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FASCINO


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Just saw this in Rosie's column, so I thought I'd share the kudos publicly...

Congratulations to Chef Ryan DePersio of Fascino, 331 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair, and the DePersio family on receiving the American Academy of Hospitality Services 5-Star Diamond Award.

Congrats indeed! Another reminder that I need to get there...if anyone is interested in getting a group together, PM me and we'll set something up!

Curlz

"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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had dinner at fascino last week. shared parpadelle with braised beef and crumbled gorgonzola, very good and just enough portion wise. could have been a little hotter. in fact the entrees could have been hotter also. he had rack of lamb with bulger pilaf and fava beans. our server was quick to point out that instead of fava he would be getting haricort verts. no big deal but it was nice of him to tell us that. i had osso bucco over mashed sweet potatoes and spinach. both entrees were very good. for dessert he had chocolate mousse and i had the chocolate moulten cake. excellent on both. only thing was our server did not pour our wine for us and he didn't ask us how everything was. usually after the first bite or two i like to be asked in case i need anything or anything needs to be sent back. in this case everything was ok but it would have been nice to be asked. he did ask us when we were finish how everything was and we said great. i called and asked for a table instead of a booth and anthony did indeed have a table waiting for us. all in all it was a nice meal.

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Chef Ryan DePersio, Fascino is such a talented chef that it is always a pleasure to experience his superb cuisine. We started out with an amuse of mushroom soup served in a shot glass followed by an order of mascarpone polenta fries that I ordered as soon as we sat down.

Appetizers were a spectacula hand made pappardelle with braised beef, caramelized onions and crumbled Gorgonzola. Equally delicious were the rigatoni with sweet sausage, baby arugula and pecorino Romano and artisinal strozzapreti with black tiger shrimp, Italian eggplant, English peas and a shellfish reduction.

My wild king salmon crusted with black trumpets and served with jumbo asparagus and a Jersey tomato broth was exceptional with the tomato broth balancing the richness of the fish. Roasted prawns paired with a risotto cake, bean puree and English peas with a sweet marjoram oil were also a highlight of our meal. And game lovers can’t go wrong with the creative presentation of Cervena venison glazed with pomegranate syrup and served with crisp Parmesan spaetzle.

We were stuffed but who can bypass desserts made by pastry chef Cynthia DePersio? I am especially fond of her crostata and the apple crostata was a perfect ending to our dinner. I can also recommend the pistachio praline bread pudding with a warm caramel sauce. With tax and tip the bill was $108 for two. If you want to go to Fascino on a Saturday night be sure to make reservations three weeks in advance.

Rosalie Saferstein, aka "Rosie"

TABLE HOPPING WITH ROSIE

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I hear they are adding an additional 30 seats by expansion. Sometimes this is "the kiss of death" for a restaurant. Let's hope the food stays as spectacular as it is now.

"My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them." ~Winston Churchill

Morels- God's gift to the unworthy human species

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I hear they are adding an additional 30 seats by expansion.  Sometimes this is "the kiss of death" for a restaurant.  Let's hope the food stays as spectacular as it is now.

They are adding 35 seats and ready for the extra business. Hopefully it will be easier to get reservations.

Rosalie Saferstein, aka "Rosie"

TABLE HOPPING WITH ROSIE

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Do they still have the prix fixe during the week early in the evening? I took some of my staff year for a holiday/thank you dinner last year and would love to do the same, but since I cannot bill it to work, appreciate the prix fixe!

Casey

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I hear they are adding an additional 30 seats by expansion.  Sometimes this is "the kiss of death" for a restaurant.  Let's hope the food stays as spectacular as it is now.

They are adding 35 seats and ready for the extra business. Hopefully it will be easier to get reservations.

I have heard that before. I am praying that service and food quality doesn't suffer because right now it's top notch for a Montclair establishment. Adding 35 seats is basically doubling your efforts. We shall see.

"My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them." ~Winston Churchill

Morels- God's gift to the unworthy human species

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Do they still have the prix fixe during the week early in the evening?  I took some of my staff year for a holiday/thank you dinner last year and would love to do the same, but since I cannot bill it to work, appreciate the prix fixe!

Casey

This has been taken off the menu but if someone is willing to come in early they could set up an early bird prix fix for them..no problem...just have them call Ryan or Anthony first.

Rosalie Saferstein, aka "Rosie"

TABLE HOPPING WITH ROSIE

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  • 1 month later...
We tried earlier this month to get a reservation there for my birthday on January 8, but they're booked solid. I was so disappointed! We'll have to try for another date.

My friends and I were there last Thursday. Have to make last minute arrangements to take friends from Manila to dinner. I called at 8:45PM, Cynthia and Anthony were very helpful and allowed us to come in at 9:30. Anthony even told us where to park. Chef Ryan was very gracious and accommodating and helped out with my friend's non-food questions.

