Axton’s offers Italian cuisine under the direction of owner/chef Anton Testino, who has appeared on Chopped and Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen and is the author of an autobiographical cookbook Cooking With Confidence. This newly opened cozy neighborhood restaurant should be a welcome addition to Pompton Lakes, as it is a town with few dining options.
An open kitchen, about 50 seats, cloth napkins, lovely stemless wine glasses and the background music of Frank Sinatra crooning, all add to the homey ambiance.
Warm Italian bread with olive oil and a balsamic dipping sauce, as well as a six-slice personal Margherita pizza were noshed on while we looked over the menu. We proceeded to order one serving of the capellini putanesca with garlic, capers, black olives and whole plum, tomato, basil, marinara sauce, which was more than enough to share. The putanesca sauce was also found in the risotto with spinach, which served as a base for the pan-seared salmon. Without realizing it, we also ordered two other entrees that came with risotto. Seared cod topped with shiitake mushroom and capers was presented with broccoli rabe and a lemon, sherry-wine sauce flavored risotto. Skirt steak, cooked medium rare as ordered, was accompanied with risotto that contained sautéed diced onions, garlic, capers, portobello mushrooms and roasted cherry tomatoes in a lemon, sherry-wine sauce. Other menu items include salads, risotto-based entrees, pasta, pork and chicken.
We bypassed the lava cake, tiramisu and cheesecake from Bindi. Prices are reasonable, portions big. Chef Testino has returned to his hometown of Pompton Lakes, and New Jersey diners now have a new place to explore.
Axton’s by Chef Anton Testino
437 Ringwood Avenue
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