daPesca Opens with Chef Craig Polignano at the Helm

daPesca Opens with Chef Craig Polignano at the Helm

Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen

Photo: Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen

The upstairs dining room at Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen has been re-imagined and opened as daPesca on February 6th. The new space, as the name indicates, is now a “sparklingly fresh, locally sourced, seafood-centric restaurant”.

I’m excited about this new concept primarily because ultra-talented Chef Craig Polignano is at the helm in the kitchen. The menu is nearly exclusively-sourced from off the coast of New Jersey, with captains out of Point Pleasant and Barnegat Light providing daPesca much of their catch.

Chef Polignano offers a four-course $86 prix fixe experience, in addition to a seasonal $116 chef’s tasting menu for the entire table as well. From Tuesday through Friday the daPesca menu is also available a la carte. Saturday nights, the restaurant offers either the four course or the six course prix fixe menu only.

Is it wrong that I already know what I want to order when I visit? Calamari a la Plancha, Squid Ink Cavatelli, NJ Skate Wing and the Caputo Brothers Ricotta Salata!

HOURS

Tuesday & Wednesday from 5pm – 9pm

Thursday 5pm – 9:30pm

Friday and Saturday from 5pm – 10:30pm

Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen – 110 South St, Morristown, NJ 07960. 973-644-3180.

Let me know what you think once you try it!

Cheers,

Veronique

Grazie Bivio Panificio

Grazie Bivio Panificio

bivio panificio pizza

Lemon and Soppressata Pizza

When Bivio closed its doors in 2015 in Little Falls, the general consensus was that it was a major loss for its loyal pizza-loving fans. Owner, Tomasso Colao had actually garnered a cult following who waited in a line out the door on most nights at his tiny restaurant.

To the delight of us devotees of Tomasso’s pizza, he opened a small storefront in Montclair where he’s been selling the best breads New Jersey offers. While breads are nice and exposed Bivio to a larger audience, let’s face it, what we all wanted was that perfect, dreamy pizza.

The Space

One thing that didn’t change with the Montclair location from the former restaurant in Little Falls is the size. The space is still….quaint. On one hand, I enjoy the cozy atmosphere of the new Bivio but on the other, I foresee the giant queue that’s certain to form outside once people outside the inner sanctum discover this gem. The wood-fired pizza oven stays ablaze all evening with Tomasso crafting each pie to order on a small work bench.

The Food

To say the menu is concise would be an understatement. Starters are a salumi plate and an arugula salad. The salumi plate is worth ordering as it has high quality Pecorino, charcuterie and olives. A nice way to make the time pass as we watched Tomasso painstakingly create our pizza. It borders on torture to have an open view into the mock kitchen and pizzas going in and out of the oven.

bivio panificio salumi plate

Salumi Plate

The pizza options are limited to the best, most perfect topping options there are. We’ve enjoyed the margherita and wild mushroom pizzas but what the must-order pie is, if available on the specials menu, is the lemon and Soppressata pizza. Lemon on a pizza? Yes, yes, yes. The sweet lemons are sliced paper thin and layered on the pizza with slightly funky Soppressata. The combination is brilliant and causes me to pause, close my eyes and emit the smallest of whimper each time I have it. The thing that’s even more exceptional than the toppings is the best pizza crust I’ve ever had. It’s charred is certain places, chewy and tangy/salty – pure perfection. Tomasso creates the incredible dough from a natural yeast starter. If, god forbid, the lemon Sopressata pizza isn’t available, the sausage and peppers is a close runner up.

Bivio is a BYOB so grab that bottle of Italian wine and make your way to Montclair. Note that I reluctantly wrote this recap as I’d prefer to keep Bivio a bit under the radar for now.

Bivio Panificio – 107 Pine Street, Montclair, New Jersey 07042.

Ciao!

Veronique

Adieu Redux

Redux is closing.

I come home from Quebec where I had wonderful holidays and the first restaurant announcement I read is about the upcoming closing of one of my very favorite local restaurants – Redux. I’m incredibly bummed by this news as Redux serves food I truly love and the staff, including owners Rob and Danielle Ubhaus, is amazing.

Note from the Ubhaus:

“First, we want to wish all of you very happy holidays and a new year filled with much love, happiness and health.

