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Restaurant News

December 26, 2012 05:00 AM ET | Rosie Saferstein | Permanent Link

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This week Rosie tells us about the favorite dishes she has eaten in 2012, Agricola, a new restaurant that will be opening soon in Princeton, some options for New Year’s Eve, her new kitchen, and much more news about NJ restaurants.


We’ve had many meals in 2012 and have licked many plates clean. Here are some memorable dishes that  we would highly recommend:

AH PIZZ, MONTCLAIR: Any of their pizzas.

ARTURO’S, MAPLEWOOD: Pasta chighiale with wild boar ragu and mushrooms; pasta with pancetta, red onion, and tomato sauce; any of their pizzas.

BERNARDS INN, BERNARDSVILLE: Chilled spring pea purée with sweet baby shrimp, mint, French breakfast radish, and black-truffle crème fraiche.

BLU, MONTCLAIR: Bay scallops with fennel, almond, lemon purée and poppy seed; risotto with asparagus, fresh fava beans and pecorino Romano; duck breast with red cabbage, caramelized turnip and red-wine fig emulsion; caramelized banana split with salted caramel ice cream; apple-and-peanut-butter napoleon with caramel ice cream.

Bay scallops from Blu, Montclair.

BLUE MOREL, MORRISTOWN: Roasted Barnegat scallops with succotash, smoked tomato, and hen-of-the-woods mushrooms; twice-cooked beef short rib with a coddled egg sitting on a parsnip purée and topped with shaved salsify and pickled carrot; Jersey blueberry trifle with sweet-corn ice cream; warm chocolate brioche pudding with Tahitian-vanilla ice cream and raspberry coulis.

Blue Morel short rib with a coddled egg.

: Shrimp corn chowder with apple-smoked bacon, celery root, and turnips.

CASA VASCA, NEWARK: Veal liver with onions.

DARYL, NEW BRUNSWICK: Tuna tartare with avocado and spicy ginger sauce; chicken-liver agnolotti with sage, balsamic and caramelized onions; salmon with butternut squash, cranberry, and orange-mustard glaze; chocolate cake with peanut-butter ice cream.

Daryl duck with red cabbage and caramelized turnip.


ELEMENTS, PRINCETON: Stony Brook Meadows pork with hazelnut, savoy cabbage, sweetbreads, porcini, and truffle.

FIG TREE, HOBOKEN: Poppyseed risotto with duck confit, crimini mushrooms, English peas, and Reggiano Parmesan cheese.

Fig tree risotto.

HIGHLAWN PAVILION, WEST ORANGE: Pappardelle with Bolognaise sauce; trio of fish tacos filled with salmon tartar topped with an avocado mousse, tuna tartar with compressed melon, and lobster salad with a spicy mayonnaise; veal osso buco; day boat halibut with ragout of baby vegetables and syrah sauce; salmon with herb spaetzle and lobster sauce; cod with black rice and corn and lobster sauce.

Highlawn fish tacos.


LUNELLO, CEDAR GROVE: Double-cut pork chop oreganata.

LuNello double-cut pork chop.

LOLA LATIN BISTRO, METUCHEN: Marinated pork tenderloin with shredded Latin slaw and roasted fingerlings.

: Iberico Fresco pork with forbidden rice, caramelized pears, roasted kohlrabi, tat soi, and brandy pear jus.

LUNELLO’S MONTVILLE INN, MONTVILLE: Brussels sprout salad with pecorino cheese, bacon, onions and lemon dressing.

MODERN AMERICAN EATERY (MAE), JERSEY CITY: (now closed) Salt and pepper BBQ slow-roasted lamb ribs.

MOONSHINE SUPPER CLUB, MILLBURN: Cauliflower purée soup with a curry-spiced crème fraiche topped with cracked pistachios.

NEXT DOOR, MONTCLAIR: Risotto with finely diced butternut squash and truffle oil; beef short ribs with a sweet-and-sour glaze, roasted Brussels sprouts and creamy mashed potatoes; caramelized banana sundae with salted caramel ice cream.

NICO, NEWARK: Lamb meatballs scented with cumin and presented with roasted peppers and crumbled feta.

