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TASTE in Bloomfield


Rosie
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Taste. The menu supplies the following definition; to have experience or enjoyment; savior. That is exactly what we did at this one week old restaurant. The Asian American cuisine is very good and Chef Jason Russo is a name to remember. Make a reservation here before the reviewers create a month long wait.

The restaurant is located in a nondescript strip mall at 21 Belleville Ave, Bloomfield. The outside with a wall of block glass and large Asian pots creates an elegant mood before you even enter the restaurant. The interior is white on white with splashes of color. A Buddha surrounded by candles looks down on the restaurant and a red and black Oriental design creates a focal point on another wall. The restaurant is sleek with a wood floor and tables set far apart. The upstairs balcony is for smokers.

Service was not up to par but hopefully as this establishment gets going minor mistakes will be corrected. The server did not know the menu but cheerfully went back into the kitchen to get the answers to every question I asked. For example, we were brought an amuse bouche of finely chopped "something" on pita bread. When we asked what it was we were told that it was chopped olives. It didn't taste like olives and eventually we learned that it was a mushroom/asparagus duxelles. When we asked what the soup of the day was the waiter didn't know and had to go back to the kitchen again to ask. We asked about an unknown wine on the small wine list. It took about 10 minutes for the waiter to bring back the information. The restaurant was empty with only one other table being occupied and a large staff with nothing to do. And please, when customers leave a restaurant and staff is standing by the door say "goodbye."

But enough about the service problems which many people feel comes with the territory in a restaurant that is one week old. The food is attention grabbing and very good. For appetizers we had delicate steamed vegetable dumplings that didn't come with a spicy sesame oil that is listed on the menu but with a fabulous spicy homemade mayonnaise. We also had a wok seared, al dente, long beans and baby bok choy in a lip smackin' sweet chile sauce. Both were delicious. A plate for two or four people of the chef's daily selection of sushi, maki and sashimi is also available as well as salads and noodle dishes such as lo mein or pad Thai.

For entrees I had an excellent salmon poached in yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit) and soy broth served with baby carrots, squash, with rice. I took my spoon and finished all of the sauce. The fish was juicy and not overcooked as often happens in poaching. If you are looking for a light low calorie dish this one is for you. Lowell had a blue wasabi roasted chicken with a Fuji apple demi glace, baby vegetables and potato wedges. The chicken was also quite tasty and juicy but we expected it to be spicier because of the wasabi. Next time we would like to try the Szechwan pepper rack of lamb; Japanese eggplant stir fry with chicken; or the pork chop rubbed with cinnamon and five spice powder.

We shared raspberry fruit filled fried wontons topped with crème fraiche for dessert. They were fabulous but the portion was too small. Please give me four wontons next time! Lowell had coffee which was awful. With four glasses of wine @ŭ each, tax and tip the bill was ๯,

Be sure to read the other postings. Other posters beside myself have had problems here since this report.

(Edited by Rosie at 7:03 am on Jan. 31, 2002)

Rosalie Saferstein, aka "Rosie"

TABLE HOPPING WITH ROSIE

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Just be forewarned. Our second visit to Taste was a disaster. We were never seated. Stood like blobs for a few minutes and walked out. The place was empty.The servers just looked at us. No one came over. Let us know if the service has improved. I would go back there again as I thought the chef was very talented.

Rosalie Saferstein, aka "Rosie"

TABLE HOPPING WITH ROSIE

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Quote: from tommy on 1:06 pm on Jan. 16, 2002

i went last night.  i'm having such mixed feelings about the place that i can't even put any thoughts together.  as mrs. tommy said "i don't think we'll be jumping in the car [to go back] any time soon."

Good food, lousy service, huh?

Or was the food itself inconsistent?

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Actually, I wrote a story one year ago on my Table Hopping With Rosie site about another Buddha that was stolen from Cafe la Playa in Manahawkin. The owner started getting pictures from around the world of the Buddha. A year later it was returned.

Rosalie Saferstein, aka "Rosie"

TABLE HOPPING WITH ROSIE

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