Once, there was Chile’s, on Locust Street, but it folded.
Once, there was Delle Stelle, on North Main street, but it, too, folded.
Now, there is Stelle Bistro, in the building where Chile’s was. It isn’t the greatest restaurant in the county, but it’s a decent place to get a solid meal for a fair price.
I started with the caprese salad. I always start with the caprese salad.
Think of this salad as a Buick–good, solid, reliable. Nothing to complain about. It isn’t a Mercedes or a Ferrari, but it doesn’t pretend to be. Stelle is a Buick kind of restaurant, and there is a good market for that.
Gail ordered a small spinach salad. What she got was the house salad, which leads into a discussion of the service. Our waiter was clearly a professional, a man who moved here from Milan many years ago and has made a career of waiting tables. But there is only so much one man can do–and Stelle keeps prices down by keeping labor costs down. No runners to bring out the food, the waiter has to do it all himself. And when there are 5 people at the table, he can’t possibly bring it all at once. I hate waiting at the table when half the people have food and half don’t.
The entree I chose was apparently a house specialty at Delle Stelle, and they brought it over to the new place.
I’ve never had anything quite like this–orecchiette (little ears) pasta, potato, carmelized onion and fontina cheese. This may be the ultimate comfort food.
Mike Rippey had the Osso Bucco, large chunks of veal shank, a pile of polenta and the bones, dripping marrow. It sure looked good, and I saw Gail stealing Mike’s marrow.
Although this is nominally an Italian restaurant, there are a number of South American dishes on the menu–notably the Lomo Saltado (sirloin strips sauteed with onion) and the Chuleta de Cordero, lamb chops.
For dessert, we had another South American specialty:
Some kind of ice cream, flavored with a South American fruit. Sweet, of course, but no tang or tartness. A squiggle of chocolate ganache on top. It isn’t listed on their website menu, so I don’t know what it is, but I liked it.
Prices are moderate–my pasta was $15.95, the Osso Bucco $22.95.
Stelle Bistro is a Buick in the restaurant business, and there is no shame in that. I wish they could get all the food to the table at once, but you get what you pay for. I’d go here again for a simple, easy dinner.