Restaurant News

This week Rosie tells us about Satis in Jersey City, Sofra in Montclair, Undici Taverna Rustica in Rumson, and much more news about NJ restaurants.

SATIS, JERSEY CITY
Satis-faction is found at Satis (the name is Latin for “enough” or “sufficient”), 212 Washington Street, Jersey City, a chic BYO bistro with wood tables, a towering ceiling, exposed brick walls, cured meats hanging above the rear counter, a second-floor dining area overlooking the main dining room, and a wait staff that aims to please. The restaurant is open for lunch, dinner, and brunch, and the gelateria next door also has pastries. Start a meal with salumi and cheeses served with bread from Balthazar. We had sopressata, prosciutto, and a special carpaccio of lamb, accompanied with a fig compote, spicy mustard, and gherkins. The bruschetta of the day, chorizo in a thick tomato sauce, had a delightful spicy bite. Entrées were a scrumptious lemon- and fennel-stuffed whole grilled branzino with roasted fingerling potatoes; fall-off-the-bone braised short ribs with chorizo and goat cheese mashed potatoes; seared filet mignon with celery root creamed spinach; and coq au vin with pearl onions, bacon, and potato purée. The “double brownie fudge” that we shared for dessert (that won’t happen again, as this dish was so fabulous I wanted it all to myself) was made with Belgian dark chocolate gelato, milk chocolate brownie gelato, warm bourbon chocolate sauce, and white chocolate whipped cream—a chocoholic’s dream. A lemon poppyseed cake with blueberry and lavender honey compote was not as exciting.

We loved the vibe at this restaurant, our comfy seat with pillows by the bay window, and the fact that Satis uses local farmers and organic ingredients when possible. Executive chef Michael Fiorianti honed his skills as an executive chef for Restaurant Associates and at the now closed Ox in Jersey City. Satis also has a chef’s table for up to six people every Tuesday through Thursday, with seatings at 6 and 8:30 PM. Reservations are required with at least 24-hour notice. Chef Fiorianti will personally prepare, serve, and explain each of the six courses on that evening’s tasting menu ($75), which will change at his discretion based on seasonality and available ingredients. For reservations, call 201-435-5151.

Italian meat platter at Satis.
Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein.

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SOFRA, MONTCLAIR

Montclair never disappoints when it comes to ethnic places to dine. A new choice, Sofra, at 151 Valley Road, offers Turkish Mediterranean cuisine, and based on a few visits we have added the restaurant to our “go back to” list. A combination plate, either small with four choices or large with six, is a great way to sample the different appetizers. Along with the addictive pita bread from Taskin Bakery in Paterson we had hummus; baba ghanoush; eggplant salad; spicy paste, a mixture of minced tomatoes, walnuts, peppers, onions, and hot spices tossed with garlic, olive oil, and lemon; chopped cucumbers blended with garlic, mint, dill, and yogurt; and a creamy red lentil soup. At this point you may just want to share an entrée. Be sure to try the lamb; we found it to be tasty and tender. Sarma beyti, skewered ground lamb wrapped in lavash bread and served with yogurt and a tomato and butter sauce, reminded me of a flavorful hamburger, but better. We can also recommend hunkar begendi, a classic dish from Istanbul with lamb chunks cooked in tomato sauce and served on eggplant purée blended with cheese. This dish can also be ordered with chicken. Although lamb is prevalent in the offerings, fish, chicken, and many vegetable options are available as well. If you’re not sure what to order, opt for the special mixed grill, easily shared, containing lamb shish kebab, chicken shish kebab, skewered chopped lamb kebab, skewered chopped chicken kebab, and gyro, with rice, char-grilled tomatoes, green peppers, lettuce, and onions. For dessert, baklava, kadayif (shredded wheat filled with chopped walnuts flavored with honey syrup), pistachio milk pudding, and tiramisu are made in house and can be washed down with Turkish coffee or tea. For reservations, call 973-746-1091.

Sarma beyti.
Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein.

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UNDICI TAVERNA RUSTICA, RUMSON
We were transported to a rustic Tuscan farmhouse when we entered Undici (“eleven” in Italian) Taverna Rustica, 11 West River Road, Rumson. We were immediately put into a “let’s eat” mood by the massive rectangular bar filled with diners and drinkers; the large trays of tomatoes and fruits, cheeses, and meats hanging from the bar ceiling; and the fireplace that beckoned us to sit and relax. Wood-beam ceilings, wide-plank wood floors, and stone, brick, and plastered walls added to the ambiance.

