—Ventanas in Fort Lee has been long in the making, but then it was also a lot in the making. The restaurant, which quietly soft-opened just over a week ago, is 7,000 square feet with three co-mingling seating areas—the requisite bar and dining areas plus a specially dedicated “Tapas Lounge.”
Ventanas is the brainchild of restaurateur Alexander Duran (Son Cubano) and David Burke, with a menu showcasing the under-explored world of Asian-Latin fusion (there’s a strong influence of Asian flavors in Cuban cuisine thanks to late 19th century Chinese immigrants). Chefs Andrew Riccatelli and Ricardo Cordona (of Son Cubano) developed the menu, which features fusion-forward flavor combinations like Pastrami Smoked Salmon Arepas and Salt and Coffee-crusted Whole Red Snapper.
Ventanas will go full-on nightlife come Friday and Saturday nights (think bumping music, room to dance), and will eventually offer both room and poolside service to the two residential towers that comprise the gleaming urban playland that is the Modern. The “Grand Opening” will be held on Thursday, March 14. Ventanas at the Modern, 200 Park Avenue, Fort Lee; 201-583-4777
—It wasn’t long after Capital Craft opened in Green Brook in 2016 that they made the ranks of New Jersey Monthly‘s 25 Best New Restaurants of 2017. Two years later, they’re opening a second location, this time in East Hanover on March 1. It won’t be an exact facsimile, though; they’re still (or newly, anyway) looking for an executive chef to oversee the transition to “this new high volume location” (in the home of a former Macaroni Grill in the East Hanover Plaza). You can expect similar emphasis on that happy place where carefully curated craft beer and wine/cocktail/spirits lists meet creatively modernized pub food. Capital Craft, 138 Route 10, East Hanover; no phone yet.
In the Works:
—Double Tap Brewing in Whippany was aiming to be open by now—or whatever their definition of “early 2019” is—but delays are part of the business and now Double Tap seems to be timed to open sometime in warmer weather. Rumblings online say, possibly, summer 2019. Meanwhile you can keep up with the brewery via their Facebook page, where they recently posted one of their brewer’s wins at the 2019 Homebrew Alley competition. Double Tap Brewing, 50 Parsippany Road, Whippany; no phone yet.
—Mega-portion chain Metro Diner is opening its first location in New Jersey in East Brunswick, a 4,500 square foot space in a shopping center that will be big enough to accommodate 130 people at a time. Expect aforementioned large quantities of diner staples with fun twists and some regional flare. Metro Diner, 298 Route 18, East Brunswick; 732-704-7587
Closed and In the Works:
—The Ketch on Long Beach Island was recently sold, and the new owners are planning on replacing the 30-ish year old Beach Haven standby with a totally new concept, ruffling enough local feathers to merit an online petition. The new owners are the Tide Table Group, an established restaurant group with names like Mud City Crab House and the Black Whale Bar & Fish House under their umbrella, which helps if they plan on transforming the longtime shore and nightlife hub into a 60s and 70s-themed Shore nostalgia spot. Karl Badoff of Parker’s Garage & Oyster Saloon (also a Tide Table restaurant) will helm the kitchen. The building itself is historic, the former home of the storied Acme Hotel (supposedly a former favorite stomping ground of Babe Ruth). The new space will open sometime in May. Bird & Betty’s, 2nd Street on the Bay, Beach Haven; no phone yet.Click here to leave a comment