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What are you looking for in fine dining, Bergen County?


PicnicChef
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Hi all!

After five years of loving Picnic, my lease was up and I decided to keep the catering but to open a fine dining restaurant in Radburn, Fair Lawn. We are scheduled to open early June, and over the years, I've read this board and the constant issue is that nobody is terribly happy with Bergen restaurants. I will not, as yet, have a liquor license, but feel free to tell me what you would like to see.

Regards,

Christine

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Not sure if this is what you are looking for, but..

When I go out for dinner at an upscale restaurant, I expect attentive, but not over attentive, service. I don't want my waiter hovering, checking out my every move.

Please have some kind of amuse bouche to curb the appetite, while the chef is preparing my appetizer. Good quality, warm, fresh bread is always appreciated.

Please list prices on your specials, or have the waiter mention them, if he is reciting them. It's not nice to be shocked when the bill is presented.

Please check and replace my utensils, if they were taken away after the previous course.

Please teach to serve from the right and clear from the left. I think it's been forgotten in too many places.

Please don't take my plate away when I have just taken my last bite and haven't even put my fork down.

Please do not make me feel like you are in a rush to turn over the table. I do like to linger, just a bit, ..not a lot, just a little.

Please make sure the waiter refrains from saying "do you want change?"

Just make the dining experience one to remember.

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Went to "Janice, a Bistro" in Ho-Hokus for the first time last night. It's a BYO with a delicious menu, attentive service, and waaaaaaaaaaay too much noise (due to limited space, no sound-dampening in effect, and a cacaphonous kitchen merely partitoned off from the room of booths), but you should go there and ask the patrons directly. You'll have a fun time, andmaybe learn what you'd like to know.

JMHO.

-s.

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Have heard great things about your cooking and I'm really looking forward to your opening...

Some service things I look for in a restaurant:

1. servers should be more than familiar with the menu- they should know not just what ingredients are used, but methods of preparation and what it tastes like

2. As others have stated: don't rush the patrons

3. Serve coffee before the dessert comes~ I love the both of them together, that's why I ordered coffee

4. I don't care that a server tells me his or her name ( a pet peeve of many diners), i do care that they are friendly and not aloof or snobby

5. I like nice wine glasses with dinner, even at BYO's

6. Alice's in lake Hapatong (David Drake's new place) serves carbonated tap water...really nice touch to an otherwise mediocre restaurant.

Tech Issues:

1. please please please don't have a crazy too-long-to-load + music/sound website just to see the menu..such as: My link. Just a simple site that states your days/times/number and menus

Food issues:

-NJ's got some amazing produce/cheese/meats I hope you feature these at the restaurant

Good luck and we'll see you in June

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Christine!

I am excited for you - and for me; a great new place to eat!

Please incorporate the lobster rolls - well, perhaps not the rolls but you make a killer lobster roll fill!

As Sixela wrote - I want a server familar with the menu - and that includes wine (should the license go through) -

I want a bread basket that I will be sorry to see go when it leaves the table - I want the bread warm, a variety and fresh - I want butter that does not need to be unwrapped and perhaps a chioce of salts - a defined olive oil would be nice - radishes with fresh butter -

I want an amuse that tells me what your thinking - entice me with something I might not have considered and would mimic in my own kitchen -

I want black linen when I am wearing a black skirt or white linen when I am wearing something... not black.

I want appetizers that can be ordered as a starter or entree

I want to see something like Portland razor clams and Portland blue potatoes and a Portland wine and portland cheese - little culinary gems - Mussels from Newfoundland drunk in their local Kidi Vidi Beer.

I want a seasonal salad - dressed with nuts,local cheese, or a seasonal soup

I want an option of fish and meats that may not be so unique and are served nestled next to a feisty starch.

I want a dessert that is not an after thought - I don't need for it to compete with my dinner for calories or fullness

I want a menu that fades into the next season so I don't totally loose a favorite dish - and I want specials that transport me into diverse culinary cuisines such as Ethopian and West Africa fusions-

I want to know you want me there - I want a quick stop at the table -

I want to be able to make reservations - and if opentable is an option you will see me more often - it makes it that much easier --

I love the idea previously mentioned - carbonated water options -

I want consistency - I want the chef and staff to always be on!

