The Water’s Edge at Giovanni’s is known for being a great place to hold meetings, banquets and weddings, but it also has a walk-in restaurant, Giovanni’s, which comes with the inviting tagline “A Serious Steakhouse.” The décor is serious indeed, outfitted to look like an old-style gentleman’s club, with wood paneling and shelves filled with big, leather-bound books. This is a quiet restaurant with thick carpets and tables spaced comfortably apart.
A big tank of live lobsters is the first thing you’ll see when you enter Giovanni’s, which specializes in steak, seafood and Italian food. This is the place for people who like their food cooked without a lot of fanfare, and those (like me) who are grateful there is enough light to read the menu.
Come hungry. There are two “complete dinner” specials ($50.95 and $40.95) that will get you garlic bread, appetizer, garden salad, and an entrée—big portions of select cuts of meat and fish—with a baked potato and vegetable of the day. And dessert, too.
To enjoy the spread, hold back on the garlic bread, soft and warm and dripping in garlicky butter. There’s a lot more food to come. Even men with big appetites will take home a doggy bag.
From the starters, we ordered oysters on the half shell. The fresh, local, briny blue points glistened, served with a wedge of lemon and red cocktail sauce. We squirted on a little lemon and reveled. The fried calamari came in large, tender rings. Clams casino, with its topping of bacon and cheese, was traditionally salty.
Salads are offered with a long list of dressings to please all. I was pleased that instead of the ubiquitous creamy gorgonzola, the dressing was a crumbly version, providing an interesting textural contrast to the crispy greens.
From the $40.95 menu, my husband chose the porterhouse, that great bone-in cut that includes the flavorful top loin and the ultra-tender tenderloin. The waiter placed a big steak, cooked just as requested, medium rare, before him. The accompanying bowl of thin onion rings was crunchy and salty. The baked potato, with its tubs of butter and sour cream, was a flashback to carefree days, and it seemed only right to indulge.
Chateaubriand, a boneless steak cut from the center of the tenderloin, was as tender as butter and, once again, cooked exactly to order. A pile of mushrooms covered it. Fewer, and a greater mix of mushroom varieties, would make for a more elegant topping to this special steak.
From the regular menu, we tried shrimp scampi. These were butterflied and tender, and the simplicity of the traditional garlic, oil and butter sauce was gilded with a creamy overlay, making the dish too rich and not letting the shrimp sing.
The three of us shared the two desserts that came with the meals. The large portion of tiramisu was light and fluffy. The lemon sorbet, on the other hand, was intensely lemony and syrupy sweet. After coffee and tea, with our bellies full of rich food, we yawned, picked up our doggie bags and slowly made our way home.