On this, my first visit to The Fountain Side Seafood and Grill Restaurant, I happened to be alone on a weekday afternoon. It's owned by Franco Federico, long- time restaurateur, who also owns Giuliano's Brick Oven Pizza in the same Horsham shopping center and Ariana's Ristorante and Raw Bar in North Wales. First impressions are often the most lasting, and this one was good. The décor was simple and elegant with beautifully crisp white tablecloths and a large painted mural on one wall. Elegant curtains drape the windows. This restaurant is ten years old, but its appearance is timeless, classic and fresh. This is a large restaurant which can seat up to 250 people, yet it achieves the intimacy of a corner bistro. Danette who on this day, acted as both hostess and waitress, succeeded in making every customer feel welcome, greeting regulars by name. The lunch menu is diverse, especially the starters and soups. Yet, there was no mistaking that this is above all an Italian restaurant, though one with American touches throughout. Classic Italian dishes, steaks and burgers and a kids menu are offered on this just right sized menu. There are daily soup specials as well as the menu soups which includes such favorites as French Onion $4.00 and a genuine Snapper soup $4.00. I haven't seen a a real turtle soup on a menu in quite a long time, so I just had to order it. Fresh crisp warm Italian bread arrived without asking. If you like olive oil on your bread rather than butter, be sure and ask for Franco's special olive oil and cheese accompaniment. It is full of garlic and spices and absolutely delicious. Just make sure you grab a mint for after your meal. The soup was a creamy blend of turtle stock, tomato and herbs with large pieces of tender snapper. It was rich, and complex in flavor, just the way I remembered it. Danette brought the sherry to the table so that I could flavor to taste.
Several salads are offered at lunch including a classic Caesar Salad. At Danette's recommendation, I chose to follow my soup with the Fountain Side Salad topped with blackened salmon for $10.95. I didn't expect to love it because I am one of the few people in this country not a fan of goat cheese. First, let me say, that I literally ate my words. The goat cheese in this salad is divine , very creamy and not overly strong in taste. Mesclun greens provided the base for this salad, with red onion, walnuts, the aforementioned goat cheese, however, a lovely sweet grape tomatoes, an a blackened salmon that was truly blackened on the outside, yet retained a moistness and sweetness, that is often lost when a blackened dish is served. The salad was served with an extraordinary balsamic vinaigrette so perfectly emulsified and creamy that it coated the lettuce leaf perfectly. next , Danette brought me the Homemade Maryland Crab cake for $10.95. This is a crab cake that is full of lump crab meat and claw meat. There is no filler in it. I looked hard. Nicely spiced and crispy on the outside, this was just wonderful. I usually just taste a bite or two of everything so that I don't get too full to review all the items. This was just too good. I confess that I ate it all.
It was served with fresh steamed broccoli and a nice chopped tomato salad on the same plate. Finally, I tried, a seasonal special, a sautéed Broccoli Rabe for $6.95. This was sautéed in olive oil, with a bit of chicken of broth, lots of fresh garlic. It maintained its texture and lovely tangy flavor. For dessert , out came a great frothy cappuccino $3.50 and not one, but two desserts. The first was a Baileys Irish Cream Cake, $5.95 prepared in-house by uber-chef Jeff Fox. This is the creamy kind of cheesecake, that everyone has room for at the end of the meal. It was the second dessert that just did me in, tiramisu, that transcended delicious. It was sweet, but not too sweet, flavored with rum, but not overly flavored, and above all light. This dessert is quite the confection, absolutely tremendous. I am delighted to say, that every dish was perfectly prepared, beautifully presented and served. I am usually more critical, after all I am a food critic. Not every restaurant stands up to the scrutiny. When a meal is this good, however, I can only say thanks to this restaurant and everyone involved for a job more than well done.
With the proliferation of chain restaurants sprouting like mushrooms in shiny new strip malls practically every week, how does an Old-World, stand-alone restaurant survive for as long as 10 years? If you ask Franco Federico, the dashing chef-owner of Horsham's FountainSide Seafood & Grill, it's really quite simple.
"Where else are you going to get what we can give you?" said the native of Calabria, Italy, who arrived in America 27 years ago. "It's because I put my heart into the business. I offer myself, my hospitality, everything my guests need. "One day, a customer looked sad because she forgot her bottle of wine at home. I said, `Not to worry. We'll take care of you. A bottle of wine is coming up for you and your guests.' The look on her face made me so happy. But that's who we are at the FountainSide - and my other two restaurants as well."
