Sunday, February 8, 2015

Dinner at Bocconi is another reason I don't have to leave Hackensack

Half of a lobster and shrimp with pasta at Bocconi Restaurant in Hackensack.

A half-portion of a chopped salad with bay scallops and avocado.


We had another great meal on Saturday night at Bocconi Restaurant in Hackensack.

Best of all, we grabbed a bottle of red wine and only had to drive 5 minutes to get to the moderately priced Italian-American BYO.

Bocconi is on Essex Street, next door to another new favorite, Fire Pit, a Portuguese barbecue restaurant.

They share a small L-shaped parking lot that was full when we arrived, but we found a space across the street in the lot of a medical arts building with Starbucks Coffee and Cosi on the ground floor. 

Seafood, salad and pasta

We ordered a salad to share and two entrees, all with seafood, and my wife took home leftovers from her dish, Half Lobster with Clams, Mussels and Pasta in red or white sauce ($23.95).

She asked the kitchen to hold the clams and mussels in favor of shrimp, and had her spaghetti in a white-wine sauce.

My entree was fork-tender Blackened Tuna with a Cherry Tomato and Cucumber Salad ($19.95). 

The wild-caught tuna was cooked more than I requested, but remained moist and delicious under a coating of black pepper.

We started by sharing a tasty chopped Green Salad with Bay Scallops and Avocado ($12.95).

Despite the slight misstep with the tuna, Chef Mario Amon, a native of Ecuador, does a beautiful job with seafood, pasta and salads.

A blackened ahi tuna steak was served with a crunchy salad of cucumbers and cherry tomatoes.

Bocconi is a BYO that adds balsamic vinegar and grated cheese to the extra-virgin olive oil served with crusty bread.

A mural on one wall of the 50-seat restaurant.

At Bocconi, you can usually find a table for dinner without a reservation on weekends, but may not find one of the six regular and two handicapped spaces in the small parking lot.

Two Hackensack favorites, Fire Pit Barbecue and Bocconi Pasta Pronto & More.

Why leave Hackensack?

Adding Bocconi Restaurant and Fire Pit Barbecue to our list of perennial favorites -- Lotus Cafe, Wondee's Fine Thai Food and Noodles, and Rosa Mexicano -- could mean we might never have to leave Hackensack to dine out.

Bocconi Restaurant, 363 Essex St., Hackensack; 201-342-3888. Web site:

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