Then, it is with heavy hearts, ones filled with great memories, that our last service will be Sunday, January 14th.  
Over the past 9 years, from Resto to Rob’s Bistro to Redux, we have had the pleasure of meeting new people, making countless friends and sharing with you our gastronomic concepts.  For the past 2 1/2 years, we have done so at Redux.  Redux has had great success and we have enjoyed every moment of it.  We have had great staff who helped our vision come to life and amazing guests who have supported us throughout the years.

And in those years, we have also grown as a family.  From the arrival of our daughter in November 2015, just a few short months after we opened, to the much anticipated arrival of our second child in January 2018.

As much as we love what we do and love being here with you for a casual night out or to celebrate a special occasion, we have decided to spend our days growing with our family and pursue other opportunities that have arisen.  

We hope you can join us for one (or maybe, two) more meals between now and January 14th.
 
With love,
Rob, Danielle & Kayleigh Ubhaus”

Yet another wonderful North Jersey restaurant shuttering. It’s a sad day.

Veronique

Bryan Gregg Appointed New Executive Chef at Orama

Bryan Gregg Appointed New Executive Chef at Orama

Really excited that one of the very best chefs in the NYC metro has found a new home! Bryan Gregg is the new Executive Chef of Orama located in Edgewater, New Jersey. 

Chef Gregg, who gained a loyal clientele as the Chef/Owner of Escape Montclair, is redefining Orama’s menus to take advantage of the freshest ingredients at the markets, the docks and the farms in New Jersey. “I’m excited to be back in the kitchen after a couple of fun consulting projects,” says Chef Gregg. “My customers have been asking when they’d be able to enjoy my food again in a restaurant setting, and I know they’ll be impressed with the setting at Orama. Orama has one of the best wine programs in the area and I look forward to some enjoyable wine-pairing dinners,” continues Gregg.   

Hours of Operation: Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 5PM -10PM; Friday – Saturday: 5PM – 11PM.

Orama – 595 River Road, Edgewater, NJ 07020. www.orama.com.  

Current Dinner Menu: http://www.orama.com/dinner-menu

About Chef Bryan Gregg

Chef Bryan Gregg is a native of Pittsburgh and a graduate of the Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts. Early in his career, he staged at Michelin-starred restaurants in France and England. He then continued to hone his culinary skills at some of the most highly-regarded restaurants, and with world class chefs, in New York and New Jersey.

Chef Gregg, whose résumé features Escape Montclair, his southern fine cuisine restaurant, and Executive Chef roles at Ho-Ho-Kus Inn and Michael Anthony’s in New Jersey, is a crusader for local New Jersey food producers.

Chef Gregg is the Executive Chef of Orama in Edgewater, New Jersey. At Orama, his New American menu features inventive dishes showcasing pristine local ingredients. Orama, situated on the banks of the Hudson River, offers an elegant setting with exceptional Manhattan views.

The serial entrepreneur is the founder of Think Local Foods, a leading restaurant consulting firm that formulates groundbreaking strategies and drives concepts to help clients enjoy enhanced bottom-line profits.

The award-winning Chef has been a repeat Featured Chef at the prestigious James Beard House. He was named Best Jersey Seafood Chef at the 2015 Jersey Seafood Challenge and as a result, represented the Garden State at the 2015 Great American Seafood Cook Off in New Orleans where he won the Seafood Showdown.

Cheers,

Veronique

Vanillamore Dessert Kitchen

Vanillamore Dessert Kitchen

Happy Halloween!

I recently visited Vanillamore Dessert Kitchen in Montclair, New Jersey and it’s THE perfect place for some adult trick or treating with delectable sweet and savory dishes.

Here’s a link to my full review of this fun new spot!

Enjoy,

Veronique 

Opening Soon The Duke and Elephant by Chef Zod Arifai

Opening Soon The Duke and Elephant by Chef Zod Arifai

Zod Arifai

Chef/Restaurateur Zod Arifai is putting the finishing touches on his latest project, newly christened The Duke and Elephant Food + Spirits, which will open mid-October.

At The Duke and Elephant — named to invoke the best British and Irish taverns, the grandeur and seasonality of nearby Duke Farms and the outsize whimsy of the pachyderm — Zod has created the kind of diverse, appealing menu that reflects the way diners want to eat right now.