The food was great as usual, the service attentive and courteous. We were the last ones to leave but we never felt rushed.

Thank you Fascino.

Cirilo

"There is something uncanny in the noiseless rush of the cyclist, as he comes into view, passes by, and disappears."

Popular Science, 1891

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Fascino has a few spots left for New Years Eve!    Here's what's available:

Early Seating - 3 Course Prix Fix for $65

1 Table @ 6:30

2 Tables @ 5:30

Late Seating - 5 Couse Prix Fix for $95

2 Tables @ 9:30 or 10:00

Phone: 973-233-0350

The late seatings are presently not available. I just called 5 minutes ago and the only opening is at 5:30pm. Oh well, off to the drawing board.

"My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them." ~Winston Churchill

Morels- God's gift to the unworthy human species

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  • 1 month later...

I finally got to Fascino...and I'm happy it didn't take me all year to get there, as now I can go back! :biggrin:

From the moment I walked in and was greeted warmly by the DePersios to the minute we left (last ones out), I enjoyed it. The decor is great, although on the exterior, it's easy to drive past if you don't know what you're looking for. Five of us sat in a comfortable banquette, although some might find that less appealing than a regular table. I will note that I got a phone call from Fascino to let me know that's where we would be seated and to confirm that it wouldn't be a problem. That heads-up was much appreciated, but this group did fine. Besides, what's a little shuffling among friends when someone needs to get out? :-)

We decided to have the Chef's Tasting Menu, which at $55pp was a bargain, indeed! The only request we made was for them to leave off the crab cakes, as two of us have had allergic reactions to crab.

We began with an amuse of mushroom soup finished with a bit of truffle oil. It was served in a large shot glass, and was a good 3 mouthfuls' worth. A DELICIOUS, earthy start to the meal.

The five courses:

-Giant Prawn (complete with head, although it had been previously detached and then placed back on for show and for easy removal) over California spinach (iirc)

-Seared Scallops in a very light broth with carrots and artichokes

-Foie Gras over a PILE of julienned Fuji apples

-Split plate of beef tenderloin over California spinach sauteed with lots of garlic + the gnocchi of the day

-Desserts: Molten Chocolate Cake with Hazelnut Gelato and Hazelnut Praline, a banana something (didn't try as I'm not a banana fan) and a Seasonal (in this case, apple) crostata that I gave an A++

The soup, the foie gras and the crostata were my favorites. I can still taste that foie gras, the apples, and the wonderful wine we drank with it (a little help here with the name...?)

The only real disappointment for me was in the service. We had to seek out our waiter or a busboy too many times to ask them to open the wine we had brought, request new wine glasses, more bottled water, or to ask a question about a dish. The servers were attentive and knowledgeable when they were at the table, but I didn't expect we'd have to look for them so often! It may just be that they need to hire more staff, as the place was 100% full. Both Ryan and Anthony worked the room throughout the evening, which is always a nice touch, especially from such affable folks. From what I could see and overhear, every diner is made to feel like a regular, and that goes a long way--especially these days! I called there this week to make a reservation for when my folks come up from Maryland, and it took all of a few seconds for Anthony to remember who I was.

Looking forward to getting back to Fascino soon to try other items from the menu and of course, to see what changes with the seasons.

"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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Fascino has good availability during the next few weeks, during the week and on Friday nights. Saturday is usually a reserve well ahead, or take your chances game.

I checked OpenTable.com for availability on 2 people and 4 people. Next Wed and Thurs 630-7-730 for 2 and 4 people, next Friday 630 and 8 pm, etc. All are available

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

rancho gordo

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Thanks, RP...I use Open Table as well, but the only res I could get for a Sat night almost 2 weeks out was 5:30pm. I can go there during the week, but the folks are visiting on the weekend only!

"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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Their web site, www.fascinorestaurant.com is definitely up and running...'tho the menus posted don't fully match the ones that were put in front of us a week ago.

"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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  • 2 weeks later...

As I said last night, when it rains it pours...Fascino was on my GET TO list for '05, and now I've had my second meal there in as many weeks! I am a lucky gal, indeed. :biggrin: My folks were up from Maryland and I got to schedule our meals for the weekend (whoo hoo), so I was thrilled to get them (US) to Fascino, and we weren't disappointed! We were warmly greeted by the staff (sans Mama, who (rumor has it) was out partying) and taken to the booth that is now officially 'my table' b/c it's where I sat on my previous visit. We immediately received an amuse of celery root and leek soup that was delicious, albeit in need of a touch of both salt and pepper.

