Ventanas Welcomes New Pastry Chef

Plus: Other restaurant openings in Bloomfield, Mount Laurel and more.

Chefs on the Move:

—David Burke’s Ventanas in Fort Lee isn’t very shy about its bold moves (think clotheslines bacon, Cheesecake Cotton Candy Tree, etc.). Easily the most influential move yet comes with the hiring of its new pastry chef, Julien Chantereau. The classically-trained Chantereau (who’s also an expert in sucre soufflé, or sugar blowing) has experience in some top-rank kitchens, from the two Michelin-starred Le Pont de Brent in Switzerland to, most recently, Bagatelle in New York. His training capably takes on the classic Burke Asian/Cuban influence with desserts like coconut flan and mochi and macarons. Ventanas at The Modern, 200 Park Avenue, Fort Lee; 201-583-4777

Open:

APEM Creamery and Sorbetteria has been running for a couple months now out of a sleekly unassuming space on Broad Street in Bloomfield. The shop is run by French Culinary Institute (now the International Culinary Center) alums Jennifer Ko and Alex Saneski, the latter being the gelato obsessed alumnus of Il Laboratorio de Gelato in New York. The duo originally joined forces with Cremeux ex Machina in the Ferry Building in San Francisco, now returning to East Coast with this almost aggressively anti-frills, ultra-minimalist spot. Where surroundings are austere, the gelato and sorbet flavors are rich and creative; per a recent Instagram update, they’re serving goat caramel gelato, earl grey and lemon gelato, and orange ginger mezcal sorbet, among other flavors. And, considering Saneski’s passion, be on the lookout for interesting one-offs like the ghost pepper-tinged El Diablo. APEM Creamery, 870 Broad Street, Bloomfield; 973-666-0438

—It’s been just over a month since Rai Rai Ramen opened another location in Mount Laurel, bringing a new option for the Japanese fast-casual staple to South Jersey. A self-described “spare, modern spot for specialty Japanese,” Rai Rai keeps its menu short and sweet (so to speak) with a 24-hour pork broth acting as the unctuous base of all the slurpy goodness. Beyond ramen options like chiken katsu ramen, ribeye steak ramen, shoyu charsiu ramen, there’s also sides like pork cao buns, crispy shrimp, Japanese fried rice, etc. The restaurant is BYO but they do have teas with boba and jelly options. Rai Rai Ramen, 1200 S. Church Street, Mount Laurel; 856-360-7142

Renovated:

—If you’ve seen the 1980 horror classic “Friday the 13th,” chances are you’ll recognize the Blairstown Diner. The 70-year-old diner was featured in the iconic slasher (along with much of the surrounding area). Tourists and horror fans visit regularly (especially when the 13th just so happens to land on a Friday), but if the diner’s new owners have anything to say about it, you’ll have reason to visit all year long. Since taking over in January of this year, new owner Gary Wishnia has undertaken renovations, including new chrome ceilings and reupholstered seating inside, a dedicated window for soft serve and take out, and some exterior, lit signage reminiscent of the look of the place in the horror film. Blairstown Diner, 53 NJ Route 94, Blairstown; 908-362-6070

Moving Locations:

—David Murray and the team at Denim American Bistro are pulling up stakes in Cherry Hill and moving about a mile away to new, larger digs on Kings Highway in Haddonfield. Nothing about the restaurant’s DNA is expected to change. The move is a search for space, not rebranding. With the new space, formerly home to Braise 116, Murray will be able to seat up to 80 guests at a time (compared with the Cherry Hill location’s 58). According to an announcement on the restaurant website, the new space is opening on October 1. The original location, in the former home of The Farmhouse on Kresson Road, will remain open into September. Denim American Bistro, 312 Kresson Road, Cherry Hill; 856-520-8114

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