Loyal devotees of Zod’s defunct Blu and Next Door in Montclair, will find updates on several Zod “classics” such as his epic Burger w/White Sharp Cheddar, Caramelized Onions + Rosemary Aioli; Napa Cabbage Salad w/Snow Peas, Crispy Wontons + Spicy Peanut Dressing and Linguini with Cauliflower, Pecorino, Chili Flakes + Toasted Crumbs.           

Fresh new tastes will include Avocado Toast w/Sunflower Seeds + Sea Urchin; Meat Balls w/Ricotta + Spicy Tomato; Mac ‘n’ Cheese w/Lobster + Truffle Oil; Beef Short Ribs w/Sweet + Sour Sauce and Mama’s Sicilian Pan Pizza.

An abundant Family Feast — well-priced at $36 per person — and Plats du Jour, specials of the day, including a Sunday Prime Rib Dinner, guarantee great value along with spectacular quality.

The Duke and Elephant will be open daily for lunch and dinner and weekend brunch to follow soon.

Happy Hour? No worries! The handsome Bar Room presents hand-crafted seasonal contemporary cocktails, along with classic favorites and savory bites.

About Zod Arifai

A former rock guitarist who spent time in the kitchens of world-class chefs (including Charlie Trotter, David Bouley and Roger Vergé), Zod Arifai’s unconventional, exciting and wholly unique world-influenced New American cuisine has garnered raves over the years from The NY Times, New Jersey Monthly and many others. His iconoclastic personal style and great sense of humor have made Arifai and his restaurants consistent favorites among consumers and critics alike. As Alan Richman once noted, “Zod is even more obsessed with perfection than most Manhattan chefs.” Zod’s beloved Blu opened in Montclair, NJ in 2005 and its casual, comfortable sister-restaurant, Next Door, opened in 2007. He closed both restaurants in 2015 to pursue new ventures.

Chubby’s Sandwiches Opens at Exchange Place in Jersey City

Chubby’s Sandwiches Opens at Exchange Place in Jersey City

Chubby’s Sandwiches Food Truck is now officially opened in downtown Jersey City’s Exchange Place.  This state-of-the-art food truck, serving Italian butcher-style sandwiches for breakfast and lunch, is the brainchild of childhood friends turned business partners Chef Nick Daniele and Joe Buonsante.

The truck features a custom-built state of the art kitchen modeled after the kitchen of Chef Nick’s acclaimed Park Slope, Brooklyn restaurant, Bella Gioia. The 18-foot truck is also available for private party rental, has a video monitor on the outside and sound system ideal for entertainment at events where they can play slide shows, movies and music.

THE SANDWICHES

There is an emphasis on fresh, quality ingredients, Italian meats and cheeses and local, fresh baked bread from Calandra’s Bakery.

The menu offers an assortment of hot breakfast options “Rise n’ Shine” and lunch “Afternoon Delight” sandwiches along with other fun munchies. There is also a Lil’ Bites Kids Menu available to please the 11 and under crowd.

Rise & Shine

  • Egg & Cheeze eggs any style, shredded mozz $3.99
  • Bacon Egg & Cheeze thick cut bacon, eggs any style, shredded mozz $4.99
  • Sausage Egg & Cheeze breakfast links, eggs any style, shredded mozz $4.99

(above served on fresh, buttered and grill seared bread)

  • Egg Whites n’ Avocado egg white omelette, avocado spread & cherry tomatoes on whole wheat $7.99

Sausage Egg & Cheeze

Afternoon Delight

  • The Original Chubby – Hot roast beef, gravy, lettuce, tomato (add cheeze) $10
  • Not Your Philly Cheesesteak – NY strip steak, mozzarella, hot cherry peppers, red onion, oregano, poached cherry tomatoes, garlic sriracha spread $13
  • The Chris Christie -Chicken tenders, provolone, yellow American, mozzarella sticks, chopped lettuce, fried egg, chipotle mayo
  • The Southerner -Grilled chicken, Calabrian chili, Sicilian pesto, arugula, provolone cheese, pepperoncino, sun dried tomatoes

Location, schedule, event booking and menu can be found on the website and social media.

