Wine & Tapas NJ: Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas, Clifton, NJ
While craft beer seems to be a popular topic these days, the team that brought you The Shannon Rose (home of the Murder Burger) introduced their newest concept earlier this year called Spuntino. Spuntino is a wine and “Italian” tapas bar featuring a large list of wines and a menu dedicated to small plates of Italian food. Forget the craft beer (don’t worry beer drinkers, they have beer too), it’s all about the wine. To best explain what Spuntino is all about, we will defer for the moment to their website which sums it up nicely:
Here, guests are encouraged – expected – to explore any and every taste on the menu. That’s because we specialize in authentic Italian tapas: small, delicious portions that you’re open to mix and match depending on how hungry you are – and how much you hunger for variety.
Let’s start with the wine. None of the Boozy Burbs team is a wine aficionado. Instead of stumbling through the 100+ bottle wine list (with 40+ available by the glass… and all from Italy, naturally), we leaned heavily on the expertise of the staff to make our wine selections. The atmosphere encourages questions and exploration, there was no snobbery dispelled that we didn’t know a whole lot about wine. A course consisting of a charcuterie plate of meats, cheeses and roasted grapes was paired with a white wine from the Piedmont region of Italy named La Scolca Gavi. When courses began including red meats, the pairing was the Altesino Rosso di Montalcino (from Tuscany; a red wine). Being wine neophytes, it was incredibly useful to have someone help with their large selection. More seasoned wine drinkers would probably be impressed with their large Reserve Wine List (PDF).
Prosciutto di Parma, Sweet Sopressata, Asiago Cheese and Roasted Grapes
Now, the food. The menu consists of Salumi & Formaggi, Brushettas, Salads, Meatballs, Pasta, Pizza and more… all in small tapas-sized plates to share. Most of the plates are $10 or less (with some larger portioned options and fancier meat options a few dollar more) which was impressive. It seems obvious now, but Spuntino is going to be best enjoyed with a group of people.
Bruschetta, Carciofo (Fried Artichoke Hearts with Lemon Aioli), Mussels (Aerial View)
Closeup of the Bruschettas (Goat Cheese with Caramelized Onions / Prosciutto with Mozzarella, Red Pepper and Capers / Gorgonzola Apple, Walnut drizzled with Honey)
Margherita Pie, “Classic” Meatball Sliders (with Mozzarella)
Abazzia Santa Anastasia Nero D’avola (red) was the wine that was paired for us with the pizza and slider course above. was the suggested vino for pairing. As mentioned earlier, while this is clearly a wine joint, it is worth mentioning is the beer selection. Like the wine, all available beer is from Italy. While the list is a far cry form some of the huge lists we are seeing, it’s highly unlikely veteran beer drinkers wouldn’t be able to find something that suits them.
Rosemary Lamb Chops
Brussel Sprouts sauteed with Parmigiano Reggiano
Filet Mignon Con Chianti Reduction
An array of Desserts (“Deconstructed” Tiramisu, Chocolate Gelato, Cannoli)
If the wine you had with your meal isn’t enough, get ready to explore a list of dessert wines. Since we chose a little of everything for dessert (see tiramisu, gelato and cannoli above), the staff suggested the “Rosa Regale” Brachetto D’Aqui and the “Moncucco” Moscato D’Asti. These wines were sweeter than the other wines we sampled.
Spuntino Wine & Tapas Bar
70 Kingsland Road