A highly-anticipated addition to the Englewood restaurant scene, Owner Eddy Sujak’s vision has finally come to life. Named after his daughter Sofia, his newest restaurant underwent a grueling two-year renovation in order to transform the site of its predecessor, Smoke Chophouse. Built with an open-air concept and lofty design, Sofia has a chic and modern interior to match its upscale surroundings. Serving Italian-inspired cuisine and high-end cuts of meat, Sofia sets itself apart not only as one of the top Italian-Steakhouses in Bergen County, but as one of the few locations in New Jersey with an indoor smoking permit, allowing them to house a cigar lounge fit with a state-of-the-art ventilation and filtration system.
The two-story space is split between a dining area and downstairs smokers lounge, each with their own vibe. Upstairs, floor-to-ceiling windows flood the restaurant with light, while dark wood furniture and accents lend a sophisticated touch. Further back is the garden room, an elegant indoor-outdoor space where vines drape from the ceiling and hanging plants dangle from the walls. The garden room also has a transparent retractable roof that allows for a unique dining experience year-round. Downstairs, the lights are dim, and premium storage lockers line the hallway. A built-in amenity for patrons, these lockers are filled with an array of wines, whiskeys, and bourbons, and can be used for cigar storage. The lounge itself has an old school vintage flare with its own separate bar and intimate 40-person seating area.
In line with the contemporary atmosphere, Executive Chef Pasquale Frola considers the menu to be modern Italian. “The menu reflects the vibe of the restaurant,” he explained. Chef Frola puts a creative and fresh twist on Italian classics, sourcing his produce from an array of local farms throughout New York State, and the oil, butter and cheeses are imported from Italy. “The pasta is made in-house, the fish is flown in fresh and we only use the finest grade of meats.” Insistent on not cutting corners, everything at Sofia is made on-premises, and with a recently refined menu, the vision for Sofia is clear, let the food speak for itself.
During our recent trip to Sofia, we started off by ordering one of their signature dishes, long hot finger peppers stuffed with sausage and aged provolone cheese, topped with breadcrumbs. We also tried their meatballs in a light pomodoro sauce and the grilled octopus with celery, oregano, vinegar and taggiasca olives. An excursion of flavors, each appetizer offered a different taste of Italy.
For our entrées, it was unanimous, the 12 ounce Butcher Cut Filet Mignon would be our steak of choice. Before the filets even hit the table, the first thing to arrive was the aroma. Buttery and meaty, the smell was truly intoxicating. Placed in front of us, each filet stood tall, two to three inches thick, impeccably seared with a charred crust on all sides. Salty, juicy and perfectly pink in the center each bite was better than the next, effortlessly sliced and mouthwateringly tender. To accompany our steaks, we were served seasonal side dishes of roasted asparagus, colorful heirloom cauliflower, caramelized brussel sprouts, and roasted fingerling potatoes with fresh herbs.
The desserts at Sofia are also made in-house, and are thoughtfully crafted by Chef John Piliouras. A few of his specialities included a creamy bread pudding and chewy spiced nut cake topped with crème fraîche. He also introduced one of his signature desserts to the menu, a honey and pine-nut tart with blood orange caramel sauce which was voted one of North Jersey’s best dishes of 2015. With no detail considered too small, everything from the design, down to the ingredient choice ensures that a dining experience at Sofia is one worth revisiting.