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Roxy Raves: A Perfect Christmas Eve at Due Terre Enoteca in Bernardsville, New Jersey

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The weather outside was frightful, but our Christmas Eve dinner at Due Terre was delightful.

All day long, the icy rain poured down.  When Rex went out in the morning to bring in some provisions from Shop Rite in Chester, NJ, I called his Blackberry to suggest that he pick up some ingredients for dinner and just stay home. Rex was hoping for a Christmas Eve miracle that would get us to the 4pm children’s pageant at Hilltop Presbyterian Church in Mendham, NJ, and out for an early festive dinner afterwards. He had read a recent rave review in the Star Ledger of Due Mari in New Brunswick, so he asked me to call for reservations at their sister restaurant… Due Terre Enoteca in Bernardsville, NJ.

When I spoke with Matthew Rotella, the restaurant manager, in the early afternoon, it was clear that Due Terre was pretty well booked for the evening, but he agreed to email the Christmas Eve prix fixe menu and to squeeze us in at 5:30pm, right after church.

Despite the weather, Rex did his best to cheer us into our holiday finery and off to Hilltop Church in time for the Christmas Eve pageant.  As soon as the children began to sing “Jesus, Light of the World,” my spirits lifted and the meaning of Christmas came back to me once more. ”Long after the dawn of creation, God promised another light.  This light would shine through the eyes of a child.  This light would bring hope and love to a world darkened by sin.”  We sang along to the traditional Christmas carols:  “Silent Night,” “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful,” “We Three Kings of Orient Are,” “Joy to the World” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” I stopped worrying about whether London would be disappointed if Santa didn’t deliver a Teeny Puppini (he didn’t, she wasn’t), and let myself believe and remember.  We all joined in for “Go Tell It On the Mountain” and headed out into the night holding the light of the world in our hearts.

We headed over to Bernardsville for Christmas Eve dinner, and the rain let up as we arrived at Due Terre.  We found a warm and welcoming atmosphere.  Reviewing the menu ahead of time, we hadn’t known there was a kids’ menu option, and Rex was interested in three appetizers, so we had planned to split three of the prix fixe menus among the four of us.  However, as soon as we arrived, London and Maddie made it clear they craved Due Terre’s special homemade chitarra spaghetti with butter and parmesan cheese, and we were thrilled to learn that a plentiful portion came with the kids’ menu at half the price.  As you can see from the beautiful photo on the left, I chose the delicious Yellow Fin Tuna Tartar (Diced Fennel, Green Onion, Caper Crema) as my appetizer, and Rex enjoyed the Lobster Bisque (Poached Shrimp, Cognac) that had tickled his fancy when we perused the menu from home.

My entree, on the left, was the amazing Fresh Chitarra Spaghetti with Lobster, Shrimp, Fresh Tomato, Garlic and Chilies.  With the help of our waiter, Andre, Rex chose the Zuppa Di Pesce (Monkfish, Mussels, Clams, Calamari & Saffron Couscous), pictured on the right.  While the girls and I had nice leftover portions of chitarra spaghetti to enjoy for lunch on Friday, Rex devoured every last bite.

For dessert, London was ecstatic to find her favorite, Tiramisu… a serving that could have fed all four of us.  However, Maddie and I each had our own Tartaletta (Dark Chocolate Cream Filled Tart, White Chocolate Crema, Chocolate Gelato) and Rex chose the Zucca (Pumpkin, Candied Walnuts, Currants, Vanilla Gelato).  The perfect ending to a wonderful Christmas Eve.

If you haven’t made your plans for New Year’s Eve, Due Terre is having a similar festive prix fixe menu and I highly recommend it… a late seating for just the grown-ups to ring in the New Year or an early seating for the whole family.  The price is $50 per person for a three course adult menu, and $25 per person for a two course (entree plus dessert) kids menu.  Call (908) 221-0040 for reservations and be sure to tell ‘em Roxy sent you!

Due Terre Enoteca, 107 Morristown Road, Bernardsville, NJ 07924. Phone: (908) 221-0040.

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