By Sally Deering
Whether you’re looking for a cozy place for lunch, a hip hangout for drinks after work or a romantic dinner with that special date, the Copacabana Grill in Bayonne has it all for you – Italian and Brazilian Cuisine served in a cool and romantic setting.
Bayonne is a city of many great restaurants and the Copacabana Grill is a hip little eatery on Broadway, off 11th Street. Enter the non-descript white storefront and you’re instantly transported into a low-lit sleek and sexy bar with dark wood tables and luxurious matching chairs. In the back of the room, a mini staircase leads to a beautiful, romantic dining room.
Formerly The Liquid Lounge, owner Luigy Rivas changed more than just the name. With the help of his staff, Rivas renovated, designed and decorated the restaurant, giving the place a totally new interior and vibe.
“We worked on this place so many nights,” Rivas says, taking a break from the reservation desk to enjoy a cup of tea. “We wanted it to be cozy, warm, romantic. The room upstairs is fancier and down here at the bar, it’s more casual.”
Before becoming a restaurateur, Rivas worked his way up in the restaurant industry first as dishwasher, then busboy, cook, waiter and manager.
“I used to work in New York City then I decided to open my own place,” Rivas says. “It’s not that easy. You have to give it your all. But if you have good food, people come back.”
And to ensure Copacabana’s steaks, chops, chicken, pastas and seafood are bringing in the customers, Luigy’s brother Chef Frank Rivas runs the kitchen.
“Frank worked over 20 years in the kitchen,” Rivas says. “He has the experience.”
Copacabana Grill’s menu features Appetizers, Salads, Soups, Chicken, Pasta, Steak and Fish dishes. The House specialty is Rodizio, a sampling of 8-10 different meats served on a sword right at the table. Patrons choose the meats they want and the waiter slides the meat off the sword and onto the plate. (This is only served on weekends and it’s all you can eat for $28.)
Appetizers include Cold Antipasto, Fried Zucchini, Mussels with White Wine or Red Sauce and Brazilian Sausage served with Yucca in Red Sauce ($8-$11); Salads feature the Copacabana – Mixed Greens, Red Pepper, Red Onion, Tomato, Gorgonzola Cheese and Balsamic dressing; and the Rio – Arugula, Endive, Radicchio, Red Onion, Tomato, Rodizio meats and Lemon dressing.
Chicken and Duck dishes include the Breaded Chicken Cutlet serviced with Fruit Salad; Breast of Duck in an Orange Sweet Sauce served with Apples and Potatoes; and Breast of Chicken Martini Style (encrusted in parmesan cheese) with Lemon-White Wine Sauce ($14-$19).
I tried the Chicken Martini Style and the chicken was tender and moist; the parmesan cheese crust added a terrific flavor to the chicken and the Lemon-White Wine sauce complemented it all perfectly The dish was accompanied by Focaccia rolls that were warm and yummy.
For pasta lovers, Copacabana Grill serves several dishes including Pasta Synfonia, a combination of four pasta bowls of Penne Vodka; Spaghetti with Broccoli, Garlic and Oil; Penne Bolognese and Orichette Carbonara ($18).
Steak dishes include Sirloin Steak, Filet Mignon and Churasco – skirt steak served with rice and beans and egg ($22-$25). Fish dishes feature Grilled Salmon marinated in Olive Oil and Dill; Tuna sautéed with Capers, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Lemon and White Wine Sauce; and Sautéed Shrimp served with Puree of Pumpkin and Coconut Milk over Rice ($$17-$20). The Sautéed Shrimp with Puree of Pumpkin and Coconut Milk was absolutely delicious – the shrimp plump and succulent; the sauce divine.
Copacabana Grill makes its own desserts on premise and the Brazilian Tiramisu is always a sellout, Rivas says.
Rivas opened Copacabana Grill just five months ago and already the restaurant has become a Bayonne hotspot. New Year’s Eve is right around the corner and Copacabana Grill will be hosting its first New Year’s Eve Party featuring a three-course dinner, coffee and dessert; and an open bar with DJ Kenny D spinning tunes. ($89 per person)
Delicious dishes and drinks in a hip, cozy and romantic setting – Copacabana Grill offers iguests the perfect setting for a great evening out.
If you go:
Tues-Thurs: 11 am-10 pm
Fri, Sat: 11 am-11 pm
Sun: 11 am-10 pm
(*Bar stays open later)