NJ Dining: Axia Taverna (UPDATED)

Axia Taverna
18 Piermont Road, Tenafly NJ 07670

Web Site: http://www.axiataverna.com

In an earlier post about Blockheads Burritos, I discussed a bit about the rather hostile and unforgiving restaurant situation in my NJ town of residence, Tenafly. While we occasionally get a serious restaurant to open here, they tend to go out of business within 5 years, or even less — like the ill-fated Jerry’s Osteria (now Segreto) and America (the latter which opened in the summer of 1999, but closed in 2004, only to be replaced by Sanzari’s Oyster Bar in January of 2006.)

The latest fine restaurant in Tenafly to throw its proverbial hat into the ring and to defy the Tenafly fine-dining curse is Axia, a high-end Greek taverna that seeks to differentiate itself from the mid-range Greek options in Bergen County, such as Greek Village Taverna and Vasili’s Taverna. Its closest fine dining competition is Varka, in Ramsey (which received very positive ratings from the NYT) that opened in 2005 and positions itself as more of a fish restaurant rather than a taverna.

Like Varka, Axia also has a good amount of seafood as well as whole fish in its main course section (Megala Plata) and its menu has a large selection of small plates (Mezedes) as well as charcoal grilled Meats (Plata Skaras) and features tradtional Greek items such as roasted leg of lamb, mousakka (albeit in a unique clay pot presentation) Pastichio (with a Phyllo pastry shell) quail and free-range roast chicken.

Axia, as seen from Piermont Road in Tenafly. The restaurant was a residential house that underwent a very costly renovation. The two large paneled windows that you see in the elevated area are actually garage-door style so that they can roll up during nice weather and permit outdoor dining and a spring or summer breeze to come in.

Click on the “Read the rest of this entry link” below for a look at Tenafly’s latest destination restaurant.

Outdoor seating at Axia.

Enjoying the patio.

The entrance has a large fireplace hearth which is prominently displayed.

A short trip up the stairs gives you a nice view of the bar and the upstairs dining area and the main dining room. The wine racks behind the bar seating area are completely temperature controlled.

I started off with the traditional Greek accompaniment to a taverna meal, Ouzo on the rocks.

Roasted Beets with Feta Cheese Mousse

Mydia Anhista, or ouzo steamed mussels in a tomato garlic broth. These were excellent and we actually started to fight over them. The liquid was sopped up with the very nice olive bread that was supplied on the table.

Avgolegmono (Egg/Lemon) soup with chicken and rice which I could swear had cream in it but the manager told us simply was whizzed together with a hand blender to simulate the creamy texture.

These are Keftedakia Ekpliksi or meatballs with orange zest in them with roasted red pepper and Kalamata olives. Fantastic.

Fisherman’s Stew, a Greek take on Bouillabase.

Horatiki Salad

Horta, a type of bitter green sauteed in olive oil with lemon.

Lamb Pie.

Mousakka, baked in a crock pot. Axia’s mousakka is less tomatoey (if they used any tomato in it, it wasn’t perceptible) and more lamb-focused than most mousakkas I’ve had. The eggplant in it was very creamy in texture. This is the kind of mousakka that requires bread to mop up.

Whole grilled fish, sea bass with a lemon and olive oil dipping sauce. Tonight we had a choice of four fresh fishes, including the bass, dorado, branzino and skate wing.

Arni Politiko, roasted leg of lamb with figs, feta cheese and caramelized onions with green beans.

Cretan Wedding-Style Rice Pliaf. Lots of butter and cheese cooked in beef broth with small pieces of beef in it, a side dish for the lamb.

Youvetsi Apo Thalassina, orzo baked in a clay pot with Shrimps, Scallops and Feta Cheese in a light tomato sauce. A seafood lover’s paradise.

Youvetsi portion closeup.

Home-made Baklava Flavored Ice Cream (Cinnamon, Walnut, Honey) in fried pastry shell.

Loukamades (portion, bottom) Apple Fritters with Cinnamon/Honey Sauce

8 Responses to NJ Dining: Axia Taverna (UPDATED)

  1. This place (Axia) rocks! I had a chance to have a huge chef’s tasting dinner there the other night and must tell you that everything I had (except for maybe one dish) was truly fantastic – a great addition to Bergen County’s dining scene.

    I confess, the owner is a former college friend of a friend I went to high school with, but I insist that my upcoming review is unsolicited.

    That being said, your blog is excellent with terrific photos. Keep it up!


  2. Fabulous pictures. Did they have whole fish on the menu? Have you been to Varka, Ramsey?

  3. Rachel and I haven’t yet been to Varka.


    Whole Grilled Fish is the first item on their Large Plates section.

  4. Robin Pierce says:

    I had dinner last nite @Axia with three girlfriemds. The service, food, and ambiance were all very nice. I don’t remember the names of the dishes we ordered, we had two bottle of white greek wine, but we had grilled salmon with souvlaki garnish, ribeye, and a whole fish that de-boned tableside. The fried cheese appetizer was super tasty!!

    I would go back again, and recommend. Robin

  5. […] I may have spoken too soon when I  said that Axia Taverna was the only serious Greek competition to Varka in Ramsey. Two Sundays ago, while checking out the stores in the new City Place shopping center, I came across Greek Village Taverna (not to be confused with Greek Village, a modest, but very good family run place in Northvale) a brand new, high end Greek restaurant situated right next to new Baumgart’s. […]

  6. helene says:

    oh my god..isn’t it great to be greek? OPA!

  7. […] high-end restaurant, a Greek Fish House. Wait, an expensive Greek restaurant, just a town over from Axia Taverna in Tenafly? Did we really need two of these, and so close to each other? I admit, I was skeptical, […]

  8. […] in Edgewater or A Taste of Greece in River Edge for reasonably priced Greek. At the high end, Axia Taverna and Nisi are also very good […]

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