This popular neighborhood restaurant, in the bucolic town of Liberty Corner (part of Basking Ridge), has been open since 2005. If you live close enough, it is a satisfactory option for lunch or dinner.
Focacceria is located in a house and the first floor appears crowded with tables close together in a few small rooms. If you do not mind walking up a lengthy staircase opt to eat upstairs where the tables are spaced further apart. Specials are written out with their prices and the staff was attentive and able to answer questions about the menu.
Crisp sweet and spicy calamari was enjoyed by all and while we can recommend the three tasty but tiny homemade meatballs which were topped with mozzarella and surrounded by a tomato sauce, we would have liked more of them. Both salads that we ordered were underdressed. The Caesar salad was dry and although the bright endive, apple, arugula, cranberries and goat cheese salad with raspberry dressing was a generous portion it was bland.
The entrée that got the most attention was the flavorful and beautifully plated sesame crusted tuna with mango, apple, avocado, scallion, tomato, ginger and mint. Eggplant lasagna surrounded by a chunky eggplant tomato sauce was made with thin sheets of pasta, eggplant, ricotta and mozzarella cheese; a homey and filling dish. Another hit was the Tuscan stew swimming in a spicy tomato brodetto with a generous portion of shrimp, crabmeat, clams, mussels, calamari and garlic crostini. We finished the broth with our spoons. Very thin slices of veal Milanese were accompanied with an arugula, tomato, red onion and fresh mozzarella salad; perhaps a thicker slice of veal would have made this dish more distinctive.
Most of the desserts are not made in house. The tiramisu which was brought in was boring. A mixed berry tart with a cream filling was also unexciting.
Open Tuesday through Friday for lunch and Tues through Sunday for dinner.
26 Church Street
Tuna with mango, apple, avocado, scallion, tomato, ginger and mint.
Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein
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