Federico is talking about Ariana's Ristorante & Raw Bar in North Wales, built from scratch in 1993, and his newer Giuliano's Brick Oven Pizza & Bistro, located a few doors down from the FountainSide in Horsham, opened four years ago, and both doing extremely well.
You couldn't find a better family man than Federico, who has named his other two restaurants after his teenaged daughter and her younger brother, who was born two months after the FountainSide opened in 1998. You'll often find Ariana or Giuliano, as well as their lovely mother Yvonne, at one of the Federico restaurants on any given night.
When he's not in the kitchen, assisting longtime Chef de Cuisine Jeff Fox, who opened the restaurant with him 10 years ago, he's in one of the two charming dining rooms, greeting guests as if they are old friends. And in most cases, that would be true. To call him a "people person" would be a colossal understatement. "My customers know what I'm made of," he says. "They know they'll get a lemoncello at the end of the meal. They know they'll get the special table they want. They're like guests in my own home. I call the restaurant - all of my restaurants my home. "We cook everything to order," he continues. "The FountainSide is for people who love good food, who appreciate Old¬ World hospitality."
Chef Fox, whose prior experience includes, stints at the original Christopher's, Century House, Coventry Inn, Karla's Restaurant in New Hope, Widow Brown's and seven years at Casselli's, concurs. "Even after 10 years here, I absolutely love my job. I've watched Franco's kids grow up. I've watched my own grow up too. My daughter Nicole is a server at Ariana's and her sister Melissa is a server here. And I love it that many of our customers tell their server, `Don't bother giving me the menu. Jeff knows what I want.
"On Saturday night, the line goes out the door. We just love it. And we enjoy playing with specials. We know our audience and try all sorts of things - like polenta and crepes. You gotta play," he said with a laugh. Sure enough - on the night of our last visit, the chef had conjured up a marvelous Asparagus en Croute appetizer, a pastry shell stuffed with asparagus, scallions, jumbo lump crab meat, Swiss cheese, provolone and mozzarella, served over a rosemary Demi-glaze, and the "Chef's Choice" entree I like to call the Seafood Trio, comprised of Broiled Red Snapper (not on the menu that night), with baked Walnut Encrusted Salmon (normally $21.95, and served with a spring mix over a fresh plum glaze sauce), and broiled Tilapia Nicole (usually $23.95, topped with jumbo lump crab meat, julienne mushrooms, shallots, capers and fresh diced tomatoes in a lemon dill white wine sauce).
Between 5 and 11 p.m. on New Year's Eve, Federico was so pleased he was able to serve 457 guests, observing that only one couple (who had a good reason, no less!) failed to show up for a good meal and FountainSide's vaunted hospitality.
To thank his guests "for keeping us alive all these years," Federico will have an "Appreciation Week" from Monday, Jan. 28, the date the restau¬rant opened, through the first week of February. Every table can expect to receive a personalized gift that can be used at any of his restau¬rants. He's come a long way since he arrived in the states 27 years ago. At first, he said, "The immensity of everything over¬whelmed me, and I couldn't speak a word of English. But when I settled in the Chalfont-Doylestown area, everything changed. It resembled my hometown. There were barbers, tailors, shoemakers, many of them from Italy, so I could speak with them and learn English.
"I started out as a builder and helped build the School of Cosmetology across from the train station in Lansdale. I think it's still there." But once he opened his first eatery - a pizzeria named Amore (which means "love" in Italian - surprised? - and many of his original customers "have been following me around, from restaurant to restaurant," he says, with pride), there was no turning back, and Federico has been making friends in the business ever since. Another reason for FountainSide's success is that virtually every¬thing is made on the premises. The bread and rolls come from Willow Grove's excellent Sam's Italian Market & Bakery. But Chef Fox breaks down all the meats, debones the chickens, cuts his own veal chops, right at the restaurant. Federico and Fox even make their own salad dressings from scratch, including Russian, blue cheese, balsamic vinaigrette and thick poppy seed honey mustard (almost a dipping sauce).
The kitchen staff also makes 360 quart-pots of Demi-glaze every week. "We don't believe in short cuts," says Fox. "We're from the Old School. People leave happy. That's why they always come back. We must be doing something right."
The appetizers include everything from Fried Alligator with Dijon Sauce ($8.95) and Snapper Soup ($4.95) to a Caprese Salad ($7.95) of red ripe tomatoes and fresh mozzarella with extra virgin olive oil and basil, and the magnificent, and understandably popular, Cappesante Ariana ($11.95), sautéed shrimp and scallops with artichoke hearts and fresh diced tomatoes, in a brandy Marsala sauce, topped with mozzarella cheese and served in a pastry box.
