Review By: Julianne Di -
Another exciting event in the family, the baptism of my beautiful goddaughter; you can sense a pattern now I am sure. Every time there is a family event we all go to an Italian restaurant. I think at this point I have probably been to every Italian place in the tri-state area (it certainly feels like it). This time, the restaurant of choice was La Riviera Trattoria in Clifton, New Jersey.
I could live on antipasto; what’s not to love? Salamis, pepperonis, olives, cheeses, marinated vegetables… you get the idea. In an arrangement on display like they have here, it looks like a food challenge. I got excited to see all the different layers and arrangements of food on the plate. Challenge accepted! Whoever arranged this platter put a lot of work into something that didn’t stay pretty for very long (Leave it up to a bunch of Italians to pick it apart quickly!). The table attacked it like a bunch of National Geographic lions on a zebra. Oh and the fried calamari and zucchini were good also, but with that antipasto on the table, I almost forgot they were there.
All of the plates came out deliciously arranged and full of food. I think I am starting to develop a real problem…I am addicted to food.
The stuffed artichoke deserves its own paragraph. If you know anything about artichokes and how amazing a good stuffed one is than you have to appreciate the art of the one at La Riviera Trattoria. Not only do they stuff it with breadcrumbs, they also prepare it for you ahead of time so that you don’t have to remove that prickly part yourself (the part that keeps you from the delicious heart at the bottom). Once you finish with the leaves and get to middle, that is where you find the biggest surprise, a delicious melted piece of cheese which you can use to stuff the heart with and finish off the artichoke! Wow it was too good!
The pasta and salad were good too but the best way to end the meal was with two choices of chicken, one of which was the best chicken francese that I had ever had. The butter lemon sauce was so good that I had to finish the empty plate by dipping pieces of bread in the leftover sauce. However, it was the artichoke that really stole the show here, and rightly so!