Wheelchair access: Good
Roberto Zanti has been feeding happy folks for many years, and his new restaurant, again named Roberto’s, enlarges the possibilities. Tucked into a corner of a strip shopping center across from various movie venues, all named Ronnie’s, that have landmarked that section of Lindbergh Boulevard, he has more space, considerably diminishing possible shouting matches of "No, we got here first!"
Let us here insert that regardless of circumstances, we stand by our usual advice of calling for a reservation, even if you’re only 15-20 minutes away from when you want to sit, is always a good idea. There’s just no downside, even on a quiet night. In the last year, we’ve ignored our own advice four times, and twice drove up to restaurants that were closed. That’s half the time. Be warned.
But this is a significantly larger spot, including space for private parties. It’s not one of those spots whose lighting is either romantic or gloomy; it’s well-lit and there’s plenty of room between tables.
Among the first courses, we’re partial to the eggplant spiedini, slices of eggplant rolled around a cheese-based filling and sauced with tomato. This is a swell way to introduce the hesitant eater to the pleasures of eggplant, because the slices are a fine canvas for the other flavors. Caesar salads aren’t overdressed, and the dressing is tangy and creamy, not the wimpy stuff that one finds too often masquerading as the old chap’s namesake. It’s also possible to do as the Italians do, and have pasta as a first course. Small portions are usually available, if you inquire. We nearly always fall for the cannelloni, fat pasta tubes stuffed with ground veal and topped with tomato sauce.
The house handles veal well, and the servings of the tender meat are generous. The only glitch of a recent visit occurred when the table’s order included chicken marsala and veal piccata. The veal arrived as the marsala version, too, but particularly with the lush shiitake mushrooms, it was too good to complain about. Linguine alla pescatora is deliciously sauced with olive oil and white wine as well as a mixture of shellfish, salmon and tilapia. And the pasta wasn’t overcooked, something that can ruin the best of sauces. A special of a beef filet butterflied and stuffed with gorgonzola was rich and indulgent enough to make us think of birthday dinners and other celebrations.
The wine list, heavy on Italian varieties, is not very big, but sufficient to provide a moderately priced bottle to accompany dinner.
Some of the staff from the old spot are still around, and they know the menu in considerable detail, something we always appreciate.
One of our dining pals turned to us that night and said, "I had no idea there was anything like this down here." We imagine more people will be finding out.
145 Concord Plaza Shopping Center
Lindbergh boulevard and Baptist Church road
Lunch Tues.-Fri., Dinner Tues.-Sat.
Credit cards: All major