After the underwhelming filled pasta at Larry’s II failed to sate my craving for Italian food, I had avoided eating Italian all weekend in order to save my appetite for what I thought would be an ideal compromise – the Monday Pizza & Pasta buffet at the Five Points Inn. Their web site indicated that it was held every Monday from 5-9 at both the East and the West Side locations – I knew that the West Side location at Delsea & Landis had closed (not by anything indicated on the building, mind you – I kind of figured it out when I never saw any cars there), so I headed over to the East Side location way out on the other end of Landis Ave in anticipation of enjoying a buffet that I knew would be excellent, as I had it on my last visit to New Jersey.
I was disappointed to find out that the Monday buffet had discontinued a few weeks before, with no updates on the website to indicate that. Rather than waste a trip (since this location was way out of my way), I took a look at their menu to see if there was anything comparable I could choose a la carte. On their specials menu, they had a filled pasta combo ($9.95) that included 2 manicotti, 2 ravioli, and 2 stuffed shells that came with bread and butter and your choice of soup or salad.
The pasta was good, as is most pasta in South Jersey. The true test is in the marinara – their version is good but not great. I think I’ve been spoiled by the excellent pasta and marinara I’ve been getting at Carfagna’s for the past 5-10 years. It has become a benchmark to compare everything else to. But I digress – it was definitely edible. And even though I thought it was originally drowning in sauce, in the end it was just the right amount. The only thing missing was grated cheese, which unfortunately they didn’t include at all.
I chose the chicken escarole soup as my side. One of the things I’ve learned about cooking escarole into soup is that you have to add it right at the end, or the broth and everything in the soup becomes very bitter if it’s allowed to boil afterward. Unfortunately, this soup suffered that fate, and was too bitter for me to finish.
In addition, I ordered a side of meatballs and a side of sausage (price unknown, not on the menu, but I think they were $2 each side) – both were excellent – the meatballs were HUGE and flavored nicely, the sausage was left in link form and still juicy.
While it did end up costing twice as much as if the buffet was still active, it wasn’t bad – unfortunately, it also wasn’t as good as it used to be, and I’m sure there’s much better Italian to be had in Vineland. I just didn’t have enough time there to explore to find the best that Vineland has to offer. Any of you South Jersey locals have an opinion?
If you’d like to go: Five Points Inn, E. Landis Ave and Tuckahoe Rd, Vineland, NJ, 856.691.6580