Restaurant critic review: Pietro's a classy place to enjoy a first-class meal
By Amanda Farinos
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
JENSEN BEACH - They don't even have a sign on the building, but Pietro's on the River has been packed since opening night. In the Island Dunes Country Club, this week-old restaurant boasts what amounts to a star-studded staff, when it comes to local restaurant professionals.
You'll remember Chef David from Brick Wall, and the servers also are familiar faces, loyally following chef and owner from one venue to the next. Owner Pietro Valentini - formerly of Rottie's - spearheaded the remodel, jovially claiming he doesn't work with a partner because he doesn't need anyone's help making mistakes. The place looks amazing.
Beyond the staff, Pietro's provides a remarkable opportunity to indulge in fine dining, and a country-club atmosphere, without the usual price tag. A couple can enjoy a first-class meal for $60 or let loose on the wine list and spend a lot more. I dined with good friends this week, and was treated to some wonderful wine, a Caymus cabernet ($115); Pietro himself came to open the first bottle for us. Wine by the glass is available, from around $6.
We shared an eggplant spinach stack draped in tomato bordelaise ($10.95) and some escargot ($10.95) as appetizers. The aroma from the eggplant dish was smoky and tangy, the prosciutto detectable before you could even see it. The escargot were great, drowning in garlic butter and buried under a layer of cheese.
For the main course I selected baked sea scallops in sweet lobster sauce, with cheesy risotto ($23.95). My guest had an excellent veal picatta ($22.95). Our friends chose filet mignon ($29.95), coated in demi-glace and tender enough to cut with a butter knife.
During dinner we were serenaded by Spanish guitar music, and even sneaked in a little dance as the restaurant cleared out. The evening was fantastically relaxing, and I plan to return soon.
Amanda Farinos dines anonymously at the expense of Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers.