Ok, story goes - Let's follow Frankie Bucco all the way down Broad Street, literally from Clifton to Bloomfield. Old Bloomfield resident, but new to Bloomfield Center.
Bucco's Restaurant is a quaint BYO establishment on Washington Street - think cool grey industrial chic modern vibe meets old school "out your Italian Mama's kitchen" food - but with a trendy twist. But, they are closed Tuesday's, because being closed Monday's is too trendy and "everybody does that, " says Frank.
So I'm here, at our Bloomfield Center Alliance event, "Dinner Under the Stars" trying out Bucco's Summer Menu.
"We change it twice a year, in May and October." explains Frank.
Personal mental note: now I have to come back in October to try the Winter Menu - and I'm totally OK with it.
"Frank, you make your own bread," I asked.
"No, Ang - who's got the best bread around?"
"Ok... So, Calandra's..."
As I dip my crusty bread-utensil in my Clam Saccheto.
"It means Satchel, " says Frankie.
The little-neck clams are grilled in a sealed aluminum foil pouch, or satchel - with garlic, basil, parsley and drizzled with olive oil. Two bread baskets, and a drip on my shirt later - I love them. Each and every clam, especially the natural sea-salty broth.
I can't decide between the pan seared salmon drizzled with a horseradish dill cream or the whole oven roasted Cornish hen with fresh herbs.
Decisions, decisions... So I decide on - both. I also plan on getting dessert - don't judge me. That's why humans invented doggie-bags.
Yes, I said WHOLE Cornish hen. If you are looking for quantity and quality this is certainly a dish to tackle. Paired with bright green steamed but still-crispy broccoli and velvety mashed potatoes the hen is tender and perfectly seasoned.
"The Cornish Hens are from Bell and Evans, which means they are grass fed and raised with no hormones, " notes Frank "the meat is more tender and has a better taste."
Yes, crispy herbed skin with a buttery fall-off-the-bone meat. I have to remind myself not to over eat, it's now time for my salmon.
A bright pink, pan seared filet topped with perfectly crisped and seasoned breadcrumbs, drizzled with a creamy not-too-overpowering balanced cream with a bit of a bite.
"Frank, I'm not going to lie - Salmon is not usually my favorite fish - but this is delightful" I admitted. "It doesn't even taste like fish." Which I meant in an honest yet, semi-thankful way.
"It's top quality, and it makes a BIG difference taste wise. Our suppliers have a very impressive reputation and are committed to sustainability. It's sushi grade fish and the fillets look beautiful, bright pink with marbleized fat, " Frank describes.
You can tell this man loves all things food. Even his fish.
"You had me at marbleized fat, Frank!" I laughed. Now time for dessert.
What else could I want other than something decadent and chocolaty?
Oh, I know - something decadent and chocolaty and covered in gelato.
"I'll take the fudge brownie a la mode." I order with an awkwardly huge smile.
And, so - It arrives... Warm brownie topped with tahitian vanilla gelato completed with whipped cream. There is a process - a method if you will - in setting up my morsel. A spoon filled first with a little bit of brownie, a little bit of gelato and topped off with a dabble of whipped cream.
As a local resident, Frank Bucco certainly knows what downtown Bloomfield represents - and what we like to eat.
"You can see what Bloomfield is going to be" he says with a hopeful smile as he pulls up a chair at my table. "But tell me Ang, how was your dinner?"
"Fantastic Frank, fabulous. Really."
I'll be back for the stuffed red snapper and the stuffed artichoke.
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