Nunzio’s Pasta & Grill Pizzeria, 105 Franklin St., Belleville, appears at first glance to be a typical neighborhood family pizzeria serving the usual pizzeria fare.
Nothing could be further from the truth as this Belleville hot spot serves a constant flow of both takeout and in-house meals that are both modestly priced and abundant. Nunzio’s is a family-owned restaurant that has been in Belleville for less than five years.
The restaurant, nestled in a commercial section of town, is clean, well-lit and welcoming. After being seated and ordering our drinks, we were handed a well-rounded menu with everything on it from pizza to barbecued ribs. The meal started with a bread basket with a side of warmed olive oil, fresh garlic and red pepper flakes.
We decided to begin with a dish of bruschetta ($6.95). We loved the portion size and overflowing amount of chopped tomatoes. It had just the right mix of ingredients.
Another guest at our table wanted the minestrone soup ($4.75). The soup came in a huge bowl, steaming hot and full of vegetables and what she said was a "to die for" broth.
Our next choice was a platter of mozzerella, tomatoes and a huge pile of roasted red peppers ($8.95). The mozzerella was creamy and delicious. We added some olive oil and balsamic vinegar to top off this special treat.
Our last appetizer was a grilled vegetable platter ($9.95) served on a plate loaded with an abundance of zucchini, red peppers, mozzarella, mushrooms and cucumbers.
By the end of the appetizers, we all commented how we weren’t sure we could eat our main courses because we were so full. But, somehow we managed.
There certainly was no drop off in the amount or quality of food in the main courses.
The meat lasagna ($8.95) featured a plateful of pasta, sauce and cheese. Our guest was impressed by how good it was, but did end up taking some home because she could not finish. She loved the way the noodles and cheese were blended to perfection, but wished there was a bit more meat in the dish.
Another exquisite dish was the chicken parmagiana ($10.95). The dish featured two large pieces of chicken breast, homemade tomato sauce and lots of cheese. It was served with pasta (linguini) or salad. The chicken was well done and featured just the right mixture of breadcrumbs, sauce and cheese.
Another guest chose the calzone ($4.95) with cheese and added some vegetables, including broccoli, onion and green pepper ($7.45 total). When the calzone arrived, we could see just how much effort went into making this epicurian delight. Huge chunks of vegetables and cheese were inside and homemade sauce brought the dish to the edge of perfection.
When my shrimp fra diavolo entrée arrived, I was overwhelmed. In most places, the dish arrives with 3-4 smallish shrimp and the diner ends up hungry when finished.
Nunzio’s, however, doesn’t skimp. The dish arrived with eight large, juicy shrimp served in a spicy tomato sauce with hot peppers. The side dish of pasta (spaghetti) was served in a bowl that was overflowing and the sauce and garlic seasonings were fresh and complimentary to the dish.
Throughout the meal, our waiter, came by our table to check on anything we needed or wanted and was attentive to our needs.
Some other notes from our visit include:
• There is a small parking lot behind the restaurant and on-street parking is available.
• The menu includes a vast barbecue section including pork and beef ribs, skirt steak, pork chops and t-bone steak. Also included are choices of chicken and/or shrimp in garlic sauce with rice and or potatoes and vegetables, as well as burgers, wraps and sandwiches and desserts including tiramisu and cheesecake.
• The unisex bathroom is handicapped accessible and is properly maintained.
Nunzio’s Pasta & Grill Pizzeria (nunziospastagrill.com)
105 Franklin St., Belleville
(973) 759-1073 (Phone)
(973) 759-1074 (Fax)
Hours: Mon – Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sun. noon – 9 p.m.