Sapori – Collingswood, NJ
Holy Moley Me Oh My! Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros cannot sing it any better than what I felt after leaving Sapori. To make this review even more exciting, why not find the song and listen to it while you read this.
Chef Franco Lombardo was born in Palermo, Italy and the title of the song lets you know exactly what Chef Franco creates at Sapori “Home”. Opening a sixty-four seat eatery in an area already heavily populated with Italian restaurants, Collingswood, NJ in 2003 he has recreated a look and feel of his home country Italy here that I am positive is the envy of many interior decorators wishing they could do the same. The only problem is that I am embarrassed to admit that it took me until now to find this oasis of Italy in the Philadelphia region.
Having one of the most amazing authentic Italian meals ever in the States while dining here, I will not even try to explain the explosions of fresh flavors my mouth was able to experience. My party went on a Wednesday evening and decided for Chef Franco to cook us his chef’s tasting menu, which he prepares with only the freshest ingredients that very day, so for me to fawn over what I had as great as it was, I may or may not have that again for my next tasting menu. The entrees went from special stuffed olives, fresh Italian cheeses and meats, an absolutely beautiful rendition of polenta with chickpeas that everyone should make this way instead of cornmeal, fabulous sardines that even converted others at the table who stated they hated sardines, pasta with sea urchins that arrived just an hour or two before we arrived which was the highlight of the menu for me creating a taste I have been craving ever since, one of the best rabbit meals ever served, and then he topped it off with a dessert dish that could make a baker blush with his unbelievably tasty treats.
Chef Franco is an artist in the kitchen, a charming gentleman to meet as he comes to the table occasionally to make sure everything is delicious, and the perfect host by welcoming friends into the beautiful home he has built and wanting you to come back again soon for his next great culinary creation. It took me nine years to come here the first time, but yet I felt like I lost my way from where I truly belong only 9 seconds after leaving Sapori. Chef Franco has created home, and somewhere I will call home much more frequently, so I hope he is ready for more houseguests.
Five out of Five Stars
For more info on the song I quoted and band mentioned: