Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Eating out on $50: Piccolo's in Glen Rock

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Eating out on $50: Piccolo's in Glen Rock

Article excerpt

Piccolo's is one of those little Italian restaurants every self- respecting neighborhood deserves, an unpretentious place that prepares good food at reasonable prices and where the staff seems to know you whether you come in for takeout or to dine at one of the seven tables.

An example: When the boss at Piccolo's, Dino Martire, came over to greet my friend and me, he first asked how we were doing and then asked how we liked dinner. He seemed to know everyone who came through the door. You learn the importance of stuff like that when you've been in the business for 38 years.

In fact, Martire began his career in 1974 at a pizza place his father and a partner opened in Fort Lee, and which still exists. He had other restaurants in New Jersey after that and during a five- year stay in Florida. Then Martire and his wife heard from Jersey that they were soon to be grandparents and moved back north in a hurry.

Piccolo's, which opened just seven months ago, is not the fanciest place, but thankfully there are none of those posters of gondoliers traversing Venetian canals. It's a bright room, neatly maintained, and fairly quiet despite its location at the busy intersection of South Maple Avenue and Harristown Road in Glen Rock.

Keeping the tab for two less than $50 is fairly easy, though I've come to understand that these $50 excursions often are less complicated when two people agree to split an appetizer, order their own entrees, and share a dessert. This is not a bad deal at Piccolo's because the portions are quite large.

To start, my friend and I divvied up an order of four vegetarian stuffed mushrooms ($7.95). If you're used to mushrooms packed with bread crumbs or crab meat, this will be something new. The mushrooms were filled with a mix of very finely chopped zucchini, carrot, green pepper, celery, onion and garlic, topped with a touch of parmesan cheese, and served in a rich buttery sauce. I'm not a vegetarian, but the change to a vegetable filling was a nice switch.

For dinner, I ordered sausage and peppers ($12.95). Some of the sliced sausage was cooked to the point of crispness, seasoned with a slight degree of heat, or as Martire described it when I spoke with him a few days after my visit, "just a ting. …

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