The entrees include Chicken Marie ($18.50), sautéed chicken topped with red roasted peppers and mozzarella in a vodka plum tomato sauce; Veal Frangelico ($22.95), veal medallions sautéed with shallots, a blend of wild mushrooms, artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes in a Frangelico cream sauce, topped with toasted walnuts; Steak Gorgonzola ($22.95), a "Chef's Choice" entree, pan-seared 12-ounce New York Strip, topped with gorgonzola cheese served over its natural juices; Linguine allo Scoglio ($21.95), a blend of crustaceans, clams, mussels, shrimp and calamari in garlic and olive oil in a white or marinara sauce; and Langostino Royale (whole scampi stuffed with crab imperial, topped with a lemon beurre blanc sauce, at market price); and another "Chef's Choice" entree, Roasted Boneless Maple Leaf Half Duck ($25.95), served over spring mix and topped with orange Cointreau sauce, toasted walnuts and dried cranberries.
Chef Fox's desserts are spectacular. Try the Chocolate Mousse made with Belgian chocolate and any cheesecake (Bailey's is a personal favorite). Guests enjoy their meals in the spacious main dining room, with its metal sculptures of fish swimming above the open grill, etched glass win¬dows and paintings and photos of fountains and food; the sumptuous mid¬dle room, with its lifelike floor-to-ceiling Venetian murals painted by Paul Detwiler; on the patio, in season; and, as the occasion presents itself, in the banquet room in back.
Oh - you were wondering about the name? Wonder no more. Franco Federico's second interpretation of Rome's majestic Trevi Fountain (a source of good fortune to everyone who tosses in a coin) offers a pleasant sound all year round and is a veritable fantasyland on summer nights.
Reflecting on his 10 years at FountainSide, Federico says, "Success for a restaurant is how you care for your people - your customers and your staff. People love conning here because they know how much I love being with them, then they tell their friends and bring them here too." With this attitude, the culinary magic of Jeff Fox and the warm, friendly service that makes all guests feel like welcome company, no one would be surprised to see FountainSide's success extend well into the 21st century.
Just like it takes, the finest ingredients to make a superb dish, it too takes the finest ingredients to make a restaurant a success, and the Fountain Side Restaurant has them all.
Standing by a lovely waterfall are several Romanesque statues that invite you into a truly tasteful setting. Hand-painted murals of Rome surround you in the front dining room. A lit candle on your table is romantic and relaxing. Just beyond the dining room is the kitchen. The sounds of the kitchen really lend a hand at making this feel like you're in an Italian friend's home; the only difference being that you get to relax while they do all the work! The Fountain Side Restaurant is a BYOB, so I encourage you to pick a nice bottle for what promises to be a delicious, authentic Italian meal.
Our waitress, Melissa, was attentive and articulate as she described each of the rights specials in such wonderful detail. There was a need to please about her that was apparent and pleasant. She checked in on the table several times to make sure all was well. Enthusiastic, she was happy to serve us. It is a rarity when you find a waitress or waiter that really wants to be there for you - or one that can at least act like they do!
Perhaps the most critical of ingredients! Creations from the kitchen, under the direction of Head Chef, Jeff ' Fox, began with a Seafood Combination appetizer. Generously stuffed mushroom caps with Crab, Clams Casino, fried Calamari with freshly prepared marinara sauce, and the most incredible Honey-Dijon shrimp. Lightly fried and glazed, ft was tempting to simply ask' our server for nothing but the shrimp for the rest of the meal!
The Fountain Side also offers up some of the best homemade soups, such as the Chicken Saffron Soup, which was served piping hot and brimming with fresh vegetables. As for my entree, I selected the Walnut-Encrusted Salmon which was served with a fresh pureed plum glaze on the side. Together, the salmon and the walnuts were a nice pairing of textures and flavors. Served alongside were delectable roasted new potatoes and butternut squash. It is obvious that Chef Fox has real imaginative culinary skills as he introduces simple ingredients to old favorites making your dining experience a real adventure.
Topping off the night's meal, I chose the Pumpkin Cheesecake served on a plate dotted with a raspberry caramel syrup and fresh whipped cream. Delicious and dreamy, this cheesecake topped off my dinner perfectly! An incredible Grand Finale of what was a fresh, new and delicious tour of Italy, right in our own back yard.