I want to come to your soft opening!!!

Best wishes Christine!!!

Jan

"When women are depressed, they either eat or go shopping. Men invade another country. It's a whole different way of thinking."

- Elaine Boosler

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I'm sure the food will be wonderful. That being said,

1. An interesting cheese course.

2. Good wine glasses ala Culin Aire in Montclair.

3. Quality coffee made well. I can count on one finger the places that do this right.

I'm a NYC expat. Since coming to the darkside, as many of my freinds have said, I've found that most good things in NYC are made in NJ.

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Agree with much of what has been said here, but I'll add a few other thoughts:

-A reasonably-priced tasting menu is one of my favorite ways to eat, as I often think "I'd love 3-4 bites of about half a dozen of these menu items!" That's how I get my fix. :biggrin:

-Remind servers to ask if a diner wants to take home what's left on their plate. Some of us are very happy to have round 2 of a great meal (or at least part of it), even if it's just a few bites, and esp if it means we can leave the restaurant without being uncomfortably full. Then use decent takeaway containers (read: no leaks on the ride home)!

-Everyone isn't a chocolate freak. If you want me to order dessert, offer something not crazy sweet--in citrus, something savory, or even a few great (again, not chocolate) cookies to go along with the aforementioned great coffee. And btw, great coffee made in a french press makes me VERY happy at the end of a good meal--and make sure there's a decaf available that's just as good as regular, please!

-A little wine education can go a long way with the staff, and that includes wine service. Rather than have us witness them struggle to open bottles tableside, let them do it at a side station--but only if they can bring it back in a timely fashion! And PS, forget the Rabbit; get some ScrewPulls--anyone can use them with ease.

Can't wait to check out your new digs!

Curlz

Edited by Curlz (log)

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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Clean, well lit but not bright, cozy but not crowded. Attentive waitstaff (not hovering) that know the menu. Prices on the specials, a seasonal menu, local ingredients when possible, and reliable (I shouldn't know who cooked my dish by how it comes out this time). Clean beer taps (if you get a license).And I'm not a fan of the open kitchen. BTW - I'll take clean and reliable over all the other issues. (I second the "keep the lobster roll" comment!)

FWIW - Don't try to please everyone (you can't do it). Be yourself and we'll come to know and appreciate your place. If it's like RICNIC catering, you'll do great. Good luck!

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Picnic, the Restaurant website is up, albeit in the early stages...!

You can read more here. :smile:

Edited by Curlz (log)

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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  • 4 weeks later...

I was one of the lucky few to be able to be considered a 'friend' to be invited to the 'friends and family' night at Picnic. The Restaurant. for their soft opening.

Everything that would you would expect from Chef Christine was there. Donning her typical colorful chef pants, with her partners in crime John and Javi by her side, I was more than pleased.

She has surrounded her self with talent both in the boh and foh. The menu, which changes daily, with an inviting selection of small and large plates, all of which were appropriate for a very hot summer day. I would tell you what I had tonight, but it will change for tomorrow. Google the restaurant and you'll see what they have. I just saw it on line myself.

Annibel, who runs the front of the house, and her husband Doron were very gracious and inviting to us, and have brought together a talented staff to enhance the experience.

Chef Nunn...thank you for opening up a new version of 'Picnic'...a restaurant of this caliber was needed in the area

and we will be very happy to make many, many return visits

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  • 7 months later...

CLEARLY, I look for 3.5 stars from New Jersey Monthly!

Thanks Christine for brining fine fabulous dining in Northern New Jersey!

jan

"When women are depressed, they either eat or go shopping. Men invade another country. It's a whole different way of thinking."

- Elaine Boosler

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  • 6 months later...

Labor Day Weekend - EVEVERYONE but me has gone away for the weekend.......CLEARLY NOT!

my last minute attempt for a weekend reservation shot down...along with the hope of one last lobster roll......damn!Good for You Picnic buddies...not so much for me:(

jan

"When women are depressed, they either eat or go shopping. Men invade another country. It's a whole different way of thinking."

- Elaine Boosler

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