Salvatore Ristorante (3226 N. Arnoult Road, Metairie, 455-2433; www.salvatorerestaurant.com) serves up Italian cooking with a twist — sometimes literally. The Metairie restaurant might be the only place in town where guests can partake in dancing and dinner in equal measure. Its Sunday tradition of hosting dance band Harvey Jesus and Fire alongside a hearty buffet is just one way Salvatore Ristorante isn't like other places.
The restaurant's cuisine is influenced by Sicilian-style cooking mixed with New Orleans culinary traditions. Chef/owner Saul Bollat says there's a difference between Sicilian and other Italian cooking: Sicilian food uses a lot of olive oil, lighter sauces, garlic and white wine.
He recommends Sicilian-inspired dishes such as chicken a la grande, chicken roasted in olive oil with garlic, rosemary, oregano and Pinot Grigio. The charbroiled oysters, a new addition to the menu, also are made with garlic and white wine, but are then covered with Romano and Parmesan cheeses. "They are very juicy," Bollat says. "Especially when you dip bread into the juice — it's to die for."
Drawing from New Orleans traditions, the restaurant also serves dishes like shrimp Creole and trout Salvatore, which is a grilled fillet topped with jumbo lump crab meat and shrimp sauce. The chefs at Salvatore are avid supporters of local fishermen and use only fresh seafood.
Besides the Sunday buffet from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., there's also dining and dancing on Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. when Harvey Jesus and Fire again performs.
Salvatore Ristorante is open for lunch Sunday through Friday, and dinner every day. Patrons also can book the neighborhood restaurant for private functions.