Pioneering Italians were not only the first to put tomatoes in cuisine, they were also the first people to take photographs of themselves pretending to hold up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Delight in their inventiveness with today's Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of upscale Italian food at Riverside Manor in Paterson.
Riverside Manor’s cooks craft a menu of upscale Italian dishes, each served to diners in a renovated nineteenth-century silk mill. Just as a trip to the bookie precedes little-league baseball games, so too must first courses such as chicken wings ($7) or clams oreganata ($8 lunch, $10 dinner) clear the way for a festive entrée. Classic dishes such as rigatoni alla vodka ($10 lunch, $12 dinner) and fettuccini carbonara ($12 lunch, $14 dinner) share space with more exotic fare, including a 10-oz. raw filet mignon served on a 750-degree volcanic stone ($24). A lineup of brick-oven pizzas teaches guests that, unlike pi, pies end, and libations such as red ($5–$13) and white ($5–$12) wines, domestic ($4) and imported ($5) beers, and martinis ($7–$11) accompany the succulent eats.
Executive chef Gustavo A. Caicedo previously served as sous chef at Tavern on the Green in New York City. Attentive waiters serve his elegantly modernized Italian cuisine, showering the sort of individualized attention on patrons normally reserved for first grandchildren and recently acquired puppies. The interior’s brick accents, muted lighting, and hand-carved wooden accents create an elegant space for business lunches, dinners with friends, and terse staring contests.
Riverside Manor Restaurant & Banquets
Inside the kitchen at Riverside Manor is a staff that knows how to bring the best out of their Atlantic-harvested ingredients and Italian cooking methods. Fresh, homemade pastas envelop pumpkin ravioli and serve as pillows for shrimp and scallops. Filet mignon tops bruschetta or stars in an entrée of its own. And eight brick-oven pizzas come strewn with four cheeses, spinach and feta, or crispy buffalo chicken. And to accommodate as many patrons as possible, the cooks prepare a whole-wheat penne primavera along with an entire menu of gluten-free dishes.
But perhaps it’s the building itself that best represents an elegant fusing of old and new. On the site of what was once a 19th-century silk mill, the doors now open into a scene that could fool you into thinking you just passed through a wormhole to Tuscany. Along with hand-carved wooden furnishings and ornamental ironwork, brick archways and painted trompe l’oeils bring a playfulness to the space, which doubles as a frequent host for weddings and other special events.