Right from the beginning, From Scratch impresses. While this small 22-seat restaurant, with tables close together, would be perfect for the Safersteins to have a causal dinner out, it would not be a date night destination. Be forewarned. Do not go without a reservation. We were there on a Tuesday night and the restaurant was sold out.
The space is cozy with open shelves showing assorted products from Italy, such as pastas, oils and jams as well as a counter and display case allowing customers to view the appealing desserts and other food products. White walls, tables and slatted wood chairs, flowers on the table and brown paper napkins all add to the contemporary atmosphere.
Complimentary Poland Spring water, bread from Balthazar (served cold) and extra virgin olive oil are place on the table when seated. We shared a linguine with homemade pesto, string beans and potatoes; a perfect starter. Buffalo mozzarella from Italy played a starring role with sliced tomatoes, basil and Italian extra-virgin olive oil; a simple dish using quality ingredients. Also tried was a pasta fagioli with the pureed beans creating a creamy texture.
Entrees included a full flavored Italian meatloaf made with beef, ham and caciocavallo cheese served with a mixed greens and grape tomatoes. Two salmon entrees were ordered and are highly recommended: baked salmon croccante with a crunchy herbed breadcrumb crust served with a romaine salad; and a special of foil-baked salmon with olives, tomatoes and herbs. Both were juicy, with fish that tasted as if it just jumped out of the water. The smoky-tasting eggplant Parmesan had layers of mozzarella, aged Parmesan, diced tomatoes and grilled eggplant, but was overcooked and dry. The accompanying roasted zucchini, onions, red pepper and tomatoes were splendid.
Do not miss the artistic desserts. They are on display and are so beautiful that we would have been happy to have one of each. Torta rustica di mele, a rustic apple cake, was accompanied by fresh whipped cream, and the golden plum-jam tart had an amaretto crust.
We are itching to return here. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 AM to 3 PM and 5:30 to 10 PM.
44 East Ridgewood Avenue
Baked salmon croccante
Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein
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