There are few things more "Rehobothy" than summer dining al fresco on Adriatico's patio right smack in the middle of it all at the corner of First St. and Baltimore Ave. Adriatico's predictable food and pleasant service is a good "jump start" for an evening of staggering ...oops, I mean, strolling...and bar hopping on
Baltimore Ave. This is basic Italian with a seafood bent. All the standard goodies are on the menu, plus maritime versions of the popular Primavera, Florentine, Alfredo, Pesto and Marinara preparations. The place has some hits and misses.
On a recent visit, the appetizer special was Sausage, Cheese and Cannellini (white bean) Bruschetta. The bread was crunchy and garlicky, and piled high with goodies. In fact, I was forced to do something that I try hard not to do: Share! Then, two of us got the wedge. Frankly, it was way to small a portion to justify the $7 tariff, and the lettuce was room temperature. We should have just ordered more of that bruschetta. The Calamari was just OK (it could have been a little more crisp and salty). On the other hand, the garlic bread at Adriatico is unusual, with much of the garlic/butter on the top of a warm loaf of sliced Italian bread. It's not crunchy like most versions, but it is buttery and yeasty. I've also had the Caprese which is quite nice (especially when tomatoes are in season).
I ordered the Chicken Parmesan. The chicken had been pounded thin, with the cheese melted directly onto the breaded meat and the sauce ladled around the perimeter. I've never seen it that way, but I really liked it not all gooey and drowned in sauce. After shamelessly gawking at neighboring diners' plates, I suspect the Veal Parm and Eggplant Parm are served similarly. Personally, I feel that Adriatico's red sauce is too sweet, and, after a few red-sauce experiences, I order things without it. For example, do try the Chicken Adriatico. It was reminiscent of the parmesan version, but with a savory mushroom topping. Another signature dish is the Chicken Italiano. Think of Chicken Kiev, but sub prosciutto for the ham. Add mozzarella, alfredo sauce and roasted red peppers. (Mmmm--maybe the Kiev analogy was a bit of a stretch after all....) My favorite dining companion had the Chicken Piccatta with a light and buttery lemon sauce. He frowned at the capers (though their presence was clearly indicated on the menu), but his plate was spotless when the server finally wrenched it from his grip.
Spring, summer and fall is when you want to be downtown at the corner of First St. and Baltimore Ave. where they've been since 1976. The waits can be long, but that's all part of the fun. Stroll around, do a little shopping, and anticipate the fun of possibly being seated on the patio where you can quietly (yet nonjudgmentally, of course) comment on the unsuspecting passersby. (302-227-9255). Click here to check out Adriatico's menu.(D., Bar). Price range: Moderate