If you’re looking for a slice to go, this isn’t your place. But if you want seafood brought in from market that morning, or pasta with Bolognese whipped up just for you, or a generous salad made from local produce, then you won’t be disappointed.
You can order a freshly fired pizza (and by fired, I mean in under a minute in the 800-degree oven), and other classic Italian favorites, but I’d highly recommend you consider something seasonal from Chef and Co-Owner Giovanni Carannante’s menu.
I started with a Lobster Salad. Keep in mind I reminded him it was a tasting so small portions would be more than fine. If these tastes are Chef Giovanni’s idea of small, then I can’t wait to try a full-sized entrée. An epic amount of fresh lobster was piled on spring mix, candied walnuts, chopped roasted peppers, asparagus and oranges tickled with a citrus orange vinaigrette. As-is, this delight was bright and bursting with the flavor of real lobster kissed with tart citrus. But, what’s this on the side? A devilish Cajun mix that added spicy-salty and was an absolute surprise. The sweet vinaigrette and orange flavors practically begged for their friend umami.
Next was an extraordinary Tuna Carpaccio that would make a sushi chef take a second glance. Light, peppery bites of blackened tuna were topped with a creamy aioli that offered just a hint of lemon, all perched on a thin slice of grilled zucchini and garnished with a nib of peach and apple. It was a good-sized bite, but worth popping the entire thing into my mouth to get the explosion of flavors: earthly zucc, sweet fruit, slightly spicy tuna and smooth lemony goodness. But what’s this, another on-the-side surprise? Indeed, a spicy chipotle sauce to add some kick. It was an insanely perfect companion to the zucchini, enhanced the fruit even as the fruit cooled it down and kicked up the tuna’s spice. Eating this dish was like putting together a delicious puzzle: each piece was different, but fit together beautifully.
What would an Italian tasting be without pasta? In this case, low carb Linguini and Shellfish. Yes, I said low-carb, but if Chef Giovanni hadn’t fessed up, I wouldn’t have known. First, because I was distracted by the generous portion of just-cooked mussels and clams surrounding the pasta, and next because I could see the garlic white wine sauce was generously dotted with cherry tomatoes, super-fresh parsley and basil. I tried each element on its own, and was delighted with the supple linguini, tangy tomatoes, mild shellfish and fragrant herbs. When the dish was hit with just-cut lemon (another well-placed “on the side”), and noshed in one big bite, the flavors were enhanced: the sauce became more buttery, herbs brighter, tomatoes tangier, shellfish sweet-tart. Suddenly I was in a café on the coast of Italy. Ciao, baby.
But it wasn’t time to go, as Lemon Mousse with Fresh Caramel and Fruit arrived. Did I mention these were “sample” sizes? This one had to be the real deal, a delicate ladyfingers cup filled with the lightest mousse ever, topped with a dollop of lemony sauce and an art-deco just-made caramel garnish. It was like a cloud of deliciousness had floated down from heaven. One nibble was so distractingly good I almost missed the fresh peaches and apples, plus the tease of ricotta cream and chocolate on the side (what genius, these happy finds at the edge of each plate). And despite all that, it most definitely was not too sweet nor too tart. Need a bit more sweetness? Bite of peach and caramel. Want a bit more tart? Bite of apple. Want the perfect finish? Scoop up that bit of chocolate. Truth be told, I’d ordinarily never order a lemon dessert … until now.
In addition to Chef Giovanni, Bite of Italy is co-owned with wife, Rossella Fevola; sister, Rossana Carannante; and brother-in-law and Managing Partner Giorgio Ragnolo. The family learned about fresh and local from their vantage point in Naples, where they grew up, and brought this authentic deliciousness to the United States in 1999. They source daily delivered fish, seafood, chicken, beef and pork, along with local produce, to craft made-from-scratch traditional Italian specialties with a twist. And they make it all right there: bread, meatballs, sandwiches, dessert, hand-cut chicken and meats – you name it, it’s been created right then and there.
Bite of Italy is a BYOB. They can handle groups and are happy to craft a custom menu to meet your budget. The menu changes with the season and always highlights a weekly special. Gluten-free pasta (cooked in separate pans) and whole-wheat pizza may be made to order, as well. And why not? It’s a family restaurant run by a family that’s ready and waiting to cook for you and yours.
Find Bite of Italy in the Shoppes at Longwood Village at 847 E. Baltimore Pike in Kennett Square. Bite of Italy is reachable by phone at 610-925-2762, and online at biteofitalypa.com. Follow them on Facebook too, by clicking here, or on Twitter, by clicking here.
Have yet to visit? Bite of Italy is hosting their Grand Opening on Thursday, May 3rd from 5–7 pm. The restaurant will be serving complimentary food around the pizza bar for the occasion, and will also host a ribbon cutting ceremony with the local chamber followed a performance from a special, fun entertainer.