A few weeks ago I took an excursion to Montclair to one of their many restaurants. I’ve said this over the course of writing my blog but, Montclair is a mecca for good food. The problem is, so is Morristown, which where I live. While I continue to try and conquer my own town I very rarely get out and explore others. I took a trip to visit an old friend was a great excuse to get out of town for the night and explore more of Montclair.
We decided to go for Mediterranean cuisine at Greek Taverna. The main driver was the option of outdoor seating because it happened to be a beautiful evening. I scooped up some Greek white wine at the recommendation of my friends at Cambridge Wines and headed for our destination.
When I arrived, the restaurant was surprisingly quiet. A hostess showed me to a table outside on the sidewalk but briskly walked away. All of the chairs were pushed up against the table which required me to go around and place each one on the floor so we could sit. I also sat without any interaction for nearly 10 minutes until my friend arrived. I had to admit we weren’t off to a great service start.
Once our friendly waiter arrived, he was able to turn the night around. He was helpful with the menu, talkative, and graciously dealt with us being the last soles in the restaurant at 10:30 at night still chit chatting away.
As for the food, we were first greeted with a basket of warm, herbed pita bread. The only thing that would have made them better was some olive oil or hummus to dip them in. I munched on these while pondering the large menu. I SO wanted to be the girl who ordered all the Americanized Greek food on the menu and get Spanikopita and just a simple Greek salad. However; with so few Greek culinary experiences I felt guilty not getting one of the traditional meals. I decided to ask our waiter for his recommendation. He pushed for the Pastitsio. It’s essentially the Greek version of meat lagagna. Long macaroni noodles are bathed in a savory beef and tomato sauce followed by a creamy layer of béchamel and topped and baked with mild cheese. It came out in a casserole dish the size of my head. It was certainly not a light meal. But, flavorful beef paired with whole slices of tomato and that velvety béchamel topping made this meal a winner.
I still was able to have my fill of my classic spanakopita which consisted of flaky filo stuffed to the brim with spinach and melted feta cheese. My friend ordered the greek salad that I also originally wanted so we did some plate sharing. The bitter olives, sweet tomatoes, crisp cucumbers and tangy feta cheese are always a delicious combination.
While I was beyond stuffed, we couldn’t help but order and indulge the chocolate baklava to share. This sticky pastry was served warm with gooey sweet chocolate filling. It was a satisfying end to a great meal.
Greek Taverna has some prime real estate as far as restaurants go in Montclair because it actually has its own parking lot AND the outdoor seating.
There are also two other New Jersey locations for this Greek eatery in Edgewater and Glen Rock. For the full menu and more information you can head to their website at: http://www.greektavernausa.com/
…all for the love of the dish