Tentative Hours: Monday – Saturday 7-10am breakfast (coming soon) /Lunch 11am – until sold out daily; Closed Sunday. Local delivery available. Truck is available for private event bookings.

Happy National Burger Day

Happy National Burger Day

Now & Tater Burger

Today’s National Burger Day, thus one of my favorite food-dedicated days of the year! While I’m typically a fan of ‘normal’ burgers, I couldn’t allow this day to go by without showing you what CALLAHAN’S Hot Dogs in Norwood, NJ is doing – wild, right? The Owner Daniel DeMiglio says the popular restaurant’s motto is So Big, So Good and after seeing these photos and sampling the Stuffed Truffle Gouda Mac N’ Cheese Burger, I buy into that concept!

Now & Tater Burger – House made tater tot bun – caramelized onion, queso dip, bacon, smoked whiskey ketchup, lettuce, tomato and pickle

 

Stuffed Burger

Stuffed Truffle Gouda Mac N’ Cheese Burger – smoked Gouda mac n’ cheese, white truffle oil, bacon, & two fresh Angus chuck burger patties

So Big Signature “BBQ Burger (see headline photo) – Angus beef, onion ring, caramelized onions with bacon, house made cheddar cheese and BBQ sauce

Callahan’s Hot Dogs: 10 Broad St. Norwood / (844) 468-3641.

Cheers,

Veronique

Tito’s Handmade Vodka to Give Back During New Jersey Pride

Image may contain: plantI love Tito’s and its branding efforts. Very worthy cause/event – hope you can all join!

WHO: Tito’s Handmade Vodka +  Garden State Equality (GSE), New Jersey’s largest advocacy and education organization for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

WHAT: As part of New Jersey Pride, Tito’s will host a pre and post parade party at Johnny Mac’s on Sunday, June 4. For every Tito’s cocktail purchased throughout the day,  $1, up to $5,000, will be donated to GSE. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the Love is Love float in the parade.

WHEN:  Sunday, June 4

  • 10A.M. – 3PM: Pre-Party featuring $3 Bloody Mary’s & free omelets for Parade Volunteers

*$1 of every bloody mary purchased will be donated to GSE

  • 12 P.M – 2PM.: Parade

  • 7 P.M.: Post-party celebration with live music by The Nerds for parade-goers

*$1 of every cocktail purchased will be donated to GSE

WHERE: Johnny Mac

208 Main St.,  Asbury Park, NJ 07712

WHY: To encourage our fans to spread the love within our local communities.

Ani Ramen Opens in Jersey City

Ani Ramen Opens in Jersey City

Yuzu Shio Ramen

It’s official – the hottest ramen spot in New Jersey, Ani Ramen, has opened a second location in Jersey City, this time owned by Luck Sarabhayvanija, Justin “Just” Blaze, Kathleen Reyes and Chef Julian Valencia. The ramen obsessed can now SLURP. SIP. REPEAT., Ani Ramen’s by-now-famous slogan, in a location that boasts 2,000 sq. feet of space with 110 total seats (55 dining room /18 bar /40 courtyard).

Ani Ramen Jersey City is serving lunch, dinner and a late-night menu showcasing its house made six signature ramen dishes with custom made noodles by Sun Noodle. The Jersey City menu also features some of the add-ons and sides made famous at the original Montclair location and some fun ‘midnight menu” items.

Shio Cucumber Sour

New at this location is a full bar with reasonably-priced cocktails, sake, wine and beer. The beverage program was developed in collaboration with Kenta Goto (Bar GOTO), an award-winning mixologist and 2017 James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist. They also boast the largest Japanese Whisky selection in the US with blend and single malts up to 25 years old.

Chef/Partner Julian Valencia developed the original menu served in Montclair and Jersey City, and he along with Chef Chris Arturo will be overseeing the Jersey City location’s kitchen operations.

Much like at the Montclair outpost, notable artist and New Jersey native, Rich Tu (Nike) created a series of mural walls featuring a combination of “East Meets West”, the ANI family motif, and playful pop culture details.

Note that an outdoor courtyard with Yakitori grill is planned for Summer 2017.

Ani Ramen House – 218 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, NJ / 201-408-9811

Happy slurping,

Veronique