Over spring break, we went to buco ristorante, in Clifton, NJ.
We were served some bread and butter — the bread, while not warm, was crusty and had good flavors.
We mainly ordered off of the Specials list for that day/week. We got the crab cake, which was lump crab meat mixed with minced red and green peppers, pan fried and served in a delicious dijon mustard sauce with capers and a crinkly green lettuce garnish that nicely offset the more neutral colors of the main parts of the dish. The crab cake was creamy and deliciously flavorful, and did not have the thick deep-fried breading that is so characteristic of sub-par crab cakes.
Mom got a beet salad with a creamy dressing on arugula, with red onions. She enjoyed it quite a bit but wasn’t a fan of the abundance of red onions… about a 1/2 cup of them were left on the plate. But the beets had a nice flavor to them that complemented the dressing well.
I got the gorgonzola and walnut ravioli. The ravioli was filled with deliciously savory ricotta, and topped with a chopped tomato sauce with garlic slices that were tender, yet not biting; I don’t know how they got rid of the sharp garlic flavor (e.g. by roasting/cooking for a long time) while still maintaining a “bite” in terms of texture. In other words, really delicious. I was going to get some kind of seafood (their salmon with raspberry sauce; a shrimp scampi dish) but this meal caught my eye and having never had gorgonzola cheese (which I can now say is delicious) and walnuts with ravioli (another win) I decided to give it a try. Yum. No regrets here.
And dessert. Of course. A delicious, warm flourless chocolate cake, with two scoops of vanilla ice cream and a delicious raspberry/mango? apricot? passion fruit? coulis/sauce that was beautifully presented and perfect for sharing.
I had thought that desserts in restaurants weren’t really worth it, but then I made a goal that if a restaurant does offer the irresistible molten chocolate / ice cream combination, it MUST be tried for comparative purposes. Because as I say in my Chocolate Pudding Cake post/recipe, this dessert is the mother of all desserts and my absolute favorite.
So… buco ristorante served up a delicious lunch and I would totally go there again. Prices are not bad, and although on a busy street, inside it is very peaceful and an ideal place for business meetings (as we witnessed). The staff were very welcoming and timely with the food, and clearly have rapport with some clients.
Try it if you are looking for good Italian food and you are in the area!