The Rosie Report: C. Greto’s Modern Italian

Our dining correspondent finds a host of tasty dishes at this East Rutherford establishment.

Scallops with black rice and baby watercress, apple, celery, radish and fennel salad. Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein

It is easy to bypass C. Greto’s Modern Italian as so many empty stores surround this storefront restaurant. However it is worth seeking out as the food is tasty, the staff aims to please and prices are reasonable.

We asked for olive oil when warm bread with butter in foil was placed on the table. Not only were we brought a dish of olive oil but another plate with oil and Parmesan cheese. Nice touch. Bruschetta topped with chopped tomatoes and onions were also served gratis.

Specials were written out with their prices, one of which was ricotta stuffed deep fried zucchini flowers with a marinara sauce, which we devoured. Other apps included a refreshing artichoke, endive and fennel salad; an unusual and tasty combination of Andouille sausage with clams and corn; and a rigatoni Bolognese.

Cioppino, a fish stew. Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein

Entrees were artistically presented. A clay pot of cioppino served as a vessel for shrimp, calamari, clams, mussels, fennel, tomatoes and cannellini beans in a light tomato broth. Nutty black rice served as a raft for creamy pan seared sea scallops topped with a crunchy baby watercress, apple, celery, radish and fennel salad. Since there was not one pork dish on the menu, Lowell opted for a veal chop Milanese with a fresh tasting baby arugula, radicchio, tomato salad. The meat was tender and flavorful. Toasted breadcrumbs crowned linguini, tossed with chunks of crab meat and shrimp blended with a roasted tomatoes, scallions, roasted garlic and white wine sauce; a winner.

Our favorite dessert was a tartufo from Nasto’s in Newark although that did not stop us from tasting a Boardwalk waffle with malted Belgian waffle topped with vanilla gelato and caramel; lemon mascarpone cheesecake with an Oreo cookie crust; and a peach and blueberry cobbler.

The decor at C. Greto’s is simple with wood floors, padded chairs, white tablecloths and floral and Italian landscape themed pictures decorating the walls. Ask to sit away from the window as there are no blinds and the sun can be annoying. When we were there, the awning outside of the restaurant had Spiga Due II written on it—the name of the previous restaurant. We also got a good laugh at the name of neighboring Korean restaurant called Slim Meat Catering. They were out of business.

A prix fixe lunch for $20 that includes a choice of soup or salad, entrée, coffee or tea is a great bang for your buck. Open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner.

C. Greto’s Modern Italian, 132 Park Ave, East Rutherford, East Rutherford; 201-935-3230; BYO

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