What time do you want your bite to eat?
Most days, Vitale's Deli is simply that--an Italian deli. Its varied menu bears this out, presenting items one would expect to see, including homemade pizza pies, subs, panini sandwiches, sloppy joes, Italian hot dogs, burgers and hot deli classics like corned beef and pastrami sandwiches
From Thursday through Saturday each week, however, the deli becomes a trattoria. A new menu tells a tale of nighttime gastronomic glory, featuring a full selection of appetizers, salads and mouth-watering Italian entrees.
It's two - two - two eateries in one. Because of its dual nature and its frankly terrific food, we've chosen Vitale's Deli and Trattoria as this week's Bites Nearby.
Located in a strip mall on Route 46 East near Baldwin Road, the place is easy to miss. Thank goodness for Lt. Jeffrey Storms of the Parsippany Police Department, who told Patch about this great dinner spot he'd found. Given our firm belief that cops are the ones who know the truth when it comes to food, we decided to hit Vitale's only seconds after the recommendation came from the lieutenant's lips.
Are we glad we did. We found Vitale's Deli to be top notch. The sandwiches and lunch salads are sublimely fresh and delicious. The soups and panini are tasty as well and we tried a grilled chicken and bacon sandwich that left us satisfied and oh, so happy. And and we must give a shoutout to the Italian-style sausage. Subtly spiced and served on toasted bread slathered in tomato sauce and mozzarella with potatoes, onions and peppers, this sandwich is nothing short of glorious.
The same adjective works to describe the daily specials: a mere $7.75 gets you a choice of items that will fill your belly without emptying your purse. And Vitale's "Working Mom" special, available Monday through Friday, is a brilliant idea: For $24.95, Mom (or Dad) can grab a family-sized cheese lasagna with enough salad and garlic bread to feed 6-8 people. Talk about a sweet deal that saves rat-racers money and time.
As much as we loved the deli operation, Lt. Storms was correct about the trattoria experience. At night, the homey decor, cast in neutrals and featuring wall art and gold-colored appointments, seems to become downright elegant.
The same holds for the thrice-weekly menu. This is not Italian fast-casual. Appetizers, ranging from $7.95-$9.95, are the classic favorites, among them antipasti, zuppa di clams and the divine eggplant rollatine, which rolls veggie cuts with ricotta and tops the whole with mozzarella and marinara sauce. Magnifico. We found a salad made from tender arugula and tomato and featuring red onion, shaved pecorino and a sweet balsamic dressing just delicious. And the entrees, covering vegetable dishes, chops, chicken, seafood (oh, the flounder Florentine with shrimp) and pasta, are expertly prepared and smartly priced. Entrees range in price from $14.95-$18.95.
The trattoria works for the kids too, with a "Little Appetites" menu geared to the under-12 set and 18-inch square pan pizzas available.
Wait, one might say. How can we enjoy meals such as these without wine? No problem: At Vitale's Trattoria, diners are encouraged to BYOB.
And if you want to eat at home, both the deli and trattoria sides deliver.
From our experience, though, trust: When it comes to quality food, whether one is at home or inside the establishment itself, both the deli and trattoria sides deliver deliciously.
, 1541 Route 46 East, 973-334-9010. Deli Hours: Monday through Wednesday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Trattoria Hours: Thursday through Saturday 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Major cards accepted.