Although bread and a bean dip were brought to the table when we were seated, we ordered a Neapolitan-style Margherita pizza to munch on while we looked at the menu and wine list. Baked in a wood-fired oven, the pie, with its perfectly charred, thin, and crispy crust, took the edge off our hunger. The all-Italian wine list is so large that we recommend you check it out online so you don’t spend the whole evening trying to decide what to order. Heads up: on Wednesday nights, a seasonal wine list is available with bottles offered at 50 percent off.

Salumi e formaggi, a platter of dried meats, cheeses, olives, grapes, and almonds, and the addictive fried calamari with a hint of sea salt were wonderful and can both be recommended as starters. Pastas were perfect. A very generous portion of the ravioli of the day, filled with greens and served with a tomato sauce, was impeccable. Another special, a Sicilian dish made with sardines, pine nuts, and raisins over pasta, had a robust flavor, and the house-made mafaldine (ruffled fettuccine) topped with a Bolognese sauce was beautifully cooked and presented. Roasted baby chicken with its crispy skin and juicy meat was devoured by the table. Other entrée options were Berkshire center-cut pork chop, cod with Swiss chard, 21-day dry-aged steak, and, on Sundays only, a “Sunday Sauce” with house-made beef bracciole, Italian sausage, and pork ribs slow cooked in a tomato sauce and served over rigatoni. Vegetarians can create a very impressive plate with the side dishes. Roasted Brussels sprouts and rosemary potatoes, which came with the chicken, were as full of flavor as the protein. After that extensive dinner, only one dessert was shared by four people, a sweet apple Tuscan coffee cake served with cinnamon gelato and fresh cream. For reservations, call 732-842-3880.



The back counter at Undici.
Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein.

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DINING DEAL
A three-course spring prix-fixe menu for $35 is now being offered at Boulevard Five72, 572 Boulevard, Kenilworth, Mondays through Thursdays. A wine pairing option for an additional $13 includes premium glasses of wine for the appetizer and entrée courses. Call 908-709-1200 for reservations.

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The following restaurants will be open on Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 8).

A Mother’s Day Festival will be held at Alba Vineyard, 269 Route 627, Village of Finesville, Milford. Noon to 5 PM; $10, $5 for young adults ages twelve to twenty, free for children under twelve. Parking is complimentary, and wine tastings will be available throughout the day for $10 per person. For more information, call 908-995-7800.

Andre’s, 188 Spring Street, Newton, will offer a three-course menu before 4 PM for $35. After 4 PM, diners can opt for a four-course dinner for $45 or a five-course dinner for $55. For reservations, call 973-300-4192.

The Bernards Inn, 27 Mine Brook Road, Bernardsville, offers two choices. A buffet will be served in the Ballroom from 10 AM to 3:30 PM; $59, children six to twelve $35, children two to five $15. A three-course prix-fixe menu will be hosted in the dining room from 12:30 to 7 PM; $75, children $35. For reservations, call 908-766-0002.

A Mother’s Day brunch will be held at Branches, 123 Monmouth Road, West Long Branch, from 10 AM to 2 PM; $39.50, children ages three to twelve $19.50. For reservations, call 732-542-5050.

Casa Dante, 737 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, is offering a four-course prix-fixe menu from 12:30 to 9 PM for $55. More information can be found at www.casadante.com/events; for reservations, call 201-795-2750.

Catherine Lombardi, 3 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, will offer Sunday dinner on Mother’s Day. Call 732-296-9463 for more information and reservations.

David Burke Fromagerie, 26 Ridge Road, Rumson, will serve brunch on Mother’s Day; $45, children $25. A three-course dinner will be offered for $65. For reservations, call 732-842-8088.

Doris & Ed’s, 348 Shore Drive, Highlands, will be open on Mother’s Day from 1 to 7:30 PM. For reservations, call 732-872-1565.

The Elan
, a special events and catering venue at 111 Route 46 West, Lodi, will offer a brunch buffet from 11 AM to 3 PM; $35, children $20, plus tax and 20 percent gratuity. For reservations, call 973-777-0503.

Elements, 163 Bayard Lane, Princeton, will celebrate Mother’s Day on May 7 and 8, with brunch and dinner offered on both days. For more information and reservations, call 609-924-0078.

The Frog and the Peach
, 29 Dennis Street, New Brunswick, will offer a three-course prix-fixe menu from noon to 7 PM for $59. For more information and reservations, call 732-846-3216.

