Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ristorante Serena: Lunch

I had a hankering for some Italian food for lunch so I decided to return to Ristorante Serena in Malden. I had been there previously and had a very good dinner. So I anticipated that I would have another good meal. Plus, I wanted to check out how their lunch selections.

It appears that the chef/owner and his wife were working this afternoon. The chef greeted us as we arrived and then sat us at one of the tables. We were the first ones there for lunch. His wife was our waitress.

The lunch menu is abbreviated from the dinner menu and includes a few items that are not on the dinner menu. The lunch menu still has plenty of choices, including paninis. Entree prices range from $5-12, quite reasonable for lunch.

As we waited for our food, we were brought hot, fresh slices of Italian bread. As I mentioned in my last review, the bread is excellent. It has a great soft inner consistency with a crusty exterior. The bread also went well with our appetizer, the Zuppa Di Cozze ($5.50). These were mussels and I chose a white sauce though I could have had a red sauce. The white sauce had garlic and I believe wine in it and was quite tasty. Perfect for dipping the bread. The appetizer came with a mound of mussels plus some small tomatoes. The mussels were very tasty and tender. Even my mother, who usually does not care for mussels, thoroughly enjoyed these. I would say this was an excellent value considering how many mussels we received.

For entrees, my mother had the home-made lasagna ($7.50) which was a large, thick square of lasagna in red sauce. She very much enjoyed her lunch. I had the Pollo Valdostano ($9.95) which was chicken breast, covered with ham and cheese, in a light cream sauce over ziti. I received a large portion of chicken completely covered with thinly sliced ham and melted cheese. I had thought the cream sauce might be a lighter Alfredo-type of sauce but I was wrong. It was actually closer to a Marsala sauce and there was definitely wine in the sauce. I thought it was very delicious and complemented the chicken well. The chicken was tender and flavorful. The ziti were cooked perfectly too. This was an excellent dish and something I would heartily recommend.

Service was excellent. The chef and his wife were both friendly, gracious and helpful. They seemed genuine and I could detect that passion I seek in them.

When we left, there was only one other table occupied. This surprised me as this is definitely a good find for lunch. Prices are reasonable, food is plentiful and everything tastes good. You should check out Ristorante Serena for lunch or dinner.

Ristorante Serena
18 Lebanon St.
Malden, MA
Phone: (781) 324-3170

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