Wanting Italian food for her birthday, my sister asked a few of her Rochesterian friends to suggest a good place for dinner. After great reviews of Mario’s, my mom, sister, and I ventured over.
Upon entering, there is a small bar and a fairly large dining room to the side that has a nice variety of table configurations. The atmosphere was great for any size party – the sound level fitting for a busy dinner service, creating a nice background volume, but not overwhelming, and the light in the room was relaxing.
I started with a sugar-rimmed lemon drop martini that was a bit more neon green than I had hoped it would be and tasted quite artificial. It was lemony, but with the amount of alcohol it contained, it reminded me more of lemon-scented disinfectant than anything. It was their featured drink of the evening, so my expectations weren’t met.
We shared the fried calamari – the batter was light and not too salty. The large scallion and tongs were superfluous and the presentation would have improved without them. Combining a bit of aioli and marinara sauces on each bite was a good balance of flavor. Not the best calamari I’ve ever had (that title goes to Ferrari’s in Schenectady, NY), but definitely a great starter.
For my meal, I thoroughly enjoyed the shrimp scampi, which had 8 or 10 large, juicy shrimp. The white wine sauce was light in both color and consistency and kept the entire dish moist (please excuse the low-quality pictures – the broth looks very yellow). Wanting homemade pasta, I ordered the dish with spaghetti instead of the cappellini it typically comes with, which was a good decision because the pasta was delicious!
My sister ate the fettuccine alfredo, which wasn’t on the menu, but the kitchen was happy to accommodate. The sauce was standard for alfredo – a perfect thickness (not too overwhelming) and the flavor was great.
My mom was being very adventurous – she order monkfish with cheesy polenta and vegetables, which was the seafood special for the night. She enjoyed it, I thought it was almost a bit too rich with the cheese, but the fish was cooked well and tasted good.
For dessert, I had a mango Italian ice. I wanted so badly to have the house tiramisu, but by that point, I needed something icy and light.
We were all glad we choose Mario’s in Rochester, NY for dinner. I can see enjoying another visit for everything between a drink and appetizer at the bar to a large celebration (possibly with food family style) with the whole family.
Mario’s, 2740 Monroe Ave, Rochester, NY