Huong Viet: excellent Vietnamese in Nutley, NJ
River of Beer: fantastic gastro pub in Bloomingdale, NJ

Stella: Italian Restaurant in Ridgewood, NJ

Stella Ridgewood-2

A reader was kind enough to point me to a photo on something called "instagram" --which as far as I can tell is for people who have a camera but no thoughts--from Stella which showcased a fine-looking burger. Described as

"The Stella Burger: steakhouse blend, fontina fondue, applewood smoked bacon, “beefy” onions, & HB’s homemade sesame seed bun. Limited to 12 burgers per day!"

 Sounds pretty damned good to me.

I really wanted to run down there quick-like, where I assumed I'd find the only good burger in Ridgewood (and the area for that matter). But other plans got in the way and I had to wait almost two whole weeks.

Stella has been on my radar for a while. I went for breakfast once when it first opened, and was really impressed. It was clear they're working on simple, authentic cooking inspired by Italy. House-made pastas, grilled meats. Everything sounds good on the menu. I had no idea my first non-breakfast visit would be for a burger.

Let's get to that burger.

This was quite a good burger! A coarse grind on the meat, nice and juicy. Good bacon. Good bun size. If there was one complaint it's that the bun was way too hard. Not sure if it just dried out when they grilled it or what, but could have been softer. Other than that the thing was beautiful. Fries were served with a sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Stella Ridgewood-3

Next time I'll ask for raw onion rather than the caramelized onion that it comes with. I'm just not a fan of caramelized onions on a burger. All of that sweet goo isn't really for me.

In addition to the limit of 12 of these burgers a day, I think they're only available during lunch.

Stella Ridgewood-1

We also had a chopped salad for some reason. I guess the missus didn't want pasta. What a savage. This was a chopped salad with some interesting peppers which I had never heard of and whose name I forget. It came with thinly-sliced, creamy, nutty prosciutto. Cutting the prosciutto on the salad ended up being a challenge, so I just started eating with my fingers, as you do in Italy. Or at least that's what I do in Italy.

All-in-all everything was pretty good. I'm looking forward to getting back there for some of their pasta. I've got high hopes for the pasta.

Stella Italian : 18 E. Ridgewood Ave, Ridgewood, NJ : 201.857.2677 : BYOB