Is This a Church or an Antique Shop? An Evening at Sergio’s Bistro

The specials sing at this noisy, popular Italian spot.

“Is this a church or an antique shop?” a friend asked when we walked into Sergio’s Bistro in Clifton, which has religious statues and pictures scattered throughout the restaurant. “No,” Lowell said, “it is a restaurant. A church would never be this noisy!” The décor is similar to Sergio’s Missione, its sister restaurant in Lodi, which we wrote about last June.

We can understand why this painfully loud, small and cramped restaurant is packing in patrons. The food is tasty, the portions huge and the staff extremely friendly and competent. We were gushing over all three of the perfectly cooked dishes, which were specials, though we were not thrilled with one menu item.

Spicy olives and warm bread were placed on the table when we were seated, and then the waiter recited an excessively long list of specials without their prices.  Lowell and I shared a orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabe and sausage and had enough for leftovers the next day. Tender grilled octopus, a special, was topped with tomatoes, onions, potatoes and olives; a meal in itself. Another special was a tower of mozzarella, tomatoes and peppers that was as delicious as it was visually appealing. An entrée of chicken on the bone with sausage, red peppers, potatoes and a balsamic sauce was piled so high that it was falling off the plate. A hunk of grouper, the size of a brick, was surrounded by mussels, clams and shrimp that swam in a light tomato sauce. Crabmeat-encrusted salmon, served on a cedar plank, was surrounded by a satisfying lobster sauce. From the menu, and not as successful, was an overcooked, sautéed, boneless chicken breast topped with spinach, red peppers and portobello mushrooms in a light tomato sauce.

We ordered two desserts for four people and could not finish them. The table favorite was a luscious pistachio cake with creamy pistachio frosting. The dark chocolate cake, also made in house, was distinctive for its fresh taste and not-too-sweet frosting.

Open Tuesday through Thursday Noon to 10 PM; Friday Noon to 11 PM; Saturday 4 to 11 PM; and Sunday 3 to 9 PM.

Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein

Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein

Crabmeat encrusted salmon with lobster sauce
Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein

Sergio’s Bistro
327A Lakeview Ave,
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