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Bites Nearby: Undici

Rumson restaurant captures the exact ambiance of a Tuscan farmhouse, with a mouth watering selection of local and imported ingredients

I have been going to Undici for the last two years when I have a chance to get to Rumson. The restaurant itself is decorated to look exactly like a farmhouse in Tuscany. Many customers go there to treat themselves to a really nice, gourmet dinner, or even sit at the bar with a glass of wine and gourmet pizza on any given day. All the food is made fresh, with a bar in the center and the salad station next to it.

The lunch menu features a generous amount of antipasti, such as the Proscuitti e Frutta (18 month aged Prosciutto di Parma with seasonal fresh fruit and local wildflower honey), Barbaietole (fresh roasted yellow and red beets, arugula, red onion, red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and Coach Farms goat cheese), or Misticanza (hand picked baby greens, Trevisano, gorgonzola, toasted pine nuts, garbanzo beans, balsamic vinaigrette & grilled ciabatta bread).  They also feature paninis, such as Due (Italian sweet sausge, fresh spinach, roasted garlic and extra virgin olive oil then pressed on a house made brick oven roll) or Sette (Italian tuna in olive oil, fresh arugula, hot peppers, black olive tapenade, on house made pizza bread). The pasta is house made, like the Fusilli Integrale, house made semolina and whole wheat with fresh summer vegetables and roasted pepper pesto.

The dinner menu is more involved and exciting. I am a huge fan of their gourmet pizza menu, as it is the most affordable but some of the best pizza you can get around here. With a glass of wine, it's perfect. The Margherita is a classic, with buffalo mozzarella, Pecorino-Romano, fresh tomato, fresh basil, peperoncini and extra virgin olive oil. My favorite, though, is the Arugula e Prosciutto, with buffalo mozzarella, Pecorino-Romano, grape tomato, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and Prosciutto, topped with argula after it cooks.  They also offer some of the same antipastis from the lunch menu, but added regular salads as well. 

Dinner pasta dishes worth mentioning is the Orecciette Rapini, (house made orecciette with sute broccoli rabe, Italian sausage, garlic, a touch of tomato and extra virgin olive oil), or for seafood lovers the Fregula Sarda (house made Sardinian pasta with fresh clams, mussels, garlic, Italian parsley and extra virigin olive oil). They also rotate a daily Ravioli special, with seasonal fillings and sauces. I have not yet had the chance to try a traditional entree, but in time, I would like to enjoy the Diavolo (pan roasted, black pepper encrusted baby chicken served with grilled artichoke and fresh stuffed Jersey tomato with Arborio rice), Tonno (fresh sushi yellowfin tuna with fresh Jersey tomato, garlic, calamata olives, eggplant, artichoke, and capers with house made spaghetti) or Gamberoni all Griglia (grilled jumbo shrimp marinated in extra virgin olive oil, garlic, lemon, white wine, black peppers and coastal sea salt with spaghetti pomodoro).

I like Undici any time for a quick panini or pizza, but I also love it for a sit down dinner for a special occasion.

For more information, visit www.undicirestaurant.com, call 732-842-3880, or just stop in.

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