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LOCAL CUISINE/tavola calda

Amore é Incanto

at

Tavola Calda

by Jamie Aquino

Once you round the corner on Dartford Drive, your eyes will be drawn to the park-like setting.

A manicured lawn sits underneath old growth pine, the wooded hillside providing the perfect backdrop to the pond and fountain, and above diners’ heads, a canopy of a thousand lights. This is Commellini Estate. The moment you step out of your vehicle, you will be transported to another era, one you can feel, hear, smell, and will soon taste. Tavola Calda translates to “hot table” in English, but the words “amore é incanto,” love and enchantment, more aptly describe the setting. As you walk toward the restaurant, listen for Sinatra serenading you through the speakers under

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the portico. Notice your choice of patio seating on the deck or tables down by the pond. For the ultimate romantic setting, bring a large blanket and have dinner, picnicstyle. Place your order inside at the bar, use the menu online, or call ahead and have your order waiting. Menu items are served fast casual style, with disposable containers and silverware. Lauri, Robert, and Desiree Seghetti had a vision when they planned their restaurant, combining informal dining with Old World hospitality and food. Never could they have foreseen how vital that concept would be during the timing and opening of their restaurant, less than two months ago. Take your pick of traditional Italian dishes—because you can’t go wrong. Lauri and her team have preserved the integrity of the Seghetti family recipes while modernizing them for current palates. I recommend the Eggplant Parmesan. I have never endorsed that particular dish for any Italian restaurant I’ve dined in over the last two decades due to the necessity of perfect execution of all components before the dish is assembled and served. Tavola Calda’s eggplant is perfectly sliced, has an al dente texture, is precisely seasoned, and is coated in a perfectly achieved crisp breading without being greasy. The golden slices are layered with parmesan cheese and nestled in a sauce that can only be described as made with love. Named after Lauri Seghetti’s mother-in-law, Gina’s Marinara is made Old World Style, a three-day labor of love, thoughtfully seasoned with dashes and pinches until it can be tasted in every bite. Tavola Calda is only one of many facets this almost 80 year old estate offers. Its 200 acres boasts six venue sites, providing timeless settings for weddings and special events. Lauri is hands-on, from coordinating behind the scenes, to setting up

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