Date nights are things not to be taken for granted. They are rare and deserved to be treasured like a Bigfoot sighting. You don’t know if there will ever be another so you must make the most of your special evening alone by avoiding the conventional, experimenting, and stepping outside of your comfort zone to find new sources of pleasure for you and your spouse.
Hey sicko! I was just talking about dinner. You know what? I don’t think I even want you to finish reading this. Perv.
Anyways, as I was saying, my lovely wife and I are always on the lookout for a new place to eat when Emporio: A Meatball Joint stumbled into our consciousness. We had seen the Wexford location during errands in the area, but the timing never worked out to our advantage until a date night aligned with a recent article from Thrillist featuring Emporio: A Meatball Joint. Check out their site here. That pushed us over the edge. We were off leaving our kids and our cares behind.
The Wexford location is nestled into a busy and developing shopping center called the Village at Pine, though the restaurant scored a coveted end spot. The inside of the spot is open and inviting with a clean line of sight throughout the entire establishment with a bar in the center and a large patio area, which is a hybrid outdoor seating area with large garage door-style windows that can be opened on warm summer nights. The view from our patio seat was elevated to a view of Route 19. A business highway never looked better.
The menu is unique in the way the items are arranged, portioned, and combined. Unsurprisingly, meatballs are the centerpiece here. Your task is to choose between the pork, beef, chicken, veggie, and ball of the month, the quantity, the sauce, and the accompaniments.
For newbies like us, the combinations were a bit overwhelming and intimidating. Luckily, our server Taylor (or was it Tyler) promptly pointed us a strong direction. I went with the chicken ball grinder (three balls) with gouda and chicken gravy. The lovely wife went with the saucy balls (four balls) opting for the veggie, chicken, and pork with the pesto on the side. Always focused on health, she paired hers with the quinoa (pronounces keen-schwa-poo-nip-de-a). Since I value taste over my personal well-being, I went with the parm-herb fries. Feast your eyes on these bad boys …
The service was paced just right for us, and we were pleasantly surprised when the entirety of our order made its way to the table.
Ok ok. Bonus points for plating in an interesting ways. My sandwich was on a steel tray covered with a layer of paper in a very Burgatory or Pig Iron manner while the wife’s was served up in a trio of handled bowls.
Mine was quite impressive albeit a bit hard to attack in a way that would leave my face spic and span, but if there is one thing I have learned in 11 years of married, it’s that my wife respects me more when I just go for it. The chicken was juicy and flavorful. The bread was light and fresh. The chicken gravy was thick and rich, and somehow the slices of gouda brought the whole thing together. And the fries … my God. The fries were out-of-this-world awesome.
But you and I both know that a date night cannot be successful if the wife does not enjoy hers as much as you liked yours. Emporio didn’t disappoint. She loved all, but the Vegetarian balls stood out the most. Even a carnivore like me was happy to take a few nibbles. To me, the star of her meal was the quinoa salad, though. It was packed full of tasty crap like cauliflower and dressed with citrus drizzle that was more orange and lime than lemon. I’ll save my tirade against lemon for another time.
At the end of the meal, our bellies were happy to pack up our leftovers to be enjoyed the next day, but it was then that we discovered the genius of Emporio: that overwhelming intimidation that started our meal was replaced by overwhelming curiosity. We only tried a small offering of the total menu. What does the government cheese taste like? Could you dip some fries into the chicken-chili? The salads, the snacky things! They still remain a mystery to us. A mystery we intend to solve. Watch out Emporio; we’ll be back
Consume.Review.Repeat. gives Emporio: A Meatball Joint 9.1 missed testicle joke opportunities out of 10.