Latour’s Rapid Renovation Completed

Plus: Modine's fried chicken named best in state, and other restaurant openings and closings.

The new Latour Interior, created in five weeks. Photo by MIchael Tulipan.

First, some news:

–Restaurant Latour at Crystal Springs Resort reopened after completing a five-week full-gut renovation on its interior—on time, no less (a small miracle in the restaurant industry). New York-based INC Architecture & Design worked with the resort on the renovation, which focused on integrating natural, outdoorsy elements into the restaurant interior (tree bark walls, burnished mirrors, sleek fixtures, moss green upholstery). The décor reflects, or anticipates, chef Aishling Stevens and chef de cuisine Matt Laurich’s renewed push toward naturalistic modernism (fermentation, preservation, foraging and local sourcing). New elements include a six-seat “Somm Table” made of local quarry stone and reclaimed train trestles where diners can enjoy an interactive experience of exotic small plates with wine pairings from the renowned cellar’s 6,000 labels. Restaurant Latour, 1 Wild Turkey Way, Hamburg; 844-225-4957

–The Jersey restaurant scene hardly needs New York’s approbation, but we can’t help but feel proud, and hungry, when a restaurant like Modine—one of our 30 Best for 2018—earns top billing for “the best fried chicken in the state” from the NY Daily News. Not only does the paper praise chef Jill Meerpohl’s double-brined, cold-smoked, pickle juice-spiked fried chicken, they call Modine’s overall quality proof that “Asbury Park’s renaissance is in full swing.” (We already knew that, ahem.) Modine, 601 Mattison Avenue, Asbury Park; 732-893-5300

And for restaurant openings:

The British Chip Shop in Haddonfield, which we reported was heading to a sad demise, has been saved by new owners. Instead of closing on December 23, as previously announced, owners Gary and Denise Coleman handed the reins over to Haddonfield locals Kate and Ian Whitfield. Ian is a professional chef with over 30 years in the business and a native of Newcastle, England. Now, just over a week into running the place, Whitfield plans to remain faithful to the core of the Chip Shop while enriching it with his own modern British menu (the menu will eventually include new takes on classics like game, pasties, puddings, etc.). The British Chip Shop, 146 Kings Highway, Haddonfield; 856-354-0204

Central Bistro just opened on the corner of Central Avenue and Thorne Street in the Heights section of Jersey City. It’s early yet, so not much is known, but brunch fans should check it out—Central serves brunch seven days a week. Central Bistro, 403 Central Avenue, Jersey City; 201-798-6798

—Poke’s moment certainly isn’t over (last summer we tried one new contender, Little Bear Poke in Montclair). Now Collingswood’s getting a taste of the Hawaiian raw fish dish with Aloha Poke Bowl. Run by chefs and cousins Barrie and Ellie Davis, Aloha Poke Bowl takes the common “make-your-own” approach, with a base, protein (fish options as well as baked tofu), and toppings—simple and fresh, true to the form. Aloha Poke Bowl, 542 Haddonfield Avenue, Collingswood; 856-833-5133

We knew Robbie Felice of Viaggio in Wayne will soon open Osteria Crescendo in Westwood, but now we know exactly where —the former home of Baci. Osteria Crescendo’s location was kept quiet until now because most employees of the 13-year-old Baci did not know the restaurant was closing. Unlike Viaggio, which is tucked into a strip mall the new space is prominent and stands alone, at the corner of Center and Jefferson Avenues. Osteria Crescendo, 36 Jefferson Avenue, Westwood; no phone yet.

Now closed:

*Stunning views couldn’t save Joe’s Crab Shack in Edgewater, which closed after just six months of operation on a pier jutting into the Hudson off of River Road. The chain also closed a major location in downtown Newark two years ago. Joe’s Crab Shack, 541 River Road, Edgewater; 201-840-9311

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