I don’t generally eat at Italian restaurants. It’s not that I don’t like Italian food–it’s one of my favorites actually–but I find most Italian restaurants to be disappointing. Hardly any place makes their own pasta. The best pasta I know of is from Petit Oven, a tiny French restaurant with a Polish chef. If I wanted undercooked (or overcooked) boxed pasta, I could do it myself, thank you very much. However, on the rare occasions that I find myself at an Italian restaurant, I opt for either spaghetti carbonara or pasta with vodka sauce. Carbonara I’ve made plenty, but vodka sauce always seemed to exotic and difficult. It only recently occurred to me the vodka sauce is literally vodka, cream and tomato sauce. Who knew?
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of dining at RoCCA, a quaint Italian restaurant in Glen Rock, NJ. After devouring my meal, practically licking the plate, I was sold that this was the new “it” restaurant. You can imagine my surprise when I later learned it has been around for almost 9 years. Why didn’t anyone tell me about this place before? We’re talking YEARS of missed meals that can never be recouped. Now I’m certainly not an authority on Northern NJ restaurants, but in all honestly (because that’s what you do on blogs…speak honestly to thousands of people you don’t even know) I haven’t been to many that wow me. I LOVE that so many are BYOB, giving us a change to select from our well stocked Brooklyn wine cellar, but often I find the food at these restaurants tend to be mediocre. Nothing creative or extraordinary, and certainly nothing to make a pilgrimage from Brooklyn for. There are a few standouts of course–The Saddle River Inn, Latour, and Esty Street. With both my AND my husband’s family living in NJ, you think I would have gone to RoCCA years ago, but no. I guess they like to save Jersey’s best for themselves.