At New Jersey Digest, we love to eat, and in the Garden State, there is always an excess of memorable bites to be had. October 2023 was a great month as far as food is concerned—summer and fall converged with hearty pastas, cheese boards, pastries, roast duck and much more made the cut this month. These are the best things New Jersey Digest editors ate (and cooked) this month.
Spinach Fettuccine – Viaggio
1055 Hamburg Tpke, Wayne, NJ 07470
Viaggio is never going to miss the mark when it comes to pasta and of their new fall offerings, this spinach fettuccine with ragu bianco is our favorite. Chef de Cuisine Felix Gonzalez cooks ground veal down with white sofrito into a flavorful ragu. The sauce is simply tossed with fresh spinach pasta and cheese to make a simple, yet impactful bowl of pasta.
This Cheese and Meat Board – Jersey Artisan Co.
16 Littell Rd unit 4b, East Hanover, NJ 07936
Jersey Artisan Co. sells handmade cheeses, naturally-leavened breads, desserts and much more out of their newly-opened East Hanover, NJ shop. To celebrate their long-awaited opening, owner Sal Pisani threw a grand opening party complete with plenty of food and wine. This spread featured mind-bending focaccia, cultured butter, house-cured meats, a mix of cheese varieties, fruit and more. Our only gripe is that we can’t have this board for every party.
Good Ol’ Italian Pastries – Mattarello Bakery & Cafe
254 Bellevue Ave, Montclair, NJ 07043
If pastries aren’t making your list of best bites each and every month, then do you even live in New Jersey? It doesn’t matter what you choose, a fresh pastry is always going to please. This time, the chocolate-dipped cannoli and sfogliatella were favorites. Now, excuse us while we go grab another half dozen.
Tuna Nigiri Trio – Spring Lake Seafood
1300 3rd Ave, Spring Lake, NJ 07762
Food + Drink Editor Peter Candia loves tuna nigiri so much that he has it tattooed on his arm (seriously). This spread of nigiri featuring lean akami, chutoro and fatty otoro is the best tuna sushi he’s had in the Garden State. Spring Lake Seafood uses real wasabi and not that artificially-colored horseradish that so many places seem to get away with. Combined with the house-aged tuna, it’s a match made in Heaven.
Bucatini all’ Amatriciana – Boschetto
111 Grove St, Montclair, NJ 07042
Vibrant tomato, sharp Pecorino cheese, funky guanciale and a dose of heat—what more could you want in a pasta. The newly-opened Boschetto honors the cuisine of Lazio with their authentic (and incredibly delicious) Bucatini all’ Amatriciana. As the temperature cools down, this dish will only become better. In fact, don’t be surprised if you see it make this list again next month… and the one after that.
French Dip – Deli King of Clark
30 Clarkton Dr, Clark, NJ 07066
People flock to this Jewish deli for their kosher staples such as pastrami on rye, noodle kugel and smoked whitefish, but you should not overlook their French Dip sandwich. Deli King piles freshly-roasted beef on a crusty baguette with a bowl of rich jus to dip it in and crisp fries on the side. The sandwich is much more complex than its simple makeup might suggest. Seriously, you have to give this a try.
Canard a la Pressé – June BYOB
690 Haddon Ave, Collingswood, NJ 08108
A Collingswood, NJ restaurant is serving a French classic that has been almost lost to time. June’s roast duck features seasonal vegetables, mid-rare duck breast and a sauce spiked with foie gras, cognac and the duck’s drippings, extracted through the means of a fancy device called a duck press. Read about the whole experience here.
This Chicken Piccata – Home
Food + Drink Editor Peter Candia is no slouch in the kitchen. This chicken piccata uses cutlets instead of the usual flour dredge found in the dish—which Candia finds gets soggy and miserable five minutes after its served. Instead, crispy chicken cutlets are bathed in lemony white wine and caper sauce right before serving. If you’ve never tried piccata this way, this is your sign to make it tonight.
Temomi Ramen Shrimp Scampi – Pasta Ramen
6 S Fullerton Ave, Montclair, NJ 07042
Robbie Felice’s Pasta Ramen has gotten more than enough praise from us and others, but it’s seriously just that good. Editor-in-Chief Michael Scivoli cannot get enough of this shrimp scampi mazeman bowl, which has chewy noodles, a punchy sauce, succulent shrimp and plenty of delicious breadcrumbs. It’s sort of the culmination of the entire “Wafu Italian” concept that Felice was going for when he opened Pasta Ramen late last year.
Boneless Spare Ribs – Hop Hing
667 Raritan Rd, Cranford, NJ 07016
Chinese-American takeout is one of the leading reasons why New Jersey and New York are undefeated when it comes to food. Beyond the usual General Tsos chicken, we absolutely love to feast on chewy, crispy, sweet and sour boneless spare ribs. Hop Hing in Cranford has exactly the spare rib combo that makes Chinese takeout so good—complete with a crispy egg roll and plenty of fried rice. And remember, if they aren’t fluorescent red, are they even worth eating?
Two Fried Onion Sliders and Gravy Fries – White Diamond
1207 Raritan Rd, Clark, NJ 07066
The White Diamond in Clark, NJ is your classic working class burger joint. Sit at the diner-style counter and feast on hot dogs, grilled cheese, burgers, onion rings and more. We like to get a few small burgers (which act more as sliders) with fried onions and pickles. The thin patties meld with the sweet onions and the pickles bring a much needed zing to the party. Don’t forget a side of gravy fries—you’re in Jersey afterall.
Cookie Butter Affogato – Cranky Noodles
85 Main St, Sparta Township, NJ 07871
This ramen joint is located in the back of a bicycle shop in Sparta, NJ. Beyond warming bowls of delicious ramen, Crank Noodles dishes out some seriously great soft serve and coffee. This cookie butter soft serve with a shot of hot espresso poured on top is basically how we want to end every meal going forward. The buttery ice cream is a perfect match for the rich espresso, giving off the same vibe as dipping a cookie in your morning coffee—but, frozen.
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