Campania: Stellar, regional Italian cooking in Fairlawn, NJ
After tasting 3 courses of Campania goodies at the NJ Farm Dinner a month ago, I knew we'd be in for a treat. Finally went to the restaurant proper with my dude this weekend and found many highlights and some lowlights, but overall, we were sold. This is not your typical New Jersey Red Sauce Italian joint, but more in the line of Lidia Bastianich. A stripmall in Fairlawn seems like an unlikely spot for such cooking, but why not, right??
A short review:
We were seated promptly at 7....dining room was about 1/2 full, though became busier as the evening wore on with parties of 8-12. Waitstaff was efficient, served bread withrosemary infused olive oil promptly and watered throughout the meal. Menu had so many things I wanted to try that, even though this was an anniversary dinner, I slightly wished we had came with more people (so i could try more things)
Prior to ordering our starters, we were served a tomato-topped brushetta, compliment of the chef.
Pumpkin rissoto with sauted scallops, special of the day. Rissoto super tasty if just a tad overcooked; scallops, perfectly seared. Portion Size: Very Big
Spedini: a layered dish of fresh moz. (house made), proccuitto, breaded with anchovy caper sauce. Very tasty, but very rich. Huge portion size was a bit of a turn off, though but flavors were delicious.
Palate cleanser: Served a small scoop of lemon sorbet between courses, compliments of the kitchen. Can you believe this place? love it.
Braised pork with polenta: excellent quality pork, braised to perfection. Polenta soft, well seasoned and tasty. Accompanying spinach, good, but slightly salty.
Grilled pork chopped with figs and goat-cheese polenta: Stellar double chop (brined, i think) worked well with figs and polenta...Polenta strangly dry but soaked up pork juices well.
Rustic apple tart, shared. Warmed and tasty, served with homemade honey ice cream. Esspresso and cappachino.
Total cost: $86 without tip. (BYO)
Fairlawn, NJ 07410