Anthony & Sons is a slice of Little Italy in New Jersey with locations in Succasunna and Denville. Part BYO restaurant, part bakery, part gourmet market, patrons can sit down and enjoy table service, take home heat-and-eat specialties from the refrigerated or frozen cases, or grab pastas, sauces and cured meats for their pantries, all under one roof.
The entrance offers an enticing array of their well-known, crusty breads and rolls, alongside high stacks of colorful Italian cookie boxes that made us want to start nibbling before we even got to the table. Fortunately, first to arrive was a selection of sliced bread served in a black-checkered paper cone. The bread lived up to its excellent reputation but would have benefited from a brief warming.
Service is casual, with all employees dressed in chef whites and drifting from the kitchen to the counter to the dozen tables along one side of the store.
Appetizers are limited to hot and cold antipasto, fried ravioli and calamari. We opted for the latter, but instead of the traditional marinara, we chose the version on the specialty menu, which included a smattering of grape tomatoes, sliced scallions and balsamic vinegar amongst the super-tender breaded and fried rings of seafood. There are also a few soups, salads and pizzas available from their brick oven.
We had hoped to convince them to make an appetizer-size portion of the grilled vegetable raviolis listed on the handful of daily specials but unfortunately, they declined to accommodate our request, so we went on to choose our entrees from the regular selection, that forewarns patrons that there is a $4 plate sharing charge.
The breaded pork Parmesan was a bone-in chop that was pounded thin to the size of a platter big enough to serve a family and topped with sauce and melted cheese. The texture was perfectly tender, unlike the chewy ribbons of Mafalda pasta that gave a whole new meaning to the term al dente. The waitress explained that if we wanted the pasta done more, we would have to request that upon ordering.
The flat-iron steak giambotta was equally huge and included a perfectly spicy blend of crumbled sausage, potatoes, peppers, cherry peppers, garlic and onion in a white wine and vinegar sauce, finished with a touch of demi-glace.
After packing up our ample leftovers, including four complimentary rolls, we were encouraged to choose our dessert from the glass case full of pastries and cakes. The individually composed round of dulce de leche cake had a wonderful flavor but was so cold that the caramel buttercream was hard to cut through.
Despite some glitches, there is much to enjoy and appreciate at Anthony & Sons, whether you have the time to sit down or are on the run.
Anthony & Sons, 15 Route 10 East, Succasunna, 973-970-9191, anthonyandsonsbakery.com. Serves breakfast, lunch and dinner Sunday through Thursday 7am to 9pm, Friday and Saturday 7 am to 10 pm.Click here to leave a comment