Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ronaldo's, North Hampton, New Hampshire, Not as good as I remember

We discovered Ronaldo's many years ago at the Hampton Seafood festival when we sampled their garlic fries and they were unbelievable. We decided to check out the restaurant and enjoyed many visits over the years. They are located in a strip mall on Lafayette Road in North Hampton and if you turn your head for a second you might drive by without blinking an eye.

Ronaldo's does make you think Italian. You hear Italian music in the background, a standing picture of Frank Sinatra and green hanging plants throughout. It is one large room with booths along the sides and tables in the middle with a small bar in the back.

Recently, we arrived on a Saturday night and were seated immediately. I should have known this trip would be memorable and not for the better. After perusing the menu for a few minutes, my wife noticed that they no longer carried meat ravioli. This might not seem like a big deal but to me it felt like someone had socked me in the stomach. I hoped this was a horrible mistake but unfortunately it was not. You see, I love meat ravioli and Ronaldo's was one of the few places that still had it, alas, the owner was not selling enough and decided to take it off the menu.

Our waitress came by with their home made bread that I have to admit was excellent. A small crusty covering outside and a fluffy inside served with garlic olive oil for dipping. To begin, I ordered up a glass of Chianti which was good and my wife had a Cosmo that was okay but not great.

We settled on the appetizer special, beef arancini that sounded wonderful. My idea of an arancini is a huge ball of rice filled with tomato sauce, peas and beef. This was different in that it had goat cheese inside but I expected the same large item. When it came out my mouth was agape, three small pieces that were all tinier than a golf ball. These were $11:00 dollars and although good were way overpriced.

You will find dishes that are typical of Italian restaurants including Chicken Parm, Shrimp Scampi and Lasagna but we are creatures of habit here and almost always get the same thing. My wife ordered chicken aragusta which is Pan-fried chicken topped with artichoke hearts, mushrooms, plum tomatoes, and lobster meat in a fresh lemon cream sauce. I ordered the Italian stuffed chicken cordon bleu which is chicken rolled with prosciutto, spinach greens, romano & mozzarella cheese. Don't get me wrong, these were good as they always have been but the portions have been reduced significantly for the same price. They were both preceded by their tortellini minestrone soup that was well made.

Our server was professional and courteous, no complaints.

I am disappointed by this experience. The food is still good but I think they have lost some of their spark. Although I would really like to recommend Ronaldo's I can not, it is not as good as I remember.

Ronaldo's on Urbanspoon