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The Petite Cafe, Nutley


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As a Nutley resident for over 40 years, sorry to report that The Petite Cafe did not impress me at all, the one time I ate there. After reading many positive reviews, I decided to give the place a try. Service was bad, food ,cold, and decor, awful. Not fond eating at a place with a TV blaring from above. Hope they got rid of that. I'd be willing to give the place another try , since I live so close, however, best bets in Nutley are still Little Saigon, Scuttlebutts (decent food, odd atmosphere), and Franklin Steakhouse , when I am in the mood for good steak and a somewhat hectic atmosphere. The Petite Cafe just isn't worth a visit, in my opion, unless you live close by or just want to see what all of the fuss is about.

Heuriger Wein is mein Lieblingswein!

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Have to add my vote to the (quasi) naysayers ... Went for lunch around six months ago and found it totally unimpressive. For ambiance and quality, i find the lunch menu at Raymond's in Montclair more substantial and far more delicious. But maybe it's worth checking out for dinner ...

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If I may add that if you went to The Petite Cafe and the televisions were on, you were NOT there during dinner hours when the place is literally transformed. I've written in my earlier posts about the place ... no sense beating a dead horse. If you have never experienced DINNER at this establishment (Thurs-Sat evenings only), you are depriving yourself of an outstanding culinary event.

Nutley Resident

-------------------------

Proud to be American

Proud to be a Nutley Township Resident

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Personally if I were making a special trip to Nutley merely to dine there are several places that I would do it for before The Petite Cafe...Franklin Steakhouse being the first choice...

A.D.S.

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Personally if I were making a special trip to Nutley merely to dine there are several places that I would do it for before The Petite Cafe...Franklin Steakhouse being the first choice...

i'd agree that the franklin steakhouse has good burgers, and a decent beer selection, but their choice grade steaks are merely choice grade steaks. i can do better at home. ya know?

but, the bartenders look like they just finished a shift at Shakers, so, you know, they've got *that* going for them. :biggrin:

ok, here's the facts:

listed in order of the best to the worst in Nutley:

Little Saigon

Scuttlebutts

Franklin Steakhouse

the rest don't matter. :wink:

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ok, here's the facts:

listed in order of the best to the worst in Nutley:

Little Saigon

Scuttlebutts

Franklin Steakhouse

the rest don't matter.

I concur with the first three but must add Ralph's Pizzeria as one of the finest pie's I have ever had - bar none! Also I havent been there in years but venturing over to the far side of town American Bistro was also very good...

Excellent point on the bartenders as well at Franklin Steakhouse - I'd say even better than anyone who is employed by Shakers... :biggrin: ...we are getting bad - we need our own forum...

A.D.S.

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I concur with the first three but must add Ralph's Pizzeria as one of the finest pie's I have ever had - bar none! Also I havent been there in years but venturing over to the far side of town American Bistro was also very good...

ralph's just got pissed off because the High Street Brewery (you know, that bar that doesn't brew beer or even carry any real microbrews) took out their dinner tables and put in a pool table. i suppose ralph's thought it would hurt their business (ralph's supplies the food to the High Street), although i've never, ever, ever seen anyone eat at those tables.

and i think the pool table is much better than the menu anyway. the bar pies, however, are spot on.

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but, the bartenders look like they just finished a shift at Shakers, so, you know, they've got *that* going for them. :biggrin:

OK Rock, I'm in for Franklin, get Tommy, I'll drive down but no fuckin shots. Gotta be a Monday night when I'm not holding Texas hold'em at my house or Thursday when I'm cocktailing late.

Lou

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OK Rock, I'm in for Franklin, get Tommy, I'll drive down but no fuckin shots. Gotta be a Monday night when I'm not holding Texas hold'em at my house or Thursday when I'm cocktailing late.

Sounds fine to me...keep in mind however that the late week/weekend shifts are generally better... :wink:

A.D.S.

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  • 3 months later...

