At Bar Cara, chef Ryan DePersio uses rustic Italy as the inspiration for his upscale, mouthwatering meals, served in a modern and casual environment. Kick-start a culinary quest with an order of mascarpone polenta fries, served with gorgonzola sauce ($10), then envelop hug-loving taste buds in an embrace of slightly charred thin-crust pizza, such as the tomato basil with mozzarella cheese ($9). When overhead jumbo jets ring the northern hemisphere's primary dinner bell, meat-fanciers can opt for the veal Milanese with arugula and a cherry-tomato salad ($19). The impressive wine list at Bar Cara includes champagne and prosecco along with whites and reds, served both by the bottle and the glass. After dinner, let pastry chef Cynthia DePersio’s cupcake platter, which includes banana with caramel buttercream, carrot with cinnamon, and bittersweet chocolate with chocolate buttercream, take your endorphins on a magic platter ride. Glossy hardwood floors and exposed brick craft a warm and rustic aura around Bar Cara, and evenings are suffused with amber illumination from low lighting.
Owner Pat Turano of Turano Pizzeria and Restaurant and multiple establishments in the Bloomfield and Montclair areas, leads cuisine crafters in serving up a menu of thin-crust pizzas and comforting Italian dishes. Diners can relive childhood mushroom-hunting conquests with the earthy and decadent pizza con funghi, decorated with mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, and truffle oil ($13.95). Pasta dishes such as the baked lasagna present a panoply of cheese: mozzarella, pecorino, and ricotta layered with basil and marinara sauce ($10.95). And the chicken arabbiata entree, with potatoes, sausage, onions, and mushrooms ($12.95), arrives at the table fuming over the goofy wedding dance that brings shame to the poultry name. Today's deal can also be used toward catering, which includes a choice of one entree, one pasta, and one side from the catering menu ($10.95/person; minimum of 25 people/order).
Vintage olive oil bottles stand in line against Giuseppe's brick walls, and fuchsia tablecloths add a colorful splash of elegance. In similar fashion, the menu blends the classic Italian recipes with new-world American favorites. As cheese bubbles burst on hand-tossed pizzas, their steam mingles with aromas of baked ziti, hearty subs, and juicy grilled burgers. Diners are also free to enjoy their favorite BYOB beverage, or search how to make a wireless router out of lingini on the restaurant's complimentary WiFi.
With more than two decades of experience in the restaurant industry, owner and French Culinary Institute graduate Alberto Traficante could envision exactly what his Italian restaurant, Tosca, would be like. Authentic Neapolitan recipes would come to life with fresh, seasonal ingredients as well as homemade pastas, daily-made mozzarella, and pizzas baked in a wood-burning brick oven. It's safe to say Alberto fulfilled his dream, because since its inception, Tosca's has satisfied locals with these handcrafted and artfully plated Italian dishes. And now with head chef Alfredo Colle—an Italian native whose resume includes a stint as personal chef to Francis Ford Coppola—at the helm, Tosca's menu churns out authentic Italian entrees with a contemporary twist, including bruschetta topped with goat cheese and tender baked chicken an seasoned with a finely ground original Michelangelo fresco.
Fascino's skilled chefs utilize fresh, seasonal ingredients to create a menu of authentic Italian dishes that led New Jersey Monthly to name it one of the 25 Best Restaurants in 2010. Diners start satiety by swimming cornmeal-crusted calamari through pools of tomato-fennel compote ($12) before picking a flavorful fistfight of tender, braised short ribs luxuriating in a port-celery-seed glaze ($32). House-made pumpkin mezzaluna, bathing in oregano brown butter and crushed candied walnuts ($14–$24), demonstrates a brilliant use of fresh-made pasta and extruders, aside from Play-Doh hair plugs. Sweet teeth polish hunger to a sweet sheen by indulging in the New York State mcintosh apple crostata paired with cinnamon gelato ($9). Resourceful imbibers can indulge the BYO wine policy, and the waived corkage fee allows for a free show from the corkscrew-fanged vampire kept on retainer.