Trying across the room at Taverna Veranda, you’ll see sculptural planters hanging from the ceiling, magenta bougainvillea rising up the partitions, loads of occupied tables and unparalleled views of the New York Metropolis skyline. That is the type of vibe you get when stepping inside this newly opened Mediterranean restaurant in Edgewater, NJ. (Solely locals will know this was previously a Chase financial institution.) Even on a weeknight, it was clear to me that that is one in every of NJ’s latest eating locations.
Taverna Veranda Opens in Edgewater, NJ
Taverna Veranda, which formally opened its doorways in December 2021, comes from tri state space restaurateurs Constantine Youssis, Moutaz Ali and Aldo Moe. The three,000-square-foot eatery gives each indoor and out of doors eating—the latter of which incorporates a 48-person patio overlooking the Hudson River.
Right here, they goal to dazzle locals with a up to date twist on Mediterranean consolation meals and a barely upscale atmosphere. White-washed partitions, polished concrete flooring and reclaimed wooden mix to create a cool, high-energy environment. Govt Chef Nestor Moina shares his refined imaginative and prescient to the dishes his counterparts grew up consuming. The chef is an Ecuadorian native and hospitality veteran who’s labored alongside each Youssis and Ali.
Though Taverna Veranda has all of the tenets of a stylish newcomer, its menu definitely didn’t disappoint.
When you’re craving one thing gentle to snack on, order from the Dips part. You possibly can anticipate frequent choices resembling hummus and tzatziki to spicy feta and fava. The Mezze menu presents extra options for appetizers—kefte, dolma, falafel and spinach pie. On the modern aspect, Chef Moina is serving up lobster gyros and harissa hen wings.
Some standouts from our go to had been the stuffed peppers with spiced rice and purple pepper aioli and the saganaki, or pan-fried cheese. When you’ve by no means tried it, image the proper nook piece of a Detroit-style pizza the place the cheese has fashioned a brown, crispy crust.
I’m a sucker for a Greek salad and this one got here to the desk as a mountainous show with the assistance of juicy, completely dressed tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, onion and feta. Since we’re in New Jersey, diners will even discover a burrata salad on the menu. I’ll be returning for the roasted beets with arugula, candied pecans, mint and yogurt sauce.
Grilled & Mains
To make your meal a feast, we extremely advocate ordering from Taverna Veranda’s grilled choices—all of that are positively sharable. Each the octopus and lamb chops had been charred and tender as ever, expertly seasoned and nearly as excellent as you’d anticipate. The latter comes served over roasted potatoes in a half or whole-rack providing whereas the octopus is topped with diced roasted peppers, capers and onions with easy lemon and olive oil. I do know for a undeniable fact that everybody was ordering the octopus.
These easy comforts are what Taverna Veranda does finest, together with the moussaka which might be discovered amongst the restaurant’s different mains. It’s onerous to not be immediately reminded of Greece as your fork sinks into layers of eggplant, zucchini, tomatoey-cinnamony beef, bechamel and potatoes.
Regardless that desserts are competing with savory dishes, the artfully constructed lavender mousse satisfies. Texturally, it’s silky-smooth and wealthy with out being heavy. By way of style, it’s floral however not overpowering. There’s additionally baklava on the menu or a “kormo” brownie made with floor pecans and served with pistachio ice cream.
An ideal pairing for any of those desserts can be Taverna Veranda’s spin on an espresso martini known as Life Is Too Quick for Unhealthy Espresso. This cocktail is made with Lobo Reposado, Cantera Negra and espresso.
Whereas conventional sufficient to please Greek purists, oddly sufficient, anybody within the North Jersey space will discover that the meals and vibes listed here are akin to what you’d discover in a sceney, semi-upscale Manhattan restaurant. So what had been a couple of of the best hits that make Taverna Veranda worthwhile? We positively wouldn’t skip the uber tender grilled octopus, charred lamb chops or the tacky, crispy saganaki.