Perennial highlight on NJM’s Top 25 restaurant list, Restaurant Latour has officially been inducted into the 2018 Wine Enthusiast Restaurant Hall of Fame. Noted for the breadth of its 6,000 label and 105,000 bottle wine collection, Latour, the flagship restaurant of Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg, Sussex County, is the only New Jersey restaurant in Wine Enthusiast’s Hall of Fame, which includes the French Laundry in Napa Valley, Restaurant Daniel in Manhattan and Manresa in Los Gatos, California. And for the 13th year in a row, Latour has also received Wine Spectator’s Grand Award, making it one of only 91 restaurants in the world in the category this year. Robby Younes is COO and director of wine of the Crystal Springs Resort, and Susanne Wagner is wine director of Restaurant Latour. 1 Wild Turkey Way, Hamburg; 844-225-4957
*Prime, aged steak, seafood and Italian specialties are the name of the game at the just-opened, flagship Let’s Meat steakhouse in Harrington Park. The menu has a raw bar and updates on classic appetizers and steakhouse fare, but no surprise the focus is on the meat. (You can still get your creamed spinach and crispy onions on the side.) The restaurant bills itself as a “social club,” and if you’re really into the steakhouse vibe you might opt for a VIP membership, which includes access to regular events, prime seating, access to a “private wine and cigar locker” and other perks throughout the year. There’s also a takeout menu with upmarket pizza, sandwiches, and—maybe more exciting—dry-aged brisket and short rib build-your-own-burger options. 90 La Roche Avenue, Harrington Park; 201-660-7960
*The big draw at Tomato & Co.’s third location—its first in New Jersey—is the craft your own pizza option. With more than 50 toppings, house-made dough, and 90 seconds of cooking time, the mini-chain should bring some new, slightly fresher flavors to the fast-casual options at the Garden State Plaza mall. One Garden State Plaza, Paramus; 201-843-4102
*Wings and fried chicken are the centerpiece of O My Chicken, which just opened in Fort Lee. The fast-casual restaurant also has a variety of poke bowls, ramen and bubble teas. 1475 Bergen Boulevard, Fort Lee; 201-917-3999
In the Works:
*The first brick and mortar location of Jersey City/Hoboken-based food truck Carlito’s Barbecue Taqueria is opening at the Garden State Plaza mall. Opening this summer, the Tijuana-inspired menu highlights USDA premium meat (pulled pork, brisket and chicken) smoked low and slow for 16 hours before it hits your taco, plus treats like churros and horchata. If their Instagram pics are legit, here’s hoping the mall location does the same level taco as the truck. One Garden State Plaza, Paramus
*Bottle Hill Tavern is scheduled to open its doors in the historic home of the former Poor Herbies in the Bottle Hill district of Madison any day now. The building was originally a tavern in 1812, and over the years has housed different establishments and even played host to the Marquis de Lafayette. The refurbished space will stay relatively faithful to the tavern menu of Poor Herbies, with historically appropriate refurbishments taking center stage. 13 Waverly Place, Madison; 973-949-6060
* Construction has just begun for the next location of the Blaze Pizza chain in Manalapan, New Jersey.
*Thailand Restaurant closed its doors after two decades of serving its Thai menu out of a former diner-style space in Clark. The owners cited health reasons as the main reason for the closure. There is no word yet as to what will be taking over the space at 291 Central Avenue, Clark.
*The large restaurant and event space that formerly housed the Paris Inn in Wayne was auctioned off in April to a family of established restaurateurs, but there’s no word yet as to what will be taking its place. 1292 Alps Road, WayneClick here to leave a comment