ORANGE SQUIRREL: Gnudi pasta with wild mushrooms, parsley salad, and Parmesan; vegan BLT, smoked, tomato soup with crispy kale topped with a serpentine fakon (vegetarian bacon) breadstick.

OSTERIA MORINI, BERNARDSVILLE: Gnocchi ricotta dumplings with fennel sausage, artichokes, and escarole; lasagna made with spinach pasta.

PIG & PRINCE, MONTCLAIR: Seared Barnegat Bay diver scallops with forbidden black rice risotto, shallot fondue, and sauce beurre rouge and beurre blanc.

Pig & Prince diver scallops.

RAZZA PIZZA ARTIGINALE, JERSEY CITY: Pizza; bread and butter (both made in house); fire-roasted meatballs.

Razza pizza.

ROB’S BISTRO, MADISON: Braised rabbit with red-wine risotto; onion soup.

RYLAND INN, WHITEHOUSE STATION: Potato gnocchi with duck prosciutto, chanterelle mushrooms, and pecorino cheese; Berkshire pork loin with crispy Berkshire pork belly, purple cauliflower, grapes, and Swiss chard with an Apple Jack reduction.

SALUGO BISTRO, VERONA: Salugo-style 12-inch pizza with mozzarella, roasted eggplant, and grana padano.

SATIS, JERSEY CITY: Cast-iron cauliflower steak with fregola-stuffed roasted tomato, wild arugula, golden raisin and pine nut sauce; German-chocolate cake sundae made with coconut, almond-chip gelato, dark-chocolate gelato, candied pecans, toasted coconut, and warm butterscotch sauce.

: Acorda de marisco, best described as a bread soup/stew made with shrimp, clams, mussels, scallops, and cubed Portuguese bread flavored with olive oil, garlic, and coriander sauce topped with a poached egg.

THIRTY ACRES, JERSEY CITY: Nugget potatoes with bacon, topped with crème fraiche and chives; roasted poussin with watercress and a poached egg.

TUSCANY, UPPER MONTCLAIR: Rib-eye steak, croissant bread pudding

UNDICI TAVERNA RUSTICA, RUMSON: Roasted baby chicken; Berkshire center-cut pork chop; Mafaldine Bolognese, a house-made “ruffled fettuccine” with slow-braised veal, beef, and pork meat sauce, topped with ricotta cheese.

URSINO, UNION: Bacon-wrapped rabbit loin with braised fennel, steel-cut oat risotto and carrot purèe.

Photos courtesy of Lowell Saferstein


Watch for the  early 2013 opening of Agricola (Latin for farmer) serving seasonal, rustic, American fare at 11 Witherspoon St, Princeton with executive chef Josh Thomsen, a New Jersey native and 2010 recipient of the Star Chefs Rising Star in the San Francisco Bay Area. Chef Thomsen will use products sourced locally or grown from owner Jim Nawn’s Great Road Farm in Skillman. "All of my favorite dishes are based on the fewest ingredients at their peak of freshness," says chef Thomsen.

The 160-seat restaurant will have five distinct areas (most of which can also host private or semi-private events): the Parlour, Farm Table, Kitchen Table, Family Room, Root Cellar, the Bar and outside Garden. Items on the opening menu include: goat-cheese potato terrine with slow-roasted beets, wild arugula, balsamic syrup; this morning's poached farm egg, rose Finn potatoes, frisée, truffle vinaigrette; roasted Hudson Valley half chicken with white beans, braised escarole, sweet carrots, and mustard-infused oil; and roasted-nectarine teff cake with honey-orange ice cream. Agricola will be open for dinner Monday through Saturday. Plans for breakfast, brunch and lunch are still being determined.

11 Witherspoon St

Executive chef JoshThomsen from Agricola.


Here are some places to celebrate:

Executive chef Bill Zucosky from the Strip House, Westminster Hotel, 550 West Mount Pleasant Ave, Livingston, will present the following additions to the regular menu on New Year’s Eve: oysters Rockefeller with black-truffle creamed spinach, applewood-smoked bacon; filet rossini with sautéed foie gras, brioche and bordelaise sauce; and bread pudding with hot fudge, cinnamon ice cream. On New Year's Day, New York strip steak with black-truffle quiche will be available from noon to 9 PM. Reservations: 973-548-0050.


