Cotoletta, Belmont Hills, PA – A Review

by artfuldiner on October 31, 2018

in Uncategorized


201 Jefferson Street

Belmont Hills, Pennsylvania

(610) 660-5224

Cotoletta - InteriorHidden away in the Belmont Hills, Cotoletta, which means “veal chop” or “cutlet” in Italian, occupies the space that was, for some 30 years, home to Mel’s Italian on the Hill. The 90-seat BYOB made its debut in January 2016 and has been packing them in ever since.

The restaurant’s homey interior – replete with an interesting array of unmatched tables and chairs, geometric light fixtures, splashes of deep blue & scintillating white, and oodles of fresh sunflowers – is as rustic and unpretentious as chef/proprietor Beth Amadio’s cuisine.  Ms. Amadio, a self-taught chef, presents a menu that is filled with great tasting quality-driven Italian/American comfort food taken to the max.

Cotoletta - Chicken ParmAnd the cotolette – cutlets (veal or chicken) sliced thin, pounded thinner, and served up with a side of pasta marinara – are clearly the center of attention. They come Milanese, breaded & pan-fried w/arugula, tomatoes & red onions… Marsala, sautéed w/mushrooms & marsala… Piccata sautéed w/lemon & white wine… and Parmesan, breaded & pan-fried w/provolone & marinara sauce (chicken parm pictured). By the way, Ms. Amadio also turns out a first-rate Eggplant Parmesan, which I thoroughly enjoyed during my first visit.

Cotoletta - The StackOn the other hand, if you have trouble making up your mind, the Cotoletta Stack, the specialty of the house, is highly recommended. Fried eggplant and longhot peppers stuffed with provolone cheese and marinara are sandwiched between two crispy pan-fried chicken cutlets… with a generous slathering of marinara completing the deal. The portion size is extremely generous and well worth the extra expenditure. While the Stack, priced at $32.00, is the most expensive item on the menu (except for certain specials), its extravagant portion size – unless you happen to have the appetite of a ravening hyena – will almost certainly necessitate a doggie bag, thus providing you with some tasty leftovers the following evening.

Cotoletta - Shrimp & VegetablesBut Cotoletta is more than just a one-hit wonder; so be sure to check some of the other entrées, particularly the seafood items, which are certainly worth a careful look-see. The Cioppino, a delicious tomato-based seafood stew, is excellent in every respect… ditto the Linguini & Clams, littlenecks spiked with garlic and white wine in an excellent lemon sauce. My dining partner, though, is quite partial to the Shrimp & Vegetables (pictured). Pristinely fresh and crunchy jumbo shrimp are paired with asparagus, roasted peppers, and caramelized onions in a rich, tomato-based broth.

Cotoletta - BranzinoMy nod, though, goes to the Branzino, European Sea Bass, the special fish of the day. And, rather than going through the theatrics of having it filleted tableside – which generally means the flesh will be cold before you get your first bite – all the dirty work is taken care of in the kitchen. In addition, rather than roasting, the filleted fish is pan seared and embellished with a touch of olive oil, splash of lemon and white wine, and healthy dose of garlic. Simple but sublime. Proof, once again, that finny fare is best served by those accoutrements that intrude the least.

Appetizers gather together many of the usual suspects, including Mussels in red or white sauce, Broccoli Rabe with olive oil & garlic, Grilled Artichoke, and Stuffed Long Hots with sausage, provolone cheese, and marinara. Given the generosity of the entrées, however, the refreshingly crisp salads – which are perfect for sharing – are clearly the way to go here. Take the Arugula, for instance. The tangled peppery greenery comes replete with roasted peppers, kalamata olives, grilled artichokes, and generous chunks of Parmigiana Reggiano. An excellent choice.

Cotoletta - Milan SaladThe table, favorite, however, proved to be the Milan, a combo of iceberg lettuce, chopped tomatoes, bacon, chopped eggs, shrimp, and a dynamite house dressing. It may not be terribly photogenic, but it’s downright delicious… That dressing, by the way, pays homage to the iconic Thousand Island recipe made famous at the Milan, which opened for business at 39 South 19th Street in Philadelphia’s Center City in 1951. Jimmy’s Milan Salad Dressing, which is available online, continues to tantalize appetites today… as does Cotoletta’s mouthwatering interpretation of the original.

Cotoletta - CannoliDesserts take something of a backseat here, but (if you still can find some room) they are well worth considering. The Lemon Cake is quite good; ditto, the Strawberry Cream Ice Cream. My nod, though, goes to the made-in-house cannoli, Sicilian delicacies of tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough filled with ricotta based sweet cream. The filling is light… decadent… irresistible. The perfect ending to a most satisfying meal.

Cotoletta - ExteriorGetting to Cotoletta may seem something of a chore… Coming from the west, take the Schuylkill Expressway east to the Belmont Avenue exit, hang a right at the bottom, go under the overpass, and hang an immediate right onto Ashland Avenue. Go up the hill, pass La Collina, and turn right onto Jefferson Street. Cotoletta is located at 201 Jefferson. Sounds difficult but – depending on the traffic, of course – it really isn’t… And don’t worry about parking in this packed and stacked residential neighborhood, as the restaurant has complimentary valet parking… Just don’t forget to BYOB.

 Bon Appétit!


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