● PINE BROOK
29 Route 46 East
OPEN Lunch, Tues-Fri; dinner,
Tues-Sun; brunch, Sat & Sun
S T YLE Neapolitan wood-fired
pizzas and Italian fare from an
open kitchen in a big, ;omfort-able space with a large bar.
THE SCOOP Founded by
brothers Charlie and Giuseppe
Badalamenti in 2015, Wood
Stack takes its beer as seriously
as its pizza. Its 13 draughts all
come from Jersey breweries
such as Carton, Kane, Bolero
Snort, and nearby Magnify and
Cricket Hill. Beer flights are of-
fered. Spirits, cocktails and wine
are available, but you can bring
your own wine for a corkage fee
of $20 per bottle.
THE MENU The puffy, charred
pizzas are cooked in 90 seconds
in the 900-degree oven. They're
terrific—and wallet friendly. The
Marmala nicely balances sweet
and savory, combining bacon
marmalade with arugula, fior di
latte mozzarella and extra-virgin
olive oil. The iSay Cheese uses
four types; the Winter Fell
tops brisket with barbecue
sauce, fior di latte mozzarella
and pickled red onions. For
entrées, choose from salmon,
chicken, pork shoulder and
short rib. The latter, with eggplant
purée, kale and fingerling pota-
toes, was excellent.
HEADS UP During dinner hours,
Wood Stack’s parking lot is
strictly valet, but the good ne ws is
the service is free.
—Lauren N. Bowers
1049 US 202 North
OPEN Lunch & dinner daily; breakfast, Mon-Fri; brunch, Sat & Sun
ST YLE The rich and varied
cuisine of North India, which
originated with the Mughlai
emperors of the Middle Ages.
THE SCOOP Executive chef
Harkishan Lal Arora draws from
influences other than Mughlai
and aims to present a menu as
healthy as it is tasty. He regards
the creation of masalas (
distinctive spice mixtures) as an art,
hence the restaurant's name.
THE MENU Start with a basket
of vegetable kulcha, delicious
unleavened bread stu;ed with
onion and paneer cheese. Dunk
this delicacy in the spicy mul-
ligatawny soup made with lentils
and tomatoes. The kulcha also
serves to mop up the rich juices of
chicken jalfrozi, which is prepared
with bell peppers, tomatoes and
spring onions. Another fine choice
for a main course is shrimp
dansik, a sweet-and-sour dish
featuring large shrimp mari-
nated in honey and vinegar and
cooked with lentils. You don't
have to be a vegetarian to enjoy
Punjabi-style baingam bhurtha,
composed of roasted eggplant,
green peas, fresh tomatoes,
onions and ginger baked in a tan-
doori oven. Indian desserts, like
Greek ones, are notoriously sweet.
But after a spicy meal, you just
might crave gulab jaman, which is
deep-fried cheese curds in syrup
garnished with almonds.
HEADS UP It's easy to miss
Masala Art on busy US 202. Slow
down when you see the blue solar
panels on the right; the restaurant
is in the strip mall that follows.
505 Route 70
OPEN Breakfast, brunch & lunch
S T YLE Cozy and cute, Turning Point is kno wn for hearty
and creative breakfast and
lunch items, and for a vibe that
encourages patrons to linger over
conversation and coffee.
THE SCOOP Kirk Ruoff opened
the first Turning Point in Little
Silver in 1998. Now the family-
owned business has 11 locations
throughout the state, from
Hoboken to Cherry Hill. Brick
opened in 2011.
THE MENU The heart of the
menu just may be the Eggcep-
tional Dishes section. Dig into
grande huevos rancheros, topped
with potatoes, black beans,
chorizo, cheddar and avocado, on
a tortilla. The Big Easy benedict,
on corn bread, comes with
chorizo and Cajun hollandaise.
Eggs aside, banana lovers will
chortle over Crunchy Monkey
pancakes or bananas Foster
waffles. The salad-rich lunch
menu includes the Cosmo-
chicken salad over mixed greens).
The Full Monty is a turkey, ham
and Swiss sandwich on slices of
HEADS UP Sign up for a Perk
Card for a free entrée during your
birthday month. —Lauren Payne
its vegetable-rich broth thickened with
puréed cannellini beans instead of the
traditional chunks of bread. A brimming bowl of Long Island littlenecks
mingled their briny sweetness with a
vibrant, just-spicy-enough green sauce.
Carpaccio doesn’t get sexier or
more supple than DeMarco’s lace-thin
circles of ruby-red Kobe beef showered
with arugula and a gentle goat-cheese-and-apple vinaigrette. An order of
baby artichokes (imported from Italy,
already marinated) picked up personality with crisping on the grill, avocado
chunks and a refreshing lemon-and-olive-oil dressing.
A similar vinaigrette, though, didn’t
add quite enough zing to baby octopus,
though the nubs were so silken and expertly charred they were a delight nonetheless. With so many strong starters,
you can bypass the giardiniera salad, a
jumble of canned palm hearts, marinated artichokes, avocado and more.
Choosing from the copious list of
pastas and mains can be daunting. DeMarco’s top-selling spinach lasagna and
pappardelle Bolognese (both featuring
house-made noodles) are winning bets.
Even better was house-made porcini
ravioli bathed in a crazily rich walnut-white-tru;e cream sauce that had us
giddily scraping the plate clean.
True to the recipe DeMarco learned
in Liguria, spicy spaghettini all’ Arrab-biata had no hint of tomato; unfortunately, the combo of anchovies, olives
and perhaps too much added salt made
it a sodium assault. Somewhat disappointing, too, was the gran cartoccio di
mare, a classic dish of seafood and pasta
baked in a foil pouch. This cartoccio arrived looking and tasting somewhat like
Excellent entrées included tender
veal osso buco, which we devoured.
A Black Angus steak arrived medium
rare, as ordered, perfectly charred, with
hunks of portobello mushrooms bobbing in its robust red-wine reduction.
Juicy, flavorful roasted organic chicken
kept company with an irresistible slice
of sweet potato gratin. Overcooking,
though, produced a dry double-cut veal
chop, a sin almost absolved by the fabulously funky black-tru;e reduction.
As for fish, some simple tweaks
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