I thought eGullet readers might be interested in this news. My wife and I just had a very delicious meal at The Petite Cafe. I had SAUTEED OPAKA PAKA (FRESH HAWAIIAN SNAPPER) WITH STOLICHNAYA and my wife had CARROT GINGER BISQUE served cold and BRAISED WAHOO WITH CRABMEAT, ROAST GARLIC AND SUN-DRIED TOMATOES. Both fish plates were moist and had a wonderful combination of flavors. While there the Hostess, Maureen Jaret, was delighted to share with the patrons that she and her husband, Chef Keith Jaret, will be featured on THE TODAY SHOW with Lester Holt for Sunday, September 28, 2003. There is great media coverage of the event later that day, the Nutley Hall of Fame, in which nine inductees will receive their honors. The one with the most publicity is Martha Stewart. She will also have her television show, Martha Living, taping the affair and featuring the food that The Petite Cafe will prepare and serve. Donations of food were made by many Nutley vendors so that Chef Jaret can prepare a steady stream of upscale Hors D'Oeuvres for the afternoon gala. FYI only!

Nutley Resident

-------------------------

Proud to be American

Proud to be a Nutley Township Resident

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The one with the most publicity is Martha Stewart. She will also have her television show, Martha Living, taping the affair and featuring the food that The Petite Cafe will prepare and serve.

Martha Stewart isn't in jail yet?

She's had enough publicity, they say she stole the dime, she oughta do the time...

Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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heeyyyy nutley: i was there tonight too (and had all of the same dishes) -- where were you sitting??

Table #4 -- in the corner of the long bench opposite the window. And you?

we were at one of the tables in front of the window. you were there when we got there, if i remember correctly...that opaka paka was great, huh?

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We were at one of the tables in front of the window.  you were there when we got there, if i remember correctly...that opaka paka was great, huh?

Yes, Pnapoli, my wife and I were seated before anyone else entered for dining. You may have heard me ask Maureen to consult Keith which fish entree was the moistest. I just had (4-wks ago) gastric by-pass surgery and they have been extremely accomodating in helping me with my specialized diet. I had no problem digesting the Opaka Paka and had never before tried the Hawaiian fish. I was thrilled with the taste, texture and the sauce .... oh, the SAUCE! Whew!! Keith Jaret is a wizard when it comes to complimenting his meals with just the right flavors!

I'm truly looking forward to the Hall of Fame ceremonies tomorrow (Sunday). I'm anxious to sample Keith's cooking again! While I can only eat a miniscule amount of food, I savour eat bite of whatever he prepares. Can't wait for his scallops, Pnapoli!!

Nutley Resident

-------------------------

Proud to be American

Proud to be a Nutley Township Resident

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  • 5 months later...

Enjoyed my meal at The Petite Cafe last evening and just had to post about it. Before I describe what I had, I just have to give this place some extra credit. I have never been a fish eater. I would never try something with a "weird name" that wasn't a stock name like sole or flounder, etc. Have to say that since I've been on my own version of the Atkins/South Beach diet since August 2003, I've looked to fish more and more for the high protein. Well, without digressing too much, I believe I have found a love of fish thanks to the chef at The Petite Cafe, Keith Jaret. He has a passion for creating seafood dishes that are second to none (hands-down).

Last night I thoroughly enjoyed a creation of CASHEW CRUSTED MONCHONG WITH POMELO. Oh, my God, it was delicious. The hostess (his wife, Maureen) explained it was from Hawaii and that his purveyor has it flown in fresh. And it was surely fresh and scrumptious, to say the least. The sauce contained a fruit (pomelo) that is similar to grapefruit, but more robust. The marriage of the cashews and the fruit made this dish just spectacular.

There are usually three seafood meals offered on their weekly specials. One offering is always a "duo" -- a combination of two dishes, but I wish they had a "trio" offering so that people could experiment even MORE with exotic fish that you normally do not find anywhere.

BTW, his crab-cakes are fantastic. They are not on the specials menu but as an appetizer available during any dinner. I often get this and never tire of it. A lot of places have them with a lot of bread or filler. Not Chef Jaret's! Just fabulous pan-fried crab delivered with a delicious remoulade sauce. WHEW!

My wife had a bowl of soup that he has offered in the past. CAESAR SALAD BISQUE is a unique offering that literally tastes like eating a Caesar salad! It doesn't have anchovies (thank goodness).

The desserts are wonderful. They have a chocolate cake that is homemade on the premises. This is so moist and rich. Then they add homemade ice cream that puts Häagen-Dazs to shame! The cinnamon ice cream really is a hit.

If you have never been there, you deserve to treat yourself to a truly fine dining experience (Thursday, Friday or Saturday evenings only).

