Somos Restaurant (North Arlington, NJ)

Juan Placencia has done it again. The owner of Costanera in Montclair just opened Somos Restaurant in North Arlington at the sight of the old Euro Lounge. While Costanera is strictly Peruvian, Somos includes food from more Latin countries. This restaurant also has a full bar with all kinds of custom made cocktails. They have a very limited wine list, and unfortunately you cannot BYO and pay a corkage fee. Since we normally only go to BYO places, we probably won’t come back, since I can’t see paying almost $40 for a mediocre Malbec that would normally not retail for more than $15. It’s a shame because they have a very creative menu, plus Juan has reunited with his original Chef Roberto, from Costanera, who had left to go to Samba among other places. They are still in soft opening mode and have a limited menu. We tried a bunch of apps and shared a special entree of crispy fried branzino with onions and tomatoes, rice and beans hash topped with a fried egg, and plantains. The highlight was an appetizer of cachapa, a crispy corn pancake topped with mushrooms, grilled leeks, tomato jam, and melted Monterey cheese. We also had the quinoa salad, Cubano flatbread, chicharron de pescado (carried over from Costanera), and shrimp ceviche. They start you off with some nicely seasoned popcorn with Mexican chili, sea salt, and butter. The descriptions of the dishes are on the below menu.