Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Skara Estiatorio / Caldwell, NJ

Mural by Art Devons Gallery in Caldwell

Skara Estiatoria 
Location: 350 Bloomfield Ave., Caldwell, NJ
Phone: 862-702-3098

Greek Fare
Takes reservations by phone
Open Tuesday thru Sunday for lunch and dinner

Charcoal grill
Everything made on the premises

We visited Skara early on the rainy Thursday night of a religious holiday, so had our choice of table. But when we’d previously been to the restaurant on a weekend, it was full. We recommend reservations for weekends. This Greek restaurant has only been open for several months but is already a popular place with a reputation for high quality food.

Although the exterior of the building is rather ordinary, the interior is lovely. Dim lighting, beautiful wall fixtures, table linens, a full wall tile mural, and soft Greek music all add touches of elegance.

The service at Skara is wonderful. We were warmly greeted and led to our table by the owner. Once there, we were served a dish of Greek olives and a basket of homemade bread. The menu nicely provides good descriptions of the dishes, but since we are not very familiar with Greek cuisine, we had quite a few questions. Our waitress was able to answer all our questions.

The menu offers an ample variety of appetizers, both cold and hot. One of us ordered the Grilled Calamari which comes drizzled with olive oil and topped with fresh parsley and sliced red onion. This was a very generous serving and could easily have served two. Our other appetizer was Feta Wrapped in Filo. This dish was drizzled with Greek honey and topped with chopped walnuts. Both dishes were unusual and very tasty.

For entrees we had Clams Skara, which was cherry stone clams sauteed in spicy fennel tomato sauce and served in orzo. While we prefer little necks, the dish was good, the sauce spicy as promised. For our other entree we chose a traditional Mousaka. This was nothing like the mousaka you get at a diner. It consisted of layers of potatoes, ground beef, and pieces of eggplant and zucchini, all topped with a béchamel sauce. This was truly delicious.

The menu offers a number of grilled options, such as lamb chops, ribeye steak, and salmon steak. The restaurant also prides itself on its fresh fish dishes. There are, of course, many traditional Greek dishes to choose from. For those who want to sample a bit of this and a bit of that, there are several sampler platters.

We said yes to the offer of dessert. We were given a choice of four, all of them made on the premises: a traditional baklava, a baklava filled with a vanilla custard, a sponge cake, and Greek yogurt. We fell first to the temptation of the baklava with custard which was delicious. Our other indulgence was the sponge cake which was soaked in a sweet syrup and topped with a layer of chocolate ganache. It was exquisite! Major points for that dessert.

The pricing tilts towards expensive but not outrageous and because there’s a wide price range, it’s very possible to stay within a modest budget and still have a great dinner. We suggest leaving the little ones at home.

We are now fans of Greek food, at least the Greek food served at Skara.