Friday, January 10, 2014

Molinari's - Bethlehem, PA

An authentic slice of Italy right in the Lehigh Valley

Fig Crostini with Ricotta and Bacon - Molinari's - Bethlehem, PA | Taste As You Go
Fig Crostini with Ricotta and Bacon - Molinari's - Bethlehem, PA

When it comes to eating out in the Lehigh Valley, Stephen and I are becoming creatures of habit, and when we have plans to meet up with friends or family members for dinner, we use those plans as the perfect reason to hit up some of our favorite restaurants. Among the restaurants in that group is Molinari's on the South Side of Bethlehem. We fell in love with the restaurant after our very first meal there, when we sat at the bar and chatted with the bartender about their impressive signature cocktail list


Fig Crostini with Ricotta and Bacon - Molinari's - Bethlehem, PA | Taste As You Go
Fig Crostini with Ricotta and Bacon - Molinari's - Bethlehem, PA

Stephen and I spent our honeymoon in Tuscany, and I think one of the reasons why we love Molinari's so much is because their food managed to transport us back to Italy after just one bite.

Pretty powerful stuff!

One of the first things I look for on their dinner menu is their seasonal Crostini. At $3 each, they're the perfect way to start off a meal, especially when they involve fresh figs, house-made ricotta, and crispy bacon. One is never enough, so I always order two.

La Pizza Ipomea - Molinari's - Bethlehem, PA | Taste As You Go
La Pizza Ipomea - Molinari's - Bethlehem, PA | Taste As You Go
Usually, Stephen and I order something from either the pasta section or the fish/meat section of the menu, but the meal documented here clearly shows our decision to order pizza instead. Looking back, we both declared it was a "pizza kind of night" and then hemmed and hawed over which two we were going to request.

I went with La Pizza Ipomea ($14) with a "dippy egg", pancetta, fingerling potatoes, robiolla, roasted cipollini onions, and rosemary. This pizza took the concept of breakfast pizza to a whole new level, and I loved dipping pieces of the chewy-yet-crisp crust into the runny egg yolk.

Pizza with Butternut Squash, Sage, and Pancetta - Molinari's - Bethlehem, PA | Taste As You Go
Pizza with Butternut Squash, Sage, and Pancetta - Molinari's - Bethlehem, PA

Stephen ordered the special pizza of the evening, a white pizza with butternut squash, fontina cheese, sage, and crispy pancetta. The sweetness of the squash balanced the saltiness of the pancetta, and the addition of the ribbons of sage made the whole dish taste like fall.

Seriously, though, Stephen and I have done a rather thorough survey of the menu at Molinari's, and here are some other dishes that we'd recommend trying:
  • Toasted Marcona Almonds ($4) with Arbequina Olive Oil, Sea Salt, and Rosemary
  • Salsiccia Bianca ($13) - Pizza with Homemade Cotechino Sausage, Buffalo Mozzarella and Ricotta, Rapini, and Olive Oil
  • Canestri con Sugo di Carne Toscano ($17) - Braised Veal, Beef, and Pork with Porcini Mushrooms, Pecorino Romano, San Marzano Tomatoes, and Pancetta
  • Brasato al Barolo ($26) - Braised Short Rib with Creamy Polenta, Local Sweet Corn, Pennsylvania-Foraged Chanterelles, and Heirloom Garlic Gremolata
  • Dark Chocolate Budino ($8) with Espresso Crema and a Hazelnut and Sea Salt Crumble

Molinari's
322 East 3rd Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015
(610) 625-9222 | Map

Molinari's on Urbanspoon

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