John and I recently visited his parents in Florida. We enjoy our time together, albeit a short time together. However, we pack in a lot of conversation, laughs, and competition. This year I was Kings Corner Champion. My mother-in-law, Rachel, gave me a run for my money, but in the end I was victorious.
My father-in-law, John, as always was an excellent tour guide. Every year we tell them they don’t have to go to trouble entertaining us, all we want is to be with them. Yet, every year he finds something new for us to do. He also takes us to his new favorite eateries. One of these places was the Sam Bucco Bistro.
As soon as we stepped through the door we were greeted by smiling faces. The main room was inviting. The tables were close, but not so close that you competed with the next table to hold a conversation with your tablemates. Stefan was our server. He was friendly, professional, and knowledgeable in regards to what was being served and not being served. This is a point I will get to in a minute.
We ordered our drinks and set down to business. Never having been here before, I scoured the menu. It was a toss up between 3 different entrées, but both John and I knew we wanted the calamari friti. Our server came back with our drink orders and proceeded to tell us the specials. While still looking over the menu we put in our order for the calamari. Stefan came back with some hot bread and asked if we had any questions. We didn’t, but wanted a few minutes more to decide. Okay, to gab.
Stefan brought our calamari friti. Now it was time to order. Rachel ordered veal valenciana. It is veal scaloppini with capers, grape tomatoes, chardonnay wine, served with scalloped potatoes. Rachel loves capers and ordered extra on her dish.
John ordered the sole fish special. John’s father and I ordered the linguini portofino. This is where Stefan informed us there were no mussels, as the chef didn’t like the way they looked that morning. We decided to order it anyway, sans mussels, because we were both in the mood for seafood and the garlic wine sauce. On one hand, I am glad the chef was diligent in his work and thinking of his customers; on the other hand, I just wish that Stefan had informed us when giving us the day’s specials.
Now the low down on the specific dishes:
Calamari Friti – The calamari was served with a tomato and basil sauce. I was surprised we were brought only the rings and not the tentacles. I didn’t mind as I usually don’t eat the tentacles, but John does. With that said, the calamari had a great flavor and the right amount of breading. It was crispy and light. Very good start to the meal.
Caesar Salad – A standard salad with romaine lettuce, croutons, and a classic caesar dressing. You could add extra anchovies for $1.00 and I can see why. I really don’t think there was much in there to begin with, unless the anchovies were so overwhelmed by the dressing. Everyone else loved the salad, I was the lone hold-out thinking, again, how can you ruin a salad?! I mean the lettuce leaves were wilting underneath all that dressing.
Veal Valenciana – As promised, Rachel’s veal valenciana came with extra capers. Rachel said the veal was cooked to perfection with a good ratio of grape tomatoes, and a tarragon wine sauce. This dish was also served with scalloped potatoes and vegetables.
John ordered the sole since we were leaving the next day, and he didn’t want something heavy like lasagna. He decided the fish was the perfect choice. The sole was lightly battered and pan-fried, with a drizzle of lemon butter. He loved it.
Linguini Portofino – The portofino came with plenty of clams and baby shrimp to make up for the missing mussels. I have read reviews on the shrimp, saying how small they are. That is why they are called baby shrimp. The clams and shrimp were cooked just right (nothing worse than having rubbery seafood). The garlic in the tomato wine sauce was perfect, enough to taste it but not to overpower the dish. Both John’s father, John (who always gets to have half of my meal), and I enjoyed the portifino.
All in all, we had a great time and left feeling satisfied. I would go back to Sam Bucco Bistro.
Until next time, happy creating.
Sam Bucco Bistro
14700 Tamaiami Tr. N. #5
Naples, Fl 34110