Axia taverna in Tenafly
I am almost embarrassed to admit that last Saturday night was my first time to Axia even though I have been living in Tenafly for last 7 years.
One of the main reasons why it took me so long is my lack of credibility for restaurants in NJ in general especially after a horrible meal at Grissini in Englewood. Also, as both my husband and I work in NYC, it's just easier for us to dine out in NYC.
Axia may have changed my perception of restaurants in NJ...and that there can be an exception...very rare but it does exists and in my own town!
We arrived there early on Saturday night with my MIL and husband to celebrate my MIL's birthday. We were led to a table by a nice older gentleman(owner?, manager?). Our server was a charming lady who was laid back and very pleasant to spend the night with. She gave us a few tasting of various wines before we settled on a nice bottle. Between three of us, we ordered grilled octopus, quail and a plate of grilled eggplants to share. Grilled octopus was the start of the night. For an appetizer, it was very generous amount. It was tender, slightly chewy in a nice way...charred nicely and was seasoned perfectly. Quail was also very nice and was generous in portion for an appetizer. Eggplant didn't look too appetizing but it was surprisingly tasty and flavorful and the flat bread that came out with dip was very very good too.
As a main, I ordered the rabbit, husband ordered lamb shank and MIL ordered a grilled whole branzini. I've had rabbits before as a stew form mostly at French restaurants so it was my first time to have a roasted rabbit. They did manage to make the white meat more interesting but I am just not a big fan of white meat in general. The tastiest part of the dish was the trahana dumplings that came with the rabbit. It's a chewy Greek pasta and was delicious! My husband's lamb shank and tenderloin was a bit too gamey for me but my husband enjoyed it. The potato patty that came with the dish was very nicely done. My MIL also enjoyed her fish but it was the most expensive dish of the night at $38.
For dessert, we ordered baklava and something else that was made with shredded phyllo. I thought the desserts were pretty disappointing. Our server highly recommended the homemade baklava but it was rather doughy and didn't have much nuts and was served with nothing on the side. My MIL ordered plain Greek yogurt with honey on the side(because she is always on a diet) and they sang a happy birthday song for her.
Overall, we had a great meal and we will return for sure. This time, it won't take 7 years.
Night and day between Grissini and Axia...not even close.
Grissini IMO is not representative of "excellent" in Northern NJ restaurants. Thus, to condemn restaurants in NJ because of that one place, is far too extreme IMO.
Regardless, glad you enjoyed it...Axia is a very good restaurant...and right under your nose. LOL.