We were at the newly opened Resto, 77 Main Street, Madison, where chef/owner Robert Ubhaus, previously from Restaurant Latour, Hamburg, and sous chef Alex Ruperto, previously from Pleasantdale Chateau, West Orange, are manning the stoves. “Resto is French slang for restaurant,” Ubhaus says. “For me it is significant because it was in a resto in Paris’s Latin Quarter, where I was working, that I came to realize this is what I wanted to do for the ‘rest’ of my life, with the ultimate goal of opening my own little resto.”
The menu is small, but what we tasted on one visit was perfectly executed. Along with the scallop appetizer, we sampled yellow tomato gazpacho with jumbo lump crabmeat salad, which was refreshing and a perfect pick for a hot summer evening. Entrées were freeform ratatouille ravioli with Parmigiano foam and a special of blue snapper with pea soufflé. Although the menu is market driven and will change frequently, other options when we dined there were: Jersey fluke with baby beet and beet greens risotto; lavender-scented duck breast with potato fondantes and watercress; seared Scottish salmon fillet with savory pain perdu and heirloom tomato salad; roasted chicken breast with confit leg and mushroom strudel; and grilled pork loin with Jersey corn custard, fava bean sauté, and sweet carrot sauce. French press coffee and desserts that you will not want to share are given as much attention as the rest of the menu. We can certainly recommend the peach tatin with buttermilk ice cream and the toasted almond and black plum bread pudding with minted crème fraîche. And the Belgian chocolate that comes with the check is a most appreciated ending to a meal. Keep in mind that Resto is tiny—about 24 seats. For reservations call 973-377-0066; BYO.
NEW ITEMS FROM APPETIZERS TO DESSERTS AT MORTON’S
Seafood lovers will be thrilled to learn that Morton’s the Steakhouse, Riverside Square Mall, 1 Riverside Square, Hackensack, has added several new items to the menu, including oysters Rockefeller; hot and cold ocean platters (a terrific choice for individuals looking for a light meal or for a group to share); Alaskan king crab legs; baked five-onion soup; a very grown-up version of mac and cheese made with four different cheeses and a bit of chile paste; and rich carrot cake. For reservations call 201-487-1303.
Photo of Morton’s Carrot Cake.
VIKING COOKING SCHOOL
Known for its wide array of excellent classes covering a variety of topics and taught with professional Viking appliances, cookware, and cutlery, Viking Cooking School, 4 Sperry Road, Fairfield, offers a must-try experience. Two interesting demonstration classes are coming up: On July 31, Vicki Caparulo will teach a Fast, Fresh, and Fabulous Fish class, and on August 7, Katie Lee Joel (yes, she’s Billy Joel’s wife), author of The Comfort Table, will teach an assortment of recipes from her childhood, which she spent on a farm in West Virginia, plus some inventive new favorites. Each class runs from 6:30 to 8:30 PM and costs $69. For more information call 973-244-1311 or log on to www.vikingcookingschool.com.
Photo of Viking Cooking School courtesy of Lowell Saferstein.
HUDSON RESTAURANT WEEK
July 28 through August 8, Mondays through Fridays, you can dine at some Hudson County restaurants at a discount. Participating restaurants include: 3 Forty Grill, 95 Greene, Amanda’s, Arthur’s Tavern, Casa Dante, Edward’s, Elysian Cafe, Honshu, Liberty House, Porto Leggero, Sawadee, South City Grill, Madison Bar & Grill, Sushi Lounge, Embankment, and Ox. For more information log on to www.hudsonrestaurantweek.com.
FOOD FROM THE HEART AND SOUL
On July 27, let your stomach and your soul find their way to Mona Lisa Gallery and Framing, 168 Maplewood Avenue, Maplewood, where Jesse Jones, chef/owner of Heart and Soul Catering, will be conducting a cooking demonstration. Specializing in New Carolina cuisine and known for “food for the heart, food for the soul,” Chef Jesse will present baby-back ribs; apricot chicken; buttermilk corn muffins; greens, cucumber, and tomato chow-chow salad; roasted corn on the cob with thyme butter; and watermelon. Makes me hungry! 3 to 6 PM; $20 in advance; $25 at the door. For more information and reservations call 877-CHEF-1-US.
Photo of Chef Jesse Jones.
BRADDOCK’S TAVERN, MEDFORD
Braddock’s Tavern, 39 South Main Street, Medford, which is under new ownership, has a new private boardroom where executive chef Scott Bergman will create a specially designed five-course tasting dinner for eight to fourteen people. Call 609-654-1604 for more information and reservations.
THE BERNARDS INN’S SAVOR SUMMER SPECIAL
“Savor Summer” at the Bernards Inn, 27 Mine Brook Road, Bernardsville. This promotion for two, which is available any Friday, Saturday, or Sunday evening through September 21, includes overnight accommodations, a pitcher of red or white sangria made from wine director Terri Baldwin’s secret recipe, fresh seasonal fruits, assorted crackers, goat cheese lollipops, a six-course tasting dinner with wine in the dining room, and breakfast in the morning. $475 plus tax; gratuities are included. For reservations call 908-766-0002.
