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Blu


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It was my older brother’s birthday and he wanted to go to Blu. I am happy to sacrifice for him so I said yes and pulled a Turley from the basement for our dinner there. HANK ARE YOU READING THIS? Apps were an endive salad, the white bean soup I swore I would order the next time we were at Blu, a mushroom risotto, and the salmon with miso. Entrees were a skirt steak which I liked much more than the hanger steak we had last week, a special of halibut, chicken, and duck. Everything was outstanding and every morsel on everyone's plate was finished. Desserts were a chocolate terraine, crème brulee, a special of a chocolate hazelnut cake, and the tapicoa with mango. It was a memorable evening.

Rosalie Saferstein, aka "Rosie"

TABLE HOPPING WITH ROSIE

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  • 3 months later...

It had been far too long since my last visit to Blu, and since friends let me choose the restaurant, we were there last night as they reopened after a couple of weeks of vacation. Not that Chef Zod needed a rest...the man can cook!

Three of us had a really terrific night, despite a few service bumps, but nothing significant enough to matter when the food and company are so great. Also of note, the recently installed suede-covered panels along the left wall. Blu has addressed the acoustic issues, and it was a noticeable difference, imo; happy to see (and not hear) it.

Apps:

Crab cake with a fennel salad and grainy mustard

Calamari wiht avocado and cucumber salad in a ginger-lime dressing

Arugula, watermelon and goat cheese salad

Although I shared tastes of my calamari, I didn't want to add any other flavors to my mouth after digging in; it was light, creamy and bursting with bright lime flavor. The other plates were also wiped clean, and I have to say that the watermelon salad, two big slices of melon topped with a very healthy serving of goat cheese, just yelled "Summer!" from the plate.

For entrees, one friend had the short ribs special, which I knew he would enjoy since I've had it on other visits, and the other had the monkfish with snow peas, asparagus and the citrus-almond sauce. I vividly remembered this dish when I saw it on the menu, as it was served as an amuse on my last visit there. The sauce was stunning, and she ate every morsel. I went with the mahi, which was served over black beans, sweet Jersey corn, and a tomato-ginger broth. STUNNING. I savored every bite, and if I could, I'd be back there tonight to have it again. It was a perfect balance of flavors, texture and spices in this heat!

One of my friends couldn't drink, so the two of us had the difficult task of choosing 2 of the 5 bottles of wine we had brought ( :biggrin: ). We went with my current summer favorite, Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rose from South Africa ( under $15/bottle, btw). He decided to open a '99 Avignonesi Desiderio, a stunning, jammy Tuscan merlot that was too heavy for what I ordered, but went well with the crab cakes and short ribs he ate. Of course, I was polite and drank a glass after I was done with the meal...just to be polite. heehee

For dessert, we had the basil ricotta almond cake with berries, and the strawberry soup with yogurt sorbet--both VERY refreshing, and a lovely way to end another wonderful dinner at Blu.

I wasn't allowed to see the bill, but at $30-40pp for food, I still think that Blu is a phenomenal bargain.

Service was very friendly, but I do hate to have to ask for water and wine refills. Still, this is definitely my favorite recommendation to make, and my friends, who live in Hunterdon Cty and will travel for a great meal, said they'll be happy to make the trip to Montclair again. :wub:

"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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  • 1 month later...
It had been far too long since my last visit to Blu, and since friends let me choose the restaurant, we were there last night as they reopened after a couple of weeks of vacation.  Not that Chef Zod needed a rest...the man can cook! 

Three of us had a really terrific night, despite a few service bumps, but nothing significant enough to matter when the food and company are so great.  Also of note, the recently installed suede-covered panels along the left wall.  Blu has addressed the acoustic issues, and it was a noticeable difference, imo; happy to see (and not hear) it. 

Apps:

Crab cake with a fennel salad and grainy mustard

Calamari wiht avocado and cucumber salad in a ginger-lime dressing

Arugula, watermelon and goat cheese salad

Although I shared tastes of my calamari, I didn't want to add any other flavors to my mouth after digging in; it was light, creamy and bursting with bright lime flavor.  The other plates were also wiped clean, and I have to say that the watermelon salad, two big slices of melon topped with a very healthy serving of goat cheese, just yelled "Summer!" from the plate.

