The Rosie Report: La Primavera

Our dining correspondent visits a popular neighborhood favorite in West Orange for the first time.

Orecchiette with cannellini beans, broccoli rabe, sausage, plum tomatoes in a garlic and oil sauce. Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein

This popular neighborhood restaurant in West Orange, which we had never dined at before, is less than a mile from our house and worth a visit for traditional Italian cuisine. The service at La Primavera was so efficient and caring, and the food delicious, that we plan on visiting more often. Regulars were addressed by name and welcomed with a handshake or hug. With tongue in cheek I said to Lowell, “Nobody knows us!”

Swordfish. Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein

Warm bread, olive oil in a cruet containing garlic and rosemary, along with slices of pizza were placed on the table; a different and impressive start to our meal. The orecchiette had layers of flavor from chunks of garlic, creamy cannellini beans, broccoli rabe, sweet sausage, diced plum tomatoes and a garlic and oil sauce. The portion was split for us in the kitchen and large enough to be an entrée. We lapped it up.

Entrees were also appealing. An interesting presentation of swordfish flanked with an array of yellow and green zucchini, asparagus, mushrooms, carrots, roasted potatoes and rock shrimp was one of the best renditions of this fish that we have had in a long time. A roasted rack of veal, served medium rare as ordered, was topped with sautéed mushrooms and surrounded with roasted potatoes, zucchini, carrots and broccoli. This mild tender meat would be a treat for any carnivore.

Roasted rack of veal. Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein

The house made tiramisu exceeded our expectations with a rich, creamy filling flavored with espresso and a topping of chocolate powder. Other options that are brought in are lava cake, ricotta cheese cake and tartufo.

Specials were written out with the prices. However, we were never shown a wine list and wines by the glass were recited by the waiter without the prices. We ended up with a generous pour of Chianti that was $8 but certainly would have preferred to see a wine list and know the prices of the wines by the glass.

Tiramisu. Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein

Looking for a deal? Pasta Night is held every Tuesday and Sunday which includes pasta, a glass of wine, choice of soup or salad and bread for $16 plus tax and gratuity.

Italian music quietly wafts through this small restaurant which has about 20 double clothed tables decorated with flowers. A TV sits over the bar which has a few stools.

Heads up: Primavera at the Wilshire Grand Hotel is a sister restaurant of La Primavera.

La Primavera, 500 Pleasant Valley Way, West Orange; 973-669-0966; Open for lunch, Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 am – 3 pm; dinner, Tuesday through Saturday from 5pm; Sunday, 2-9 pm.

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