Caruso's Italian Cafe

Caruso's is now closed

Over the past 8 months, I've read several eatsalem comments highly recommending Caruso's Italian Cafe. N and I have been wanting to try it, but with our budget and their prices (main dishes $20 and up) we needed to save the experience for a special occasion. Our 30th anniversary seemed like the perfect opportunity. :>)
I learned from their website that Caruso's is situated at Inland Shores in Keizer. Once we turned onto Promenade Way from River Rd. N (just north of Lockhaven Dr.), we only had to drive a short distance and through a round-about until the lakeside restaurant came into view. They did an excellent job designing their building. The outside is just as elegant and inviting as the inside.
We're usually late diners and that Tuesday was no exception. We waited in the holiday decorated foyer a short time while the hostess seated another couple who arrived before us. When she returned, she led us to a table for two. Unfortunately, all the lake view tables were taken. Our water glasses were filled and menus brought out. Our charming waitress went over the specials, left for 5 or so minutes and came back to our table to ask if we had any questions about the menu. We placed our orders, along with a glass of house sangiovese and house pinot noir.
Our appetizer was the special of the day -- and the fact that on Tuesday they feature 50% off appetizers did sway our decision. While we were waiting for our appetizer to arrive, our waitress brought out sliced sourdough in a basket and drizzled some spiced olive oil in a small dish for dipping. Our appetizer featured 5 panko breaded shrimp (tender and succulent) laid on top of a thin layer of a light, creamy, pesto sauce. Delicious! One of those moments when I hope I'm not making audible noises while I eat.
I ordered a green salad with the house dressing and N ordered a cup of creamy potato and bacon soup to go with our dinners. My salad was a generous portion of young greens, with Parmesan cheese in addition to the house balsamic vinaigrette.
Just minutes after we had finished our soup and salad, our waitress brought out our dinners. My dinner was Pollo ala Tuscana, a tender, generously sized, rosemary & garlic seasoned, chicken breast, laid on top of delicately flavored Fettuccine Alfredo with an addition of delicious vegetables. N's meal was Ossobuco, a braised veal shank laid atop Risotto alla Milanese. We couldn't resist sharing a slice of their rich hazelnut torte with Marsala wine custard sauce. {sigh}
The service was just right - charming, attentive, but not overly attentive. Thank you, Tonia. I'm glad I took pictures (I apologize for the results of the low light) to remember that delectable meal.
Reservations recommended
Caruso's Italian Café & Catering
5745 Inland Shores Way N
Keizer, OR 97303
Phone: 503-393-8272
Fax: 503-856-9230
Email: carusoskeizer@comcast.net

11 comments:

Lisa Anne said...

I honestly had no idea there were Italian restaurants of this caliber in Salem. Good to know! Hmm...I'm thinking birthday dinner... ;-)

KandN said...

What? We don't get to try out another new place?? ;>)

Lisa Anne said...

Ha! Only if it will be as good/nice as either Amadeus or Caruso's

KandN said...

Don't forget to add J. James to that list! I've never been there, but I've heard good comments at work.
I do have an idea of where we should go. Maybe we'll surprise you . . .

rjerryc said...

Only went for lunch and my employer paid. I was disappointed at the small size of the portions. Everyone (4 of us) had something different and we all agreed that the portions were rather small. The food was excellent though and I believe the lunch menu is less expensive than dinner. Maybe that explains the small portions. On our way back to work we joked about stopping for pizza to fill the empty spaces. Or were we all joking?

Anonymous said...

What it shows is that as Americans we expect large portions. Go to the Olive Garden for that. Of course, it most likely won't be as good.

KandN said...

Yes, that's always something that bothers me - when people talk about how much they love restaurants that serve huge portions.
Ugh! That and buffets - how big are our stomachs??!

KandN said...

Yes! Caruso's is open! I just called and they're open from Wed. to Sun. for both lunch and dinner. :>)

Anonymous said...

Just went to Caruso's last week. There was nobody there when we arrived, shortly after 5pm. We were given a nice table by the window. Shortly after being seated, two other groups arrived and were seated to our immediate right and left while the rest of the dining room was left empty. I realize this was probably for the convenience of the server but it was certainly less than ideal for the customer. I would like to think the customer is the priority but perhaps I am wrong. The food was quite good as was the house chianti. It really is a lovely place & the service issues should be easily resolved.

Anonymous said...

Ok - I need to pipe in about the "seating" complaint above. Seating restaurant patrons is like herding cats. You try with best intentions to ensure that your customers receive the best experience possible - MANY factors, including how available the server will be (location), AND the preference of the diners being seated - come in to play. While some customers understand when a reason is given for not using a particular table, others demand particular seats. Certainly those folks wanted the window seats just as "anonymous" did above.

Anonymous said...

It's pleasant enough, but I rank it a distant third behind Da Vinci and Alessandro's in both atmosphere and food.