Edited by Nutley Resident (log)

Nutley Resident

-------------------------

Proud to be American

Proud to be a Nutley Township Resident

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This is TOOOOOO weird. We were at Petite Café last night also. Where were you sitting? We were at the four top by the window from 7 to 9 PM. Started of with the fabulous Caesar salad bisque—what a fun soup. Also had the poached pear and manchego cheese salad and the petite café salad. The chef sent over his lump crabmeat cakes for us to taste and they are the best I have had in a long time. Chunks—and I mean chunks of crab with just a bit of cream to bind them were topped with remoulade dressing. The chef does a great job with fish and the black cod with yuzu buerre blanc was a winner. Also loved the sautéed wild King salmon. This was such a treat for me as I have stopped eating farm raised salmon. Lowell had the buffalo osso buco—a gigantic portion which we will enjoy eating today. It came with smashed/whipped red garlic potatoes which were quite addictive. Another friend had the tender and juicy medallions of pork tenderloin, with Absolut vodka, Cointreau, and whole cranberries. At this point my pants were unbuttoned as I was so full. However, the chef also sent over a tasting plate of desserts so we dived in. Loved pecan tart, cheese cake, sautéed bananas and chocolate cake. But the homemade cinnamon ice cream and malted milk ice cream were also worth the calories. BYO. Address: 503 Franklin Ave. Nutley

Phone: 973-667-7778

Rosalie Saferstein, aka "Rosie"

TABLE HOPPING WITH ROSIE

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This is TOOOOOO weird. We were at Petite Café last night also. Where were you sitting? We were at the four top by the window from 7 to 9 PM.

What a small, small world, Rosie! We were seated toward the rear ... farthest away from the window seating I'd say. I truly enjoy their "defiant cuisine." My wife and I are there rather regularly but each dish Keith prepares is like a piece of artwork. We never order from the regular menu because the specials are, well, just so special! :laugh: We saw "trays" of dessert passing us by and said to Maureen, "We want that!" Of course, our eyes are always bigger than our stomachs. You were not the only one with the first button undone! :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

Isn't this a lovely gem of a restaurant? You should come on the wine tastings!! HOLY COW! Talk about good eats and what lessons you learn when Keith expounds on the wines and why it is chosen for the meal. Try and get there for one of those if you enjoyed last night, Rosie!

We were lucky last night. We forgot to make reservations and did manage to get (I think) the last table. I think they've been open 3 years now and they just get busier and busier (good for them). Hope to see you there again sometime! :biggrin:

Nutley Resident

-------------------------

Proud to be American

Proud to be a Nutley Township Resident

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Had an excellent dinner here tonight. Called around 4 for a7:30 reservation and were immediatley seated . Warm pepper roll was served with some honey butter. Delicious combination of flavor. We were both boring and ordered the simple seafood duo, where we were able to have two half portions of two seafood entrees. We had the halibut over salad greens topped with a delicious citrus dressing made from a small Japanese cirus fruit which tastes like a combo of lime , lemon and mandarin. The other dish was sea scallops with a French Asian fusion sauce, light and clean tasting. The mixed sauteed veggies were delicious! Too full for anything else. Enjoyed a Riesling with dinner. Really nice place .

Having lived in Nutley for most of my life, it was very difficult for me to go here for dinner, knowing it was a beauty salon throughout my childhood. Glad I got over that. Will return soon.

Heuriger Wein is mein Lieblingswein!

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Gonna have to try this place soon. Finally found my way to Nutley for the 1st time with The Rock last week. WILL try The Franklin Steakhouse again though. Didn't see the menu but I've heard many good things. Think I'll sit at the bar.

Edited by Lreda (log)
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I went there tonight, and have to say I was bit disappointed. :sad:

Perhaps because of all the hype...

My comapanion and I both had the she crab soup and I have to say it was excellent.

However, my friend ordered the mussel risotto as an entree, and it was gloppy, not creamy.

I had the seafood duo that Weiner,(see above post) mentioned. The halibut was right on, but the scallops, while being cooked perfectly, were plated with a very bland sauce. All I could taste was soy sauce...no other nuances whatsoever. It was described to us as a thai sauce. My friend lived in Thailand for several years and said it had no resemblance to a thai sauce.

For dessert, we shared a capucinno creme brulee. It was burnt. I mean burnt "black', not the nice brown it should be.

Not sure I will return....sorry

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