I have to admit I had only visited one time since I arrived 8 years ago. But my wife and I decided to get takeout for New Year’s Eve and boy are we glad we did. This is authentic, traditional food that is made even better by the fact that portions are huge.
There is a large list of dinner appetizers like grilled lamb chops served on a sizzling granite stone. Oysters on the Half Shell are delivered with mushroom caps stuffed and baked with seasoned breadcrumbs. Grilled shrimp are another choice as they are marinated and also served on the stone.
You can also order a warm Spinach Salad with red onion and mushrooms tossed in warm bacon dressing and a hard-boiled egg. A very traditional and delicious Lobster Bisque is available and is served in a sourdough bread bowl.
I ordered Chicken Parmigiana in many Italian places, especially if I’m new to the restaurant. The Parm here is outstanding and follows the traditional recipes from Rome that have been popular for decades.
The thinly-sliced chicken breast is breaded, layered with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese then oven-baked. You will have plenty for lunch the next day. There are a dozen other chicken dishes like Vesuvius, Prosciutto and Madeira.
The menu is arranged so each protein has a section. Shrimp and veal are featured. There is Cioppino highlighted with steamed seafood sitting in tomato and wine broth.
Lobster ravioli has blackened shrimp, asparagus and pink sauce. Risottos are also well represented.
If you want something other than pasta as the main ingredient the special selections list is for you. A scallops and shrimp entrée is served with fresh spinach and sun-dried tomatoes with noodles and garlic cream sauce. They also feature roasted rack of lamb that is drizzled with imported Dijon mustard, red wine demi glaze plus assorted roasted vegetables.
One of the things people like about the place is their large dessert menu. Not only will you find Tiramisu, Zeppole and Cannoli Siciliano with chocolate chips but there are other picks that are usually not represented in Italian establishments.
Molten Chocolate Cake includes raspberry sorbet and whipped cream. Caramel Pecan Ice Cream Cake has a surprise ingredient, Bananas Foster.
This is a family place, and the Kids Menu is larger than most. Youth Mac and Cheese, Spaghetti and Meatballs plus Chicken Fingers and Fries are all ready for the little ones.
If you are looking for traditional Italian cuisine with large portions, this is the place for you. Their curbside pick-up works well, and you will have plenty of food left over when you finish. You can’t get much better than that.
Ventano Italian Grill and Seafood, 191 S. Arroyo Grande Blvd., Henderson. (702) 944-4848. www.ventanomenu.com.