The Rosie Report: Pic-Nic in East Newark

The Portuguese restaurant is off the beaten path but worth finding.

Pork cubes with clams and potatoes. Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein

Portuguese was the language of the evening and we were delighted to be the only ones speaking English; there were enough leftovers for dinner the next night; specials were written out with the prices; and yes, the food was very good. Located across from factories in a residential neighborhood in East Newark, Pic-Nic Bar & Restaurant is off the beaten path but worth finding. We will be back.

The entrance has a Portuguese landscape created from blue and white tiles and along with brick and stone walls and paintings of rural scenes we were reminded of the restaurants that we dined at in Lisbon.

A bowl of hearty potato leek soup, served gratis, was presented along with warm crusty whole wheat bread, herbed olive oil and butter in foil.

The waiter brought our entrees and when we asked about our appetizer, of grilled octopus, which we never received, he apologized and a few minutes later brought the octopus and said it was on the house—a very customer-friendly gesture. A smoky paprika seasoning highlighted this tender mollusk.

It was no surprise that Lowell ordered marinated pork cubes with clams and potatoes, “Alentejana Style,” which is a traditional and popular Portuguese dish. The combination of pork, perfectly cooked clams (not rubbery), crispy potatoes and garlic were terrific. Prawns “Mocambique” Style which included four humongous prawns flanked by a slightly spicy red sauce along with addictive crunchy Spanish potatoes was also a winner.

Prawns with Spanish potatoes. Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein

Are dessert trays becoming a trend? (We first noticed it at Il Goccino in Madison over the summer.) The second one we have seen recently was presented to us with cheese cake, flan, rice pudding, fruit, chocolate pudding, poached pear and crème brulee. Flan was our choice, and was the only clunker of the evening as it was grainy in texture.

The moderately priced wine list has an emphasis on Portuguese and Spanish wines with a few choices from Chile, France, Italy and California. We had a Piriquita Reserva, a red blend from Portugal that cost $23.95. It was a very good buy as this wine was listed online for $13.97.

Upon exiting the restaurant we saw people standing in line to pick up take out orders at a BBQ shack attached to the restaurant. Inside there were meats (pork, ribs, sausage and chicken) on a large grill and tantalizing aromas.

Open Monday through Saturday for lunch from 11 AM to 3 PM; dinner, Monday through Friday 3 to 9 PM; Saturday 3 to 11 PM; Sunday 1 to 10 PM.

Pic-Nic, 224 Grant Avenue, East Newark; 973-481-3646

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