Lunch Dates and a Review (Grato Restaurant)

Sometimes life gets pretty busy and you find that all of your so-called spare time is being spent running from one place to the next... getting the kids to this practice or that scout meeting or working on homework... or whatever else you might have on your to-do list.  One of the things we find that slips through the cracks is getting a night out as a couple.

Recently, we had an epiphany... we both work within 10-15 minutes of each other, so why not meet for lunch?  No sitter required... we are already dressed nicely because of work, so all we needed to do was decide on where to go.

There are a number of restaurants in our part of Morris County, so it often comes down to what you might be in the mood to eat.  This time, we chose Grato Restaurant.

It's a lovely restaurant that is not too dark for a lunch date... I don't care for restaurants that are dimly lit when I'm eating lunch.  We were seating near a window and took our time looking over the menu.  The lunch menu may seem pricey but, this Italian restaurant is not your typical New Jersey pizzaria with a restaurant menu for those patrons who want to have a sit down meal (and I have NOTHING against those places - I often choose them when we go out and they often have the bonus of being BYO).

We started with the Crispy Calamari and Hot Cherry Peppers.

Lunch with my honey today! We splurged and got the fried calamari appetizer! Yum!

They were cooked nicely - not over done or underdone... no rubbery pieces on this plate.  I didn't have the hot peppers (a bit too much for me, but My Husband enjoyed them).  The marinara was not spicy, but it had a nice flavor to it.

The menu has a wide variety of offerings that go from soup to pasta to fish, panini and some delicious sounding salads.  I opted for the Pressed Roast Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Panini.

Ah-mazing roasted tomato, mozzarella and basil panini for lunch today.

When I posted the picture on Instagram... I described it as "Ah-mazing"... and it was!  I couldn't finish it, but I really wanted to because the cheese was just melty enough to mix well with the roasted tomatoes and basil... and the bread... oh yeah, soft on the inside with a slight crunch on the outside from the panini press.  Just the kind of lunch that makes a tummy very happy.

My Husband opted for the Chicken Milanese and thoroughly enjoyed it... and I caught him eating the last of it later that night at home!  I didn't taste it, but if actions speak louder than words then you can guarantee that he enjoyed this sandwich!

Chicken Milanese panini
Not a horribly extravagant lunch, but one that left us satisfied and having spent some time together (without the kids) talking.    And, while we did have to keep it to a reasonable amount of time since we both had to return to work... that wasn't an issue at this restaurant.  The pace didn't seem hurried, but everything was served without either of us needing to check the time.  We were able to finish lunch and still return to work without being late.

If you are in Morris County (New Jersey), I would definitely suggest this as a great stop for lunch.  I haven't had the pleasure of dining here for dinner yet, but I'm adding it to my list of places to try next time we do opt for a sitter and an evening out.

Grato Restaurant
2230 Route 10 West
Morris Plains, NJ  07950

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