Dolce & Salato

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Frank Krushinski (left) and Maurizio Dolce
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Martina Chirco (left) and Giuseppina Nirchio
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Frank Krushinski (left) and Maurizio Dolce
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Martina Chirco (left) and Giuseppina Nirchio

1101 Grand Street
(201) 420-9182
Dolcesalatohoboken.com

Photos by Terri Saulino Bish

In residential northwest Hoboken sandwiched between two city parks is a new, locally owned café and bakery, Dolce & Salato, that offers authentic Italian cuisine. This already-popular hotspot, at Eleventh and Grand streets, is bright, modern, and flooded with natural light.

As soon as you walk in, you’re welcomed with broad smiles by friendly staff. One of the eatery’s three owners, Maurizio Dolce, immediately made us feel at home.

This café and Pasticceria, which takes its name from the Italian words for sweet and salty, was created by Dolce, Michael Nirchio, and Brian Mazzei with help from  Frank Krushinski, an executive chef and restaurant consultant who has owned and operated restaurants for several years.

Visitors can grab a cozy table for two or a high-top chair facing the windows for quiet contemplation, daydreaming, or some good people-watching.

You can tell as soon as you enter that the place is quickly becoming an uptown staple for Italian specialties, amazing coffee, or mouthwatering pastries.

We grabbed a sun-soaked table and chatted about what we couldn’t wait to try.

We began with the special, bite-sized chicken salad lettuce cups. This is not your mother’s picnic institution but rather a modern take on a familiar classic. A mix of textures and flavors, creamy and crunchy, this chicken salad features seedless grapes and toasted walnuts, served on a crisp romaine lettuce leaf.

Next we had the orecchiette pasta served with broccoli rabe, garlic, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, grated parmesan cheese, and Maurizio’s sweet Italian sausage made in- house, no less. The sausage is a perfect blend of pork, bell peppers, and fresh herbs, sweet yet spicy with just the right amount of crushed red pepper.

An enormous Mediterranean salad followed, made with kale, quinoa, feta cheese, chickpeas, gaeta olives, tomato, fresh herbs, and a homemade lemon vinaigrette.

With the first bite, you’re transported to Italy and the shores of the Mediterranean. It was like summer on a fork.  The dressing was so good, it was sippable.

Next on the Italian tour was Molfetta. The Molfetta Panini is made with prosciutto, salame, roasted red peppers, fresh homemade mozzarella, fresh basil, organic baby arugula, pesto aioli, and a sweet balsamic glaze. It was served, piled high, on an herbed focaccia, made in-house. Though I was way past the point of full, there was no way I could leave a crumb on my plate, or take my eyes off the glass case, which held an assortment of mini pastries, cookies, and cakes.

We decided to try a cannoli, chocolate éclair, fruit tart, and a rainbow cookie.  The classic cannoli was crunchy on the outside and sweet and creamy on the inside. The éclair’s custard filling was smooth and velvety, and the rainbow cookie was a treat for the eyes. The fruit tart, living up to its name, was topped with strawberries, blueberries, and kiwi.

This once-empty retail space has been transformed into a taste of Italy and a Hoboken favorite.—07030