For entrees, one friend had the short ribs special, which I knew he would enjoy since I've had it on other visits, and the other had the monkfish with snow peas, asparagus and the citrus-almond sauce.  I vividly remembered this dish when I saw it on the menu, as it was served as an amuse on my last visit there.  The sauce was stunning, and she ate every morsel.  I went with the mahi, which was served over black beans, sweet Jersey corn, and a tomato-ginger broth.  STUNNING.  I savored every bite, and if I could, I'd be back there tonight to have it again.  It was a perfect balance of flavors, texture and spices in this heat!

One of my friends couldn't drink, so the two of us had the difficult task of choosing 2 of the 5 bottles of wine we had brought ( :biggrin: ).  We went with my current summer favorite, Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rose from South Africa ( under $15/bottle, btw).  He decided to open a '99 Avignonesi Desiderio, a stunning, jammy Tuscan merlot that was too heavy for what I ordered, but went well with the crab cakes and short ribs he ate.  Of course, I was polite and drank a glass after I was done with the meal...just to be polite.  heehee

For dessert, we had the basil ricotta almond cake with berries, and the strawberry soup with yogurt sorbet--both VERY refreshing, and a lovely way to end another wonderful dinner at Blu. 

I wasn't allowed to see the bill, but at $30-40pp for food, I still think that Blu is a phenomenal bargain. 

Service was very friendly, but I do hate to have to ask for water and wine refills.  Still, this is definitely my favorite recommendation to make, and my friends, who live in Hunterdon Cty and will travel for a great meal, said they'll be happy to make the trip to Montclair again.  :wub:

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After reading all of the commentary that many of you have contributed, I'm going to say just one thing.

AM I GLAD THAT I check into E GULLET! WOW! HOLY COW! GOLLY! GEE WHIZ! this guy can flat out cook!

Seven of us last night. most of the featured plates and more than 9 appetizers (well it was our chance to check up on you all)then 7 desserts...OUCH! We wallowed out, so happy and so appreciative. Four bottles too.

Thanks to all of you contributors, keep up the good work, it is really appreciated.

Ted Task

Rockville, MD

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AM I GLAD THAT I  check into  E GULLET! WOW! HOLY COW! GOLLY! GEE WHIZ! this guy can flat out cook!

Ted Task

Rockville, MD

I had a tasting menu here a few months a go that was amazing

I'll try to look up my notes and post the menu, i wish i took pix

the food was beautiful to lookat and wonderful to eat

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Tasting menu??? DO TELL, please! Is that something they offer all the time? This is officially a need-to-know situation! :biggrin:

I wish I had taken my camera with me last week, as the five of us had practically everything on the menu. I should have posted sooner--will do my best to remember it all...

Apps:

seafood dumplings in coconut broth

beet salad

calamari with avocado/cucumber salad

risotto

simple green salad

octopus with green apples and black olives

(me) Asian salad with crispy duck and a fantastic (just-right) spicy peanut dressing

Then Chef sent out tilefish over peas and scallions with a huge swath of black olive oil across the plate...YUM! Despite being full at that point, out came dinner. We did our best. hehe

Entrees:

Lamb sirloin with cauliflower puree

Mahi over black beans and sweet corn in a tomato-ginger broth

(me) Monkfish with snowpeas, asparagus and citrus-almond sauce

____ over red cabbage with roasted turnips (for the life of me, I can't remember! Hangar steak, maybe?)

Then we did something we never do--we each ordered dessert. The lemongrass 'soup' was a huge hit (as I knew it would be), the chocoholics raved over the deep chocolate cake and the slab of fudge (as I called it) that the chef sent out, the apple with peanuts was delicious, as was the coffee, but the big winner was my choice...a black olive cake with orange mousse and basil ice cream. Been talking about that quite a bit since our meal there, and I'm not normally focused on dessert, and oh, btw, I'm NOT an olive fan! It was a stunning mix of flavors, textures, and colors. The mousse was heavenly, and the basil ice cream was phenomenal; I'm curious to know if they're making it in-house, but don't care either way! SIGH...

Chef Zod is most certainly the most creative chef in the area, imo. :wub: Oh, and the bill for five of us? $227. Another wonderful reason to go!

"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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  • 3 weeks later...

