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FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR
A good, family-owned Italian restaurant speaks the language of comfort food, and Grioli's Italian Grill & Pizzeria in Cosner's Corner is happily fluent.
My Dining Partner and I took advantage of one of the paper's "Shop Local Deals" to purchase our meals at a discount during our first visit to Grioli's. It's clear that our first visit will not be our last!
Tucked among big-box eateries at Cosner's Corner, Grioli's (owned by experienced restaurateur Vince Vitale) has held its own for several years, likely because of good food, good value and good service.
MDP and I began with stuffed mushrooms Italiano (six smallish caps for $7.95) and were immediately impressed by the freshness of the mushrooms, which were stuffed with pieces of clam, cheese and bread crumbs and baked in a lemon butter wine sauce. The mushrooms were equally fresh on the mini-pizza ($5.95, plus $.50 per topping) we also sampled. The four-piece pie had a savory homemade crust and just the right amount of cheese, plus flavorful toppings (we added mushrooms, thin sausage slices and green peppers). We decided that we'd return just for the pizza sometime.
MDP ordered the pasta pescatore ($13.95) for his entree. This hearty dish combined scallops, mussels, jumbo shrimp with the tails removed and fresh mushrooms. He requested the spicy marinara option (rather than creamy Afredo), and although it wasn't very spicy, it had good flavor and the seafood was not overcooked. The seafood and sauce were served over linguine.
I was tempted by Nonna G.'s veal ($12.95), and was amazed by the large amount of veal, prepared with delicious fresh mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and sun-dried tomatoes in a red sauce prepared with white wine and served over linguine. The veal was tender, and there was more than enough for a second meal.
We each added a salad ($2.25 with entree); I, the house, and MDP, a Caesar. Both contained crispy fresh lettuce served in cold bowls, and good dressings. I enjoyed the tomato slices, onion, cucumber and variety of olives.
And then came dessert. We decided to share a luxurious cannoli Siciliano ($3.95). The pastry tube (a choice of plain or chocolate--we chose the former) was crammed with the creamy filling, then topped with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Grioli's menu called the desserts "delights," and the description is apt. In fact, "delights" applies to the meal in general, when the atmosphere and food says "comfort."
Linda Salisbury is the author of the Bailey Fish books, an award-winning adventure series for kids.
Soups and salads: $3.25-$9.95
Children's menu: $4.95-$6.50
Beer and wine available.The Scoop: Family friendly, clean, good service, plenty of parking. Takeout and catering available. Payment: Major credit cards accepted.