His signature dishes include: panko-crusted fried deviled eggs with crispy greens; spicy, crispy calamari two ways; lobster fettuccine with golden chanterelles, sweet peas, and truffles; filet of sole with white bean purée, cherry tomatoes, and Meyer lemon drizzle; and beef tenderloin with grilled asparagus and crispy potatoes. For dessert, our pick is the strawberry rhubarb cobbler.
A tavern menu is also available at the copper-topped wraparound bar and in the dining room. We can recommend the thin-crust pizza with smoked chicken, grilled onion, barbecue sauce, and Fontina; the slider sampler of mini burgers; the grilled shrimp with crispy avocado and spicy corn salsa; and our favorite dish, the half rack of baby-back ribs.
Along with a list of creative specialty cocktails (try the blood orange margarita), Napa Valley wines are featured, as are Old World and New World selections. With 1,500 bottles, which start at $22 and include many offerings in the $30 to $40 range, plus half bottles and twenty wines available by the glass, there are choices to fit everyone’s taste and budget.
The restaurant is in a two-story colonial farmhouse structure with a wraparound columned porch that will also be available for outdoor dining in season. But no matter where you sit (a lower-level wine room will open July 4th weekend, and a second-floor private event space is available), women must be sure to check out the ladies’ room, which has a video monitor embedded in a river rock water wall.
For reservations call 973-541-1234.
MORTON’S RECIPE CONTEST
If you have a special recipe, enter the Best Recipe Anywhere contest sponsored by Morton’s the Steakhouse. Winning selections will be included in the next Morton’s cookbook, to be published in late summer 2009, and the grand-prize winner will also receive an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Chicago and enjoy a special dinner at the original Morton’s. To submit a recipe and view the complete rules, visit www.mortons.com/recipecontest. All entries must be received no later than Monday, June 2. In NJ, Morton’s the Steakhouse is located at the Shops at Riverside, Hackensack (201-487-1303).
5/23: A class on how to make and use rubs, herbs, and spices, as well as how to create a sampler set of your own, will be held at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum, Haggerty Center, 53 East Hanover Ave, Morris Township. 7 to 9 PM; $25; members $18. For more information and to register call 973-326-7603.
5/24 and 5/25: A Blues & Wine Festival will be held at Natirar Park, Main St, Peapack. Noon to 5 PM. For ticket information call the Garden State Wine Growers Association at 609-588-0085.
5/24 and 5/25: The International Wine Guild’s two-day Guild Certification Seminar will be held at Classic Thyme Cooking School, 710 South Ave W, Westfield. May 24, 8 AM to 5 PM; May 25, 8 AM to 3 PM; $475 ($325 course fee plus $150 for meals and materials, including lunch both days). For more information and to enroll call 908-232-5445.
5/27: A Spain Uncorked wine class taught by George Staikos, founder of the Educated Grape, will be held at Jake’s Restaurant, 252 Rt 202 S, Flemington. 7 to 9 PM; $60. For reservations call 908-284-4930.
5/27: A special dinner created by Chef Jesse Jones will be served at 11 Village Plaza, South Orange. 6:30 to 9:30 PM; $35. For reservations call 973-580-2203 or e-mail [email protected]
5/27: A BBQ Big Reds tasting will be held at City Vino, 35 Hudson St, Jersey City. 7 PM; $39. For more information and reservations call 201-333-5520.
5/28: Girlfriend: A Girls’ Night Out will be held at Swanky Bubbles Restaurant & Champagne Bar, 482 Evesham Rd, Cherry Hill. The evening will include hors d’oeuvres, three specialty cocktails, mini desserts, and $300 in door prizes. 7 to 9 PM; $25. For more information call 856-428-4999.
5/31: A coffee and biscotti demonstration and tasting with Chef Craig Shelton will be held at Chef Central, 240 Rt 17 N, Paramus. 11 AM; free. For more information call 201-576-0100.
5/31: A Vegetarian Hors d’Oeuvres cooking class will be held at Piquant, 349A George St, New Brunswick. 11 AM; $50 plus tax. For reservations call 732-246-2468.
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