A few months ago chef Franco Ammiriti and his wife, Sharon, owners of Ma Maison in Millburn, relaunched their restaurant as Da Nico, named after their son. While Ma Masion offered French cuisine, Da Nico has some of the same menu items, along with Italian choices.
The room is cute and cozy with white lace curtains, brick walls and cane chairs. Service was attentive and specials were printed with prices.
We started with a perfectly grilled, tender calamari that was served unsliced. It was accompanied by arugula and both the fish and greens were bathed in a delicious, zingy, garlic-herb sauce. A hefty portion of lamb shank with a tomato-based Hunter’s Sauce came with saffron rice. The lamb was soft and fork tender; a recommended dish. The duck surrounded by broccoli and roasted potatoes was dry. The menu described the duck as a half duck with crispy skin. We were served two thighs and two legs. We think of a half of duck as a breast, wing, thigh and leg. The orange sauce was not overly sweet, but it was poured over the duck rendering what might have been crispy skin, soft. Dessert was a ho-hum tiramisu.
Da Nico was packed on a Tuesday night with regulars and could be an acceptable choice if you are going to the Paper Mill Playhouse or if you are in the Millburn area.
291 Essex Street
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