The Rosie Report: Lithos in Livingston

Our dining correspondent enjoys a vibrant meal at this upscale Greek restaurant.

Swordfish. Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein

Lithos, an upscale restaurant, features Greek and Mediterranean cuisine with Italian dishes dominating the menu. The décor is pleasing with vertical wine racks surrounding fresh fish displayed on ice, a dramatic white stone fireplace and a private dining room which all add to the attractive ambiance. There is a full bar and approachable wine list featuring Italian, California and surprisingly only one red and one white Greek wine.

Fava bean dip and bread were placed on the cloth-covered table when we were seated. Diners be forewarned that specials—and there were many of them—were recited without the prices. We ordered a special appetizer without asking the cost and were aghast that although the pan seared calamari with chopped tomatoes and large fava beans, in a spicy white wine sauce, was excellent, we were charged $19 for this small starter.

The Greek salad containing tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, red onions, green peppers, feta cheese, olives and red wine vinegar was fresh tasting although the dressing could have been more assertive. Seafood bisque was swimming with an assortment of fish and quite comforting on a cold winter evening. Other apps that may tempt you are: thinly sliced zucchini and eggplant chips with a Greek yogurt sauce; phyllo wrapped feta; grilled octopus; spanakopita; and assorted spreads (tzatziki, melitzanosalata and hummus). Non-Greek choices include pastas, salads, calamari, mussels, meatballs and tuna tartare.

Calamari. Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein
Moussaka. Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein
Kataifi politiko. Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein

The humongous lamb shank served with orzo was a table favorite. However, the whole bronzino accompanied with charred Brussels sprouts was perfectly cooked and can be recommended, as can the swordfish sitting atop of escarole. Moussaka, beautifully presented in a cast iron frying pan with layers of potatoes, eggplant, beef and a yogurt béchamel was one of the best versions of this dish that we have had in a long time. Friends ordered non-Greek entrees. Linguini with white clam sauce was swimming in clams and as good as you would get in an Italian restaurant. Another non-Greek dish was a special of chicken stuffed with mozzarella, prosciutto and sun dried tomatoes that was dry and not enjoyed. Rigatoni with a pomodoro or Bolognese sauce, chicken scarpariello and veal chop Parmesan or Milanese are some other Italian menu items.

One dessert, kataifi politiko was superb with honey drenched shredded phyllo filled with a Greek cheese and surrounded with crushed pistachios and dried cherries. The other dessert whose name I cannot pronounce—galaktoboureko—was a semolina orange-scented dense custard with soggy phyllo pastry and honey syrup. Perhaps Greek yogurt with honey and walnuts, a hard dessert to ruin or the profiteroles, chocolate lava cake, gelato or sorbet should have been ordered.

While we are not inclined to yell “Opa,” Lithos is a good choice for a relaxing evening out where diners can experience professional service and an appealing meal.

Lithos Estiatoria, 405 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston; 973-758-1111. Open Sunday through Friday for lunch and dinner; Saturday from 4pm.

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