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FASCINO


scarlet knight
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I doubt you'll need eG as any sort of assist, Lou! The tasting menu is available on the printed menu, and I can't imagine that's any different on a Monday. Plus, if you booked on OT and you call back and leave a message, I'm sure you'll hear back from Anthony or Ryan. I have to say that they're very good about communicating...something I'm quite fond of, but I don't often see enough of--in any business! The first time I was going, I got a heads-up call that we were going to be in a booth b/c they didn't have a big enough table for our group. We didn't have an option, but wasn't it nice that we knew before we got there so it didn't turn in to an issue? How many restaurants bother to do that?

Please DO report when you go! And of course, bring some good wine... :laugh:

"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...

Lou, we await your report! :wink:

And I just got this email from Fascino...

Hello,

The TODAY show will once again be featuring our Chef, Ryan DePersio, on Thursday March 10th. between 9:30 - 10:00 a.m. It will be a Pasta Extravaganza segment and Ryan will be cooking our signature pasta dishes from Fascino.

Also, Fascino will be open on Easter, Sunday March 27th. Reservations will be taken from 2:30 - 7:30 p.m. Our regular menu will be available and Ryan will also be creating a few specials that will reflect the Easter Season. Some examples are Roasted Lamb, Fava Beans, Pecorino, Fresh Baked Rosemary Ham and others.

Thanks,

The DePersio Family

"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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Chef Ryan will be on The Today Show  Thursday, March 10th between 9:40 and 10:00.

Hopefully he won't demonstrate his arugula washing techniques.

:wink:

"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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Overall, a very good dinner at Fascino's Monday evening, the food paired with exceptional service. 4 Guys, 4 bottles of wine.

The evening started with a amuse of warm celery root & fennel soup. I really dislike anise flavors but this was the start of a great meal. The flavors seperated with the celery root initally, then pepper and finally on the back end the fennel, just suttle enough. We all ordered the tasting menu and our waiter PJ was great throughout. 1st course with our Chalk Hill Chard was a salmon tartar with cucumber was excellent followed by Ryan stopping over, saying hello and bringing a taste of Homemade beet ravioli. At this time PJ starts opening the wines. Newton Pinot Noir 99', Chimney Rock Cab 96' & Hess Collection Cab '92. All the wine were handled properly with changing of glasses. Next was the Foie Gras with fiji apples and balsamic reduction. A perfect combination which had me in my kitchen the next day working a similar but different combination. I'm missing a course, my bad but after the missing course was roasted veal with swiss chard and vadalia bread pudding. My group and I agreed this was the only mis-step by the kitchen as the veal was a little fatty and under-cooked. Ifwe sent it back, I think the veal would have been over-cooked. Easy to overlook though as everything else was perfect and we were filled anyway. I'm not a dessert guy but the chocolate cake with liquid filling was boo-koo. The ice cream was excellent and my aversion to nuts kept me from trying the peanut butter concoction but I hear that was also great. Overall, a great experience and I look forward to heading back shortly. A big thank you for The DePersio who bent over backwards to serve us.

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Next was the Foie Gras with fiji apples and balsamic reduction. A perfect combination which had me in my kitchen the next day working a similar but different combination.

I was there the same night, and I ordered the Foie Gras. First time I'd ever tried it, and it was the highlight dish of the evening. Absolutely delicious!

Blessed are those who engage in lively conversation with the helplessly mute, for they shall be called, "Dentists." (anonymous)

Life is too short for bad Caesar Salad. (Me)

Why would you poison yourself by eating a non-organic apple? (HL)

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A Pasta Extravaganza with Ryan DePersio on “Today’s Kitchen". Is Ryan trying to take over Katie Couric's spot as host!?!? j.k.

Fascino is great no doubt. In four visits in less than six weeks, I tried every aspect of the menu that I was interested in. (Little) Anthony claims people return to have what they like, but on the flipside, I'm a specials guy. While the front house (Mr. & Mrs. DeP) is no doubt on-point, the servers have slipped some. Not that I discriminate on age, but the young wait staff has smudged the otherwise perfect reputation of this fine restaurant. I’ve seen dishes come to the wrong tables, and subtleties of serving and clearing not followed.

Ryan is a very talented worldly chef. The next time he shows off his stuff in an intimate setting in the restaurant, I’m there. Otherwise, why does Fascino stick so rigidly to a set menu? Shouldn't specials be more than a ravioli.

Am I alone here? Curious to hear your thoughts.

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Am I alone here?  Curious to hear your thoughts...

I agree on service - and then I'd add decor. Fascino has a 'certain something special' going on, the food is very good, but other intangibles should be addressed.

