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Fri, Jun 29, 2012

Food, Ironbound

If Cod Were a Drug,This is the Czar.

BY Hcane

If Cod Were a Drug,This is the Czar.

So people ask me a lot about Portuguese food… (I wonder why)… but more specifically, about codfish. Where can you get it? Where is the best? What to eat? Considering that Portugal has a serious addiction to this fish and that there exists over 365 recipes using it… I know a place… and it’s time to let you all know on my little secret…

The Paleio Bistro Building – an artist’s rendition.

Paleio Portuguese Bistro
376 Ferry Street
Ironbound – Newark, NJ 07105 (map it)
973-344-3784
www.paleio.com

On With The Review!

Pros:
Outstanding Portuguese food
The best cod menu for miles
New items not common in the area
Staff is very friendly
Street Parking is ample

Cons:
Interior needs an upkeep
No dedicated parking lot
No draft beer

Location:
Simple – On the edge of the Ironbound right on the corner of Market and Ferry about 4 blocks from the Jackson street bridge, across the river from Red Bull arena. It’s right on the corner where the 2 streets meet. It’s definitely off the beaten path, but that’s what makes it so much more special.

Decoration:
Simple bistro feel, but kinda mixed with a old school european tavern. A little barren on the walls but they make up for it with vibrant color schemes.

Cheery, sunlight bistro dining room

Most of the walls are full doors that open up during the nice weather months. It gives the place a great outdoor feel and lots of sunlight during the day and calm, slight romantic tone at night. Paleio will easily do for a simple date or business meeting. They even have  a big room downstairs for parties, what looks like would fit about 70 or so people. I just wished it has a little less of a “on the verge” feel. They do try to add a bit of decor here and there and are always very clean.

Food:
This has got to be one of the best hidden gem Portuguese restaurants for miles. MILES. Their Bacalhau com Natas (Creamed cod) is absolutely amazing. They have a dedicated menu just for codfish alone.  A lot of options in the cod section, which is kinda funny since cod is a big Portuguese thing and no one else has such an extensive list, Paleio’s has 15 options right now before any daily specials are counted.

Bacalhau com Natas… of the gods!!!

Their steaks are huge cuts, well trimmed and perfectly cooked. They have some tasty rare dishes from other parts of the world where Portuguese is spoken like Brazil, Macau, Angola and Mozambique.

The Paleio Skirt Steak … Size: “Like woah!”

Hands down a top competitor in Newark for the best food in town. The chef, Palmira, is one of those mom types that take extra special care in quality… you know.. the kind of food you miss when you are travelling for too long? Exactly… it’s that good!

Shrimp a Paleio: Keep yo bread crumbs, I want this battered shrimp of love!

Menu Recommendations:
– Bacalhau com Natas
– Rojoes [ Pork chunks/cubes ]
– Mango Crepes
– Feijoada (only available on the weekends)
– Roasted Cod with Garlic Infused Olive Oil (Lagareiro)
– Any of the curry items!

Drinks:
They have a full bar, albeit it slightly unorganized. Lots of choices regardless. Gotta try their Caipirinhas and that Sangria! Very Tasty!!!

Price:
Their prices are split between cheap, moderate and slightly pricey. But I have yet to complain about what I get. Not bad at all. The portions are always matching the price, so expect doggie bags.

Staff:
Really friendly staff with a definite slight accent. All are pretty, and fun people, mostly women and are on point with the service. The manager is a boisterous woman named Paula that runs a tight ship, but knows how to take care of customers. The owner is a very friendly guy that you’ll probably catch engaging with the customers at the tavern bar. Make sure you come in from the Ferry Street side as they can be distracted at times from the Market street entrance, making you wait for a table unnecessarily. Other than that, the service has been consistently good and attentive here.

Ambience and Crowd:
What a mix! On weekends its like Brazil and Portuguese has a gateway to this place. During the week and dinner its a mix of business types, young people, blue collars and residual from the weekends. Some nights can be hopping, other nights a ghost town. It’s pretty much the norm for the Ironbound nowadays, but do expect a crowd on Sundays!

Overall:
This is a gem that MUST be checked out.

Hurricane Rating: 4

H-Cane’s Final Spin:

Get in the car… and get over here. You will quickly forget many of the other “traditional” places in town. Here you’ll eat amazingly. You’ll drink great. You’ll get a the vibe of a bistro, which is a rarity in this area. I will put their bacalhau com natas against everyone and anyone – even my own. Good for a date, good for a biz meetup, great for an office party and amazing for eats. This is definitely a place where you can turn on your “romanticize mojo”… so call ahead… and tell the “H” sent ya! 😉 GO!

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