlic, twirled into a nest., and served on an attractive wood platter.
At Il Nido, the menu also offers a number of popular, high quality American favorites including a variety of grass fed Aged Beef-Wagyu-Chops and meats with no antibiotics, hormones, or unnatural supplements, and wild caught seafood.
The ambiance at Il Nido is cozy, rustic Italian farmhouse, yet elegant. The 115 seat restaurant has undergone a beautiful renovation to include four dining areas; Two main dining rooms, one of them has an attractive stone fireplace, a smaller, quieter Cave room, and the chefs table dining area with two booths overlooking the open kitchen.
The interior is beautifully done up with red brick walls adorned with attractive paintings of Portofino and other Italian Riviera coastal towns, open exposed ceilings painted in black, wooden tables set with attractive, softly lit table lamps, surrounded by comfortable soft cushioned chairs. The Tables are spaced apart for quiet conversation.
The wait staff, dressed in all black outfits, are friendly, well trained with a good knowledge of the menu, and attentive without being intrusive or pretentious.
Il Nido is not recommended for children
Il Nido is open for dinner 5 days/week: Wed, Thu, Sun 5:00 pm–9:00 pm, & Fri, Sat 5:00 pm–10:00 pm
Note: Reservations are highly recommended and require a $50 non-refundable credit card deposit if canceled within 24 hours that would be held and credited toward their next completed reservation.
(updated; September, 2019)
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