Don’t let the name fool you; True North Osteria is not an Italian restaurant serving Northern Italian fare. True North, though it is an osteria – a small, informal restaurant - is the dream restaurant of husband and wife team Leah and Dave Moon. To the Moons, who are nautical enthusiasts, the words “True North,” refer to the northern point on the compass.
True North is as artisanal as its gets; with the exception of hot sauce and mustard, the Moons are making and baking everything! On my first visit to True North, I was greeted at the counter by Leah. In the kitchen, Dave’s hands were immersed in a bowl of steamy water making fresh mozzarella, freshly baked loaves of bread were cooling on racks, and a roughly hewn chunk of
Parmigianino Reggiano lay on a cutting board next to a few sprigs of fresh rosemary. Quite the foodie scene!
During my visit, I sampled three varieties of bruschetta, which were unlike any I’ve ever had. The biggest distinguishing feature is the bread; gorgeous, golden and crisp with a texture and knead substantial enough to hold up the toppings. Unlike most bruschetta, the bread does not crack causing the toppings to inevitably fall off. The True North bread, all baked by Dave, is tender and absorbs the flavors without disintegrating. Each serving of bruschetta features two large pieces of Dave’s bread and range in price from $4 - $7.
The first bruschetta I tried, was a mixture of shredded radish, cumin and butter ($5). Though this bruschetta may sound a little unusual - it was delish! Crisp radish, creamy butter and savory cumin, what a combination! Next, I tried the goat cheese and tomato bruschetta ($6). It would be impossible not to love this one! Rather than the typical seasoning of basil and vinegar, True North brightens it up with a splash of citrus vinaigrette and a sprinkle of parsley. Finally, I tried the anchovy bruschetta ($7), featuring white anchovies atop a bed of crisp fennel, tender arugula and preserved lemon. Not briny and not “fishy”; it you’re a fan of anchovies, go for it!
In addition to the wonderful flavors and phenomenal textures, offered at True North Osteria, the price point deserves mention. The entire True North menu is among the most reasonably priced menus I’ve seen in Montclair in a very long time. In addition to the bruschetta, True North also offers small plates featuring local produce ranging in price from $4 - $6. They offer salads at $7, soups at $5, and home made grilled 11” pizzas made with slowly fermented dough starting at $10.
Leah and Dave have really found their true north. They are passionate and humble, and believe in their product. So do I.
True North Osteria
345 Bloomfield Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07042
Hours: Mon - Sat 11 am - 9 pm