Executive chef/partner Chris Siversen of Maritime Parc, 84 Audrey Zapp Drive, Liberty State Park, Jersey City, will have two dinner seatings in addition to a party an the third-floor aviary. The menu will feature festive dishes from the restaurant's new winter menu, including ricotta gnudi; crab fondue; chestnut-mushroom soup; Wagyu beef carpaccio; coconut-poached lobster; pan-roasted venison; truffle risotto; kumquat-moscato lollipops; chocolate tart; torrone semifreddo; and Champagne and strawberries. The 6 PM seating will feature a three-course prix-fixe for $75. A five-course prix-fixe will be served at the 9 PM seating for $125. A glass of sparkling is included with each; exclusive of tax and gratuities. An all-night party will be held from 10 PM to 2 AM with a DJ, dancing, cocktail-style dinner buffet, passed sweets, open premium bar featuring Belvedere, Grand Marnier and Moet for $175. Party tickets will be discounted for NYE diners. Reservations: 201-413-0050.


Executive chef/partner Sam Mickail of Sam Mickail’s Cut Steak House will be toasting 2013 with a gala five-course New Year's Eve prix-fixe menu with top-shelf open bar, Champagne toast and much more. Menu items include: Maine lobster bisque with caviar crème fraiche; organic baby greens; lemon sorbet with Moet intermezzo; choice of dry-aged filet mignon or sautéed Dover sole meuniere or roasted organic Amish chicken breast or exotic baby-vegetable risotto with truffle oil. Dessert will be chocolate-dipped strawberry; mascarpone cheesecake and apple crisp; and 24-carat gold-dusted crème chantilly and raspberry sauce. $250 all-inclusive. Reservations: 973-474-9896.


For New Year’s head on over to Amanti Vino, 30 Church St, Montclair (973-509-WINE), for all of your liquid needs. Did you know that they have wine, beer and spirits clubs? Members receive detailed newsletters with tasting notes; food-pairing recommendations; and priority registration for classes, dinners and other special events. In addition, Wine Club members enjoy bottle and case discounts, free downtown Montclair restaurant delivery, and wine choices that typically exceed the cost value of each respective club. Choose the length of your club gift, too!

Club Goda: $40 month; two bottles a month, which includes wines new to AV, off-the-beaten path selections, or an advance preview of new vintages.

Club Collettore: $90 a month; two bottles a month of limited production, exceptional wine finds from around the world, often exclusive to the club.

Club Birra II: $20 a month; three to four bottles of beers from around the world, including new beers and limited editions beers.

Club Liquore: $40 to 60 a month; one bottle of a single selection of small-batch whiskey, gin, vodka, liqueur, or eau de vie.


What do chefs Daniel Boulud, David Burke, Roberta Donna, Gordan Drysdale, Robert Irvine, Michael Mina, Rick Moonen, Ken Oringer, and others have in common? They will all be at Perona Farms, 350 Andover Sparta Road, Andover, on July 15 cooking for the game dinner along with some top NJ chefs. Cost? $1,000 but this is a foodie’s dream. 6 PM dinner benefits Sussex County Charities. Preparations and menu items may change.

Local chefs will create the following dishes for the cocktail party:

Chef Jesse Jones: Carolina-brined wild boar; crispy, honey cornbread; pickled microgreens and BBQ jus.

Chef Jonathan White
: Pate du bois, assorted breads and cheeses.

Chef George Mandakas: Ostrich tartare with edamame wasabi espuma, tomato and shallot caviar, micro watercress and Saltopia black-truffle infused sea salt; and python shu mai with ginger double-black soy fluid gel, crispy vermicelli and tien tsin chili caviar.

Chef Bryan Gregg: Pickled Maryland salt oysters, fennel crema, smoked sturgeon roe, citrus radish salad.

Chef Tim Schafer
: Menage a trois of striped bass of ceviche, blood-orange reduction, crispy shallots; pink salt and honey cured, celeriac slaw, beet vinaigrette; and sashimi on forbidden black rice, ponzu and wasabi sprouts.

