While you can never predict what kind of crowd you’ll get at a restaurant on any given night, a recent Friday night at Buon Appetito had a good mix. Families and friends came early, and later on, dating couples drifted in.
This is one of those quality places that doesn’t intimidate you, providing a comfortable, pleasant atmosphere that doesn’t make you feel like you ought to wear the best clothing you own.
That is until the food arrives, and you get bowled over with not only the flavor and quantity, but prices so reasonable you can fill up and still keep the mortgage to your home.
Considering the location at 906 Broadway is a short ride from downtown Jersey City or Hoboken, Buon Appetito is a good choice for anyone looking to avoid the parking issues of those places and still have a quality dining experience.
The place is full, but not overly crowded, a popular local eatery with several new features such as the sidewalk café tables outside that give the place a Hoboken feel. The interior is lighted by tiny crystal chandeliers that combine with the earthy colors of the drapes and paint to give the place a quiet luxury.
A diverse menu
The menu is remarkably diverse with ample dinner specials, a remarkable selection of fish, numerous sauce combinations, and pleasant and original appetizers.
While the menu has its share of meat items, it is particularly rich in veal dishes, including traditional ones as well as some unique to the restaurant.
Entrees range from $10.95 for eggplant rollatini to $36.95 for surf and turf with most items under $20, including a number of chicken items.
The menu offers a number of pastas and homemade raviolis, including rigatoni vodka at $9.95, homemade potato dumplings at $10.95, and stuffed rigatoni at $13.95.
The menu provides some of the classic appetizers including fried calamari with marinara sauce, and mussels with a choice of marinara or white wine sauce – a terrific blend of wine and garlic.
The calamari was very tender and the mussels were very fresh. Both sauces were richly spiced.
Other offerings include stuffed mushrooms, claims oreganata, stuffed eggplant and stuffed shrimp. Appetizers ranged from $8.95 to $9.95 with ample quantities.
Salads and soups range from $3.50 for soup of the day to $6.95 for fresh mozzarella salad.
The lobster bisque soup is buttery without being overly sweet, thick with bits of lobster.
Fish is the dish
Fish is one of the specialties of Buon Appetito, and Tony Stoebling, the owner, said he seeks the freshest fish he can find. But it also has to be high quality.
“If you use the good stuff, it comes out differently than if you use cheap stuff,” he said.
Sneaking in samples of some special appetizers, the prosciutto wrapped shrimp was stunning, a complex combination of cured meat and extremely fresh shrimp.
The classic steak dinner was tasty and very American, a hearty dish that gives the diners yet one more choice in what seems like an endless variety of quality dishes.
The wine list is terrific. Recently expanded, it offers quality selections for each person’s budget, providing selections from $16 a to $108 bottle, although most selections range between $16 to $18.
Because Stoebling realizes that his place is attractive to families – many of those in the place looked like grandparents with their grandkids – he offers a kids menu that includes homemade macaroni and cheese, and other items that might appeal to the younger crowd.
If the main menu was a challenge to choose from, desserts were overwhelming, not only in choice, but in taste, from Italian-style cheesecake and sorbet to tortoni and the classic cannoli. Each dessert had a complexity and richness that made it stand out from the others, yet any one of them might have served as a signature piece.
Open for lunch, too
With a corner bar, the restaurant can easily become a quiet gathering place for couples later in the evening.
Open from 11 a.m. to about 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, and 1 to 9 p.m. on Sundays, Buon Appetito offers provides a good daytime place for lunch as well as dinner, and is loaded with daily specials and intriguing offers. Offers include Thursday’s free for kids with one paying adult, and Friday’s seafood extravaganza. Saturday has a family-style menu which serves two to three people and includes a bottle of wine for $5.
Buon Appetito also offers free delivery and catering on and off the premises.
The lunch menu includes cold and hot sandwiches, usually in three sizes ranging in price from $7 and $8 for small sandwiches, $7.50 to $9 for medium, and $15 to $18 for large. The menu includes soups from $3 for a pint to $6 for a quart, except for lobster bisque offered on Fridays at $4.50 and $9. There is a rich selection of lunch time pasta dishes ranged from $7 to $12, and an all you can eat buffet on Wednesday and Sunday for $12 per person. As with the diner menu, the lunch menu has an ample selection of veal, chicken, and seafood sections as well as eggplant dishes.
For more information you can call the restaurant at 201-436-0043 or go-on line at http://www.buonappetitoitalian.com.