Food & Drink

In New Brunswick, Dinner and a Movie for Foodies

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The outdoor dining area at Stage Left Steak and Catherine Lombardi Credits: Devin Healey
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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — It's easy to compare Mark Pascal and Francis Schott, the owners of Catherine Lombardi and Stage Left Steak, to the two brothers who own an Italian restaurant in 1950s New Jersey in the film “Big Night.”

Why? Pascal and Schott know a thing or two, after all, about running an authentic Italian eatery. Catherine Lombardi is renowned not just in New Brunswick, but the entire state. And they also understand how such an arrangement bonds—and at times frustrates—co-owners.

That's one reason why Catherine Lombardi hosts an annual screening of the duo's favorite movie, “Big Night,” followed by a meal, each year. The 2017 showing is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, in a private room at The Heldrich Hotel, according to the restaurant.

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“Obviously, it's easy to see Francis and me in the two brothers and the struggles of restaurant life,” Pascal told TAPinto New Brunswick, responding to why the dinner and a movie continues to please crowds. “What I really think attracts people to the movie is how a great meal, shared by everyone, makes you forget about all else.”

And so, after the movie, Catherine Lombardi will re-create the feast featured in the film. In the restaurant's dining room, at large communal tables, guests will eat Italian wedding soup and Flambé Pascal, among other dishes.

The snacks start flowing during the movie, though, with truffled popcorn and a glass of wine poured by Farnese Vini, according to the restaurant.

For those who haven't seen it, “Big Night” takes its viewers along a comedic journey of brothers trying to make it in the restaurant industry. Their relationship, while warm, sometimes gets downright heated. The 1996 film features stars such as Tony Shaloub, Stanley Tucci, Minnie Driver, Isabella Rossellini, Liev Schriber, Marc Anthony and Allison Janney.

How the characters enjoy their feast resonates with Pascal and, in his opinion, the dinner guests who come each year.

“Petty squabbles are forgiven or at least put away during the grand meal,” Pascal said of the film. “I know in my family that's how Sunday was. It was a time to forget all the angst of the week and share great food and the company of friends and family.”

Dinner and the movie with a glass of wine runs $99. Dinner with wines costs $139.

For more information, email reservations@stageleft.com or call 732-296-9463.

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