I'm not one of the 'over the top' in love with Fascino - just a regular guy that has been there a couple of times. The menu posits parings of contemporary creativity but have a difficult time transcending the sublime. They cook very well -that's enough for most places - but for all of the gushing (and TV appearances) and price, well, I expect a notch or two up (what's up? Ah... I know it when I see, er, eat - experience - it).

~waves

"When you look at the face of the bear, you see the monumental indifference of nature. . . . You see a half-disguised interest in just one thing: food."

Werner Herzog; NPR interview about his documentary "Grizzly Man"...

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  While the front house (Mr. & Mrs. DeP) is no doubt on-point, the servers have slipped some.  Not that I discriminate on age, but the young wait staff has smudged the otherwise perfect reputation of this fine restaurant.  I’ve seen dishes come to the wrong tables, and subtleties of serving and clearing not followed.

Am I alone here?  Curious to hear your thoughts.

The night I went, the service was the picture of professionalism. I guess that the only snafu was that my father and I both ordered the duck, only to be told that there was only one duck remaining.

It is a major pet peeve of mine that servers should tell you what dishes the restaurant is out of when the menus are distributed. I can't stand when my server comes over and asks if I've made my final decision only to tell me that the dish I've selected is "not in stock" or so to speak. Then, if the server is not gracious enough to give me a moment, I have to make a decision right on the spot. A HUGE restaurant no-no for me.

(I realize my rant was a bit off topic, but this happened to me recently, and I needed to vent.)

Blessed are those who engage in lively conversation with the helplessly mute, for they shall be called, "Dentists." (anonymous)

Life is too short for bad Caesar Salad. (Me)

Why would you poison yourself by eating a non-organic apple? (HL)

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We went back last evening after much too long of an absence and our only excuse is the ride to and from Englewood Cliffs. Is it worth it though? Absolutely and we won't wait this long ever again.

Three of us had fish, there was one fillet mignon and all were cooked and plated to perfection. The service was impecable. And the greetings we received from the whole family is worth the visit alone.

Their new dinning room is perfection itself. Rather than one large room they very smartly divided it into two smaller rooms. Makes it feel much more intimate and blessedly very quiet. Also beautifully decorated by the chef's mother and some terrific paintings by one of the waiters.

This is definitely a destination (as per Michelin) restaurant and hopefully they will continue to be successful. They certainly deserve it and work very hard at it.

Edited by Hank (log)

Hank

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Dinner at Fascino was extraordinary—as usual. I know to order the mascarpone polenta fries as soon as we sit down as they are so special and munching on them keeps me away from the delicious bread.

For appetizers we had the cornmeal crusted calamari with a tomato/fennel compote; hearts or romaine salad with creamy roasted garlic vinaigrette, prosciutto de Parma, and grated ricotta salata; scungilli and red onion marinated in lemon and extra virgin olive oil and Vidalia onion soup with smoked mozzarella ciabatta croutons.

The fresh cut ricotta gnocchi with a sweet sausage bolognese was so scrumptious that we kept stealing tastes from my brother’s plate. Equally delectable were the halibut with romaine hearts and crumbled parmigiana with black trumpet mushroom sauce; porcini dusted sea scallops with faro risotto and a spicy bell pepper jus; and the black sea bass over an eggplant and fennel caponata with a parsley emulsion.

Of course we could not bypass desserts made by pastry chef extraordinaire Cynthia DePersio. So after consuming the pistachio praline bread pudding with a caramel sauce; the apple crostata; and milk and bittersweet chocolate parfait with peanut butter panna cotta swirl we rolled out to the car.

Chef Ryan, his family, and staff are to be commended for the gracious and attentive service and memorable food at Fascino. It is truly a delight to dine there.

Rosalie Saferstein, aka "Rosie"

TABLE HOPPING WITH ROSIE

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, we finally made it to Fascino and I am only sorry we didn't go sooner. Yesterday was my birthday and my husband offered ANY restaurant. I opted for Fascino as it is close to home and I really wanted to try it.

We loved the food, the service was excellent and friendly. Cynthia came over to our table and we loved her. What a terrific lady. Needless to say we will be back!

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I haven't been to Fascino yet, but I noticed they're on the list of participating restaurants for Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation. I'll look out for them there and be sure to report back what they made.

Fascino also cooked for a charitible event that I was involved with, "Taste of Greenwich House". They did a fantastic job and showed a lot of heart driving into NYC to do it. This restaurant is top notch and the Depersio's are a class act.

