Last Updated on May 18, 2022 by Angie
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Senti is an Italian restaurant in Lawrenceville with a modern vibe that serves up traditional plates alongside a solid wine list. While we left slightly underwhelmed by some of the dishes, we can see Senti being a good spot for a wine-focused outing with friends or pre-dinner drinks and a couple of appetizers.
Senti is Approachable for Both Drinks or a Full Meal
The space inside Senti is split into two by the bar, with one side being the main restaurant and the other half being more of a wine bar/lounge area. In the main dining area, clean lines in the decor, white bench seating, plenty of floor-to-ceiling windows, and large paintings give off an art museum or museum cafe vibe- something a bit different from what you'd expect in Lawrenceville at large.
Our recent meal started with a perusal of the craft cocktail and wine lists. Some of the seasonal cocktails did sound intriguing, but we were really there for the wine- it is a wine bar after all. Senti has an Enomatic wine dispensing system for some of the wines, enabling them to serve 1 oz, 3 oz, or 5 oz of premium wines (with a price to match- a full 5 oz pour ranges from $17-35).
There is also a separate non-Enomatic wine by the glass list and bottle list. The glass list is, expectedly, nearly all Italian. We opted for a Joseph Jewell Pinot Noir from the Enomatic selection, and an Arneis which was full of stone fruit, a little nuttiness, and nice acidity. These are wines we do not normally see on menus and were pretty excited to sample them with our dinner here.
Our meal began with complimentary focaccia which was light and airy with a nice salty, crunchy top. It was served with a delicious creamy garbanzo bean spread with basil that gave a nice floralness.
The starters (meatballs, calamari, burrata, and more) all sounded great, but the cacio e pepe arancini lured us in. These arancini had a light and crispy fry on the outside encasing a creamy mixture of Arborio rice, pecorino cheese, and black pepper. A simple tomato sauce on the bottom of the plate was perfect for dipping. The punchiness of the black pepper shone through, which we appreciated against the richness of the other ingredients.
The remainder of the menu includes a wide selection of pastas and just a couple of entrees. The entrees included salmon, saltimbocca alla Romana, and a ribeye steak, along with a lamb special on our visit. Pastas were a little more varied and caught our attention: a springy-sounding lemon artichoke ravioli, spaghetti al pomodoro, gnocchi with duck ragu, and lasagna were just some of the options.
The pastas are portioned as entree sizes, so we decided to do a split of one pasta and one entree. For the entree we chose the saltimbocca alla Romana, a veal loin with prosciutto and sage served with polenta fries and broccoli rabe.
The veal was thin and tender, but we could have used more prosciutto to bring more flavor and seasoning to the dish. The polenta fries were amazing little cubes of creamy polenta fried to crispy perfection. The broccoli rabe was a little underseasoned but a nice bitter counterpoint to the richness of the veal. Overall, the flavor of this one was quite nice, but it was on the smaller side for what you'd expect for the price point.
Our favorite plate of the evening by far was the agnolotti con asparagi – asparagus agnolotti with ricotta, Grana Padano, and a sage butter sauce. The agnolotti were little pillows of tender pasta filled with ricotta; asparagus bits on top provided lightness and a crunchy texture. A beautiful sage flavor permeated the light and not overwhelming butter sauce. This dish tasted like the essence of spring despite perhaps needing just a bit more salt to make it perfect!
Dessert options included classic tiramisu, almond oil cake, an apple tart, chocolate bread pudding, or a seasonal tiramisu special. We chose the seasonal strawberry tiramisu with a strawberry mascarpone layered between ladyfingers and topped with macerated strawberries. It was pleasant and light, but could have used a little something else like a hit of citrus or vanilla to enhance the flavors a bit more.
All in all, Senti delivered a classic Italian meal with a great wine selection, but we just wish a few of the dishes would have been seasoned a bit more to help the flavors truly sing. We can definitely see returning here to sample more of the wine selection with appetizers or splitting one of the amazing housemade pasta dishes. That is truly a combo that cannot be overlooked!
Senti is located at 3473 Butler Street in Lawrenceville.