Few things get us jazzed about winter. But if colder temps mean a bottle of velvety red and gluttonous consumption of fresh pastas and authentic Northern Italian fare, we say bring it on. Time to head to Acappella West.
Located in Edgewater, the NJ outpost of the wildly popular TriBeCa flagship restaurant is set to be equally addictive. In short, Acappella West is a dining EXPERIENCE! Owner Sergio Acappella (yes, that’s his actual name) fell in love with the area after visiting Pier 115, and he seems to have put all that love and appreciation into this sister site. From the serene dining room full of plush leather chairs and an upstairs private dining area perfect for parties to the throwback soundtrack heavy on Bennett and Sinatra to the extra-friendly waitstaff to even Sergio himself stepping out of the kitchen and stopping by each table to say hello, each and every guest is made to feel like a VIP.
We felt the love when we stopped by for lunch this week and were treated to a few complimentary starters by Sergio himself: fresh Parmesan served right from the wheel, perfectly crispy, crunchy bruschetta and fried zucchini, and a sampling of sliced cured meat. If they were half as good as anything on the menu, we were in for one amazing meal.
Oh, and were we ever. After our waiter rattled off the extensive list of the day’s specials (everything from apps to pastas, seafood, and main courses), we settled on the Clams Posillipo (fresh steamed littleneck clams with fresh basil, garlic, and white wine—no wonder this dish was Frank Sinatra’s favorite!) and the Wild Portobello Mushrooms, which came topped with fresh buffalo mozzarella, lightly melted, and topped off with the natural juices from the Portobello and a touch of truffle oil. Not the worst way to start off a meal, that’s for sure.
For our main courses, we went with the Veal Monti, prepared scaloppini-style with chestnuts, dry vermouth, and a touch of cream; the Pollo Martini, thinly pounded chicken breast coated with Reggiano cheese and sautéed in a light white wine (we weren’t surprised to hear it’s been a staple on Acappella’s TriBeCa menu from the get-go); the Salmon Tartufo, featuring fresh (and we mean seriously FRESH) Norwegian salmon, glazed with black truffles and prepared with wild mushrooms and a touch of cream. All were, in a word, delizioso!
Finally, the pièce de résistance (which, of course, I remembered from my visit to the TriBeCa location): "Would you like to finish off with some grappa?” our waiter asked. Um, yes please. And so we did, watching him pour the fragrant Italian dessert brandy into our tiny shot glasses the way it’s done in the Old Country: from on high. The perfect topper to this very special dining experience.Acappella West 163 Old River Road, Edgewater 201-840-0163