I think there is a sitcom in their future...An attractive family coming together for good food and lots of laughs. I can see Henry Winkler as Mr. D., Linda Fiorentino as Mrs. D., with Antonio Sabado jr. as Anthony D. Jr., and Freddie Prinze Jr. as chef Ryan...I smell an Emmy!!! :biggrin::biggrin:

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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We just got back from eating Fascino. Our 2nd time there. We had the Polenta fries (ordered upon being handed the menu). Of course the young waiter referred to in a previous post, forgot to bring them to us untill after our appetizers. I had the crabcake wihich was excellent, and the little woman had the Gnocchi which were the fluffiest and lightest we've ever had. after our appy plates were cleared a waiter shows up with two plates and announces "Monkfish??" I replied "Uh...No"

they had the wrong table. Soon thereafter, our entrees came; I had the Parpardelle with braised beef which was heavenly light yet satisfyingly rich at the same time, really good!! and Beth had the Olive encrusted salmon that was equally as delicious. Of course a waiter shows up with... you guessed it, another plate of Polenta fries!?!? the other waiter explained to his pal that we already got ours. OOOPS!!! One thing that didn't go unoticed by me was that my water glass remained empty for at least 25 minutes. Then the waiter took our dessert order and failed to ask if we wanted esspresso etc.. I had to stop him and add it to my dessert order.

Great food deserved flawless service.

President

Les Marmitons-NJ

Johnson and Wales

Class of '85

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  • 1 month later...

We had a wonderful dinner at Fascino on Saturday evening. We sat in a booth on the new side (last time we had been there was pre-expansion), which was very comfortable and private. Amuse was a kalamata olive spread on small toast (I love everything "olive" so it was perfect). For appetizers, we had the special ravioli, which featured roasted eggplant and goat cheese in a spicy red pepper sauce (heaven!) and Maryland crab cake over thinly sliced golden beets and a small salad (hubby could not remember what greens were included, but said the contrast between the crisp, cold greens and beets were a nice companion to the hot crabcake).

For entrees, I had a special wild alaskan king salmon with kalamata olive and bread crumb crust served with California spinach and artichokes in a sweet carrot au jus. This was so great that even my husband, not a fish eater, said that he could eat the whole dish. He had a duck dish that was served over red cabbage with a duck confit canneloni, and the other gentleman with us had a veal special. I'm sorry, but I was so enamored with my salmon that I cannot recall more about their preparation. Again, there were NO leftovers!

We forced ourselves to have room for dessert. The men had the poached pear crostata with strawberries, and the women had a surprisingly light dark chocolate truffle tart with espresso cream.

The meal was terrific, and the service was equally excellent. I cannot wait to return again, and will make sure we don't wait as long this time!

Casey

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  • 2 months later...

Finally, for my birthday, my wife and I decided to go to Fascino. I was looking forward to it, but hoped that all the anticipation, reviews, and word of mount won’t be too over the top and our expectations will not be met. I am happy to report that I was wrong.

We started out with the olive spread on toast, my wife ordered the Cornmeal Crusted Calamari with Tomato-Fennel Compote, and I ordered the Fascino CrabCake, Golden Beet Pinwheel, Oregano and Celery Root Salad. Both were extraordinary, my wife, who measures a restaurant by the quality of their calamari said that it was “the best I ever tasted”. We continued with the duck, and rack of lamb for our entrees, both cooked to perfection. It was my wife’s first taste of duck, and she couldn’t have picked a better place to do so. My lamb was fabulous, my wife loved it, and she doesn’t usually like lamb. For dessert we had the Bread Pudding and Molten Chocolate Cake both were delicious. My wife who lived in the south for many years said that it was one of the best bread puddings she ever had, and my molten chocolate cake, was entirely magnificent.

The Service. The service was fantastic. Our waiter was attentive, helpful, and friendly. He wasn’t overbearing, yet dutiful, professional and cordial. He didn’t make us uneasy by over attentiveness. We were only two, but I noticed that the wait staff took great measures to get all the plates to the large tables at the same time. Our water glasses were never empty, nor our wine glasses. This was the first restaurant we ever went to that the wine bottle was taken from us at the door and brought to our table.

My wife’s only comment was that she had wished that the chef would have done a “restaurant round” to ask for comments.

This is the restaurant that you bring someone you want to impress.

Kal.

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  • 5 months later...

After reading many of the threads on egullet, my husband and I have been trying to go to more NJ restaurants. We love NYC and dine a lot there but have been encouraged and enticed by reading all the interesting comments to stay more in NJ. Also since we opened our restaurant, we like to check out the competition!! :wink: Since there are so many good restaurants in Montclair, we wanted to try some of them and we decided to start with Fascinos, even though our reservations had to be for 9:30!

We had a fabulous meal! I started with the lobster soup(one of the best I've ever had) , and my husband had the crab cake both were excellent. He had the special ravioli stuffed with short ribs with a gorgonzola cheese and butter sauce. The pasta was very light! I had the chicken breast with a black truffle pesto, organic broccolini and mascarpone polenta fries. I enjoyed every bit of it! We were so full, but couldn't resist all the wonderful sounding desserts, so we decided to split the banana- walnut tart with maple walnut gelato. We ended up fighting over who would have the last bite!! :angry: The service was flawless and we were able to meet all the members of the DePersio family and they couldn't have been nicer to us! We will definitely be back to have the tasting menu!