Mother’s Day will be celebrated all weekend at Grounds for Sculpture, 18 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton. On Friday, May 6, High Tea will be offered in the garden of the Peacock Cafe; 4 to 6 PM; $25. On Saturday, May 7, happy hour will be celebrated in the courtyard of the Peacock Cafe from 3:30 to 5:30 PM. On Mother’s Day, the Peacock Cafe will serve brunch from 11 AM to 3 PM. Rat’s Restaurant will serve brunch from 11 AM to 3 PM. For a more casual dining experience, call ahead to reserve a picnic basket, and picnic with Mom in the park. For reservations and more information, call 609-584-7800.

Executive chef Mitchell Altholz at Highlawn Pavilion, Eagle Rock Reservation, West Orange, will offer a Mother’s Day menu. For reservations, call 973-731-3463.

The Inn at Fernbrook, 142 Bordentown-Georgetown Road (Route 545), Chesterfield, will offer a family BYO brunch under tents, rain or shine, which will also include a rose or flower for Mom, farm tractor rides, and tours. All profits will go toward the Fernbrook Education Center. Menu and service will be provided by Chef Eric Martin of Main Street Fine Catering, Princeton. Seatings are at 10 AM and 12:30 PM; $40, children under thirteen $25. For reservations, e-mail [email protected] or call 609-786-1014.

Kuzina by Sofia, Sawmill Shopping Center, 404 Route 70 West, Cherry Hill, will have two options on Mother’s Day. A four-course brunch will be offered from 11 AM to 2 PM; $19. A four-course dinner will be served from 3 to 10 PM; $30. For reservations, call 856-429-1061; BYO.

The Manor, 111 Prospect Avenue, West Orange, has a few options on Mother’s Day. A brunch buffet will be offered from 11:30 AM to 1 PM; $49.95, children $19.95. A Sunday dinner buffet will be held from 2:30 to 6:30 PM; $49.95, children $19.95. The Terrace lounge will have à la carte dining from noon to 6 PM; $62.95, children $24.95. For reservations, call 973-731-2360.

Spend Mother’s Day at Meadowlands Racetrack, 50 Route 120, East Rutherford. At Pegasus there will be a buffet, or have a four-course meal at Terraces. Gates open at 11 AM, and post time is at 1:10 PM. Go to www.meadowlandsracetrack.com to view menus and get pricing and additional information. For reservations, call 201-THE-BIGM.

Napa Valley Grille, Garden State Plaza, 95 Route 17 South, Paramus, will offer a brunch buffet on Mother’s Day. 11 AM to 4 PM; $37.95, children twelve and under $17.95. For reservations, call 201-845-5555.

The Pop Shop will celebrate Mother’s Day with a special brunch buffet that will feature a pancake bar, pastries, stuffed French toast, bagels, salmon and cream cheeses, scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage, and more. There will also be a special buffet for children as well as a chocolate dessert buffet. Seatings at 9 AM, 11:45 AM, and 2:30 PM; $19.95, children $8.95, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 856-869-0111.

Restaurant Nicholas, 160 Route 35 South, Middletown, will offer a three-course menu for $65, a four-course garden menu for $65, and a six-course tasting menu for $85. A children’s menu will be available for $28. Seatings are from 2 to 8:30 PM. For reservations, call 732-345-9977.

Seasonal bounty will be featured at Restaurant Serenade, 6 Roosevelt Avenue, Chatham, at the three-course prix-fixe dinner on Mother’s Day. Noon to 6 PM; $69, children ten and under $35. For reservations, call 973-701-0303.

Rod’s Steak & Seafood Grille, Madison Hotel, 1 Convent Road, Morristown, will offer two options for Mother’s Day. A three-course dinner will be served from noon to 7:30 PM, ranging from $39.95 to $57.95 (a children’s menu is $19.95). A grand buffet will be offered in the Grand Ballroom and Conservatory from 10 AM until 5 PM; $52.95, children ages five to ten $19.95. For reservations, call 973-539-6666.

Along with waterfront views, Salt Creek Grille, 4 Bingham Avenue, Rumson, will offer dinner for Mom from noon to 7 PM. For reservations, call 732-933-9272.

Mother’s Day brunch will be served at Stage Left Restaurant, 5 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick. For more information and reservations, call 732-828-4444.

The Washington Inn, 801 Washington Street, Cape May, will be serving brunch from 10 AM to 1:45 PM; $25.95, children under twelve $15.95. Dinner will be served from 4 to 7:30 PM, featuring an à la carte menu. For reservations, call 609-884-5697.

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