People who have never been to Due Amici would describe it as the little Italian place in Brielle. Once you enter beneath the awning you realize that the place is a great deal more spacious than it appears from the outside. There is a large rectangular bar to the left and a large dining area, complete with a working stone fireplace. The music, dominated by Sinatra, is evident as soon as you enter. The ambient noise level of the restaurant is pleasingly low so the music can actually be enjoyed. There is also a piano player on selected evenings.
The food at Due Amici is predominately regional Italian and prepared and presented very well. I particularly enjoyed a Spiedini alla Romano which is not offered in too many Italian restaurants in the area. It was a portion that would be large enough the share and prepared perfectly with the classic anchovy and caper sauce surrounding an ark of encrusted melted mozzarella. The Red Snapper Oreganata was also a big hit, being cooked until flaky but still moist with just the right amount of oregano without being overpowering or bitter as this preparation often is. On another visit the fried calamari was selected and was cooked perfectly to a perfect pale golden hue. It was light, crisp and not the least bit chewy. This is one of the few places in the area that actually gets it right. On the other hand the linguini with white clams was a disappointment. I asked our server how it was prepared and was told with whole clams in the shell. When it arrived there was one lonely little neck and the rest was chopped clams. This caused the dish to be missing the briny flavor that can only be had from clams in the shell opening in the pan and surrendering their liquor. This tasted more like a processed chopped clam product was used. For the 20.00 price I feel that using clams in the shell should have been a much better preparation.
Aside from that one issue, everything else that was sampled at Due Amici was very good to exceptional. Be careful to pay attention to the menu however. When you order a chicken, veal or fish selection, the server will simply ask, what type of pasta you want with it. You will be charged extra for it. It is stated on the menu but the way it is presented by the server would make the unaware think it was included. There are other little upcharge snafu’s as well. Just be aware and avoid surprises.
Due Amici has an adequate wine selection, by bottle or glass, specialty cocktails and a good selection of dessert choices. Reservations are highly recommended as the restaurant has a very large local following. There is extra parking across the street.
I am looking forward to my next visit to Due Amici. My wife and I plan one evening to just grab a seat and the bar with a couple cocktails, some fried calamari, and enjoy the piano. We will also be back for dinner soon.