By Sally Deering
Â Back in the day, Frank Fioreâ€™s family emigrated from Southern Italy to the Bronx and after years of big family dinners made from Grandma Fioreâ€™s recipes, Frank, his brother Raymond, his father, Ruggero and his mother Maria, extended their family table to Newark Avenue in Downtown Jersey City and opened Roman Nose–Authentic Italian Kitchen.
Located next to The Word Bookstore right off Grove Street, Roman Nose landed one of the best locations in town: the Pedestrian Mall that extends west from Grove, Roman Nose offers guests aÂ hearty taste of Southern Italy and a casual dining experience with white wainscoting on the walls and vintage-style tin ceilings.Â It has two areas for seating and a small bar with a big wine and cocktails list.Â Intimate and friendly with black & white family photos on the walls, Roman Noseâ€™s atmosphere is like one big family reunion with guests drinking, dining and enjoying the themselves.Â
â€œI moved to Jersey City 12 years ago,â€ Frank Fiore says, sitting at one of his larger tables during a busy dinner service. â€œI felt we needed a good Italian restaurant downtown. I spent every summer in Italy with my grandparents. For me the story wrote itself. We didnâ€™t try to be Italian. We cook traditional Italian food as we always do and people appreciate it. We were artisanal.Â Â Â Â Â I grew up curing sausages in our garage,â€ Fiore says. â€œWe pickle, we jar. We made our own wine.â€
Roman Nose â€“ Authentic Italian Kitchen â€“ is just that. The cooks were all trained to cook the recipes that Fioreâ€™s grandmothers cooked back in Italy. And the menu is an homage to Fioreâ€™s Italian roots. Antipasti dishes feature Olive Miste, Italian olives served in house marinade of lemon,Â thyme, rosemary, garlic, and fennel seed; and Crostini di Casa homemade mozzarella, prosciutto, tomato, oregano melted on grilled filone bread.
Bruschette: (3 for $5; 6for $9) Pomodoro, Pesto, Ricotta, Miele, e Noci, Pomodori Secchi e Pecorino, Crema Di Carciofi, and Tapenade di Olive.
Formaggi e Salumi: ($15; choice of three) Served with Tuscan chestnut honey, roasted almonds, fresh bread; a selection of premium Italian cheeses including Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino Romano Pepato and Fontina.
Insalate: ($8-$12) Insalata Caprese, homemade mozzarella, tomato, and fresh basil with extra virgin olive oil and aceto balsamico; Insalata di Finnocchio, Indivia, Radicchio e Arance Fennel, endive, radicchio, orange, toasted walnuts, and parmigiano shavings, with citrus vinaigrette; Insalata di Pollo, house salad with sliced grilled chicken breast, red onion, and parmigiano; and, Insalata di Tonno, house salad with Sicilian tuna in olive oil, red onion, and homemade mozzarella.
Polpette:Â Family meatballs made with beef, pork, veal and amore, topped with Sunday Sauce and parmiagiano ($5-$10) include:Â Meatball Sangweech, four meatballs stuffed into a fresh ciabatta; Meatball Bowl and Meatball Side.
Pizze:Â Homemade mozzarella and pizza dough are made from scratch ($9-$30) and include Margherita, Saracena, Zucchine, Pesto, and Crudo with Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano shavings, arugula,Â mozzarella and tomato sauce.
Zuppe:Â Mama Mariaâ€™s made-from-scratch soups ($6-$8) feature Lenticchie, classic lentil soup; Pastina and Minestrone.
Primi:Â All pasta is made from scratch ($11-$18) and includes:Â Spaghetti al Pomodoro; Fusilli al Pesto, and Tagliatelle con Gamberetti e Pomodorini, sautÃ©ed shrimp with cherry tomatoes, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil.
Secondi: Entrees include Parmigiana di Melanzane, classic parmigiana, pan-fried and breaded eggplant oven-baked with layers of homemade mozzarella; and Pollo al Marsala e Funghi, tender chicken filets cooked in Marsala wine sauce ($16-$18).
Roman Nose serves kid-friendly portions for children under 12 ($6-$7); side dishes ($5-$7) and guests can substitute gluten-free Quinoa-Corn Penne Pasta for their pasta dishes ($2 additional).
If you go
Roman Nose, Authentic Italian Kitchen
124 Newark Ave, JC
Hours: Tues-Fri 12-10 pm
Sat-Sun 11-10 pm