Every town in New Jersey has at least one Italian establishment. Some probably even have several. But none have the charm of Patricia's of Holmdel.
Having finally made it to the restaurant, I could not have been more delighted. Being greeted by the lovely lady at the hostess desk, her smile alone was a beautiful invitation into the night. There were several other hostesses with an equally radiant energy working to accommodate the many patrons that filled the entrance. Beyond them there was a vibrant room set with tables of families and friends, all sharing an evening of good food and wine. Although the latter really depends on you since the restaurant has a BYOB policy.
We had made our reservation in advance so we were taken to our table right away. Since we brought along a dog, we were seated out front and away from everyone else. This provided for a peaceful environment, rather than the crowded indoor setting that we could spectate from our seats.
Our waiter did not hesitate to bring us water as soon as we got settled, and he did not neglect to notice our four-pawed friend. He had brought a water bowl for him too and placed it next to us on the ground.
He then gave us some time to look over the menu. Meanwhile, the owner came by to greet us and ensure that he intends for us to have the best time at his place.
The main menu consists of mostly Italian classics, but the specials menu is where you can find some really creative interpretations. I was very pleased to see that certain dishes could be made with a Gluten Free option. We decided to start with the Grilled Pulpo and Burratta special, along with the Kale and Beet Salads. Our appetizers arrived and after just two bites we knew were in for a treat. The rest of the food that came followed suit.
One moment which really shows their true five star service, was seen when we ordered the Vitello but mistakenly chose the wrong preparation. When asked if we can change it, our waiter had no problem hearing us out on what we wanted and returned with a better dish. Even though the restaurant was packed, he did seem not rush like many waiters do. Instead he was at ease and made us feel that way too.
When it came time for dessert, the menu really has something for everyone that has a sweet tooth. There are the classic Italian desserts, like Cannolis and Tartufo, and there are newer versions like a Limoncello Tiramisu. Another attractive option was the gelato which was kept at the front of the restaurant for guests to check out the flavors. Even though my favorite being coconut was not one of them, I thought to inquire from our waiter anyway. To my surprise, moments later I was presented with three scoops of coconut gelato! I paired this with an espresso to make my own version of an affogato. It was out of this world.
The whole experience was so enjoyable that our visit lasted over 3 hours. It brought a sense of being at home; a sense that we were part of a family. And that is exactly what the sign in front reads: “Welcome to Patricia's! Where everyone is treated like FAMILY!”