|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.|
By VICTOR E. SASSON
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.