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Searching for Gold at D'Oro

Desserts impress, and a grouper dish stands out, but a pasta leaves a bit to be desired.

A retail space at 219 Main Street previously housed the Italian restaurant Fuoco, but a new establishment took its spot in April after it closed earlier in the year. I have been curious about D'Oro ever since it opened.

I made last minute reservations for dinner there on a Saturday night for 7:30 p.m. My family and I walked in with a bottle of wine and noticed quite a few empty tables. We were seated in the middle of the restaurant.

The crowd mostly consisted of adults—there were not many kids. I had my daughter with me, and I realized it had been a good decision to give her dinner before we came.

Soon afterward, a friendly waiter with a heavy Italian accent chatted with us. He was very friendly as he announced the specials.

We went through the menu and noticed the appetizers ranged from $8 to $24. Salads were anywhere from $6 to $8. There were soups, as well, which ranged from $6 to $7.

We decided to order gamberi Toscana for $12, which was described as jumbo shrimp and Tuscan white beans sautéed with yellow and grape tomatoes in a fresh sage white wine sauce. We got our plate and noticed the jumbo shrimp on top of the soft, creamy cannellini beans. What was missing? The white wine sauce—I didn't taste it. There was a drizzle of balsamic glaze instead, which was very nice, but it was definitely not enough.

The dish tasted a bit bland, and I look forward to replicating and improving it in a soon-to-come recipe adaptation.

I was also in the mood for pasta. I usually cook so much of it at home and am always looking to eat something different outside.

I looked through the pasta section, where dishes ranged from $14 to $18. I was leaning towards the broccoli rabe and sausage pasta, which is my all-time favorite thing to eat.

But my husband convinced me to try the linguini con calamari e scungilli fra diavolo for $18—linguini pasta with calamari and conch cooked in a spicy marinara sauce. We also ordered the a grouper special that featured fish cooked in a lemon butter sauce and served with vegetables. It piqued our interest, and cost about $27.

The fish was cooked perfectly. It was tender and very flavorful, and the lemony sauce complimented the grouper. Overall, it was light and delicious.

My pasta on the other hand, was not as good. The octopus and calamari were cooked just right—very tender and not chewy—and the linguini was al dente. The sauce was flavorful, but definitely not spicy.

My main problem with the dish was its overpowering fishy flavor. I realize octopus is fishy by nature, but somehow, in this dish, I couldn't taste anything else.

I was a bit disappointed, especially since I was looking forward to a delicious plate of pasta.

To make myself feel better, I ordered the tiramisu for $7 and a cappuccino for  $4.50. They did not disappoint. The tiramisu was creamy with luscious mascarpone cheese and the layers of ladyfingers, and the beverage was also quite good.

I feel I need to come back and give the pasta another chance. Something tells me I will be pleasantly surprised.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated scungilli was octopus. It is conch.

Ron Swanson August 13, 2010 at 01:42 PM
For the record, scungilli is not octopus - not even close. It's conch.
JerseyGirl August 13, 2010 at 09:01 PM
I've eaten at D'Oro twice now, once with my husband and once with a friend. We were all very happy overall from the service right to the dessert. Coming from a family that has owned and operated a restaurant successfully for 40 years, we know quality food and service, and D'Oro does not disappoint. Their chocolate cheese cake was probably the best dessert I have ever tasted. Completely melt in your mouth out of this world. Our waiter on both occassions was very pleasant, accomodating and professional. Wonderful dining experience and a nice replacement to Fuoco's.
Monica Puri Bangia August 14, 2010 at 03:08 PM
Thank you for clearing it up. The waiter told us it was octopus...
gail gannon, senior center of the chathams December 22, 2010 at 03:05 PM
My husband and I have been there too many times to count and (unfortunately) have recommended it to a lot of friends which is making it a popular place to be. The staff could not be more accommodating and the food is always very good. The fried calamari are the best I have had outside of Rome...light and not greasy. The specials are always interesting and delicious. I especially enjoy the lighter Italian fare. D'Oro's has been a wonderful addition to Chatham with the friendliest staff you could ask for. And the chocolate cheesecake is heavenly!
Charles Cox January 07, 2011 at 10:05 PM
Like the above writer, we have been to D'Oro's perhaps eight times over the past three months, including both Christmas and New Years Eves and our experiences have been delightful and rewarding. We love dining out and D'Oro's has become our favorite due not only to the great and tasty Italian dishes but also the terrific service. If you want something that is not on the menu, they will do their very best to accomodate your wishes. Sam, the owner, along with Tony, Giovanni and the entire staff are the best in the business and their motto has to be "we aim to please". They all make you feel as a treasured guest and part of their family. Thank you to D'Oro's for making us feel so special. Charles Cox of Florham Park

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