Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bellini's Dinner Table Tuesdays

So after hearing much about Bellini's new Dinner Table Tuesdays deal, I decided to purchase and review (Fussy Blog Daniel beat me to it, read his thoughts here). If you haven't heard, Bellini's is offering a bread/salad/pasta dinner for 4 for around 20 clams. I was a little skeptical about what I was going to get at this price, but I kept an open mind. The following is the description and instructions from the website-

"Here are tomorrow's Dinner Table Tuesday choices a day ahead of time if you wanted to place your order today and avoid the rush! 1/2 Platter of Penne ala Vodka, 1/2 Platter of Caserta Insalata and a Fresh Baked Italian Loaf - $19.95. Don't let the name fool you, the Penne ala Vodka is very "kid-friendly" - penne pasta with fresh tomatoes, oil, garlic, basil, vodka sauce, broccoli, cream and Romano (If ordering tomorrow please place your order at least 2 hours in advance)"

I called around 2:30 and arranged to pick up my order at 6:00 (at the Slingerlands location). Upon arriving at Bellini's there was a queue of 3 others waiting to pick up their own food. It seems the restaurant is doing a brisk traffic with this promotion, I thought this might speak well for the product. But then again, people could just be curious like me. Here is my prize in the bag. My wife liked the bag, funny the things she notices.

First we have the bread. I found the bread to be tasty and fresh, no problems here.

Next comes the "Caserta Insalata."

Again, I had no problems with the salad. The greens and tomatoes seemed fresh, there was what I deemed a generous amount of pancetta (bacon) bits, and 6 or 7 wee balls of mozzarella. I liked it in its own right, Mrs. Dave tried it with the dressing.

The wife was not a fan of the dressing, I tasted it and thought it was fine. I don't even really know what type of dressing it was supposed to be. It was creamy, vaguely tangy, with a good amount of garlic.

Now we have the "Penne ala Vodka."

Penne ala Vodka is not something that I would ever order in its own right. Almost universally offered at "Italian" eateries it is usually an insipid, bland, gunky mess. This said, I did not have high hopes for Bellini's version. However, I was actually pleasantly surprised. The sauce had some nice cheese/garlic flavor, the pasta was not cooked to gum, and the broccoli was plentiful and still had a bite to it.

I would have to say that I was pleased with the purchase. For 20 dollars (less than what I would spend on Chinese delivery for instance), I got a good and filling meal made with seemingly fresh ingredients. For my wife, who is much less adventurous in the culinary realm than I, this is just the kind of meal she loves. Did I mention it was only 20 dollars? I am a little perplexed by the promotion, either they are somehow actually turning a tidy profit or it is some genius plan to get the word out about Bellini's and build up some customer loyalty. Perhaps also to garner warm fuzzies from harried housewives. For the price and purpose, I heartily recommend this for the busy family.


  1. I wish I had taken a picture of our greens. But I showed your snapshot to Mrs. Fussy and she concurs that your greens look significantly better than what we brought home.

    Could something I have said actually made a difference?
    Or did we just get unlucky the first go around?

    Either way, it's $20. Helluva deal.

  2. I was toying with the idea of getting that today too. I'll have to check it out soon.

  3. Not too bad of a deal from a restaurant. I could go with a bigger loaf of bread (either that you've got some mitts, Mr. Dave!), but from a restaurant not too bad.

    I guess it's the skeptic in me, but I am always wary of pasta dishes from restaurants. Their cost is usually so low since pasta itself is really cheap. But hey, if it tastes good, that's what is really important.

  4. Mr. Dave - Let me again thank you for joining us for Dinner Table Tuesdays and for then taking the time to write such an honest and thoughtful review here on your blog. I loved it! When I showed my wife the first thing she said was, "OOOO...I like those bags." Which of course made me laugh in light of your wife said about the bag. The dressing we include with the Caserta is a Citrus Vinaigrette, but I'm certain if you request a different dressing if you order again we'd be happy to include an of our salad dressings.

    Your pictures were fair and told an accurate story of what a guest can expect with presentation and servinf size. I especially love the picture of the Bellini's sign which incidentally was installed only a day ago.

    To your final paragraph, you're right, it's all about customer loyalty, warm and fuzzies with busy families and creating excitement about the restaurant. Plus, I'll take a genius reference anyday!

    Thanks for recommendation - I genuinely hope you join us again next week and in the many weeks to come.


  5. We've ordered 2 out of the 4 weeks of Tuesdays and love it! My kids (4.5 & 1.5) have gobbled down the pasta both times, and my son loves the salad (although I just use our dressing out of the fridge, because I hate to mess with the fact that my 4-year-old loves salad by changing the dressing!). We, too, could do with a larger loaf of bread but the rest of the meal leaves plenty to supplement leftover night at the end of the week!

    I imagine this will be an at least once a month treat for us.


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