Giovanni’s just keeps getting better with age
By Mark Taylor Post-Tribune correspondent March 7, 2012 3:22PM
Appetizers begin at $6 for bruschetta and rise to $7 for our fried artichoke hearts. Pasta dishes start at $12.95 for the spaghetti or penne and rise to $19 for the shrimp marinara. Entrees begin at $14.75 for chicken vesuvio, and steaks range from $25 to $28. My wife’s veal parmigiana is $22 and my grilled amberjack special was $20.
If You Go
Giovanni’s Restaurant & Lounge
603 Ridge Road, Munster
11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday–Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 5-11 p.m. for dinner only on Saturday
For reservations, call 836-6220.
Updated: April 10, 2012 10:52AM
I’m not sure whether the economy is rebounding or that Northwest Indiana diners are going stir crazy and perhaps feeling, like the budding plants and courting birds, a little confused by the unseasonably mild winter.
But on a recent Friday night at Munster’s landmark Italian eatery, Giovanni’s Restaurant & Lounge, the place was packed and spirits seemed high.
Giovanni’s has been around since I was a kid and I’ve often written about my fondness for it and its late founder and owner, Procopio “Pro” LoDuca, who launched it nearly 50 years ago. Over the years I’ve sampled nearly everything on the menu and found most of it to my taste.
Giovanni’s features three dining rooms, one surrounding the long bar up front, a middle room and one to the rear of the restaurant. We ate in the cozy middle room, which features warm autumnal colored arches over the booths along the walls and pale green hanging lamp shades.
We ordered two of our favorites , the fried artichoke hearts and the steamed mussels, both of which delivered. The artichoke hearts were barely breaded and fried to a delightful crunch and served atop a light, garlicky Alfredo sauce with sautéed spinach. Once the artichokes disappeared, we sopped up the remaining sauce and spinach with Giovanni’s famed Parmesan rolls.
The generous portion of sweet, succulent steamed mussels were perfectly cooked in a white wine and herbed butter sauce that also welcomed the bread.
Our appetizers took the edge off our hunger, but left us enough room for some great dinner entrees. My wife selected the veal parmigiana, while I opted for a seafood dish on the specials menu, the grilled amberjack, sometimes called yellowtail.
The veal parmigiana was a lightly battered veal cutlet deep fried to a golden crisp, topped with a homemade tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese and melted mozzarella cheese. This comfort food dish summoned many happy memories. It tasted wonderful. Entrees come with a choice of potatoes or pasta and she requested spaghetti with rich, meaty sauce.
My grilled amberjack was delivered with gorgeous hash marks and a pleasing aroma. The thin filets had a nice, woody flavor. My baked potato was, in the words of Mitt Romney, the right height and weight, and the steamed broccoli tender and cooked correctly.
We ordered the Gran Marnier chocolate cake, prepared with thins layers of flourless chocolate cake slathered with a Gran Marnier infused chocolate mousse and topped with a thin hardened chocolate. It was served with crème anglais and raspberry sauce and makes you feel rich just eating it.
The white chocolate raspberry gelato was, like most good Italian-style ice creams, intensely flavorful and slightly chewy. Delicioso!