We recently purchased a ‘Double Take Deal’ for Sal’s Italian Restaurant in Deerfield Beach, so we headed there today for dinner. I’ve had the pizza a few times from Sal’s and it’s been good, so this coupon was a great opportunity to try something else. The coupon was $20 for $40 of food, so we looked at it as almost a ‘buy one get one free’ option. These coupons can be great, but you do have to watch the expiration date as they usually give you a few months to use the promotional value (the amount you paid on the voucher never expires in most cases).
Sal’s Italian Restaurant is located in a strip mall on the corner of Military and SW10th in Deerfield Beach. We didn’t have any wait and there were maybe 5 tables at the time we arrived. They have a ‘take out’ counter in the back with many booths and some tables. The inside isn’t that large, but they do manage to get a lot of tables in without making it feel cramped. The two walls on the side of the place are lined with booths and archways to give it a unique ‘Italian architecture’ feel. It’s a nice spot that is clean and comfortable. Our server was over quickly to take our drink orders and gave us a few minutes to look over the menu.
The menu is quite large with pizza, calzones, salads, entrees and pastas. With our ‘coupon’ we couldn’t take advantage of any other pricing specials, but that really didn’t bother us. We decided on the Fried Mozzarella sticks with Marinara Sauce as our appetizer. I was in the mood for shrimp, so I went for the Shrimp Scampi – Sautéed with fresh garlic, utter, white wine and lemon. All entrees are served with a side salad or soup, garlic rolls and a side of pasta so I chose a side salad with house vinaigrette and linguini was included with my choice. Jeff went for the Chicken Margarita – Sautéed with fresh tomatoes, onions and white wine, topped with broccoli and melted mozzarella. He also chose a salad and went with the creamy Italian dressing and linguini as his pasta.
The warm garlic rolls came out first. They were covered with either butter or oil and garlic. They were still warm and soft in the inside. While they were not our favorite garlic roll around, they were quite good. We did notice that as they cooled down, the texture changed a bit and they were not as soft. Eat them quick for the best experience. Our salads came out next, soon after the rolls. The side salad consists of mixed greens with grape tomatoes, a few red onion rings and black olives. The portion was on the small size, but it was a good attempt to give you an ‘extra’ item with your meal. My house vinaigrette dressing was really good, while Jeff thought his creamy Italian dressing was a bit too sweet. The salad was more than likely of the bag variety, but it was all fresh.
We didn’t have a long wait between the salad and the mozzarella sticks. They give you a large portion for an appetizer and a huge side of marinara sauce. They looked really good with only a little cheese escaping the breading. I picked up the first one and noticed that it wasn’t ‘hot’…just warm. I expected these to be screaming hot because as mozzarella sticks cool, they start to firm up and loose the comfort gooeyness that makes them so good. The breading was a bit too thick and while it looked like there were herbs in the breading we found it a bit bland. Some of the cheese sticks were warmer than others, so we did get that gooeyness on a few we like. The marinara sauce was really good and full of garlic and other flavors. I actually wouldn’t mind getting some sauce to go and using at home with some pasta for a quick meal. Overall we felt that the mozzarella sticks needed a thinner breading with more Italian flavor.
After we finished our appetizer, our entrees came out. At this point I was getting a little full so I was hoping that I’d have some leftovers for lunch the next day. The shrimp scampi looked nice, with a good amount of shrimp and a huge portion of pasta. The sauce looked a bit thicker than I’m used to seeing, but I figured that many restaurants have their own flare and spin on things. The shrimp were good and fresh with only one or two of them slightly overcooked. What I found a bit odd was the sauce. The sauce was very lemony and hardly had any garlic flavor. I did expect the lemon, just not so much of it. The pasta was done perfectly with a slight chew. I finished the shrimp and made a dent in the pasta, but chose not to take any home. I found the dish just a little too ‘one note’. I’m a fan of garlic…so you might like this version if you are not a garlic fan.
Jeff’s entrée came out and we had mixed feelings about the presentation. It looked like the dish wasn’t made all at once. Like they made the chicken with sauce, then plopped on the broccoli and cheese then melted it. I’m sure that was the way most places prepare a dish like this…but it felt like the broccoli was an afterthought. The chicken was cooked well and the sauce paired well with the chicken. The broccoli was fresh and the cheese could have been melted just a little more. While it was a good dish, Jeff was thinking he wished he would have ordered something else. The side of linguini and marinara sauce on the other hand was really good, with the same sauce they gave us for the mozzarella sticks.
The service was spot on here. We never had to wonder where our server was or never had to ask for anything. It was a good balance of anticipation of your guests needs without being intrusive. While we were not really thrilled by the entrees, we did agree that we would return for the pizza. The meatball pizza is actually really good and worth a try.
Sal’s Italian Restaurant is located at 1125 S Military Trail Deerfield Beach, FL.