When one normally thinks of Italian food, they may think of the traditional favorites – penne alla vodka, chicken parmesan and lasagna. If you’re looking for these classics, though, then you may be out of luck at Molinari’s. This Italian restaurant only serves eclectic dishes that steer far from the norm. If you’re like my dad and ask them to make you spaghetti and meatballs, you will be quite out of luck.
It was the eve of my graduation dinner and it was my first time venturing to Molinari’s. I had only heard good things about their menu, though, so I was hoping it was be a nice dinner out to celebrate my graduation. We decided to start the evening out with a bottle of wine so we ordered the Sartori Estate Collection Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2012. None of us had ever drunken this wine before but we really enjoyed it. It was dry and had a strong flavor.
Rosemary bread was also brought out to us, which I really enjoyed. The bread was crispy and firm on the outside, while soft and warm on the inside. The rosemary added a nice flavor that went well with the olive oil we dipped our bread into.
We started our meal off with the cast-iron seared octopus as an appetizer. This octopus came with black garlic, local watermelon radish, saffron pickled cipollini onions, baby artichoke, La Quercia ‘Nduja and escarole. This dish was absolutely divine. The octopus was seared perfectly and the sauce it came with was so amazing we dipped our bread in it once we finished the octopus. This dish is a must if you dine at Molinari’s.
All of their pasta dishes looked intriguing and I was quite torn. I decided to get the basil spaghetti with braised local rabbit, brown beech mushrooms, guanciale and Vermont Creamery goat cheese. My mom ordered the citrus squid ink linguine with tiger shrimp, cuttlefish, chives, Spanish black radish and charred garlic scallion. We decided we would each try each other’s dishes because they both sounded so good. My basil spaghetti was more citrusy than the creamy flavor I had hoped for, though. I requested they add more goat cheese to combat they citrus and that helped a bit. My mom’s citrus squid ink linguine was more sweet than we both expected. We both were a little disappointed with our dishes and found them less exciting than they seemed on the menu.
However, my dad ordered a dish that was a winner. He got the seared sea scallops, which came with English peas, escarole, organic farro and fava beans. The scallops were lovely, and so was the pea sauce along with the beans. He clearly ordered the best entree out of the three of us.
I am an adventurous eater but I found these crazy concoctions to not meet my standards. The octopus was definitely the star of the meal, along with my father’s scallops. Maybe I should have opted for a dish that seemed more simple. I love interesting foods but I thought these foods didn’t have the flavor profiles I hoped for. The food is pricey so I was upset we paid so much for food we found decent. Our experience was still good, though, because our waiter was knowledgeable and we still had a nice dinner as a family. I would go back for the octopus but not for my entree. Who knows when I’ll be back at Bethlehem, though. Lehigh is sadly now my alma mater.
322 E 3rd St, Bethlehem, PA 18015
Mon-Wed 5:00 PM-9:00 PM; Thur-Sat 10:00 PM-9:00 PM