Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Anthony's Cheesecake - Bloomfield, NJ

What started out as a small neighborhood bakery specializing in cheesecake has blossomed into a community-gathering destination for seekers of homemade comfort food—for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The team behind Anthony’s Cheesecake, in Bloomfield, NJ, believes in utilizing local suppliers, changing the menu weekly, and making customers feel right at home.
A couple of weeks ago, this writer was invited to a small media dinner (my meal was complimentary) to sample a wide range of menu items. Owners Anthony Lauro and Philip Byrne warmly greeted us, and encouraged us to order off the menu so we could get a good feel for their culinary chops.
We jumped right in with a delicious broccoli rabe, ricotta, and sausage pie (quiche, Italian style—shown at top). A flaky pie crust (a given at a bakery!) stuffed high with hot and sweet sausage, ricotta and mozzarella, and of course, sautéed broccoli rabe—the table clamored to scoop up every morsel. Along with the pie, we got the empanadas platter topped with a cilantro pesto. With fragrant ground beef inside another flaky crust, you could not go wrong with either of these appetizers.
Flounder Oreganata
Not realizing the size of entrees at Anthony’s, we each ordered a separate dinner. As a group, we were overwhelmed by the generous portions. I ordered the flounder oreganata, baked with lemon, fresh herbs, and white wine. The fish was delicate and flavorful. 
With Thanksgiving on the brain, another guest could not resist ordering the carved turkey over a savory waffle (made from stuffing!). Yes—the genius hack here is that they actually make a waffle out of their homemade stuffing acting as a mini Thanksgiving on a plate. The turkey is topped with buttermilk mashed potatoes, and gravy, and served with cranberry relish. If you’re craving Thanksgiving flavors now, head to Anthony’s.
Chicken and Waffles
Rigatoni Calabrese
One of my other dining companions raved about the buttermilk chicken and waffles, a Southern classic that’s popping up all over. Anthony’s version includes crisp bacon, melted cheese, roasted pears, and a drizzle of maple syrup. 
Yet another group favorite was rigatoni Calabrese with crisp prosciutto and burrata. They had me at “crisp prosciutto and burrata,” but the addition of a sliced egg and melted mozzarella sealed the deal.
And then came dessert! Of course, at a restaurant that got its start as a cheesecake bakery, you would expect great cheesecake (the ricotta cheesecake won my heart). What I didn’t expect was a fabulous flan, a delectable coconut layer cake, and several other non-cheesecake desserts.
Anthony and Philip are home-taught cooks who love taking their favorite childhood recipes and turning them into new restaurant classics. Anthony opened a small diner (The Lunch Box) in Bloomfield in 1996, and it is still in operation today. Running two operations keeps them incredibly busy but they love what they do—from welcoming new friends to their cafe, to creating new cheesecake flavors, to enthusiastically participating in fundraisers for local schools. Stop by Anthony’s for breakfast, brunch, lunch or a full-on dinner. And don’t forget to order dessert!
71 Washington Street
Bloomfield, NJ
  • Thursday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Friday and Saturday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Sunday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Open Thanksgiving Day until 12 noon.
Hours are subject to change.
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