So, I had recently posted looking for an "immigrant-worthy" Italian neighborhood or joint, a place that someone could go to after returning from a trip to Italy and go "yes, *this* is spot on." Basically, a cure for the red-sauce woes I've had- like Flushing for Chinese or Greenpoint for Polish, both of which we've tried and LOVED.
Well, Arthur Ave. came up. And Arthur Ave. ain't it :)
To be fair, we only had time to go to one place (Zero Otto Nove). But I have to say, my friends and I were far from impressed. The neighborhood was crap, and absent from any of the places were the smells I was expecting. Z.O.N. was barely passable- honestly on par with a Bertucci's chain or California Pizza Kitchen. I was amazed this was the place people were raving about. The food was bland, lacked any discernible garlic or body or anything, really. And all at the table pretty much agreed.
So, back to square one. Is there any place- in Jersey maybe, I don't know at this point- where one could find the same caliber of food you'd expect in Rome or some little town on the Amalfi? Please, enough meatballs! I keep having friends return from Italy raving about the kind of food "you never get here", and I have to imagine something akin exists in NY. I know we have the problem where there hasn't been any serious immigration wave in about a century in this case :), but I have to hope there is some place or someone who's making the real stuff. For those who've found success in some of the other enclaves with their respective cuisines, you know what I'm talking about- the type of food so unique and spot on that you dare go anywhere else.
Well, I'm all ears. Hounds?