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[Little Ferry] Il Cinghiale


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#1 Rail Paul

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 04:54 PM

Dee and I had dinner last night at Il Cinghiale, a newish BYO place in Little Ferry. It's about three blocks south of US 46 / Liberty street and east on Main. Very Tuscan looking, abundant tile on the floors, walls etc. Artwork includes framed Italian articles, paintings, prints, etc. There's opera music pumped into the dining room, but it doesn't interfere with conversations. There's absolutely nothing to absorb sound, so this will be a loud place when it fills.

Nicola is the host and owner. He's also the captain and front room manager. He formerly owned and managed Due Nicola in Little Falls, which we liked very much.

The menu is two pages, specials are printed and inserted into the menu with prices. The antipasti are quite reasonable, with most under $10. Many items are highlighted as "Sicilian style", and others include things like "Veal Milanese", so it's all over the map of Italy.

Dee ordered an "orange and anise" salad, which was excellent. Small wedges of orange, topped with shreds of anise and drizzled with an orange infused vinegar and oil. Lots of sweet and sour flavor accents. I had a spinach, walnuts, and Gorgonzola salad, which had a pleasantly sharp taste to it. I had considered a sauteed hot peppers and garlic app, but decided to pass. Salads were $7, IIRC.

I had the rabbit, served with olives, capers, garlic, wine, and chopped peppers, served over a bed of pappadelle. Good rabbit, with leg, loin, etc meat. Lots of small bones, however. More sweet and sour tastes. $20, quite reasonable. They also had tripe on the menu, served in the Sicilian style, and a "cinghiale osso bucco". Nicola mentioned later that they have done a number of different organ meats, and they've had a good response. The handwritten specials list is updated every day, a practice more restaurants could easily follow.

Dee had the gnocchi, which she found heavy. Great sauce, a reduction of Gorgonzola added to a white wine. I wasn't especially impressed with the gnocchi, either.

We shared a pound cake with a hazelnut sauce, which was great. Cappucino and caffee latte. Before tip, the bill came to $62, which I felt was eminently reasonable.

This is an excellent example of a trattoria. Good food, well prepared, friendly owner, nice setting. There were a few hiccups, however. The "who gets the rabbit" question when the entrees were delivered, for example. It's easy enough to specify who gets what in the order entry system. In contrast, silverware was replaced at each course, water was filled, and dishes were removed promptly.

The place was nearly empty on a Thursday evening, with three tables of two, one table of three, and one table of six. The table of six was a group of women, dishing on various friends, philandering husbands of friends, nut jobs at work, etc. Much of the conversation was hilarious, but as they drained more bottles, things got very loud. Not a fault of the house, of course, but in a full restaurant, with 50 seats in use, this could become deafening.

I liked it a lot. Will definitely go back.

201 Main St, Little Ferry,NJ 201-440-2272

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#2 Rail Paul

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 11:54 AM

Elisa Ung reviewed it for the Bergen Record. Liked it a lot. The (written) specials list is a policy many places could copy

What you will find are dishes traditionally found in Piedmont and Tuscany, Rome and (of course) Sicily, along with seasonal dishes.

Weekly specials are a particular highlight. Our favorite was a light appetizer Moncada encouraged us to try: a Sicilian eggplant salad made from delicately pan-fried chunks of eggplant tossed with sweetened white wine vinegar, capers and green olives, and sprinkled with specks of pungent basil ($9.95). Speck, a smoked prosciutto traditional in northern Italy, played a key role in two other specials. Thin, rich slices were served alongside ripe figs stuffed with goat cheese in a simple, beautiful appetizer ($9.95), and crisp shards were sprinkled on a Chianti risotto with Swiss chard and cannellini beans ($16.95). It was exciting to see beautiful zucchini blossoms, attached to baby zucchini and stuffed with goat cheese, though their breading was a little soggy ($9.95).

A similar simplicity characterized other dishes we tried from the regular menu: a simple chopped seafood ragout tangled with black squid ink tagliolini needed no further adornment ($17.95), and air-dried beef known as bresaola was brightened by fresh arugula and sharp Parmesan cheese ($9.95). Skip the veal Milanese, which was so underseasoned that its breading just tasted like flour ($17.95).

For dessert (all $6.50), our favorite choices were fresh, cakey tiramisł and not-too-sweet pistachio cake, both made in house. Far less special were a cannoli and cheesecake that leaned more toward New York than Italy.



Rich in authenticity

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#3 Rail Paul

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 01:35 AM

Elisa Ung reports that Il Cinghiale of Little Ferry has now moved to Madison.  The restaurant had been closed as a result of superstorm Sandy's flooding.

 

Now known as Ristorante Benissimo

 

More info:

 

http://blog.northjer...ves-to-madison/


“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman