By Jerry Del Priore
In my first article on fantastic New Jersey food places, I – a Brooklyn, New York, native – featured five golden gems in the Garden States. Well, I’m back at it, with another set of eaters that will make your mouth water. Please, try not to drool on the person next you. It doesn’t flatter you so well.
Bacci Brick Oven Pizza and Restaurant – 1260 Springfield Avenue (in the New Village Shopping Center) – New Providence, New Jersey.
Being from a traditional Italian-American family, you’d think I’d be tired of Italian fare. Well, you’d be wrong if you did think that. I can never get enough of it, especially the pizza.
Bacci is the perfect remedy for when my family cooking is not available. I had an amazing Arugula Salad – Arugula, Baby Greens, Dried Cranberries, Almonds, Shaved Parmesan Cheese & Chopped Tomatoes in a House Balsamic Vinaigrette. I also sampled some delectable, crispy, thin crust brick oven Pepperoni and Margarita Pizzas.
I left full, and happy. Now, that’s some kiss.
River Grille – 34 River Road, Chatham, New Jersey
Arguably my personal favorite on the list, the River Grille’s legendary White Truffle Mac & Cheese was an out-of-this-world treasure. When I though this family friendly American food establishment couldn’t outdo itself, then came the incredible P.E.I. mussels – White wine, Garlic and Marinara Sauce (but you can get them in Lemon Cajun Sauce, too). Yes, even better than I had ever envisioned.
The only drawback to the River Grille is that my stomach isn’t large enough to hold all the lip-smacking fare on the menu that I wanted to indulge on in one sitting. Therefore, I plan on coming back for one its colossal burgers, and Lump Crab Cakes – made with parmesan herb risotto and lemon herb beurre blanc sauce – among other appetizing cuisine items.
Yes, I could be headed for a future food coma.
Committed Pig – 339 Springfield Avenue, Summit, New Jersey
With three locations in New Jersey, the Committed Pig is known for its delicious double-patty burgers, made with a Pat Lafrieda – a well-known meat purveyor – blend of short rib, hangar steak, and brisket meat. But make sure you bring your A-game appetite, as its burgers are quite sizable, albeit tasty.
The Chipotle Bacon Burger – muenster, bacon strips, chipotle mayo, onion ring – is ideal for someone who enjoys mild heat, loaded with good old fashion, succulent hardiness.
If you’re feeling daring, then try the Burgernut – an American cheeseburger served on a glazed donut. Pass the Lipitor, please.
The Pig Fries (waffle fries with mornay sauce, bacon & gravy) are pretty flavorsome as well.
Since I was feeling a little health conscience that day, I had the Chopped Cobb Salad. Pretty good, if I say so myself. For the gluten intolerable, the Committed Pig serves gluten-free buns for an extra $2.00. And any burger can be substituted for a turkey or falafel patty.
Styertowne Bakery – 1039 Bloomfield Avenue, Clifton, New Jersey
Established in 1949, Styertowne has rolled with the punches as time has ticked by.
However, it has stayed to its tried-and-true methods of success: No mixes, no fast-fixes. Everything is created from scratch and baked in-house, for maximum taste and freshness.
You’ll absolutely love its world-famous crumb cakes, but that’s not all for which its known. With scrumptious items from Danish and doughnuts to homemade soups and stuffed breads to custom cakes and coffee cakes…every day is a delicious day at Styertowne Bakery – bar none.
Chianti Brick Oven Trattoria – 249 Main Street, Chatham, New Jersey
Has a rainy Jersey day lowered your bottom lip? No worries, paisan. Good pizza is the perfect antidote to rid the body of the grey day blues.
Whether you order the Margarita and/or the white pizza, just I like I did, Chianti has you covered. From an assortment of salads and Fried Calamari, to the Chicken Parmigiana and Chicken Francese (chicken sautéed in butter, lemon and white wine sauce), you can’t go wrong.
On my next visit, I’d like to try the Chatham Cougar (probably named after the local high school’s sport teams) – Buffalo mozzarella, Taleggio (smear-ripened Italian cheese named after the caves of Val Taleggio), parmigiana, black pepper and cream sauce.