The Fountain Side also offers an incredible selection from the grill, including Filet Mignon and New York Strip Steaks. There is also a Roasted Prime Rib Special that is available on Friday and Saturday nights only. A Kids Menu offers childhood favorites including Cheese Ravioli and Grilled Chicken Breast at very low prices. If you are looking to have a private party look no further. The Fountain Side offers two areas for private parties, one of which has it's own bar. Make sure you call ahead to reserve your holiday parties early. The holiday season will be here before you know it! Putting all of these fine ingredients together (plus a few dashes of welcomed visits from the owner, Franco, himself to the table), creates the Fountain Side Restaurant. It is an esteemed member of the community's staple of restaurants, which has earned a great reputation and deserves to be visited time and time again.
Franco Federico will never forget that incredible moment, he was meandering through the back streets of Rome with his beloved five-year-old daughter Ariana. Sweating, frustrated, feeling somewhat lost, he suddenly came upon the magnificent Fountain of Trevi!
One of Rome's, and the world's, greatest and most powerful monuments, Trevi took his breath away fountain refreshed the way worn travelers considerably. The Federicos had, their splash, tossing their coins in to assure their return (it had already worked for Franco!) He vowed that when he opened his next restaurant, he would pay due tribute to this marvelous fountain and the feelings it evoked.
When the opportunity arose, the proud owner of Ariana's Ristorante Italiano in North Wales seized it. FountainSide Seafood & Grill opened in Horsham in January of 1998 with three Chefs alternating and inspiring each other to create an exceptional menu of grilled foods, seafood and Italian specialties.
With his new restaurant already a huge success, partly because of the high volume of repeat business, Federico is still fine-tuning the FountainSide experience. Just recently, his own version of Rome's remarkable Trevi was erected before the restaurant. Already his loyal guests are throwing coins into the fountain to assure their own return. Federico, a warm and passionate family man and respected restaurateur, couldn't be happier.
"Success for a restaurant," he says, "is how you care for your people - your customers and your staff. People love coming here because they know how much I love being with them, then they tell their friends and bring them here too."
True enough. On a recent return visit to this favorite haunt, my wife and I met two of our neighbors Milton and Bernice Frantz who, along with Bernice's sister Sylvia and her husband, Leonard Green; had come to sample FountainSide's fine food and ambiance. Federico remarked that, in addition to the menu, guests enjoy the FountainSide restaurant's spaciousness and decor; which includes finely etched glass windows, glossy photos of Venice, Rome and great Italian fountains, a piano bar outside the smaller dining room and candles in seashell bases on every table.
Last week, Federico also introduced dining alfresco on his sun deck, where he chatted with guests at six tables seating 24 people adjoining the fountain and along one wall of the restaurant. The attractive new banquet room (accommodating up to 70 party-goers) is also doing phenomenal business. And the BYOB restaurant's wine storage area allows customers to leave their own bottles, which are tagged, awaiting the guests' next return.
Among the new appetizers are Roasted Peppers in extra gin olive oil, garlic and fresh basil, and fresh, whole mushrooms ($7.95) stuffed with crab imperial and served with lemon butter sauce. You should also try the Seafood Pastry Box ($8.95), sautéed crab, scallops and shrimp in lobster cream sauce, served in a puff pastry box. Guests also enjoy specials like Oysters Maryland stuffed with crab meat, and Grilled Chicken and Shrimp served with Bruscetta Campanatta (chopped black olives, eggplant capers and garlic). House specialties include Walnut crusted salmon served on a fresh plum glaze, and Roasted Boneless Maple Leaf Duck ($17.95) served with orange Chambord glaze on a bed of wild rice.
With Executive Chef Jeff Fox ably assisted by Chef Benjamin Goldberg, friendly professional service by Marshall Miller and a well trained wait staff. Franco Federico’s passion for creating a totally enjoyable dining experience, Fountainside Seafood & Grill is even better, the second (and third) time around.
Fountain Side, a BYO seafood and grill restaurant in Horsham, has a lot of memorable aspects, including its food. Its gourmet version of traditional fare is considered new American cuisine - visually, the plates, with drips of sauces, resemble tiny abstracts - but Fountain Side's owner-chef is a native of southern Italy.
The food presentation and the impeccable service are what one would expect from a top Philadelphia restaurant. But this is congested, strip-mall-pocked Horsham - at least, that's what I kept thinking as I ate what was consistently, from appetizer to dessert, great food.
