EATERY AND WATERING HOLE

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Payton, the bartender, shoots the breeze with a customer
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Payton, the bartender, shoots the breeze with a customer
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Buttero
184 Broadway
(201) 437-4431
buttero.us

Photos by Beth DiCara

Bergen Point is a great part of town with its neat little shops and village-y feel. The fact that you enter Buttero from Dodge rather than from Broadway adds to the small-town vibe, calling to mind the 1939 Western Dodge City. As it happens, Buttero means Italian Cowboy.

The interior reflects that theme, with Stetson hats, cowboy boots, country music, and an overall aura of spurs and chaps.

The menu, too, has a sagebrush flavor, with the words buffalo and barbecue floating by like tumbleweeds.

Buttero boasts the coldest beer in town, and it doesn’t disappoint. I had a Stella on draft, and photographer Beth DiCara went off the grid with a really snappy Goose Island IPA. Check out her gorgeous beer pictures on this page. I counted 38 beers on an extensive drinks menu, which also included an array of specialty drinks, “Moonshine Mixers,” and classic wines.

Among the 10 specialty drinks are the Buterro, made with coconut rum, melon liqueur, pineapple juice, raspberry liqueur, and Jagermeister; and the Alligator Swamp Water, a combo of Jack Daniels, melon liqueur, and orange juice.

Moonshine mixers—surprise, surprise—mix a variety of ingredients with moonshine, such as the Tennessee Slammer, a combination of moonshine, triple sec, sweet-and-sour mix, lemon-lime soda, and a dash of grenadine.

We skipped the starters because we wanted to cut to the chase, but the menu has a nice selection that includes Baja bruschetta, fried pickles, and a handy sampler of wings, shrooms, chicken fingers, and mozzarella sticks.

We definitely wanted to eat our greens, so we chose one of the five listed salads: buffalo chicken salad. It comes with bleu cheese dressing, but we substituted a punchy balsamic. Speaking of punchy, if you order this salad, be ready for some heat. The extremely generous portions of chicken are very spicy. The bright orange breading should be a tipoff. It cools off in a bed of romaine with avocado and shredded cheddar. There’s plenty to split. In fact, we split both dishes.

The herb-encrusted salmon was stupendous. It’s cooked to order, so we ordered it baked and well done. You can also get it grilled. It comes with a colorful, healthy, and excellently cooked vegetable medley of carrots, zucchini, and red peppers. Next to it was the comfort food of all comfort foods: mashed potatoes and gravy.

If you’re a dessert-skipper, cut it out right now. Save room for a truly decadent warm chocolate lava cake, a giant concoction that comes with vanilla ice cream, drizzled with hot fudge sauce. It pairs nicely with a cappuccino or other coffee selection.

Homemade chocolate chip cookies and brownies are another delicious choice.

Soups, small plates, burgers, sandwiches, and a kids’ menu are also available, as is on- and off-site catering.

We visited on a sweltering August evening. But it was cool and welcoming inside, with Payton, the bartender, chatting up the customers, and a truly dapper gent named Umberto Castellaccio serving as host and catering to the needs of every customer.—Kate Rounds