Restaurant News

This week Rosie tells us about Uproot in Warren, Avenue in Long Branch, new cookbooks from NJ authors, a Paul Hobbs dinner at Stage Left in New Brunswick, and much more news about NJ restaurants.

UPROOT, WARREN
Anthony Bucco, formerly at Stage Left and Catherine Lombardi, both in New Brunswick, is the executive chef at the newly opened Uproot, 9 Mount Bethel Road, Warren, which features contemporary American cuisine using seasonal ingredients. The sous chef is Mark Farro, who was previously at the Pluckemin Inn and Stage Left. Offerings include: sausage-stuffed quail; heirloom pears and mizuna salad with smoked pecans, blue cheese, and currants; wood-roasted chicken with carrot purée and roasted root vegetables; dry-aged NY strip with marrow bone, fingerlings, and mustard greens; and steamed black bass with bok choy. Kudos to Chef Bucco for also offering a vegetarian plate consisting of a selection of seasonal whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Duck lovers should try the roasted and confit Long Island duck with Brussels sprouts, cherries, and Israeli couscous; it was exceptional and one of the best dishes we had in 2009. Brussels sprouts also showed themselves in the “laughing bird shrimp” appetizer with a brûlée of butternut squash, except here they were shredded, an unusual presentation. General manager and certified sommelier Jonathan Ross has created a wine list that includes an assortment of international offerings, with more than a dozen selections by the glass, starting at $8, and more than 100 choices by the bottle, with 60 percent of them costing $50 or less.

Not only is the food dazzling at Uproot, but the casually elegant décor (the tables are clothless) is dramatic as well. A tree sculpture hanging from the ceiling, wood floors, differently shaped plates, and a red, white, and black color scheme create a stunning space. Be sure to check out the ultramodern bathrooms. The lounge seats 30, the dining room accommodates up to 80 and includes a dramatic blood-red 10-seat communal dining table, and the private events space offers full A/V capabilities. The restaurant was designed by Riscala Agnese Design Group, which has also been involved with Daryl’s Wine Bar, New Brunswick; Restaurant Nicholas, Red Bank; Porto Leggero, Jersey City; and Sirena Restaurant, Long Branch.

Uproot is open for lunch Mondays through Fridays from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM. Dinner is served Mondays through Fridays from 5:30 to 10 PM and Saturdays from 5 to 10 PM. The bar and lounge are open Mondays through Fridays from 11:30 AM to 11 PM and Saturdays from 5 PM to midnight. For reservations call 908-834-8194.

Executive chef Anthony Bucco of Uproot.

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AVENUE, LONG BRANCH

We love walking on the quiet boardwalk at the Jersey Shore in the winter, to view the crashing waves and work up an appetite for dinner. No matter what day we go, we know that Avenue, 23 Ocean Avenue, Long Branch is a good choice and has daily specials that are worth trying, including: a lobster supper on Sundays ($36); all-you-can-eat mussels with a Sella draft on Mondays ($19); an all-night three-course prix-fixe menu on Tuesdays ($28.95), which is also offered on other days before 6 PM; bouillabaisse on Wednesdays ($27); duck à l’orange on Thursdays ($28); Dover sole meuniere on Fridays ($30); and braised short ribs on Saturdays ($29). There is also a new specialty cocktail, which changes monthly, for $10. For reservations call 732-759-2900.

Avenue at night.

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COOKBOOKS FROM NJ AUTHORS
Cookbook authors Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton (co-founder of Hamilton’s Grill Room, Lambertville) have released the second volume of Canal House Cooking, which contains their favorite fall and holiday recipes. Learn how to prepare fried zucchini; watercress salad; cheese straws; lobster stew; duck with apples and onions; roast capon with fettuccine stuffing; whole fish on potatoes; prime rib; and other easy-to-follow recipes. The duo publishes installments three times a year, and the next book will contain winter and spring recipes. A single book is $19.95; three books are $49.95. Canal House Cooking can be purchased online at www.thecanalhouse.com, or, if you’d like to pay by check, e-mail [email protected] or call 609-802-7997.

The Diabetes Seafood Cookbook by Barbara Seelig-Brown, New Jersey cooking teacher, author, and host of the TV show Stress Free Cooking, has won a 2009 Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best Fish and Seafood Book in the USA. For more information log on to www.stressfreecooking.com.

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PAUL HOBBS WINE DINNER AT STAGE LEFT
On January 18, a five-course Paul Hobbs dinner will be held at Stage Left, 5 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick. The following menu will be presented:

Hors d’oeuvres
(2008 El Felino Chardonnay, Paul Hobbs, Mendoza Valley, Argentina)

Lobster and crab mac and cheese
(2007 Chardonnay, Paul Hobbs, Russian River, Sonoma)

Jurgielewicz duck breast with prosciutto, duck confit, and cacao fritter
(2007 Pinot Noir, Paul Hobbs, Russian River, Sonoma)

House-made fettuccine carbonara with pancetta, duck cracklings and Suydam Farm egg yolk
(2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Paul Hobbs, Napa)

Roasted venison, butternut squash purée, Swiss chard, and Laird’s applejack cherry, or Painted Hills grass-fed beef strip steak with marrow foam and marrow bone
(2007 Luján de Cuyo Malbec, Bramare, Mendoza Valley, Argentina, and 2003 Cobos-Marchiori Vineyard Malbec, Paul Hobbs, Mendoza Valley, Argentina)

Apple tart with caramel ice cream and butter brickle

7 PM; $225 plus tax and service. For reservations call 732-828-4444.

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ATHENA GREEK & LEBANESE RESTAURANT, NUTLEY
Athena Greek & Lebanese Restaurant has opened at 338 Passaic Avenue, Nutley (973-667-6100), in the old Black Market space. The restaurant has retained the French-themed pictures from when it was called Papillon, which closed in October 2008, causing one to wonder what the Eiffel Tower has to do with Greek and Lebanese food. We started with baba ganoush served with warm pita bread, followed by a combination vegetarian plate, which was $10.95 and contained eggplant stew, grape leaves, feta salad, spinach pie, and hummus; a nice sampling from the appetizer list. The hummus and feta salad was also found on an order of lamb kabobs (small $12.95, large $15.95), along with rice pilaf. Dessert was a minuscule piece of baklava ($2.95), which gave us one bite each. It’s not for sharing. The restaurant is BYO and open daily for lunch and dinner.

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SAVE THE DATE
Winter Hudson Restaurant Week will be held from February 1 through 12, with restaurants offering special dinners at prices you’ll love. Watch for more information on Table Hopping With Rosie, and log on to www.hudsonrestaurantweek.com for a complete list of participating restaurants.

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Please send press releases and restaurant news, including information on staff changes, wine tastings, and cooking classes, to [email protected].

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