Restaurant Review: Marcello’s of Suffern

The walls in the small vestibule of Marcello’s are adorned with framed copies of some of the rave reviews and culinary awards the restaurant has received since it opened its doors 14 years ago.

“The best Italian restaurant,” one declares. “(One of the) best restaurants for wine lovers,” exclaims another.

 

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You’d expect a restaurant that has received such accolades—and a restaurant whose chef and owner, Marcello Russodivitto, has been named “ambassador of Italian Cuisine” by the President of Italy—to have a, well, stuffy air to it. 

 

Marcello’s does not. This Rockland County eatery, with its blue-gray walls and brass wall sconces, is a high-quality gourmet restaurant with a delightfully warm, neighborhood feel. The staff is professional and attentive. The restaurant, inviting and cheerful. But it’s the food—fresh and authentic—that brings diners back again and again.

 

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Appetizers, including sautéed broccoli rabe with garlic and olive oil, eggplant filled with mozzarella and prosciutto, and air-cured aged Parma ham, are all fine choices. But I adored the hearty dish of tender mussels and clams set in a just-right piquant marinara sauce—great to soak up with the warm and crusty Italian dinner rolls. 

 

As for entrees, there’s an array of fish and meat dishes to choose from including pan-seared Chilean sea bass, fresh salmon sautéed with a mustard and mushroom sauce and seared rack of lamb in a roasted garlic, wine sauce. I thoroughly enjoyed “heart-healthy” farm-raised ostrich, swathed in a lovely Mediterranean sauce of sun dried tomatoes and capers. My more traditional dining companion relished the veal marsala, accompanied by melt-in-your-mouth mashed potatoes.

 

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We hadn’t much room for dessert but who can pass it up when offerings include a heavenly chocolate tart and vanilla ice cream or a lemon tart served with lemon sorbet. Top it off with a cup of foamy cappuccino or one of Marcello’s special teas and, odds are, you’ll be back again and again, too.

 

MARCELLO’S OF SUFFERN

21 Lafayette Ave., Suffern

(914) 357-9108

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