I will be dining at Blu for the first time this weekend. I will be bringing a nice 2003 Joh. Jos. Plum Spatlese along with a Bonny Doon Muscat Vin Glacie. The problem with all these excellent reviews is that my expectation level is pretty high. I'm sure I will not be disappointed. First time bringing a screw cap wine (the bonny doon) to a BYO. Kind of feel weird about it however, a lot of rieslings I'm buying have switched over. I guess I need to get over it.

Edited by bgut1 (log)
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I will be dining at Blu for the first time this weekend. I will be bringing a nice 2003 Joh. Jos. Plum Spatlese along with a Bonny Doon Muscat Vin Glacie. The problem with all these excellent reviews is that my expectation level is pretty high. I'm sure I will not be disappointed. First time bringing a screw cap wine (the bonny doon) to a BYO. Kind of feel weird about it however, a lot of rieslings I'm buying have switched over. I guess I need to get over it.

Hey bgut1 - would love to hear whether you think this place is worth the nearly 1 hour drive....

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I will be dining at Blu for the first time this weekend. I will be bringing a nice 2003 Joh. Jos. Plum Spatlese along with a Bonny Doon Muscat Vin Glacie. The problem with all these excellent reviews is that my expectation level is pretty high. I'm sure I will not be disappointed. First time bringing a screw cap wine (the bonny doon) to a BYO. Kind of feel weird about it however, a lot of rieslings I'm buying have switched over. I guess I need to get over it.

Hey bgut1 - would love to hear whether you think this place is worth the nearly 1 hour drive....

No problem. Not that bad a drive as we are staying up north in a hotel for the night. A sort of weekend birthday present. One night we are going to Nicholas (trying out the new chef's table) and the next night is the hotel and Blu. I'm kind of psyched. It was that or Per Se and I decided to stay in Jersey. How's that for staying home? :smile:

Edited by bgut1 (log)
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Good for you supporting individually owned restaurants. I hope you enjoy both meals. I'll let you know how Per Se is, I'm hoping to dine there............in the near future. 2 for 1 as you're doing seems very sensible.

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Do enjoy, bgut! And yes, you're going to have to accept the Stelvin closures (screw caps) on your wine! But I swear you'll never have a bottle that's got cork taint! :laugh:

Just know that you shouldn't expect the same level of service at Blu that you'll find at a place like Nicholas. It has definitely improved, but this is still a local restaurant, and one without the pretensions of many others--yet another reason I love the place!

"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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Do enjoy, bgut!  And yes, you're going to have to accept the Stelvin closures (screw caps) on your wine!  But I swear you'll never have a bottle that's got cork taint!   :laugh:

Just know that you shouldn't expect the same level of service at Blu that you'll find at a place like Nicholas.  It has definitely improved, but this is still a local restaurant, and one without the pretensions of many others--yet another reason I love the place!

Tell me about it. Last weekend for a special occassion I decided to open a bottle from a case of Mouton Rothschild (not a great vintage - 1987 - but Mouton none the less). I had bought the case as a future while in law school. Well as I'm sure you can imagine, as I opened the bottle in front of my guests (as I was extoling the virtues of Mouton), I noticed the cork was completely saturated. Obviously the bottle was corked. Embarrased, I tried a second one. Upon removing the cap I noticed bacteria on the cork and found that that bottle was also corked. As tears welled up in my eyes and as I was pouring hundreds of dollars of wine down the drain, I thought of those little bottle "hangies" on Bonny Doon screw cap wines convincing people that screw caps would never allow such a tragedy to happen. I couldn't stomach opening any more bottles and will try doing so another time when I have a better sense of humor. I decided instead to pull out a bottle of Overture I had brought back from Opus years back and it was a huge hit. BTW, the condition of the Mouton was obviously my fault dragging it from closet to closet to basement in the various apartments and homes I had lived in over the years. This loss of approx $1K in wine has cemented my resolve to complete a wine cellar in my basement. Moral of this story, drink the wine you buy, don't buy expensive wine to cellar if you don't have a cellar, and don't snicker at screwcaps. :smile:

Edited by bgut1 (log)
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perhaps i'm being nitpicky, but a soaked-through cork and mold don't imply "corked", in the sense that "corked" is generally related to the presence of TCA.

