Thursday, April 24, 2014

Try a nice piece of fish at Sanducci's Trattoria

Tilapia Francese at Santucci's Trattoria in River Edge can be made without butter. The lunch entree comes with a generous, nicely dressed salad, below; coffee and a free refill.

Editor's note: Today, I discuss lunch at Santucci's Trattoria in River Edge, a recipe for Spaghetti with Garlicky Bread Crumbs and Anchovies, a quinoa salad, a rare visit to Stop & Shop in Teaneck, and signs of life in a Hackensack building that once housed a Korean bakery.


One of my friends wanted antipasto for lunch. The other one was in the mood for a chicken parm sandwich. And I felt like a nice piece of fish.

We all got we wanted today at Sanducci's Trattoria in River Edge.

The menu offered only two farmed fish -- tilapia and salmon.

I chose the tilapia and was impressed with the large, fresh-tasting fillet and how beautifully it flaked, as well as the sauteed vegetables and the size of the well-dressed salad ($12.95).

My friend loved his gooey Chicken Parmigiana Hero ($7.50), and took home half for dinner.

And the other friend was delighted with his Antipasto Plate ($8.95).

The Antipasto Plate at Sanducci's Trattoria.

The chicken in the Chicken Parmigiana Hero is hidden under a blanket of melted cheese.

Tables and booths are available on the restaurant's first level. The people in the family photos on the dining room walls look like they could be your relatives.

Casual service

Lunch service today was casual, even though the dining room was far from full.

The waiter brought my salad first, and my friends weren't served their sandwich and antipasto until I finished and was ready for my fish entree.

While I ate salad, they ate bread, and the waiter happily brought a second basket.

There is limited parking in front, and from the rear lot, you have to take an elevator to the restaurant's second level, then walk down stairs to the main dining room.

The restaurant shares an entrance with a preschool, which explains the mothers and one father I saw picking up their children and strapping them in for the ride home.

Sanducci's offers a buffet lunch for $11.95 Mondays through Fridays, above and below.

Sanducci's Trattoria, 620 Kinderkamack Road, River Edge; 201-599-0600. BYO, parking lot in rear.

Web site: The lunch buffet is back

Pasta recipe needs tweaking

My version of Spaghetti with Garlicky Bread Crumbs and Anchovies from The New York Times has more oil, garlic, parsley, red pepper flakes and hot pasta water than called for.

I also used organic whole wheat spaghetti from Italy I buy at Whole Foods Market.

More liquid?

Pasta swallows handfuls of parsley and baby spinach, and tends to need far more liquid then you think.

Tonight, I prepared a recipe for Spaghetti with Garlicky Bread Crumbs and Anchovies from The New York Times' Dining section.

I used the two egg yolks called for, though I think 1 pound of pasta could stand more, but tripled the 6 cloves of garlic, and used more parsley, extra-virgin olive oil and hot pasta water.

I had hot sauce on hand, but not fish sauce.

I also used capers from a jar in the back of my refrigerator I usually forget is there, and a little shredded Asiago Cheese.

I ate the first portion without the recommended salt, black pepper and lemon juice, but added them to the second, and they improved the dish, especially the fresh lime juice I used.

Organic whole wheat shells from Whole Foods Market with extra-virgin olive oil, baby spinach, chopped garlic, grated Pecorino Romano Cheese and a teaspoon or two of Costco Wholesale's prepared Basil Pesto.

Leftover cooked organic quinoa from Costco Wholesale was easily turned into a crunchy salad with diced scallion, skin-on cucumber, sweet pepper, onion and apple. The dressing is red-wine vinegar, fresh lime juice and extra-virgin olive oil.

After I ate half the quinoa salad for breakfast on Tuesday, I topped the remainder with two organic eggs from Costco Wholesale, above.

Stop & Shop in Teaneck

I needed bread crumbs and parsley for The Times recipe, and didn't want to go out of my way, so stopped at Stop & Shop in Teaneck on the way home.

Stop & Shop is best known for a full line of naturally raised and organic food labeled Nature's Promise and found on almost every shelf and in every refrigerated case.

But prices are generally higher than at ShopRite and other stores.

For example, I saw a 13.25-ounce box of whole wheat spaghetti for $1.59, compared to a full pound of organic whole wheat spaghetti from Whole Foods Market for $1.39.

Two 40-ounce jars of Victoria Marinara were on sale for $10, but I bought them at Costco Wholesale for $8.39 last November and for under $7 when they were on sale.

Half-gallons of Stop & Shop Lactose-Free Milk were $3.99 each, compared to $3.49 for ShopRite's store brand.

The spaghetti recipe was good with the Rienzi Italian Style Bread Crumbs (made with corn syrup, unfortunately) I found at Stop & Shop, but next time, I'll see if I can get  much better ones at Balthazar Bakery in Englewood, where I buy crusty baguettes. 

The signs for a Korean dumpling restaurant remain on a Main Street building across the street from Sears in Hackensack, but the place never opened. Now, a sign says Upsy Daisy will be opening soon, below. A Shilla Korean Bakery operated there at one time.

Upsy Daisy will serve lactose-free ice cream, coffee and other items.

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