A friend was treating me to a late birthday dinner. I hadn’t been to Carlucci’s in West Windsor (there are other branches) in a while, so suggested that.
Carlucci’s is one of those comfy Italian-American places that is well-run and dependable. The staff is well-trained. Fancy food is not their thing, so I am partial to their simple pasta dishes and preparations. But when osso buco was a special the other night, we both leapt at the opportunity to enjoy the classic dish.
This is the leftovers, as portions were huge. The veal was fork tender, carrot coins were a pretty addition, and the mushroom risotto was packed with wild mushrooms. The flavors in all this could have married a little better, but overall it was quite good.
Our appetizer of crab-stuffed, bacon-wrapped Scallops Angelica, was delicious. It is a riff on a simpler version of those scallops (minus the stuffing) that used to be served over pappardelle there, which was my favorite entrée for years. Now it’s been gussied up and is served with spinach as a starter, which we quickly polished off.
They also present you with a small plate of foccaccia doused with fresh-tasting marina sauce as soon as you sit down. And, yes, salad comes with dinners. Plus, that night, we were also given a serving of “Puffy Bread,” which I used to notice on other tables, and which always reminds me of that Seinfeld episode. It’s like a puffed up pita, covered with chopped garlic. Heavenly! Overall, an excellent value.