Not that there is anything wrong with eating in Horsham. The region seems to have a different restaurant on every corner. Perhaps I was misled by fountain Side's location and exterior crammed between a video store and a billiards hall, fountain Side has a corner location in an L-shaped strip mall The building appears to jut outward like a ship at dock, with lighted signs telling the world that this is a seafood place. Its name, Fountain Side, is evident in the outdoor display of Tivoli-style statuary along a patio and all outdoor fountain with fake rocks.
A statue of Neptune stands with a three-pronged spear, poised as if tae were about to, jab a lobster lurking in the waters there. (The fountain actually extends along the front of the parking lot, which brought to mind the disaster that might occur if a tipsy driver stepped on the accelerator by mistake.) Inside, the decor is more subdued, with tastefully done window treatments and linen and candles on the tables. A local artist created two impressive murals - one a shimmering airbrushed view of Venice --- In two dining rooms that add to the restaurant's elegant but casual ambience.It's no wonder I soon forgot about my harried turnpike drive at hush hour. As for the "we must be in Philadelphia" otherworld sense, l apparently was not alone.
In describing the popular roasted duck entree, Fountain Sides Chef-Owner, Franco Federico, said patrons often insist that its delicate flavoring matches what they had at the Bellevue's Palm restaurant. (Federico gets his duck from the same Maple Leaf Farms, a favored duck producer in Wisconsin.) The duck entree ($22.95) is one of several chef's favorites, a list that also includes the crab dish Tilapia Nicole ($22.95), two veal dishes, and the Maryland jumbo lump crab cakes (market Price). The same rich, no-filling crab recipe, with a touch of Dijon mustard, is used in stuffed shrimp that comes with the prime rib eye combo ($22.95); I was told.
My meat-loving companion handed the shrimp to me, but he found the lemon butter sauce dripped on the side of the plate a perfect tangy complement to the grilled rib eye.
Federico, 41, is a former industrial chemist who concedes that he brings his love of concoctions and chemistry to the kitchen. The menu is filled with interesting alliances such as Federico's signature walnut-crusted salmon with a plum glaze ($19.00) which I tried; I find walnuts, eaten alone, too meaty and bland for my taste. But Federico said he roasts the walnuts to bring out the Hearty oil and makes the glaze with fresh fruit. The salmon was delicately flaky, and there was just the right hearty sweetness from the nut and fruit combination.
Fountain Side offers dozens of desserts. Although not made on the premises, many are authentic Italian desserts imported from Bindi of Milan, the owner said.
Judging from the number of patrons who rapidly filled the main dining room by 8 on a Wednesday night--some five to a table -- Fountain Side has become a neighborhood favorite.
Federico, who makes three trips to Philadelphia to buy seafood each week, said the Horsham location had been open for five years. He also owns Ariana's, a BYO Italian restaurant in North Wales. Overall, Federico said, he has owned l7 restaurants, eight alone in the Willow Grove area and in Doylestown. "The same customers follow me here. That must tell you something," Federico said.
Excellent food and a handsome setting are the impressive hallmarks of Fountain Side Seafood & Grill.
Open only six weeks, in the Horsham Plaza restaurant has everything going for it — fine food, super friendly service and moderate prices.
The restaurant is on Easton Road (Route 611), one mile north of the Willow Grove interchange of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. It's owned by Franco Federico, who also owns Ariana's, a pleasant Italian restaurant in North Wales, and Giulio's in Willow Grove. Of the three, Fountain Side is far and away the best. The unusual name refers to the fountains of Italy. Beautiful fountain photos are on the walls, and a picture of the Trevi Fountain in Rome is on the menu cover, Although the emphasis is on seafood, there also are lots of pasta, veal, chicken and beef dishes.
Appetizers were excellent. A meaty, grilled Portobello mushroom ($7.50) topped with shredded crab meat flecked with green bell pepper and high-quality Swiss cheese was touched with pleasant bordelaise sauce. Seafood pastry box ($7.95) was a flaky puff-pastry sandwich filled with two- large shrimp and sliced sea n scallops topped with lump crab meat and bathed in sweet bisque like lobster-cream sauce. Both plates were decorated with pesto polka dots and squiggles of pureed red bell pepper.
A generous cup of tasty cream-of-broccoli soup included with dinner had little cream but lots of broccoli flowers. Attractively presented muscling salads with strips of ripe Roma tomatoes, carrot needles, thin-sliced red onions and homemade croutons were dressed with perfectly balanced balsamic vinaigrette or creamy blue cheese.
