The Harbinger Online

Review: Jasper’s Italian Restaurant

Tucked into a small complex just north of St. Joseph Medical Center on State Line Road, Jasper’s Ristorante is a true gem, radiating an old-Italian family vibe with a modern flair.

Jasper’s history of excellence is well-noted, as the restaurant has won several distinguished national awards. It is one of only 95 restaurants in North America to receive the Mobil Four Stars, the highest award on Mobil’s extremely selective ranking system. Also, Jasper Mirabile, Jr., current owner and head chef, has been featured numerous times on NBC’s local news segment, “What’s Cooking.” Since it is so highly acclaimed, I had high expectations for the restaurant.

When I first walked into Jasper’s, I was immediately greeted by a life-size cardboard cutout of the Chef Jasper Mirabile, Jr. After starting to talk to it, then realizing it wasn’t real, I was escorted to my table by the accommodating maître d’.

I found myself sitting among one of about 30 candlelit, white tablecloth-covered tables and booths inside. Vibrant reds and yellows gave the room an added glow, illuminating many of the framed pictures of the Mirabile family. Nearly all the tables were filled, but quiet chatter was the only noise that could be heard over the sound of smooth jazz.

One of Jasper’s best qualities is their quick and friendly staff. Although it was packed the night I went, I was greeted by my waiter within five minutes of being seated. I then ordered and received my standard Caesar salad after about ten minutes.

As soon as I finished my salad, it was whisked away and replaced with my entrée, Lasagne Al Forno, per recommendation by my waiter. Covered in a thick marinara sauce and ricotta cheese and melted onto Italian sausage, the artfully prepared Italian classic was nothing short of delectable.

The best part of my experience at Jasper’s was definitely the dessert. My waiter rolled out a three-tier cart with 13 desserts sumptuously displayed. There were traditional cannolis, gelatos, tiramisu and cakes. I finally decided on the Cioccolatta Della Morta, or “Death by Chocolate” cake, which was a big slice of chattily layered chocolate cake with rich chocolate icing and artistically dribbled chocolate sauce topping off the edible masterpiece. I was delighted to find that it was just as scrumptious as it appeared.

I left the restaurant feeling full and satisfied. The chef surpassed my expectations; modern styling mixed with old-Italian flavor create the intriguing confection that is Jasper’s Ristorante, and I plan on being a repeat customer.

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