Three of us had appetizers...against my wish to try something different, I just had to have the foie gras again b/c it was SO wonderful last time. My bro had never tried it and he's now officially a convert as well! :cool: My dad had the scungilli and red onion salad which was very good, and my brother had the onion soup, which he loved, but didn't share. PFFT!

For dinner, my dad and I both had the veal chop, which was a special. Can't tell you how much it cost b/c the price wasn't announced and we didn't ask, but it was fabulous--a nice sized (without being HUGE), perfectly cooked medium/rare frenched chop over their spinach with garlic (officially now a favorite of mine, btw) and half a dozen roasted (?) pearl onions. I don't know what they do to the onions, but if anyone does (ANTHONY? RYAN?), please share!! Amazing flavor. My bro had the sea bass Sicilian style (iirc), my s-i-l had the strozzapretti (sp?) with shrimp and peas, and my stepmother had the halibut. A few sides of broccolini and we were very happy campers.

Desserts: two praline bread puddings and an apple crostata. We agreed that the bread pudding was incredibly light in addition to being clean-the-plate good. :laugh:

My dad always likes to prove that you can drink very well without breaking the bank, and last night was no exception; I can't remember the white but it was a chenin blanc. We had a Big House Red followed by a favorite of mine, Hedges CMS (Cab, Merlot and Syrah) and then a half bottle of Quady Essencia with dessert.

Although I'm betting that there will be more than a two-week gap until the next time, I look forward to getting back to Fascino numerous times in '05!

"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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Thanks for 2 nice posts Curlz!

The white wine was a Dry Creek Chenin Blanc 2003. Absolutely fantastic at $8.99 a bottle this is a complete steal!

Sorry about the service on the first visit. I know it was a Saturday night and we were a little crazed. Also, I lost 2 busboys recently...(one was fired for total inepitude, the other was a young kid who didn't realize it would be hard work) but I am working on replacing them.

Finally, those pearl onions are cooked in a butter/sugar sauce. He then deglazes it down with chicken stock but I don't know the exact recipe. Not sure if Ryan wants to give it out either... :wink:

Anthony

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Anthony,

Your note made me realize that I neglected to say that service was much better on my visit this past weekend. I think anyone who dines out a lot knows how hard it is to come by good servers, and I don't envy you that! Your staff did a great job on Saturday, though.

As for the onions, WOWSA. Don't care if Ryan won't share the full secret--I'll just have to get back for more of them! :wink: Thanks again--and also for filling in the blank on our chenin blanc--YOU wrote down the wines that night, but I didn't...I must have been too busy drinking! :biggrin:

Curlz

"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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I had a great meal there on Valentine's Day.

Lobster and avacado salad(+ $5 supplement)

Cannaloni with cheese and mushrooms over arugula

Chicken breast over broccolini with black truffle sauce

Scallop dish grilled but I forgot the accompaniments

Chocolate Souffle

Warm banana crostata

I may have missed some details but the meal was very good. One exception was the Cannaloni dish. It tasted fantastic but the arugula was very sandy. I told the waiter and he kind of shrugged it off.

Besides that service was very good. I was suprised to see so many choices on the menu for the holiday. Geat items too as it was very difficult to decide what to get. Menu was price fixed at $55 a head for the three courses.

Edited by richl2214 (log)

"My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them." ~Winston Churchill

Morels- God's gift to the unworthy human species

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Just an FYI post.

Just got an email from Fascino that reads:

Hello,

Just a couple of updates for everybody. We had been working on a new expansion of the restaurant for about 6 months. The new room is finally open and everything has been going great. Fascino has expanded from a 50 seats to 85 seats. During the week from Mon. through Thurs. we can take reservations right up until the same day. We can also accomodate walk-ins on these days. Friday nights still have decent reservations available with 2 weeks notice and Saturday nights are running about 3-4 weeks in advance. Also, we now have a small private section at the far end of the expansion. We have been accomodating parties up to 25 people in this section if you are interested please call and speak to Anthony. We can set up parties/meetings during regular business and your party will be sufficiently closed off from the rest of the restaurant.

NJ monthly has it's annual Readers Choice Awards going on right now. From now until March 12th 2005 you can go to www.njmonthly.com and vote for your favorite restaurants. In the August issue of NJ Monthly they will announce the winners. Please go and vote for your favorites!

Thanks,

The DePersio Family

Fascino is located at:

331 Bloomfield Avenue

Montclair, NJ 07042

Phone: 973-233-0350

Fax: 973-233-0359

President

Les Marmitons-NJ

Johnson and Wales

Class of '85

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Just tried calling to make a reservation for March 7, a Monday and all I get is a recording. Anyone know how to bypass this? Should I book on opentable? I was hoping to speak to a live person cause I want to request a tasting menu.

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Lou, I book on open table and rarely have a problem.

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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