Friends of ours cordially asked to take us out to dinner and requested that I choose the place. I chose Vidalia restaurant! This is a small restaurant in Lawrenceville. We have been dining there for years, since it opened, actually, and have never been disappointed. There is a cozy, indoor section and a larger outdoor patio area that the owner built to accommodate the many reservations. The atmosphere is very friendly with friendly patrons.
This is a BYOB, which is fine with us because we get to drink something we really like without paying two or three times the cost.
The other night we dined inside. The Insalata di Caesar (crisp romaine mixed with focaccia crostini and shavings of parmesan tossed with homemade Caesar dressing) was truly excellent and Jon recommends it approvingly. The signature dish, the Stuffed Vidalia Onion (caramelized onion stuffed with fennel sausage and roasted red peppers, topped with melted mozzarella cheese) was fantastic, as usual. I absolutely adore this appetizer and I have ordered it many times.
For entrées, our friends had a chicken dish which was a weekly special which they both highly praised. Jon had the Chilean sea bass with shellfish, also a weekly special, and loved it. I had the Pollo Scarpariello (roasted free range chicken, seasoned with fresh Italian herbs, served over homemade garlic mashed potatoes and a side of string beans). The string beans were cooked perfectly al dente and the entire meal was very tasty. Although I don’t usually have desert, that night I had the Torte ala Nonna, which was scrumptious.
One entrée that I will often order is the oven baked Baby Back ribs; however, it is not always on the menu. I think it cooks slowly for several hours. I am not fond of most barbecue sauces, and Sal doesn't season these delicious ribs with barbecue sauce!
The owner/chef Sal is a remarkable cook and loves to cook. He is very personable and walks around the dining room later in the evening speaking with the diners. Lawrenceville is right next to Princeton and during one Pday (Pi day) a few years back, several Princeton University alumni were having dinner in Vidalia. They were very much into their alma mater and made me an honorary Pi Day persona by putting an orange beaded necklace on me (Orange and Black are the Princeton University colors!). See what I mean by “friendly patrons”!
Our dining companions said that they would be returning. If you visit Vidalia, I am sure you will have a fine dining experience!
Vidalia Restaurant 21 Phillips Ave, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648