There's a buzz about Molto, the new pizzeria, mozzarella and wine bar that has opened at 1215 Post Rd. The restaurant is in the corner space fronting the Post Road in the newly renovated Brick Walk Promenade.
There's something about the buzz that permeates the restaurant and wine bar as patrons enter. The atmosphere signals an upscale, trendy and comfortable establishment where people can expect great food and good service, contributing to an inviting atmosphere for patrons to relax and enjoy the experience.
In Italian, Molto means a lot, much. The name does not disappoint as there is much to enjoy. First, Molto's intent is to provide almost two environments, something one notices upon entering. On the left is a row of booths for comfortable eating and sharing a meal with friends and family. There is also groups of tables immediately inside the entrance where diners can enjoy their meals near the bright expansive windows looking out to the Post Road. Second, Molto's signature wine bar that extends 35-feet; the length of the restaurant provides seating for 17 patrons. Here, Molto's four owners, including Dan Camporeale and Nick Racanelli, spotlight their expansive showcase of 58 wines that provides the centerpiece of this establishment's blossoming reputation.
In addition to its extensive menu, Molto takes pride in its wines and the opportunity to introduce the wines to its clientele. The owners, along with its general manager Wander DeBrito, host a Wednesday Latin Night beginning at 9 p.m. to welcome patrons to an evening of music, provided by a DJ and an opportunity to taste new Latin drinks which are served with Spanish tapas. Camporeale says the Latin Nights have been well received and offer an opportunity for friends and family to gather and for people to meet new friends.
Camporeale and his partners bring years of experience in the restaurant business to their new restaurant. In planning the new facility, the owners sought out an atmosphere that reflected the trendy restaurants in Manhattan. By this, Camporeale explained the design offers a "retro" look back to the 60s.
Molto offers a full menu with extra focus on variety of mozzarella, Italian tapas and pizza, both the brick oven thin crust and the New York style. In addition, the menu offers panini sandwiches, salads, pastas and classic meat and fish entrees.
Plates of four types of mozzarella are accompanied by olives, roasted peppers and eggplant. In addition, patrons may select from three assortments of antipasti with salami, cheese or vegetables the main focus.
The public is responding well to Molto's original offering of Italian tapas. As with the more traditional Spanish tapas, Italian tapas are a variety of small plates, including mozzarella fritta (fresh marinara sauce), creamy polenta with sausage, mushroom and peppers; and a variety of vegetables, fish and meat, including baby lamb chops.
Camporeale said the concept behind the Italian tapas is to give patrons an opportunity to experience new selections of the Italian cuisine without the commitment to a full dish.
With Pizzeria part of the restaurant's full name, it is no surprise that the variety of pizzas draw attention. In the brick oven thin crust category, patrons enjoy a vast selection from a blend of mozzarella, arugula and prosciutto topping on the crust to the clams and shrimp that create the seafood scampi pizza. Another special brick oven offering is the California pizza with the crust topped with avocado, shrimp, arugula and lime.
New York style pizza selections include eight varieties beginning with the classic mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil to the Toscana, which offers pancetta and portobello mushroom toppings.
Molto's menu offers a dozen different pasta dishes including linguine mediterraneo bianco in which the pasta is tossed with a combination of shrimp, clams, arugula, calamari and fresh tomatoes. Another attention-getter is orecchiette pugliese, a combination of broccolini rabe, sausage, and fresh garlic.
For meat and fish lovers, the menu offerings include, chicken, veal, salmon, steak, lamb chops and halibut. Camporeale said the grilled halibut is a favorite among diners. It is served with spinach and roasted potatoes.
Of course, the menu's highlight is its showcase of wines. Topping the list are the owners' favorites, including zinfandel and cabernet. Other choices include pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, riesling, chianti, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir and merlot among others.
The menu is complete with a choice of desserts including a favorite cannolli presented in a unique way: as a bowl of cream with pieces of the cannoli on the side. Think guacamole and nachos. and you got the image.
During a recent afternoon, Molto's was packed with a lunch crowd. In the last booth near the rear of the restaurant, Barbara Loss, a retired Roger Ludlowe High School English and reading teacher enjoyed lunch with her friend Nancy Samuelson, a retired school psychologist. Both were at the restaurant for the first time and spoke enthusiastically about the food and the ambience.
"It's a very nice addition to the town," said Loss "It has a lot of energy." Both spoke highly of their halibut entrée and salad.
"I'm really, really impressed," Samuelson said.
Molto is open for lunch and dinner with food served throughout the day and evening. The restaurant invites take-out orders between noon and 6 p.m.
Molto is open Sunday through Thursday, from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m..; Friday and Saturday, from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more information, call (203) 292-8288.