Sunday, June 8, 2014

My day boat comes in at Giulia's Kitchen in Cliffside Park

Four plump Day Boat Scallops served over broccoli rabe and polenta at Giulia's Kitchen in Cliffside Park ($24). Scallops harvested by day boats are the freshest around.


I wanted to have an early dinner at Giulia's Kitchen in Cliffside Park on Friday to make sure the chef didn't run out of fat sea scallops, one of my favorite shellfish.

Photos of the scallop entree were seared in my memory from a newspaper story and on the Living Social site, where I bought a $35 voucher for $70 worth of food.

The dish didn't disappoint: Perfectly grilled, medium-rare scallops perched on top of pleasantly bitter broccoli rabe, a bit of pesto and a cheesy cake of polenta ($24).

But I couldn't help notice my entree had only four scallops, compared to the five I saw in the photos. A great dish, nevertheless.

The Lobster Roll appetizer is served on a much larger roll than elsewhere, meaning a lot more lightly dressed lobster meat ($20). 
Hearts of Romaine is an interesting take on Caesar's Salad, with shaved Manchego Cheese, white anchovies, nuggets of delicious fried eggplant and grape tomato halves, but it could have used more dressing ($8).

Another great salad

My wife ordered Hearts of Romaine ($8) followed by a Lobster Roll appetizer ($20).

I started with another terrific salad, a Beet Stack, which was served with goat cheese on a bed of peppery arugula ($9), and I finished my meal with Day Boat Scallops ($24).

I ordered a glass of Five Rivers Pinot Noir, which cost a reasonable $7.

A salad of peppery arugula surrounds the Beet Stack ($9).
The spacious dining room is in a brick building at Anderson and Grant avenues in Cliffside Park, opposite an enormous hole in the ground that has been under development for more than five years smack in the middle of the shopping district.
"Contemporary Comfort Food" is the phrase that appears with the restaurant's name on the large plate-glass windows.
A Bob Marley soundtrack welcomed us when we arrived for an early dinner on Saturday. Large blackboards list charcuterie and desserts.

First to arrive

We made a reservation for 5 p.m., and got a table in the window.

After a while, Chef Michael Ostros came out of the kitchen to greet us, and I told him I was looking forward to the Day Boat Scallops.

I wanted to make sure they were on the menu. He said he got them from the Hunts Point Market, and I mentioned day boaters from Viking Village in Barnegat Light, on the Jersey shore, are famous for their sea scallops.

Ostros said he would look them up.

Minor complaints

I plan to return to Giulia's Kitchen to try other seafood dishes on the menu, but have two minor complaints:

The bread served with olive oil isn't a match for the high level of food preparation, but that would be easily remedied by ordering crusty dinner rolls from Balthazar Bakery in Englewood.

And some staffers seem inexperienced.

We called the restaurant a few times, and the man who answered the phone asked, "How can I direct your call," as if he had worked in a hotel for many years.

And on Saturday evening, around 5:45, I got a call from the restaurant, asking if I planed to keep my 5 p.m. reservation.

I explained I did -- the night before. 


Giulia's Kitchen, 696 Anderson Ave., Cliffside Park; 201-945-1680. Open for dinner and, starting Wednesday, for lunch. Full bar. Closed Sundays. Free parking on side streets.


  1. In response to a comment:

    The scallops were caramelized; if they tasted as if they had been burnt, I would have sent them back.

  2. Also, I was told when I called the next day the restaurant is closed on Sundays. That may not be correct, and I am checking it.

  3. When I called the restaurant today, a recording said Sundays are reserved for private parties.


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