Jersey Spin - June, 2010

NJ Food Reviews - Osteria Giotto in Montclair, NJ And Pilgrim Diner in Cedar Grove, NJ




Osteria Giotto - Montclair is an artsy town loaded with places to eat and even it's own art museum.  Midland Avenue was made famous on The Sopranos when Uncle Junior ordered the hit on Tony --  It was in front of a news stand on Midland Avenue where it all took place.  Don't go there looking for the news stand because it doesn't exist, but what does is a great place to eat called Osteria Giotto.

Parking is a little tight in this area, and it's best to call for reservations.   If possible, ask for a table away from the kitchen... perhaps by the window.  Order the Veal Milanese and you will probably love it as much as I did.  It was really delicious... plentiful and perfectly cooked and flavored.  I also ordered a Caesar Salad which was mediocre and some hot peppers and potatoes which were served in a family style bowl.  The peppers weren't (spicy) hot... perhaps a kitchen mix-up but a disappointment nonetheless.
I was dining with a big party this evening and every entree ordered received raves.  Of particular note was a Ravioli special consisting of spinach, mushrooms and cheese topped with a flavorful sauce.  That dish made the rounds for everyone to taste.  The sauteed Shrimp in lemon and garlic sauce was outstanding - the sauce alone was worth the price of the dish.  A variety of veal dishes were ordered and all were pleased with their choices.  Another special note -- the bread offered was hard to resist -- Foccaccia and very unusual home-made bread sticks with a hint of parmesean.
It's been a few weeks since my visit, and that Veal Milanese still pleasantly sits with me when I hear the words Osteria Giotto and I will be back for it for sure. - Jersey Shadow -

Osteria Giotto
21 Midland Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07042
Phone: 973-746-0111

Credit Cards Accepted

Pilgrim Diner - The Pilgrim Diner was a childhood favorite of mine and recently I had the opportunity to stop in for dinner.  These days the place has a warm diner / restaurant feel and the staff are all attired in their uniforms... very professional.  In front of the Pilgrim is Pompton Avenue, and busy would never be an understatement when describing the traffic here with cars whizzing by against the backdrop of big skyscraper condos up on the hill across the street.  Okay, the place is different from what I remember, but not much ever stays the same and change can be a good thing.
If a restaurant puts pictures in their menus I get turned off immediately as it is the mark of an amateur, but diners get a pass because it's somewhat of a tradition.   The picture I want is what lands in front of me when served and this day it was a Pastrami Reuben with extra Russian dressing and of course mustard which arrived in those little annoying squeeze packs.  The upside is freshness with the squeeze packs but they are irritating and difficult to open.
The Pastrami was lean and of the highest quality and it was on Pechters bread.  Some perfectly cooked fries and the meal was delicious.   My soda was in a decent sized glass, not the old diner small one.  My guest made use of the great New Jersey tradition in a Jersey diner  (breakfast anytime) and had French Toast with bacon.  It looked picture perfect (both meals looked much better than any menu photo) and my guest was pleased with the perfectly cooked to order bacon and plentiful portions.
I have fond memories of the Pilgrim Diner from my childhood of burgers and milkshakes.  It's a delight to say that today it is awesome and a real Jersey classic capable of standing up to any reasonable scrutiny.  - Jersey Shadow -

Pilgrim Diner
82 Pompton Avenue
Cedar Grove, NJ 07009

Credit Cards Accepted


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