The meal and service were so good at Impastato’s on New Year’s Eve 2012 that I’m tempted to make reservations there for New Year’s Eve 2013, even if that is still 364 days away. The meal might not have been the greatest we ever had (it was close), but it’s tough to get a better one at 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.
Chef Joe Impastato (and family) just knows how to run a restaurant, as he has demonstrated for decades. He seems to be eternally on the scene, chatting with customers, helping to seat folks, mixing the pasta at tableside or even carrying a chair to another table if necessary.
Regular customers will advise you to let him order for you. He’s that trustworthy, he knows what’s best that night and you’ll end up with a great meal.
It being a special night like New Year’s Eve, we just went for what is called “Chef Joe’s Dinner Special,” a five-course package that starts with one of three seafood salads and finishes with an obscenely good dessert like blueberry-banana pie or amaretto parfait.
Between those you get:
- Two pastas (Fettuccine Alfredo and Pasta Ascuitta)
- A huge salad composed of really fresh romaine lettuce and cherry tomatoes tossed with Impastato’s own house dressing
- A wide selection of entrees, depending upon what the special occasion is.
In case the name didn’t tell you, this is an Italian restaurant. It’s what Chef Joe calls “a taste of Italy,” but it’s quite a taste. Depending on the special occasion, the selections may include:
- Shrimp Scampi (Jumbos in lemon & butter)
- Fresh Fish Payton (Breaded with mushrooms, artichokes, crabmeat & crawfish)
- Fresh Fish Marianna, (Pan-sautéed with artichokes & mushrooms.)
- Osso Buco (Veal shank in light gravy)
- Roasted leg of lamb, oven-roasted
- Soft-Shell Crab Marcello (Golden-fried, topped with crabmeat and crawfish)
- Veal Parmesan (Breaded baby veal topped with melted cheese & light tomato gravy).
- Steamed Maine Lobster
- Pecan-Smoked Filet Mignon
Avoid the scale the next morning. It was worth it.
The restaurant is known for naming dishes after New Orleans Saints coaches and players, so we assume the "Fresh Fish Payton" honors Coach Sean Payton. Elsewhere on the menu or website you'll find references to former Coaches Bum Phillips and Mike Dikta (and wife), and Saints Owner Tom Benson and his wife.
The restaurant is located at 3400 16th Street in suburban Metairie, right behind the Lakeside Shopping Center. The dining rooms and the bar can get extremely crowded, so make reservations. One dining room has a beautiful stained glass ceiling.
Don’t be turned off by the website. It just needs a bit of updating.