CHEF MICHAEL CARRINO IS COMING TO THE BEARD HOUSE
The list of NJ chefs who have been invited to cook at the James Beard House, 167 West 12th Street, New York City, is getting longer. On August 12, Michael Carrino, chef/owner of Restaurant Passionne, Montclair, will prepare A French Love Affair dinner. The following menu will be presented:
Baked Kumamoto oysters with fennel, spinach, and Pernod; pissaladière; grilled pineapple wrapped with house-made duck prosciutto; yellowfin tuna poke; duck fat grilled cheese sandwiches
(2006 Domaine du Vieux Pressoir Saumur Rosé)
Capon and duck galantine with pistachio, lentil salad, and jus
(2006 Domaine Jean Touzot Macon Villages Chardonnay)
Pan-seared halibut with forbidden rice, shallot fondue, and beurre rouge
(2006 Fritz Underground Winery Russian River Sauvignon Blanc)
Crispy sweetbreads with caramelized shallot–Dijon beurre blanc, sweet corn, and fire-roasted red pepper relish
(2006 Domaine Thomas Saint-Véran)
Roasted house-made-bacon–wrapped monkfish loin with crawfish gratin and roasted tomato choron sauce
(2005 J.M. Raffault Chinon Rouge)
Strawberry Devonshire tart with balsamic ice cream
(Audry Réserve Spéciale Fine Champagne)
7 PM; $165; James Beard Foundation members $125. For reservations call 212-627-2308.
Photo of Chef Michael Carrino.
ANOTHER REASON TO GO TO AC
Through August 31, the Palm Restaurant, the Quarter at Tropicana Casino and Resort, 2801 Pacific Avenue, Atlantic City, is offering a lobster dinner for two starting at $95 for a split four-pound Nova Scotia lobster accompanied by a choice of mixed green, summer, or Caesar salad and one Palm signature or summer side dish. A five-pound lobster for two is $110, and couples with truly big appetites can opt for a six-pounder for $130. For reservations call 609-344-7256.
SONGS AT THE SHORE
Every Wednesday evening, singers perform opera and classic Broadway songs at Posillipo Italian Restaurant, 715 2nd Avenue, Asbury Park, starting at 7 PM. For more information and reservations call 732-774-5819.
Some highlights from the new summer menu at the Washington Inn, 801 Washington Street, Cape May, are: lobster and rock shrimp bisque; organic salmon with mashed Jerusalem artichoke; chicken breast with roasted red grapes; five-spice-grilled Long Island duck breast with soft mascarpone white polenta; and braised Cape May scallops with fingerling potatoes and fava and mushroom succotash. The Sunday BYO special will resume in September, but $20 early bird specials are available daily. For reservations call 609-884-5697.
Steakhouse 85 is expected to open this fall at 85 Church Street, New Brunswick, with chef/owner Brian Karluk manning the stoves. The menu will feature prime, dry-aged, hand-cut, Angus beef, plus pork, veal, seafood, NJ produce, handmade pastas, classic desserts, and a children’s menu.
Mondays through Thursdays through September 2, Amanda’s, 908 Washington Street, Hoboken, is offering half-price bottles of wine with the purchase of an entrée. For reservations call 201-798-0101.
restaurant.mc, 57 Main Street, Millburn, is offering an “econo-buster” from 5:30 to 6:15 PM daily, with a dinner for four at $99.99 plus tax and tip. Please mention this promotion when making a reservation (973-921-0888). Also, save more by dining on Mondays, when bottled wines are half price (some allocated wines are not eligible).
Axelsson’s Blue Claw Restaurant, 991 Ocean Drive, Cape May, has an early dinner special on Sundays from 5 to 6 PM for $21.95. For reservations call 609-884-5878.
On Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, Osteria Dante, 91 Broad Street, Red Bank, offers a three-course dinner for $25 plus tax and gratuity. For reservations call 732-530-0602; BYO.
Divine Wine Wednesday is celebrated at Trinity Restaurant, 84 Broad Street, Keyport, with wines by the glass discounted by 50 percent and bottles by 20 percent. For reservations call 732-888-1998.
Casa Giuseppe, 487 Route 27, Iselin, is offering a summer wine special through Labor Day, with 50 percent off any bottle from the wine list on Friday and Saturday evenings. For reservations call 732-283-9111.
Every Monday through Labor Day, Labrador Lounge, 3581 Route 35 North, Normandy Beach, is hosting live Brazilian samba music paired with sushi offerings, beginning at 7 PM. Every Tuesday, a three-course lobster dinner that includes cockles, lobster, summer tomato salad, and dessert is available for $35. For more information call 732-830-5770.
On Wednesday nights through the summer, Market in the Middle, 516 Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park, is offering a three-course lobster dinner that includes cockles, lobster, summer tomato salad, and dessert for $35. For reservations call 732-776-8886.
Every Thursday through August 21, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, 1 Hilton Court, Parsippany, has a complimentary wine tasting with hors d’oeuvres from 4:30 to 6 PM.
Congratulations to Francis Schott, co-owner of Stage Left, New Brunswick, on his marriage to Jennifer D’Autrechy on July 19.
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