Wayne Magazine Holiday 2018 - Page 48

dining out Cucina Classico Cucina 545 Ristorante in Totowa brings fine Italian dining to the neighborhood WRITTEN BY JOYCE VENEZIA SUSS PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL KARAS ZUPPA DI PESCE ALLA TOSCANA E very community munity deserves to o have the kind of f place that Billy Joel oel evokes when hen he sings about “a bottle of red, a bottle of white” — a good Italian restaurant that prepares the clas- sics well. Cucina 545 is that kind of place, especially appealing because it’s BYO and has a warm, cozy atmo- sphere. The staff is friend- ly and helpful, and chef-owner Giacomo Polibio has a strong culinary background; the restaurant, where he lovingly prepares the food od he grew up with, is near his s home. Several restaurants have ve been at this location; Polibio’s may be the one that stays for a long time. My dining companions and I shared several appetizers, including crispy fried calamari and an antipasto for two. The platter held several mussels in red sauce, stuffed clams, garlicky shrimp, eggplant rollatini 46 HOLIDAY 2018 WAYNE MAGAZINE CARROT CAKE FRUTTI DI MARE Totowa CUCINA 545 RISTORANTE 545 UNION BLVD., (973) 595-5595 CUCINA545.COM RAVIOLI ARAGOSTA filled with creamy ricotta, and rather dry ric rice balls. The best in the med medley was mozza- rella in carrozza, a grand grilled cheese sandwich (it’s also available as a separate appetizer.) sepa To cut all that ri richness, Insalata 545 is a delicious salad of baby mixed greens, tossed with cara- melized walnuts, slices of poached pear and dollops of creamy goat cheese, with a li light touch of bal- sa samic vinaigrette. Al All pastas are made in-house. Our waiter touted Cucina 545’s fres fresh seafood. Ravioli Arag Aragosta, with a del- icate lobster fi filling, are served atop a velvety lob lobster champagne sauce; two butterflied shrimp accent th the plat plate, with ith bits of roasted red pepper and asparagus for contrast. Zuppa di Pesce alla Toscana provided a nice seafood medley — including a lobster tail — served over linguini, though the light tomato sauce could have used more seasoning. A better