i wouldn't lose all hope for the rest of the bottles. and i'd consider cleaning the mold off the cork and bottle opening before opening, as you might have a fine bottle of wine waiting within. not in front of your guests, however. :smile:

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perhaps i'm being nitpicky, but a soaked-through cork and mold don't imply "corked", in the sense that "corked" is generally related to the presence of TCA. 

i wouldn't lose all hope for the rest of the bottles.   and i'd consider cleaning the mold off the cork and bottle opening before opening, as you might have a fine bottle of wine waiting within.  not in front of your guests, however.  :smile:

Tommy - I'm sorry I didn't elaborate. While I agree that the cork being soaked through doesn't automatically make the wine corked, it still is not a good sign as more likely than not, air has gotten through to the wine. Same thing with mold as the mold was more than likely "feeding" on the wine. In both cases the corks were rotted and had disintegrated when I attempted to remove them. I also didn't immediately pour the wines down the drain. I wanted to taste them to be sure and sure enough they tasted dank and musty (I was also able to discern that the wine was more likely past its prime). I have read online about a product called Dream Taste which supposedly "restores" corked wine through a chemical process. I may have to look into it in case I have anymore issues with the other bottles. BTW, I don't take your response as being "nitpicky", you obviously have a background in wine and are trying to clarify and impart knowledge. Thank you for the response.

Edited by bgut1 (log)
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BTW, I don't take your response as being "nitpicky", you obviously have a background in wine and are trying to clarify and impart knowledge. 

no more than you. but yes, i'm all for accurate explanations of "cork taint", if only because so many restaurants and servers have no idea what it is. that's really what it's about for me: getting more restaurants to understand what's going on so i'm not put in the position of having to explain when i'm served a corked bottle. :smile:

which reminds me that i have to get back to Blu soon. like, yesterday soon.

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BTW, I don't take your response as being "nitpicky", you obviously have a background in wine and are trying to clarify and impart knowledge. 

no more than you. but yes, i'm all for accurate explanations of "cork taint", if only because so many restaurants and servers have no idea what it is. that's really what it's about for me: getting more restaurants to understand what's going on so i'm not put in the position of having to explain when i'm served a corked bottle. :smile:

which reminds me that i have to get back to Blu soon. like, yesterday soon.

Good point. In all my years of "fine" dining, I am fortunate to have only had to return one bottle of wine due to it being corked and I remember as of if it was yesterday as I was so embarrassed. It was at Berns Steakhouse in Tampa some 16 years ago. Two things I specifically recall - one was the size of their wine list - the largest I have ever seen (the size of a phone book) and two that they were very professional about replacing the bottle. I however must apologize to the thread readers from digressing from the OP's topic.

Edited by bgut1 (log)
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Good point. In all my years of "fine" dining, I am fortunate to have only had to return one bottle of wine due to it being corked and I remember as of it it was yesterday as I was so embarrassed.

*sigh*. why were you embarrassed? :sad: the real problems occur in the less-than-fine-dining restaurants. at most upscale restaurants, the staff understands the process. not so much at the local mom-and-pop joint.

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Good point. In all my years of "fine" dining, I am fortunate to have only had to return one bottle of wine due to it being corked and I remember as of it it was yesterday as I was so embarrassed.

*sigh*. why were you embarrassed? :sad: the real problems occur in the less-than-fine-dining restaurants. at most upscale restaurants, the staff understands the process. not so much at the local mom-and-pop joint.

The bottle was expensive, I was young, I doubted myself as I was not as experienced with wine, and I was on a date. Trust me it wouldn't happen now. Not for my hard earned bucks! :smile:

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Bgut1 - How were your birthday meals at Blu and Nicholas?

p.s. happy birthday! :)

