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Jersey Spin - August, 2007

Inside This Edition: New Jersey Food - Jersey Shadow Review: Stephanie's Italian Restaurant in Caldwell, NJ and Aquila in New Providence, NJ

 

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Stephanie's Italian Restaurant - Along Bloomfield Avenue a person can really find some good eats, and I'm delighted to say that Stephanie's Italian Restaurant in Caldwell is a real find indeed.  It was a hot summer day, and wanting something decent for lunch, I walked into more than a couple of places nearby that weren't serving lunch.  Oh well... their loss! 
 
I was actually surprised and delighted to find this place open as it looked like it could be an evening only type of restaurant.  It was open and it was  terrific... a nice find indeed.  Inside it feels more like a small cozy bistro, but there are some big dreams being fulfilled here, namely, delicious dining at great prices.  Stephanie's isn't cheap, but what you get for the money is an exceptional value and experience.  It's not all that common to find such an effort to please the customer at lunchtime, but on this day in the heat of this summer day they certainly succeeded.

It seems to me that many restaurants  think it's beneath them to open for lunch and that somehow a mysterious cachet of elevated importance and sophistication is bestowed upon them when the doors swing up just for dinner.  I can tell you that such a thought is utter nonsense and even potentially harmful in lost business.  Dining at Stephanie's was a delight, relaxed and I was able to navigate and understand their nice menu and considered prices.  The prices were so considered and sensible that I got a world class Pollo Marsala entree with an included Baby Arugula salad for under thirteen dollars.

My guest raved about the Grilled Chicken Caesar salad and it looked amazing.  I've seen my share of Grilled Chicken Caesar salads and never imagined using the word amazing to describe one but it looked, and was assured, that it tasted as good as it looked.  All of the portions were plentiful, and the meal was prepared with high grade ingredients.  It's often said that a way to a mans heart is through his stomach.  Perhaps the way to a mans pocketbook and more importantly winning his repeat business is being open for lunch.  Without a doubt... I shall return! - Jersey Shadow -

 

Stephanie's Italian Restaurant
283 Bloomfield Avenue
Caldwell, New Jersey 07006
Phone: 973-226-2142

 

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Aquila - There is so much to be said for a restaurant that delivers the goods without much pretense or hype.  Aquila in New Providence is just that kind of place.  Aquila for me on this day went down as one of the most efficient eating establishments I have ever visited and reviewed for Jersey Spin.  A good way to describe Aquila is "old school" with traditional great service in a classic, albeit a little dated (which only adds to the charm) setting.

The food is very good and carefully prepared and on this day it arrived fast which was much appreciated as I was extremely hungry.  I went with a Veal Verona which was very good.  Nice surprises are always welcome and a complimentary Caesar Salad was presented as they prepared my veal.  The veal arrived very tender and in a wonderful Madeira wine sauce complete with sautéed wild mushrooms and sundried tomatoes.  My guest ordered the Gamberi D'oro which was a shrimp dish with a golden crust of Parmesean and egg in a lemon and white wine sauce.  This seafood dish was a real hit, and in the diner's own words, "exceptional."  It's always great to find a new wonderful place full of dedicated and proficient professionals.  It's clear to me that they love food at Aquila.

Aquila delivered excellence on this evening and it was a delightful experience.   It was and is clear to me that the people here have been doing this a long time and haven't lost one ounce of passion for their craft or one ounce of enthusiasm for a great customer experience. - Jersey Shadow -

Aquila
30 South Street
New Providence, NJ 07974
Phone: 908-464-8383


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