The Pine Banks area of Melrose has undergone some extensive renovation and construction, including numerous condominiums. They are also adding some new businesses, including at least one restaurant though more may be added in the future. The new restaurant, Bobby C's Ristorante, opened very recently and I have made a few trips there to check it out. Bobby C's is currently only open for dinner though they will be opening for lunch in the near future.
As I recently said about The Ginger Pad, please remember that this is a new restaurant so you should not expect perfection. You must allow for some initial growing pains as the restaurant gets on track. They cannot by judged too harshly yet.
The restaurant is a casually elegant, medium-sized place that faces Main Street. The front has large windows so you can view Main Street from your table. There is a small bar that seats about eight people and there are two televisions behind the bar. A nice place for couples, families or groups. On a Saturday night, it was very busy so word is quickly spreading.
They have a full bar with a small wine list. I was not impressed with the selection of wines available though nearly all of the wines are under $30 a bottle. Mark-up on the wines seems to be at least twice the usual retail, if not more.
The food menu is extensive, and they always have several Specials each day. The menu consists of Appetizers ($7.99-$11.99), Homemade Zuppa ($3.95/cup, $5.95 bowl), Insulate ($5.95-$12.99), Pasta Entrees ($9.95-$19.99), Other Entrees ($15.99-$28.99), and Pizza ($9.95+). The dishes are primarily Italian though they also have some more traditional American fare such as Rack of Lamb, Steak Au Poivre and Pork Chops. The menu should have something for everyone, no matter what their preferences.
Prior to your food arriving, you receive a bread basket of fresh Italian bread and a dish of spiced oil. The bread has a crusty exterior and a very soft interior. It is a nice start though my personal preference would be that the bread was warmed.
I tried the Mussels appetizer ($9.99), sauteed in a white wine sauce with sliced hot peppers and some cherry tomatoes. I received a large pile of tender mussels and the flavorful sauce was just the right degree of spiciness. Well worth ordering. I also had one of their Special appetizers one evening, a Seafood Risotto ($13.95). This consisted of mussels, clams, shrimp and scallops, all atop arborio rice with a few slices of tomato. The shrimp and scallops were good-sized and tasty. The rice was in a bit of a creamy sauce and was very flavorful, and cooked just right. It was a large appetizer that two people could have easily split. Another dish I would recommend.
The Antipasto For Two ($12.99) has imported meats, cheese, pepperoncini, and roasted red peppers atop mixed greens. It is another large dish with plenty of slices of meat including Mortadella, Capicole, and Prosciutto. Everything was fresh and good.
All of the Pasta Entrees come with a choice of soup or house salad. The Chicken Escarole soup was good, as was the Minestrone soup (a special one evening). The broths are very flavorful and they were both filled with plenty of other ingredients, from escarole to veggies.
The Shrimp Scampi ($18.99) had a creamier sauce, of white wine, garlic and butter. It was good, though they certainly used a lot of butter. If you are looking for a light sauce, this would not be your choice. The shrimp did not seem as large as the ones that had been used for the Seafood Risotto. It was a tasty dish though nothing special. The Veal Saltinbocca ($19.99) was a more impressive dish. There was plenty of thin, tender veal covered with lots of prosciutto and mozzarella. It was in a light, white wine and sage sauce that seemed to have a hint of lemon. Very delicious and highly recommend. I did get the homemade Fusilli with this dish (an extra $2) and it was very good too, cooked just right.
The Other Entrees are accompanied by your choice of two sides, including items like pasta, potato au gratin, whipped potatoes and veggies. The Chicken Marsala ($15.99) is served with mushrooms in a Marsala wine sauce. I received plenty of tender chicken and the Marsala sauce was light with the right touch of sweetness. Some Marsala sauces can be too heavy but this sauce was far from that. Another dish I would recommend. For sides, I tried the Au Gratin and some Angel Hair pasta with their red sauce. The red sauce was good though the Au Gratin were a disappointment. The Au Gratin comes with prosciutto and Fontina cheese but they seemed dry, maybe overcooked. I was expecting something creamy or cheesy, like other Au Gratin sides I have had elsewhere. But that was not the case.
I also tried their Pizza with Bacon. Their pizza has a very thin crust and it was topped with plenty of sauce, cheese and real pieces of bacon. I liked the thin crust and the thicker crust on the perimeter. It was a very tasty pizza except that it was a bit oily. When you take a slice of pizza off the pan, there is a pool of oil below it. And the top of the pizza has some oily residue as well.
If you want dessert, they bring out a tray to show you the available choices, such as cannoli, cheesecake and tiramisu. I tried the Tiramisu ($6.95), and it is a bowl of tiramisu rather than a slice. It was quite good, with the right balance of flavors and not overly sweet.
Service was generally good. But, I did have to ask a few times, on different visits, for my water glass to be refilled. They seem to have plenty of staff so they might want to assign someone the job of refilling water glasses. But that is a minor issue which I am sure they will work out.
Overall, I liked this restaurant and think it is headed in the right direction. I think prices are generally reasonable for the quality and quantity of food you receive. There is plenty of variety on their menu and the restaurant has a nice, casual ambiance. I will be returning there for dinner and will also check it out when it opens for lunch. I recommend that my readers check it out and tell me your thoughts.
Bobby C's Ristorante
2 Main Street