Thanks for inquiring. I'm just getting my bearings from this whirlwind weekend. I received last minute tickets to the Giants game so everything was pretty crazy today. In a word my weekend was fantastic. The meals at both Nicholas and Blu were excellent. Nicholas was probably the best meal of my life (and also the most expensive btw - my fault due to wine ordered). By way of background, my wife and I have been dining at Nicholas since it opened (maybe twice to three times a year). For my 40th Birthday, I had thought to go to Per Se and actually had a reservation for this past weekend. Due to a cancellation of another couple and the hesitation to spend big $ for a NY hotel for the night we decided to stay in NJ. I had read a few months back at NJO restaurant forums that Nicholas was constructing a chef's table and inquired during a recent visit. I was happy to find out that in fact the table would probably be available for this weekend and we would be the first to dine in the kitchen (later found out we were the 2nd couple to do so). I was also advised that the table is available every evening except Saturday (as Nicholas is on the floor that night) at 7 PM at a cost of $150 p.p. which includes a 6 course Grand Tasting Menu with a glass of Nicholas Cuvee Champagne. I emailed Nicholas my wife's likes and dislikes (I enjoy everything). We showed up promptly at 7 pm and were escorted to the bar to have a glass of champagne. Several minutes later we were escorted downstairs into the kitchen. We were quite embarrassed to find out that the entire wait and kitchen staff were lining the stairs welcoming us into the kitchen for our dinner (think receiving line). The kitchen was dark and once we were seated the lights turned on and the orders started flying. Very theatrical and quite impressive. The table sits in an alcove literally feet away from the action. The table seats a maximum of four. The circular booth seating is an orange fabric while the alcove wall is lined by black tile and the lighting is a Dale Chihuly glass sculpture. The kitchen is spotless and they operated like a well oiled machine. Very little talking except for Nicholas expediting. Nicholas presented us with two amuses: the watermelon sashimi and the fried cod cake. Next we were presented with custom menus autographed by Nicholas, Melissa and the entire kitchen staff. The entire meal took 3 and half hours and was exceptional. When I have more time I will go into more detail on the menu as some items were brand new. As for Blu, I was quite impressed with the meal. My wife and I were joined by another couple and we each had two appetizers, an entree and dessert. The double app order seemed to confuse our server but we got it worked out. Excellent dishes included the mushroom risotto, the seafood dumplings, a tuna/salmon sashimi special appetizer, the sesame encrusted mahi, and a skate in truffle broth special entree. Was not impressed however with the duck appetizer (as the duck was cold - I'm sure on purpose but dry and tasted like duck jerky), and the endive salad (good but not special). The desserts were also excellent. Both chocolate desserts (terrine and cake) would satisfy any chocoholic’s cravings while the mango tapioca was more than fine. All in all and excellent meal at Blu and quite the bargain. Again when I get more time I would be happy to elaborate. I hope this wasn’t too much of a run on rambling but I wanted to respond to your post.

Edited by bgut1 (log)
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Tasting menu???  DO TELL, please!  Is that something they offer all the time?  This is officially a need-to-know situation! 

Sorry Curlz, took so long to respond, I believe if you are a regular they ask you if you would like the chef to cook for you, they asked me this after i had been there 6-7 times , alll i could say is that the food is nothing like the menu, its a lot more creative

This was my menu a few months a go

Poached Tomato with Mozzarella Ice cream

Oysters with Avocado and Watermelon

Salmon Tartare with Smoked Ice Cream

Scallops with Yogurt-Black Olive Puree

Cold Cherry Soup with Foie Gras Torchon and Hazulnts

Potato Puree with Mushrooms, Truffle Oil, Poached Egg

Tuna with Braised Black Sesame Seeds

Duck with Caramelized Turnip, Fig Caviar

Lemongrass Soup with Coconut Sorbet

Black Olive Cake with Basil Ice Cream

There is a different menu from a different date but I cant find it

the food was truly amazing

They had a wine diner there last week I think, anyone go

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This was my menu  a few months a go

Poached Tomato with Mozzarella Ice cream

Oysters with Avocado and Watermelon

Salmon Tartare with Smoked Ice Cream

Scallops with Yogurt-Black Olive Puree

Cold Cherry Soup with Foie Gras Torchon and Hazulnts

Potato Puree with Mushrooms, Truffle Oil,  Poached Egg

Tuna with Braised Black Sesame Seeds

Duck with Caramelized Turnip, Fig Caviar

Lemongrass Soup with Coconut Sorbet

Black Olive Cake with Basil Ice Cream

OhboyOhboyOhboyOhboyOhboy!!! Thanks for letting us in on this secret, xyz. And wasn't that Black Olive cake phenomenal? Had it last time I was there... :wub:

"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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