In her article for the Star Ledger, Teresa Politano uncovered some impressive facts about Nenad “Nino” Tamburin and his 21-year-old restaurant Eccola. Given the quality and range of authentic Italian dishes, one might think the 65-year-old Tamburin hails from Italy himself. However, he is in fact a Croatian with ancestors from Venice, and spent his early adulthood in Paris, where he studied under revered chefs Jacques Pepin and Giuliano Bugialli. And if time spent working with Giuliano Bugialli isn’t enough, Tamburin is also lucky enough to count Italian restaurateur and celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich as a friend. The influence of his roots and mentors can be found throughout Eccola’s menu, in the fresh pasta he makes in house to the boutique Croatian and Slovenian wines he imports for his cellar.
And if that’s not enough, the restaurant itself is an early design of famed restaurant architect Tony Chi, who has worked with Alain Ducasse, Michael Mina, and Wolfgang Puck. Politano also points out that “[Tamburin’s] purveyors are equally storied—the butcher, Wayne Meat Corp., that’s been around since the ’70s, the produce guys, Carl Mallone & Sons in Hackensack, whose ﬁrst company vehicle was a horse and carriage.” In Tamburin’s skilled hands these tried and true meats and vegetables turn into classic Italian favorites such as linguine alla carbonara, three types of veal scaloppine, and a filet of sole baked with herbs and breadcrumbs. The menu also features lighter fare such as roasted asparagus with shrimp and wild mushrooms, as well as a nostalgic dessert tray with fresh, homemade sweets such as ricotta cheesecake and a maple pecan-tort, all inspired by Tamburin’s wife, who he met in Paris.