By DANIEL SONNINSHINE
The intersecting highways, meshing suburban, rural and city living are a cornerstone of New Jersey life. As are sandy beaches, major professional sports teams, and the closest of proximities to the world’s largest and most influential locale, New York City. What comes with all this? Great restaurants, of course. And New Jersey has many of them.
Do you like French cuisine?
How about Chinese food?
Or how about Indian, my friend?
You say you like Thai, German, Polish, Brazilian, Japanese, Ethiopian, and just simple ole’ American food?
Well, New Jersey has great eateries boasting all of the above – and more.
But above and beyond all else, the Garden State, with its great, large Italian-American community, has many a fine Italian restaurant. And there is none better than Lina’s Italian Ristorante in Bloomingdale.
Nestled about 40 minutes from Manhattan, in a quiet but suburban working class/professional town in Passaic County, Bloomingdale gets a big splash from Lina’s. This cozy, family-style Italian restaurant is anything but quiet in the top-notch quality of its mouth-watering, tasty meals.
Owners – and master chefs and creators – Sal Pagliarulo and Lina Pagliarulo offer a bevy of delightful vitello (veal), pollo (chicken), and pesce (fish) entrees. Indeed, they are famous for their wide variety of pasta dishes. Open since 1983, their menu, found on the restaurant’s website, is a cool mixture of traditional Italian classics and meals you just won’t find anywhere else. House specialties include:
Sal Pags’ tantalizing Seafood Alla Sinatra, consisting of baby lobster tail, shrimp and scallops – laced with diced fresh tomatoes in a light, but savory, alfredo sauce. Over what? Homemade fettucine.
Lina’s mouthwatering Chicken Alla Lina, a dish of chicken breast smothered with artichokes, sundried tomatoes, and mushrooms – brought particularly Italian home with diced prosciutto. Add a special white wine sauce, and you have perfection.
Stopping in any time of the evening or afternoon, one is met with a surprise of the ordinary turned special. The roasted eggplant, drizzled with the right amount of olive oil and spices somehow tastes of a rare appetizer delight. The steak and peppers – not on the menu, but prepared at your delight – draws the diner in through a combination of the most flavorful of sauces and additional fresh garden vegetables. And then there are the desserts. Not only made by Sal and Lina, but also Lina’s mama. And, oh, are they authentic. And, oh, are they good.
And, oh, all the food at Lina’s Italian Ristorante is so very, very, good…
Lina’s easily earns five stars.
Daniel Sonninshine is an Empire State News staff writer, who is in search of greatness. A 20-something smart fellow, he is now lifting weights in an effort to obtain more power. If that doesn’t work, he will ask to write more editorials for Empire State News and less fact articles.
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