On its Web site, Salvatore Ristorante (3226 N. Arnoult Road, Metairie, 455-2433; www.salvatorerestaurant.com) combines tantalizing images of its many dishes with the sound of Dean Martin singing 'That's Amore." A decade and a half ago, original owners Salvatore 'Sammy" Marcello and Frank DeSalvo opened Salvatore Ristorante as a place where customers could dine on Italian food and enjoy musical entertainment. Current owner, chef Saul Bollat, now in his 13th year with the restaurant, has continued the tradition.
'A lot of our business is return clientele," says the chef, who runs the business with his wife and three of his six children. 'They become family. You don't often see the owner right there at the front door greeting people. That's how I built up my business for so many years."
Bollat grew up in the restaurant business and developed a passion for Italian and Creole cuisines. 'I started with Sicilian cooking," he says. 'But I also had a love for New Orleans traditions like shrimp Creole, crawfish etouffee and turtle stew, and I started combining those flavors. That's how I ended up with Italian Creole."
What sets his take on Italian Creole apart is his emphasis on fresh ingredients and the variety of dishes, he says. Favorites include Trout Salvatore, a pan-fried fillet topped with crabmeat and shrimp sauce and served with vegetables and potatoes; chef Saul's osso buco, veal shank with a mushroom sauce served with fettucine; and filet mignon, aged 19 to 21 days before it is prepared. One of the newest additions is charbroiled oysters with garlic, Pinot Grigio, Romano and Parmesan cheeses. Daily specials are served with soup and salad, and this year, a selection of family-style dishes will be added.
The restaurant's lounge has a newly resurfaced dance floor and a stage where performers like Vince Vance and the Valiants play several nights a week. With a dining room that seats 120 and the capacity to accommodate 200, Salvatore also is open most holidays and is available for private functions of all sizes.
'If someone wants something special, all they have to do is ask," Bollat says. 'If we can, we'll accommodate their needs."
- Salvatore Ristorante has a tradition of serving Italian Creole cuisine along with musical entertainment.