Thick, crusty slices of dense, flavorful bread were nicely warmed and served with a ramekin of swirled butter. Tilapia Nicole ($17.95), a splendid main dish, was a large filet of mild-flavored fish - white on top, dark on the bottom - topped with lump crab meat sliced fresh mushrooms, ripe tomatoes and capers in mildly tangy lemon-white wine sauce. Although draped with fresh dill and garnished with chopped black olives, the dish was surprisingly gentle.
Broiled Boston seafood combination ($18.95) - equally delightful -was three big shrimp; five enormous sea scallops; two tasty casino clams; a generous serving of moist, flavorful salmon and an unusually tender lobster tail in lovely lemon-scented beurre blanc. The salmon was served on field greens, which wilted appealingly in the heat of the fish.
A large baked potato, without foil rapping, came with both entrees. Excellent desserts ($4.25) included a separate menu of imported Bindi delights in addition to several home made treats - notably, marvelous tiramisu made on the premises. The espresso and brandy-touched white cake was layered with mascarpone cheese dusted with cocoa powder and powdered sugar, and garnished with real whipped cream. An Excellent made in house New York style cheesecake was topped with a creamy-rich ganache.
Gleaming woodwork and wainscoting set the tone for classy decor that includes photos of artfully arranged fish, vegetables and fruit on walls with elegant linen-like wallpaper. Picture windows on two sides are swaged with a floral-print valance. Burgundy-and-green carpeting is gorgeous.
Unusual Moorish light fixtures are on a wall shelf above an open grill screened by a half-wall topped with frosted, etched-glass panels. Attractive hanging lamps are shaped like Asian hats. Ivy plants spill out of faux-brass hanging pots. Perry Como and Pat Boone recordings play quietly.
Burgundy-over-white cloths are on tables set with white cotton napkins, fresh red and pink carnations in a tiny white vase, and lovely wooden chairs with maroon fabric seats.
Fountain side has no liquor license, but patrons may take their own spirits.
Franco Federico must really believe in the magic of number three. To provide a creative spark for his third restaurant, Fountain Side Seafood & Grill, the amiable restaurateur from Calabria, Italy has handed the keys to the kitchen to Chuck Bewley, Jeff Fox and Scott Williamson, a trio of exceptional chefs.
Bewley, who loves to prepare and dine on duck and game, has been in the business since he was 14. Trained at Philadelphia's Restaurant School, he has also worked with great chefs and on his own at the old original Christopher's, the Jefferson House, Tiffany's, and Widow Brown's in Allentown, six years at Dori's, served as Commonwealth Room Club Chef at the William Penn Inn, and had a stint at Federico's first restaurant, Ariana's Ristorante Italiano.
Like Bewley, Fox has haunted restaurants since he was 14. He loves fusion cooking and preparing soups, sauces and first-rate pastry. Fox, who does his own butchering on the premises (he even bones his own poultry), says, "The food here has a lot of heart.It’s real food, in the best sense of the word." His experience encompasses the old original Christopher's, the Century House, Coventry Inn, Carlo's restaurant in New Hope, Widow Brown's, and seven years at Casselli's.
Culinary Institute graduate Scott Williamson, who has graced the kitchens of the William Penn Inn, Fingers and Ariana's, has created Fountain Side's exotic Fried Alligator (yep - the real thing), marinated for 24 hours, breaded, lightly fried, and served with Dijon Sauce. ($6.95), and the Seafood Pastry Box ($7:95), which is sautéed crab, scallops and shrimp in lobster cream sauce, served in a puff pastry box.,
An entree Williamson is especially proud of, and which he helped develop at Ariana's, is the restaurant's signature Walnut Crusted Salmon ($17.95), which is baked and served on a fresh plum glaze. Two of the triumvirates are on duty most of the time, and each is involved with every part of the menu. Remarkably, their mutual respect and admiration for each other's work, and their affection for Federico, inspires and drives them to new heights.
But the setting alone is enough to inspire them. The dazzling new restaurant, which opened mid-January, is awash in natural light by day as the sun shines through its bank of big windows, and simmers with romance at night when the lighting dims. Fresh treats from the sea and range are brought to tables covered by white and burgundy cloths.
The restaurant is marked by etched glass windows and photos and paintings of fountains and food. Metal sculptures of lobsters and fish float above the open grill. Although smoking is now permitted in a lovely smaller room behind the kitchen and grill, plans are in the works to convert the restaurant's back room into a piano bar/smoking room, where guests so inclined can enjoy light snacks, cigars and such. Federico, who named his restaurant after Rome's famed Fountain of Trevi, will soon his own mini Trevi outside to mark the site, plus canopied tables for warm weather dining alfresco.