Newark has another option for that business lunch or night out.
Taverna recently opened on Main Street near the highly regarded Stone Balloon Winehouse and in the old location of the Learning Station.
It is part of the Platinum Dining Group, which owns Redfire Grill steakhouse in Hockessin, Lemons and Capers, west of Wilmington and Eclipse Bistro in Wilmington itself.
Platinum is known for taking a thoughtful approach to their restaurants and Taverna is no exception. Prices come in midway between the local pizza and pasta spot and a white table cloth spot. The result is a good value for the dollar.
The décor is informal and friendly with an open kitchen and a dining area much larger than the entrance to the restaurant would suggest.
The restaurant focuses on more rustic Italian cuisine than Lemons and Capers, but the two establishments do share a few menu items.
Taverna continues the Platinum tradition of offering interesting appetizers. We played it safe with the tasty, modestly sized veal meatballs in a mild tomato sauce. The $9 dish could have used a tad more seasoning, but was a nice accompaniment to a lighter lunch.
Next was the four-cheese pizza cooked in a coal-fired oven. The $14 pizza that is perfect for two was perfectly done, with no evidence of the burned crust that can come with that type of oven. Better yet was the blend of the cheeses. One unique feature, according to the waiter, was the use of ricotta with a touch of garlic. It eliminates the overly generous use of garlic that usually plagues such pizzas.
We’re weren’t quite done yet when the dessert menu mentioned something called bombolino – Tuscan doughnuts with amaretto cream and cinnamon sugar. It was another nice touch from a surprising find on Main Street that is now on our dining list. – Doug Rainey