The Rosie Report: Boccone South

The five-year-old South Orange restaurant offers modern Mediterranean and Italian dishes—but their prices can be jarring.

Beef cheek and oxtail ragu with spinach linguine. Photo by Lowell Saferstein

The food at Boccone (mouthful in Italian) South was terrific and we highly recommend this five-year-old restaurant. However, Lowell and I ignored our own advice by not asking the cost of the specials which were recited without the prices. Caveat emptorbuyer beware. Boccone South has the distinction of charging us the most money that we have ever paid for pasta.

Artichoke stuffed with chopped chestnuts. Photo by Lowell Saferstein

Upon entering the restaurant we were graciously greeted and shown to our seats. Chunks of soft garlic that had been cooked in olive oil along with balsamic were placed on the table with a soft-crusted warm Italian bread.

A slightly spicy, white wine sauce flecked with red pepper flakes enhanced a large, whole artichoke ($16) stuffed with finely chopped crunchy chestnuts. However, if given a choice our preference would be for a buttery breadcrumb/Parmesan filling with this edible flower.

A large serving of Pollo Scarpariello ($26), on the bone, with hot and sweet sausage, potatoes and red peppers was expertly prepared and a full flavored scene-stealer.

Pollo Scarpariello. Photo by Lowell Saferstein

Another special was beef cheek and oxtail ragu with spinach linguine. This deeply rich pasta could easily be on my list of favorite dishes of the year. However, we were aghast that it cost $42. After receiving the bill and asking the waiter about this ridiculously expensive dish he shrugged his shoulders. I told him that he recited the specials without the prices and he said, “The customers don’t want to know the prices.” Pastas on the web page ran from $21 for gnocchi to $30 for capellini with seafood.

Bread pudding. Photo by Lowell Saferstein

Our waiter insisted that we try the bread pudding ($10) with raisins and sweet caramel flavors which was strikingly different from other bread puddings as it was not dense and extremely moist with the consistency of a very thick soup. It reminded us of an egg rich French toast. Boccone South is located in the space that once was Gruning’s Ice Cream Parlor and has a showcase full of numerous gelatos that are another worthy option for dessert.

Open Monday 5 to 10 PM; Tuesday to Friday noon to 10 PM; Saturday and Sunday 3:30 to 10 PM.

Boccone South, 59 South Orange Avenue, South Orange; 973-378-9222. BYO

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