A new spot in Englewood offers prime beef with Italian style
by Marisa Procopio
For starters, J. David Feeback is not your typical general manager. Whereas the usual GM will skew positive but fairly lukewarm, this one is passionate and knowledgeable about Sofia, his charge since July 2015. Formerly of Teak on the Hudson in Hoboken, he was effusive with praise for the dining experience the place has managed to pull off, just six months since opening.
He gives owner Eddie Sujak the lion’s share of the credit, with what he called “a commitment to perfection….he wanted to bring a slice of New York to Englewood.”
The restaurant’s soothing clean lines and high ceilings were a deliberate choice to encourage guests to relax and enjoy. “Everything was built on premises by artisans. Built by hand,” Feeback stressed.
Sofia’s also offers a garden room available for parties for up to 60. Best of all, it has a retractable roof—just right for breezy, warm weather rehearsal dinners, bridal showers, or just lazy Sunday afternoons.
Mind you, on the inside, the place is usually hopping—“We’re high energy,” said Feeback. “We’re definitely not a wax museum.”
Sujak’s commitment to perfection is most evident in what happens on the creative end. The restaurant is devoted to from-scratch prep, right down to homemade stock made from meaty veal bones in their French onion soup.
“Everything we do is from scratch… everything,” said the GM. “Even our individual macaroni and cheese is from scratch….and pastas are made fresh, with sauces also made to order.” The seasonal menu is “based on what we can source nearby. Everything we can get locally, we do get locally. The rest we import directly from Italy.” Meaty Taggisca olives and Tropea onions, the latter grown on the sandy Italian coast, are among the delicacies flown in.
The restaurant is an Italian-style steakhouse, and thus works to satisfy carnivores in particular. It serves dryaged beef, aged for a minimum of 28 days, which dramatically improves flavor and tenderness. “Even our filet mignon is prime,” the GM said. Steak aside, it’s important to note that Sofia’s chef, Pasquale Frola, knows from pizza (he’s a Neapolitan, and Naples is the birthplace of…you guessed it). “He has a true passion for what he does.”
Feeback related his frustration with wait staffs from other restaurants who are unsure of what they’re serving, and emphasized that “all of our staff is trained; they have to know the ingredients in every dish. I’m proud of the team we put together.”
That same attention to detail is evident behind the bar. “We do classic cocktails the right way. We make our own bitters. It’s old-school cocktails…every single thing we do is fresh. We’re not the strip-mall bar,” he said, adding that summers perfectly complement what Feeback called “an establishment dedicated to high-quality food, but in a hip atmosphere.”
36 Engle Street, Englewood
201.541.8530 / sofiaenglewood.com