Downtown Lawrenceville  
       
     
  By LORI JOHNSTON
For AJC Gwinnett News
Published on: 01/05/2007
 
     
  Dominick's co-owner Mark D'Angelo was a little nervous opening a second Italian restaurant in Gwinnett County. Not because the historic Lawrenceville square is still going through the revitalization process, but because so many customers told him they were glad they no longer had to drive to Norcross to eat. But that Dominick's location — also in a historic downtown — is still open and he's found enough business in both cities since opening in Lawrenceville in October. And with its unpretentious Italian fare, portions perfect for sharing and cozy setting in a turn-of-the-century building, Dominick's has the recipe for delicious downtown dining.  
    The Lawrenceville menu is the same one the Norcoross location has had since last summer, with a slate of starters, salads, chicken, seafood and veal dishes, and specialties like eggplant parmigiana and lasagna. Dominick's garlic bread is the "lighter" version of its Spedini bread, where they stuff Italian bread with mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto and bake it with garlic and butter. The more traditional bread is a starter that also makes a statement, arriving in a pool of oil, melted butter and garlic. We don't know how they do it, but even with the addition of melted cheese on top ($1-$2 extra, depending on the size), it's still not as saturated as garlic rolls other restaurants serve. A half portion of the garlic bread alone is an oversized oval loaf that four can easily share. The bruschetta has a kick, with shaved parmesan and pecorino cheeses covering slices of spicy tomatoes atop crispy toast points. It's unique, served surrounding a salad with grape tomatoes and basil vinaigrette.

 
Dominick's of Lawrenceville
Spicy garlic tilapia, which is tilapia filet sauteed with garlic and spinach with a jalapeno cream sauce served over angel hair pasta. 

  Dominick's of Lawrenceville

Unusual Suspects
We like the variety of Dominick's menu, and the fact that all 30-plus entrees are available in half or full portions (it's the same for salads and appetizers, too). If you want traditional Southern Italian, there you go — lasagna, ravioli and ziti are all there. If you want something a little more adventurous, try the spicy garlic tilapia. That dish is perfectly described — tilapia filets are sautéed with garlic and spinach and served in a cream sauce tossed with angel hair pasta. The whole dish is then topped with sliced jalapenos, diced tomatoes and spinach. The sauce is not like normal cream sauces— it has just a hint of cream as opposed to sauces that weigh you down. Our waiter noted that other dishes as not as heavy as they sound either, even the lasagna. Dominick's ravioli is a baked dish that arrives bubbling with cheese covering pillows of tender cheese ravioli. Four sauces are available: marinara, Bolognese, Alfredo and Napolitano, a nice and rich creamy tomato. The chicken marsala sauce, meanwhile, tends toward the consistency of a brown gravy rather than a wine sauce.

 
Spedini (garlic) bread, which is a loaf of classic seeded Italiian bread stuffed with mozzarella wrapped in proscuitto ham and baked with simmering garlic and butter.

 

 

  Dominick's of Lawrenceville Leave room
The desserts are excellent enough to be a reason for late diners to venture into Dominick's before or after an event downtown, such as a show at the Aurora Theatre, which is under construction a block away. The chocolate mousse is airy and decadent, served in a tall clear glass layered with whipped cream. The pie-shaped slice of tiramisu (on the menu, it's identified as a tira mi su, which emphasizes its three-word meaning –"pick me up") is a smooth treat. Other options: cannoli, crème brulee, cheesecake and bomba (a gelato dish).

Busy, but not rushed
The restaurant's popularity in Norcross has paved the way for a packed dining room in the Lawrenceville eatery, located at the corner of Crogan and Perry streets. Our advice: make a reservation, but if there's not enough time to do so, you can wait at the bar. It's a focal point in the restaurant, which has exposed brick walls but keeps a cozy feel, thanks to wine-colored drapes and family photos on the walls. Even with the wait, we didn't feel as if our server was trying to get rid of us. The restaurant, which opened in October, is going to be expanding by mid-February, adding a private room for parties that can seat up to 60 people.
 
A cozy setting in a turn-of-the-century building.

 

 

 

 

 

       
  Hours: Lunch—Mondays-Fridays, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; dinner—Mondays-Saturdays, 5-10 p.m.; Sundays, 5-9 p.m.
Prices: Appetizers, $3-$15.95; salads, $6-$12.95; paste and entrees, $10.95-$25.96; desserts, $4.95-$5.95
Recommended dishes: Bruschetta, garlic bread, ravioli, spicy garlic tilapia, chocolate mousse
Payment: American Express/Visa/MasterCard/Discover/Diners Club; checks
Recommended dishes: bruschetta, garlic bread, ravioli, spicy garlic tilapia, chocolate mousse
Reservations: Recommended (24 hours in advance)
Verdict: Dominick's does it right again in a downtown location, this time in Lawrenceville.
 
       
   
     
  For contact information and directions, click here.  
     
 

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