Lori

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  • 4 months later...

My wife and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary at Fascino tonight. Dinner was nice, service was very good. I had a crab-stuffed zucchini flower appettizer, with a veal-based raviloli entree. All very good, but no "wow" factor as I had expected for the rave reviews. Also a let-down: neither chef Ryan nor his mother Cynthia visited our table before we left; the reason from our waiter (even after we asked for his appearance) was that it was a very busy Saturday night. We had a 7:00 pm dinner and left by 9:00. Many reviews had noted the family's table-side presence, and I had wished this to be part of the experience, especially considering our special occassion. I should mention that my wife's dessert plate rim was decorated with "Happy 12th Anniversary" and a candle. But I really missed the personal attention from such a small family-run operation (this is Montclair, after all, and not NYC).

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Hey Jim,

We're sorry my brother and mother couldn't come to your table for your anniversary. In all honesty, we are extremely busy on a Saturday night and it very tough to meet them on the weekend. During the week it is much easier for both of them to make the rounds. We pride ourselves on taking care of our customers and Ryan MUST be on the line for the entire night on the weekends. We wouldn't want other customers to suffer just because Ryan needs to say a few hellos. (Although we all know he loves to talk to his guests!) Also, we take the time to make sure our restaurant is NOT just another Jersey one. Yes, we are not in NYC, but we we are trying to compete with New York restaurants for the local diners who might come to our restaurant instead of treking out to New York. Anyway, we would love for you to come back again. Ask for me and I'll make sure you are taken care of and I'll get one our chefs (Ryan or Cynthia) to come over and chat. We all love giving personal attention when we can, and we would love to have you back.

Anthony DePersio

GM of Fascino

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My wife and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary at Fascino tonight. Dinner was nice, service was very good. I had a crab-stuffed zucchini flower appettizer, with a veal-based raviloli entree. All very good, but no "wow" factor as I had expected for the rave reviews. Also a let-down: neither chef Ryan nor his mother Cynthia visited our table before we left; the reason from our waiter (even after we asked for his appearance) was that it was a very busy Saturday night. We had a 7:00 pm dinner and left by 9:00. Many reviews had noted the family's table-side presence, and I had wished this to be part of the experience, especially considering our special occassion. I should mention that my wife's dessert plate rim was decorated with "Happy 12th Anniversary" and a candle. But I really missed the personal attention from such a small family-run operation (this is Montclair, after all, and not NYC).

Jim, Happy Anniversary!!! Today is my 14th anniversary and unfortunatly I had to let FTD say "I Love You" for me because I'm on the PM shift at AHD this week. We did however go to Atlanta this weekend for the Les Marmitons International Annual Event so we kinda celebrated there.

I must say that I'm alittle surprised that other Egulleters haven't chimed in on this one. Many restaurants depend on their Friday night and Saturday night business to "bring it on home", I know we at AHD depend on a solid Friday dinner crowd and a slamming Saturday to "fill in the gap" of the slower weekdays. With all due repect, I may not even be able to look up at you, let alone come out into the dining room to say hello when we are "in the weeds" during these times. I hope that if anyone has been to AHD and experienced a lack of personal attention, that they understand the importance that we provide great food and quick service to our customers especially during our busy times. It's why I do what I do. I'm in the happy customer business. The vehicle that I use to accomplish this task is my food. I think this goes for every passionate chef there is. I know Chef Ryan Depersio, and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that he is a passionate chef, and that he loves to shmooz with his customers, and does so, but never at the expense of the quality of the incredible product he creates. I hope I have explained this without disrespecting you. It is an aspect of the back of the house that some folks just might not think about.

President

Les Marmitons-NJ

Johnson and Wales

Class of '85

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With all due repect, I may not even be able to look up at you, let alone come out into the dining room to say hello when we are "in the weeds" during these times.  I hope that if anyone has been to AHD and experienced a lack of personal attention, that they understand the importance that we provide great food and quick service to our customers especially during our busy times.  It's why I do what I do.  I'm in the happy customer business.  The vehicle that I use to accomplish this task is my food.  I think this goes for every passionate chef there is.  I know Chef Ryan Depersio, and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that he is a passionate chef, and that he loves to shmooz with his customers, and does so, but never at the expense of the quality of the incredible product he creates.  I hope I have explained this without disrespecting you.  It is an aspect of the back of the house that some folks just might not think about.

Eric, you are a marketing genius. :biggrin:

Btw, when are we going to that Chicago dog place in Linden?

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