Monday, August 10, 2015

The Three R's: Rezza Ristorante at Rosedale (NJ)

Every year during our summer visit to New Jersey, we have made it a tradition to meet our niece and her husband at a restaurant midway between their home in northern Connecticut and our temporary nest in northern New Jersey.

But for the last two years, we'd become averse to driving the local busy tollways, and so they have graciously driven to us. Last Year we met at Costanera, a Peruvian style restaurant in Montclair, NJ. This year, my Internet research turned up Rezza, a casual Italian restaurant in Rosedale, only 10 minutes from my family's home.

I'd read mostly positive reviews on Tripadvisor and YELP. I got an image of homestyle Italian food, served in an unpretentious environment. What we found proved this to be true.

We four had a mid afternoon dinner at Rezza yesterday. It was very pleasant, and the food and service satisfied.

The famous bread, from Sullivan Street Bakery, is "interesting" and good, but not the sort of which I'd want more than a couple of pieces, as it was very chewy. (Oh. I'll say it: "tough".) we were given a saucer of olive oil and coarse salt.

Sullivan Street Bread
We began our meal with a variety of antipasti and appetizers. My niece ordered a Farro Salad. Very light, refreshing and somewhat resembling tabuli.

Farro Salad
She couldn't resist another salad, Insalata Caprese, with heirloom tomatoes and creamy burrata.

Insalata Caprese
I had some nice chilled shrimp with fregola, a crunchy grain like pasta resembling couscous. My wife had some grilled octopus, which had lemon and fingerling potatoes. For most of us, the standout appetizer was the sauteed Brussels sprouts, cooked brown and crisp outside. Good, but least impressive were the roasted beets with pistachios, scattered with ricotta salata.

Brussels Sprouts
We took a deep collective breath, then ordered our mains.
Niece: Sunday Gravy, Nephew: Fetuccine Bolognese; Wife: Scampi with spaghetti; Me: Spaghetti Frutti Di Mare. (The latter is listed on the menu as coming with capellini, but I prefer thicker pasta, and they graciously changed it for me).

Pasta Frutti di Mare
Rezza's "Sunday Gravy"
Fettucine Bolognese

We saved room for dessert, which is limited to a range of gelati and a couple of sorbetti. For $8, we each got three nice scoops of luscious, intensely flavored gelati. Among the favorites were a super intense, bitter Dark Chocolate and a mellow Salted Caramel. The Espresso flavor gelato took honors as well.

Here's a couple of gelati in the photo.

Turkish Fig, left; Salted Caramel, right.
The check was substantial, but considering all we ate, quite fair.

Here's the obligatory and customary Ratings.

Food: **** Small, unusual touches and ingredients make Rezza's food a standout.

Service: ****
Ambience: Suburban Casual.

Restrooms: spotless.

You might like to read the extensive Dinner menu.

Hours:  Mon - Fri 11:00 am - 10:00 pm                                       Sat 10:00 am - 10:00 pm                                               Sun 10:00 am - 9:00 pm

BYOB / plenty of free parking

UPDATE: It must be mentioned that Rezza does not have any alcoholic beverages license, but customers are allowed to bring their own wine, and I suppose, beer.

We ate at Rezza twice in early February, 2016, and its excellence continues.

Location and contact info:
33 Eisenhower Parkway (crossroads with Eagle Rock Avenue), Roseland, NJ
Tel; 973-364-8277

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