Giuseppes - Because Good Meals are Made out of Sauce and Hugs
by Christina W. Tarr
Located at the end of the Publix strip mall on Indiantown Rd, lit by the same mosquito torches and sign that I'm pretty certain have always been there, is one of the best Italian restaurants North Palm Beach has to offer, Giuseppe's.
When you open the door and walk inside, everyone gets a hug (and the lucky ones a kiss) from Constantino who is the host/ Maitre de, and has been for as long as I can remember. He always does an amazing job at making everyone feel special, and makes a special effort to ask about you and your family and remember repeat customers. For me one of the best aspects of the entire dining experience is feeling like a restaurant truly wants me to be there— not just to come in, sit down, eat and then leave—but to come and join them and their staff for a meal as if we were all there together.
Once seated it all begins. First with the flavorful focaccia and white bread served with perfectly roasted garlic in oil. Then with the fresh salads which come with every entree. There have been many nights in which I have just ordered a double sized house salad with Gorgonzola cheese, so good and so fresh that I once had it as my birthday dinner.
If you're in the mood for pasta, you can't go wrong with any of their combinations. The pastas are served as a 'make your own,' which allows you to custom order your dinner. There sauces are all homemade and are perfectly seasoned, perfectly cooked and then either made into perfectly smooth or perfectly think and chunky delights. My two favorites are the Gorgonzola Cream, often as a 'heart attack in a bowl' meal served with Gnocchi, and the Bolognese sauce with all of its layers of fond cooked into heaven with Cheese Tortellini. The Marinara is also a big family hit with the Stuffed Shells and the Pine Nut Ravioli with Homemade Sausage comes out steaming and aromatic every time.
The main dishes are also oh so tempting, and Giuseppe's is the only restaurant where my grandmother will eat an entire plate of Veal Picatta, and it is no small plate. My mother orders either the Veal Saltimbocca, tender veal wrapped in layers of prosciutto, or the Chicken Constantino, with its perfectly round and salty capers. As a plus for my two vegetarian sisters, they are very veggie friendly. And no, I don't just mean they have a giant stuffed portobello, but that they have pastas, sandwiches and salads that are so hearty we even wind up with leftovers. The Pizzas and Calzones are also deliciously cheesy and crispy on the bottom.
As far as I know, the chef originated in New York, and then came to South Florida. He is definitely a "chef's chef." You rarely see him out of the kitchen, and I have only spoken to him a couple of times, which includes him taking my takeout orders, but he is always around. There also seem to be A LOT of pictures of him up on the walls with famous people, from TV celebs to baseball players.
Giuseppe's is an amazing family style Italian restaurant that has never delivered a bad meal. Between the food, wine, beer and fantastic staff, one cant go wrong. I have had nearly everything on the menu, and while I have my favorites, I wouldn't pass up any plate at this tried-and-true restaurant.