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The Party Keeps Getting Better @ Mulberry

 

mulberrys-meatball

Mulberry Italian Ristorante – Lackawanna

A stop in at Mulberry Italian Ristorante in Lackawanna always brings to mind “a big Italian family party” as stated by Business First. I couldn’t agree more, and I’m not even Italian.  There’s just something about the place that is more like a party than a restaurant. Is it running in to people you know, or the fun-loving bar folks happily waiting for a table?  Maybe it’s the linebacker sized “mother” working the front to make sure everything is just right. I’m pretty sure post-dinner bulging belly syndrome is a contributing factor.

If you haven’t been you’ll find Mulberry in the back of the blue collar Bethlehem park neighborhood, in what at first pass seems a very unlikely spot. The more you visit the more natural it becomes. Like most popular eateries parking is wherever you can find it. A few years back Diners, Drive-ins and Dives visited to show off Joe Jerge (owner, chef) making his softball size meatballs and mountain of a lasagna. View here.

The restaurant is broken into three rooms. You enter into the bar area that overlooks a large dining space. Flat screens  with the game at the bar and famous people photos, most of anyone who came through town at one point, adorn the walls. Two other smaller dining rooms are in back and on the side. The decor is Italian pub with red walls and tile floors.

Dinner is almost always busy. If you’re in a hurry lunch is a good option. Regulars know to plan on a cocktail or two at the well used bar and engage is some family style chatter/debate, even with a reservation.

On a weekday evening we were seated after a brief 25 minutes we spent enjoying the latest Hamburg brew. In addition to a good wine list (75% Italian) they have a full and active bar, a good selection of  beers on tap and many more by the bottle.

Mulberry Gnocchi

The menu at Mulberry’s is a nice combination of old and new Italian. Many of their dishes are pure American-Italian red sauce and some offer a surprising finesse. Most everything is house made- pasta, sauce, even the mozzarella. Nice crusty bread with olive oil was delivered to our table and we ordered:

Appetizers:

Stuffed Banana Peppers ($9.99), Buffalo Mozzarella ($6.99) Famous Mulberry Meatball ($4.79)

The stuffed peppers are as good as you’ll get in town. The mozzarella is house made fresh and the meatball is not only big but tender and tasty. Sure, everyone’s mama makes the best – blah, blah…

Entrees:

  • Special Vegetarian Lasagna ($15)
  • Lasagna ($17.99)
  • E. Wood Big #70 Gnocchi ($19.99)- potato gnocchi, lobster, peas, prosciutto, shiitake mushrooms with truffle butter.
  • Eggplant Panino ($16.99)- fried eggplant, ricotta, mozzarella and meatball.

 

Everything was tasty and spot on. I’ve been to Mulburrry’s a number of times and one thing that always impressed me, in addition to the size of the portion, is the consistency of the food. The regular Lasagna is massive – several layers with various proteins including sliced meatballs. The vegetarian was with a white cream sauce. Not as massive but full flavored, the sauce was not to heavy. With dinner we sampled a nice bottle of  Frescobaldi Nippozzani Chianti Reserve ($36).

The Gnochhi are house-made and excellent – light and fluffy. No- I don’t know what E. Wood Big #70 means, and yes, this dish was as good as it reads. The Eggplant Panino is a sandwich style eggplant parm dish, a step up if you ask me. A healthy helping of fresh mozzarella sandwiched between not one but two pieces of crispy eggplant. Plus, you get a chance to try the coveted meatball.

Menu items to return for:

Veal Roviolini, Lobster Carbonara, Braised Beef Ragu, Veal… just click on the link to their menu. My typing isn’t that good and I’m pretty sure there isn’t anything on the menu I wouldn’t like. The biggest issue I have when ordering at Mulberry’s is getting something new. Is it possible to improve on the lasagna? What about the Bolognese or the Osso Buco or whatever my wife had last time – they were so good. Clearly the solution is I need to eat more, or go there more often…maybe both? My 2015 New Year’s resolution is starting to come into focus.  🙂

As good, and popular, as this place was a few years back, the menu and the food are even better today. A rare accomplishment for a restaurant once it reaches a certain level of notoriety. One thing for sure is you are not likely to go away hungry.

 

MULBERRY DETAILS: 

WEBSITE  |  MENU  |  WINE LIST

64 Jackson Ave., Lackawanna NY

716-822-8292

 

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