The past few takeout endeavors during these quarantine times have all been familiar, comfortable places. It has now been almost a month since my last restaurant review, so I figured we would try a new place. I have seen Fratelli’s (Red Bank address but really Middletown) highly active on social media with delicious food pictures and interesting specials. I had also heard many positive accolades from friends regarding the establishment. We placed our order which would include a sampling of a pizza, eggplant rollatini (listed as “stuffed eggplant Parmesan” on the menu), and a pepperoni calzone.
My mom and I wanted to share some pizza and the eggplant, while Justin had a craving for a calzone. Fratelli’s uses a wood-fired brick oven, which was very tempting for all of us. Wanting leftovers, we made the pizza a large with half onion, half mushroom. The amount of food from these three orders was incredible, and there are several meals waiting for us over the next couple of days. For starters, the eggplant rollatini came with four large rolls of eggplant. It was sliced thin, lightly fried, and stuffed with more than enough ricotta cheese. It was then immersed in sauce and melted mozzarella. The sauce (or is it gravy in this case?) was delicious—thick, flavorful, and hearty. Certainly superior to a lot I have tried over the years, and clearly made with a degree of love. This meal was accompanied with pasta and a large loaf of warm Italian bread.
As for the pizza, it was better than most you can get in this area. I have noted several times on this blog how hard it is to actually get good pizza in the Middletown area, which itself is literally a sea of pizzerias. There are too many to go through, and many of them are simply mediocre. This has led Justin and I to drive the hour round trip to Milano’s in Perth Amboy when we want a decent pie. We had simply grown tired of trying pizza after another around here and being disappointed. But now, with the discovery of Fratelli’s, I am thankful to have a place much closer to home whose pizza I will wholeheartedly enjoy. You can taste the brick oven. The dough was sturdy and crispy without being too thick. There was just enough sauce which had a hint of basil. The toppings were loaded, including both red and white onion as well as fresh mushrooms. Justin’s calzone, also with the same excellent dough, was loaded with cheese and gigantic in size, even for a small.
Lastly, there were two cannoli, which they graciously threw in for no added charge after a slight mishap. When I went to pay at the register, they discovered our pizza had accidentally been mixed up and sent with a delivery order. The worker was very apologetic and offered to have me take my food home and they would deliver the pizza to me as soon as it was re-made, or if I wanted to wait, it would only be about 10 minutes. I said I would stay and wait, and that it was not a big deal. They immediately got my new pizza in the oven. When my order was ready, she asked me if I would like some cannoli to take home, which of course, I could not say no to. I never met a dessert I didn’t like. This was a very kind gesture which I appreciate. They know how to do business here.
It was great to see a place like this thriving in these trying times. They had a steady flow of customers in for pick-up, and the phone was ringing off the hook. The lady behind the counter asked several of us how we are doing in this crazy world, and even offered free rubber gloves for people to take home with them. There is a reason why I have heard so many positive remarks about Fratelli’s. I will definitely be ordering from them again, and when all this is over, might dine-in in there lovely small dining room located in the front of the restaurant. For a first-time review, I am going to give them 4 out of 5 stars, which is top-notch for a pizzeria. I hope they keep doing what they’re doing. We all appreciate it.
Fratelli’s Restaurant and Pizzeria is located at 480 NJ-Route 35 in Red Bank, NJ.