Chef Brad Boyle: "Dogfish Head" barley risotto, wild pheasant, chanterelles,"60 minute" pheasant reduction and apple-smoked pheasant jerky with Bobolink Jean Louis

Chef Andre DeWaal: New Jersey black bear and trail mix on a stick

Chef David Drake: Pine-cured local brook trout, sour-apple air, and crispy pumpernickel.

Chef Ryan Depersio: Kangaroo saltimbocca over crispy couscous cristini with sage oil.

Chef Mike Carrino: Elk hearts tartare, caciocavallo crisp, dehydrated strawberry, truffle puree, black salt

Chef Arian Daugin: assorted D'Artagnan goodies

The following chefs will present dinner.

Chef Michael Ginor: Foie gras torchon

Chef Douglas Rodrigues: Cuban turtle soup with sherry and plantain lemon spatzel

Chef Daniel Boulud: Warm pate en croute of wood pigeon

Chef Jean Robert deCavel: Alligator bourguignon

Chef Roberto Donna: Duck raviolini del plin sauce finanziera

Chef Robert Irvine: Carrot espresso bruleed rabbit loin, belly hominy hash, collard jus

Chef David Britton: Wood-plank roasted Hawaiian snapper, pressed red ogotomato juice and crunchy olive powder

Chef Ken Oringer
: Laquered mallard duck with black licorice, rutabaga and boddus ham.

Chef Francesco Ricchi: Pappardelle with wild boar ragu.

Chef David Burke: Partridge and snail goodie pie, partridge pops.

Chef Michael Schlow: Roasted squab with Brussels sprouts, bacon, and grapefruit.

Chefs David Varley & Michael Mina: Civet de lievre, black truffles, salsify, pancetta wrapped loin.

Chef Gordon Drysdale: Spiced elk loin with barley, curry, roots and raisins.

Chef Paul Connors: Lemongrass sorbet, pineapple, vanilla, finger limes and pink peppercorns; tres leches cake with nixtamalized heirloom corn and chocolate; hand-rolled, dusted and salted Belgian chocolates.

On The Tables: Apple Ridge Farms artisinal breads, Charlie's wild boar and black truffle salamis, wild watercress salad with red onion & quail eggs; Saltopia salted butters and dipping oils; and Jesus’ White Tail jerky. Sauterne, Pinot Noir, Burgundy, Syrah, Sangiovese are a few of the many wines that will be poured.

For information call 973-398-4330, mail or call Perona Farms at 973-729-6161.


What a wonderful holiday gift. Our kitchen is done. The blinds are up. Thank you Michele from Window Designs by Michele (, whose eye for detail and style made this part of the process so easy for us. Michele comes to your home so she knows your décor and is able to make informed recommendations for your taste and budget. We found her to be extremely reliable, knowledgeable and caring. We had phone calls from her not only to keep us abreast of our order, but she called after the blinds were installed to be sure everything was to our satisfaction. As promised here is a picture of the blinds.

Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein

So with a new kitchen, of course I wanted some new tchatchkes. We rediscovered Ikea for odds and ends and utensils. Also, if you want to buy dishes on the cheap go to Home Goods. We decided to go eclectic and made a few trips there and bought one of each dinner plate and salad plate, all with floral themes, and I love how mismatched plates look on the table. To fill in our set we drove to the Lenox outlet in Woodbury, NY (there’s also one in Cranbury), and purchased different plates there also.

For those who want to follow my blog from the start go to: and log on to Restaurant News which is posted every Wednesday.

We got the kitchen bug and the bite was nontoxic. Happy New Year to our new kitchen and to all.

Please send press releases and restaurant news, including information on staff changes, wine tastings, and cooking classes, to

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HI ROSIE,.....As an Italian restaurant foodie for 0ver 40 years, I ask, what in your opinion is the restaurant with the best unadorned tomato sauce ?
meat is inclusive......Thank you

Posted by: LEO FONTAINE, SCOTCH PLAINS | Dec 27, 2012 22:19:11 PM |

Tomata Sauce

Tomato sauce is different in each restaurant and my favorites can change weekly. One place that is consistently good and which we favor is DiPalma in North Bergen.

Posted by: Rosie, West Orange | Dec 28, 2012 13:01:54 PM |

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