I will do my best to provide an historical glimpse of the Belmont. If any one has any corrections or additional information please leave them in the comments section.
The Cuomo family took over the tavern in 1965. Tommy Cuomo aka "Cowboy" and his brother John ran the bar in those early days. They were later joined in 1969 by John’s son, Jimmy, who runs the bar today. Two years later they brought in Charles "Stretch" Verdicchio, to cook for the regulars. Stretch introduced the Verdicchio family recipe for Chicken Savoy to the Belmont and it has been the main attraction ever since. A relatively simple dish, in which chicken is cut up, rubbed with spices and herbs and then roasted in a extremely-hot oven and splashed with red wine vinegar before being served. While the dish is often imitated throughout all of northern New Jersey, it has never been duplicated.
|Stretch with Joe DiMaggio|
In addition to the “Savoy” most items on the small menu are standouts on their own. These include Clams Oreganata; Scungilli Salad; Shrimp Beeps (shrimp in a spicy tomato sauce); Cavatelli with Pot Cheese (Ricotta) and Pork Scallopine Francese. The Belmont serves no dessert, unless you bring your own.
If you are looking for fine wine, “fugget-about-it”. The list ranges from red to white. Opici is poured from gallon bottles. Bottle selections consist of Corvo Red (cold or warm), Corvo White, Ruffino and Travaglini Gattinara.
Reservations are not accepted. Unless you get there very early, be prepared to wait. Service, once on the blatantly un-courteous side, is now quite good and friendly.
The food is consistently good here. No fancy preparations, just the dishes they are known for. We began with a basic salad of Iceberg lettuce, onions and tomatoes perfectly seasoned with vinegar and oil. It is the salad that graced our table at home every night while growing up. I loved it then and I love it now, especially compared to the fancier limpy mesculan concoctions served today.
Clams Oreganata are perfectly cooked as always, crunch crispy breadcrumbs cover a barely cooked, briny clam beneath. I could eat dozens of these.
Italian Long Hot Peppers (no pic) sautéed in olive oil are not lethal tonight, so I had a couple and enjoyed them very much.
The Belmont serves 3 pasta dishes, Cavatelli with Ricotta, Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (oil and garlic) and Spaghetti with Shrimp Beeps. While all are great, our favorite is the Beeps. The shrimp is never overcooked and is dressed in a delicious and slightly spicy tomato sauce.
In addition to the famous Chicken Savoy, we ordered Mad Chicken (Oven Roasted without the addition of the Vinegar) and Pork Scallopine Francese.