We were officially on our way to Spain to see my sister-in-law perform in Sevilla (she’s an opera singer, don’t ya know?), but before we left the States, our four hour layover in Newark allowed enough time for my mom (in Jersey) to grab us for dinner. Forno’s was fitting fare to say the least, known for its classic, Spanish cuisine and only about 10 minutes from the airport. After seeing crowds pour in from 5pm on, I knew we were about to be properly schooled...old school.
Enough fancy floated around the table for us to be impressed with waiters dressed in vests and bowties fawning over us (“Is your preference white or red sangria?”), while busboys bustled, bringing baskets of warm rolls, followed by garlic bread, followed by greens dressed with balsamic vinaigrette…and that was all before we even had time to read the menu. Entrees were a bit pricey (high $20-low $30), but along with the impromptu items from the start, dishes of saffron rice, veggies (green beans and cauliflower) and thinly sliced, crispy "papas" were lavished upon us during dinner.
Fish here was fresh and fabulous, plucked from the ocean and cut into thick filets. My mom snacked on sautéed snapper with garlic, olive oil and red chili flakes. The chili brought some bite, but otherwise it was a bit flat - an acute case of seasoning sickness, though I can’t fault the fish, because that was one quality catch.
My hubby went for halibut, grilled to perfection and topped with paprika and pine nuts. Thick, substantial and masterfully handled like a fine steak, my meat-and-potatoes man never once asked, “Where’s the beef?” Served with boiled taters, I realized how much these people loved their carbs (two types of bread, rice and papas, plus a potato with dinner?) - my kind of people!
As for myself, I went for the sole Francaise. Flaky, white filets were dredged in flour and egg, then doused in butter and lemon to combine the guilty pleasure of comfort food and fish’s natural ability to remain light = sole food.
By the time we got up to leave, there was an hour wait. We hugged our goodbyes and my mom happily claimed my leftovers that wouldn’t make it across the Atlantic. Forno-cation ( = Forno + vacation) had been one righteous rendezvous, leaving us relaxed, content and sleepy for the long flight. Next stop...Spain.