Renowned Chef Dominic Abitino is reinventing small plate dining at 28 East Enoteca in Keyport, N.J. His style, used in Europe for decades and called cicchetti, meaning tapas, mixes traditional cooking with a contemporary flourish. Abitino, chef as well as owner of the restaurant, shows off his unique flair in his presentation style all the while expressing his creativity.
The menu at 28 East Enoteca is seasonal, meaning diners always get the freshest ingredients and can enjoy the flavors of the locally-grown foods at their peak. But it’s not only the produce and meats that come from the area. The wine selection comes from the best local vineyards. Even the artwork displayed on the walls of the restaurant is from up and coming New Jersey artists.
All the tapas have been sized down to one-third the typical size of dinner entrees, meaning diners can try many of the unique offerings and flavors. Start off with a small plate of Latticini, featuring a half pound ball of homemade mozzarella, or the Neapolitan Meatball with raisins, pignoli nuts and a creamy center of fresh ricotta. The shining star of the tapas menu has to be the Bada Bing Smoked Bacon, thick slices of seared signature homemade maple smoked bacon.
The tapas restaurant offers more than just small plates, including salads, pastas, entrees and wood fired pizzas.
The Crispy Goat Cheese Salad features mixed greens, assorted nuts, dried fruit, coconut, and Panko fried goat cheese with a raspberry vinaigrette. For the more traditional, try the Classic Spinach Salad with boiled eggs, red onions, bacon, tomatoes, mushroom and crumbled gorgonzola.
28 East Enoteca offers up several pasta dishes with modern twists, including the Pasta La Napoletana featuring mascarpone cream, cherry tomatoes, sausage, garlic and curd butter, and the Gnocchi Di Casa with homemade potato gnocchi, fresh tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil.
For dinner, try the Skirt Steak Churrasco entree, marinated in a secret sauce made in house, grilled and served with a cilantro pesto. The Ahi Tuna A La 28 East 23, named after the restaurant, features seared Ahi tuna with a sweet cucumber salad and is sure to please seafood lovers. Or try the Spring Basil Chicken with roasted red peppers, onions, celery, peas and mushrooms in a garlic basil wine sauce.
For the pizza lovers, 28 East Enoteca serves up unique wood fired pies. A sure crowd pleaser is the Sorrento, with smoked mozzarella, sliced lemon and fresh basil. Or the La Ciociara with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, fresh arugula and prosciutto. The Vegetale Bianca features wood-fired vegetables and bufula. And if none of these strike your fancy, 28 East Enoteca allows diners to create specialty pizzas.
28 East Enoteca is the perfect location for an event or celebration, and the staff is dedicated to providing a truly memorable event. The private dining experts are happy to create custom floral arrangements, and organize for guests to meet Chef Abitino during the course of their meal.
With its unique and contemporary charm, diverse menu with fresh ingredients, and local culture, 28 East Enoteca is the ideal locale for a lunch or dinner out, or group gathering. Diners are sure to enjoy the traditional dishes mixed with just the right amount of modern twist.
28 East Enoteca
Location: 28 East Front Street, Keyport, NJ
Visitors: Locals, tourists
Hours: Mondays – Closed; Tue, Wed., Thur. – 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Fri. & Sat. – 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sun. – 5 to 9 p.m.