100 STEPS SUPPER CLUB + RAW BAR
Small is BIG: Tapas restaurants have become very popular in New Jersey. A few that come to mind are: Cravings Tapas Bistro (Ridgewood); Xuntas Tapas Espana, (Caldwell); Mistral (Princeton); Lola’s Tapas Bar (Hoboken); Fogo Tapas Bar (Montclair) and now 100 Steps (Cranford), which opened in January.
Expect the unexpected here. Paprika, cumin-and-fennel olive-oil dipping sauce served with a salt-topped baguette from Tom Cat Bakery was but one example of the diverse food combinations offered. A plate painted with whipped egg yolk was a base for onion-miso puree served with grilled charred octopus and warm chicory salad; a visually and flavorfully appealing dish. Attention to detail was evident throughout our dinner with silverware replaced between courses, tables crumbed, and an efficient and knowledgeable waitstaff, which all added to the most pleasant experience.
Grilled charred octopus and warm chicory salad.
A tapas-style menu with all dishes basically the same size is offered along with a selection of cheeses, salumi, raw seafood and a grand seafood tower. Two or three dishes per person are recommended. Along with the octopus we had a rabbit ragu with triangular, white-bean ravioli, crispy coppa and shavings of Parmesan in a rich broth; a very satisfying dish. Slices of avocado lined a colorful kale and mizuna salad, with red onion, shaved carrot, smoked feta, dill and a toasted, sesame seed vinaigrette; a light starter. Our favorite was house-made kimchi, which served as a base for duck-leg confit topped with a sunnyside-up egg with a bright-yellow yolk. The plate was dotted with scallion creme fraiche, providing even more color, taste and texture. A cap of bittersweet orange marmalade cut the sweetness from the toffee pudding and the salted-caramel budino had a custardy consistency and was accompanied by two brown-sugar cookies. We passed on coffee, but as with all of the best of the best ingredients used here, the coffee is from Small World Roasters in Princeton and served in a French press pot. The tea is from Serendipitea, NY.
Kale and mizuna salad.
If you want more heat on any of your dishes or on the seafood, a bottle of housemade Jack’s Run Garden 2013 Hot Sauce is on the table. Jack’s Run Garden is a 1/4 acre kitchen farm in Cranford, where owner Andrea Carbine grows fruits, veggies, herbs and greens for both A Toute Heure (100 steps across the street) and 100 Steps.
House-made kimchi, duck-leg confit and a sunnyside-up egg.
This was a press dinner, so when we were finished we said hello to the executive chef Kara Decker and her staff. Seeing their tats, we asked them for pics.
When I asked Andrea if the restaurant was really 100 steps away from A Toute Heure, which is across the street, she said, “my hundred steps.” Whether that is true or not, it would be a hard choice as to the route to take when deciding which restaurant to dine at. Both are now favorites.
100 Steps Supper Club + Raw Bar
215 Centennial Avenue
Photos courtesy of Lowell Saferstein
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Please send press releases and restaurant news, including information on staff changes, wine tastings, and cooking classes, to [email protected].