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Vitales Italian Bistro – Gloucester City, NJ

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Vitales Italian Bistro – Gloucester City, NJ

Sitting in a heavy industrial portion of Gloucester City, New
Jersey is Vitales Italian Bistro (VIB). The outside may not have
too much to look at, but the interior of VIB is warm, welcoming,
and very large. The front is a gigantic bar area that had a decent
sized crowd that leads to the rear dining area which is also
deceiving large with a big crowd the night I visited as well. The
menu made up mostly of your standard choices at an Italian
restaurant. The first order would be for their Clams Casino.

vitales clam casino

Their Clams Casino consisted of Fresh littleneck clams topped with
crispy bacon, red and green peppers, and bread crumbs. I was
almost knocked out of my chair with how delicious this platter
was. Everything seemed so fresh and was one of the best versions
of this dish I have had in a long time. The waitress stated they
were made to order and I could tell these were. I could have went
for two more orders and a few beers and left a very happy man. Any
visit to VIB should not happen without an order of these. With
such success, I wanted to keep the food coming, so my next option
was the French Onion Soup.

vitales french onion

It sometimes amazes me how some establishments can get some things
so right, yet other things completely wrong. Well the French Onion
Soup was everything that was wrong. The broth was no more flavorful
than tap water. The onions were hard and not carmelized at all and
just regular bread was thrown in to top it all off. The only
saving grace was a healthy amount of cheese topped the crock. VIB
went from one of the best dishes I had in quite some time to one
of the very worst I have had in quite some time. I have had canned
French Onion soup that was a million times better than this
incarnation. The score was 1-1 on the food I had, next up would be
their stuffed shrimp.

vitales stuffed shrimp
The stuffed shrimps were good, but not great which is a shame
because overall it was a well done dish. The mashed potatoes were
spot on delicious. The vegetable mix was not only fresh and crisp,
but seasoned and sauteed to perfection. The problem came that the
shrimp were too small for a stuffed shrimp entree and the shrimp
were more topped with filler then truly stuffed in any fashion. They
were slightly overcooked causing them to be a little on the dry
side, and were topped with more of a crab cake mix than a
decent version of crab imperial like was stated on the menu.

Even with VIB misses, their hits were of the greatest hits
variety. The bread served before the meal was fresh and the olive
oil and herbs dipping sauce was a fantastic way to get things
started. The service was extremely friendly, fast, efficient, and
prices reasonable. They need to review their french onion soup
coming out and possibly start the recipe from scratch or just get
rid of it all together, and maybe use more of a crab imperial
topping and they could good from a good experience to out of this
world.

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