Gourmet Cafe is a little restaurant that we've known and enjoyed for quite awhile. I don't know how it's possible that I haven't shared it here before, but it could be that I've just gone to enjoy myself and didn't bother to take photos because I wanted to just experience my meal.
The atmosphere is welcoming and friendly in this little restaurant. It's located in a strip mall in Parsippany, NJ - and for those who are not familiar with the plethora of strip malls in our state, they can be home to some fantastic places to eat. This is where you find chef/owners running the show and often it's a family business.
We had the pleasure of enjoying another incredible meal at Gourmet Cafe for my birthday a few weeks ago. I always make sure that I get in a good workout and eat lightly during the day so that I can indulge in the diverse menu offerings.
Chef Matthew Pierone is creative in the kitchen and is also willing to accommodate special dietary needs if you call ahead and let him know your needs. His staff is friendly and tends to remember you each time you visit... and once you've been there, I'm sure you'll be planning another visit to enjoy other meals. Chef Matthew visits the dining room to speak to everyone and check to see how they are enjoying their meals. We've had the pleasure of speaking with him on many occasions and it really has made us want to come back more often. It's the personal touch that makes this restaurant a bit more special than others we've been to in the area.
For my birthday meal (pictured above), we started with the Crispy Parmesan Risotto Cake. This appetizer is breaded and served in a lovely tomato basil sauce... what you'll find intriguing is that the risotto is that the cake is also stuffed with salami and Asiago cheese. It's very hard to stop nibbling on this appetizer because the flavor combination hits all the right notes.
I've tried many main dishes, but I think my new favorite is the Penne with Scallops. The scallops were perfectly cooked (not always an easy task as I have tried it, and need to work on my technique), served with penne pasta, fresh spinach in a light plum tomato sauce. The sauce was not too rich - which was fine because it complemented the scallops perfectly. A creamy sauce would have overwhelmed this dish.
Many of their desserts are made in-house, but this time I opted for the Godiva Chocolate Gelato because it was my birthday. This is a dessert that they bring in and it's covered in a solid chocolate coating and was the perfect indulgence for this evening.
We've enjoyed lunch there as well, and let me tell you the soup and sandwich combination is no small amount of food! The soup is a large bowl - I loved the Tomato Basil Soup that I tried a few months ago. So creamy and satisfying on the chilly day that we were there. My favorite lunch sandwich is the Honey Maple Ham and Brie - served on a twelve grain bread that is full of flavor and compliments the sweetness of the ham and the creaminess of the brie.
One of My Husband's favorite dishes is the Chicken Giambotta which is a spicy dish that will get your temperature up from the heat of the peppers. He loves spicy food, and this is a favorite during the colder months.
Chef Matthew is also a big supporter of local charities. Every Monday is Make a Difference Mondays where local organizations can sign up to receive 10% of the total sales of the day. Giving back to the community is an important part of what this restaurant does. I love seeing local organizations benefitting from meals that we eat at regularly.
He was recently named as one of the Best Chefs in America - which is impressive and something we were thrilled to hear!
So, if you find yourself in Morris County, New Jersey and trying to find a great BYO restaurant that will be sure to please everyone you are going out with... be sure to try Gourmet Cafe.
136 Baldwin Road
Parsippany, NJ 07054
Note: This is not a sponsored post, I am sharing my opinion on it because it's a great place to dine out and would love to recommend it to anyone who happens to be in the area. It's worth the trip!
Please note that all photos and content belong to Patsy Kreitman, unless otherwise noted. If you want to use something please ask first.