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Montclair: does any place live up to the hype?


graphicguru
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There are so many overrated restaurants in NJ, which would simply be curious if it weren't infuriating. When a small group of our friends gets together, we alternate meeting points, and now 2 sets of friends have retired and moved close enough Montclair to make this a logical place to gather. It seems to be the most restaurant-newsworthy location in the state, but are there really any places deserving of the hype? We would additionally be interested in small neighborhood places with great food.

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I had a top notch meal at Table 8 on Tuesday evening. It is located right on Bloomfield Ave, right next door to The Office.

I can't recomend it enough. Dmetris is an exceptional host, and the food is outstanding. On top of everything, dinner for 3 was less than $100. Keep in mind that it is a BYO, so the price reflects that.

Give it a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

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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There are so many overrated restaurants in NJ, which would simply be curious if it weren't infuriating.  When a small group of our friends gets together, we alternate meeting points, and now 2 sets of friends have retired and moved close enough Montclair to make this a logical place to gather.  It seems to be the most restaurant-newsworthy location in the state, but are there really any places deserving of the hype?  We would additionally be interested in small neighborhood places with great food.

I think it is a lot in your expectations, but being some one who would only go out to dinner in New York up until a few years ago, I'd say that many of the Montclair restaurants are really excellent. Nevertheless, I have heard complaints about them all. Service is often an issue.

Table 8 which I think is incredible, gets overwhelmed and has service issues.

For that reason I rarely go out on a Saturday, or if we do, it is early before a movie.

Blu gets rave reviews and I have enjoyed meals there, but others were unimpressed. One review I read from a person unimpressed by Blu loved Raymonds. I like Raymonds a lot, because I know the people who run it. They food is some times inconcistent, but usually very good. The place is very nice, but on the other hand it promotes itself to families, so at the first sitting there are often kids.

Both Raymonds and Blu are a little less expensive that Table 8 or Fascino.

Fascino is very good I hear. Have not gone yet. But if you believe the NY Times it is amazing.

Two other Italians I like are Giotto, and Il Forno. They both have a homey feel. Il Forno is smaller. I have a review on that restaurant on my blog below. Some people love Corso 88.

Epernay, I was just at Epernay and was blown away. It is basic Frenc and if that is what you like I'd go for it. But it is not Les Halle or Tartine.

Everyone seems to love the Thai French food at Deja Vu but the service is just fair.

In Upper Montclair I really like Cafe Sultan for a Middle East Fix. It is a tiny place, and I think Dai Kichi for Japanese is the best I have had in New Jersey.

I'd search the forum here, there are lots of good posts on Montclair. Look at my blog as well.

There are no places that I would call neighborhood places. In my mind that is like a pub or restaurant that has been around since 195..

Let us know what your tried and how you liked it.

Peter Conway

Food and Wine Guy

Mano A Vino Montclair Food and Wine Blog

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Fascino is very good I hear. Have not gone yet. But if you believe the NY Times it is amazing.

I've only been to Fascino once, and I was blown away by the food. That being said, I found it extremely hard to get a reservation. I'm not sure if it is as crowded as it once was. I went during the week, and it was tough to get a reservation several days in advance. I can only imagine how tough it is to get a reservation for the weekend.

They do participate with opentable.com, but I'm not sure if that's any easier or harder than just calling the restaurant.

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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Imho, both Fascino and Blu qualify as deserving--not so much of hype, but of praise. The food is excellent at both! And of course, the benefit of Montclair restaurants in general is that they are BYO! :wub:

Still haven't been to Table 8, but folks I trust were underwhelmed when they went. That said, I do hear and read great things about it, so it's on the list. Others who I trust love Osteria Giotto, but I haven't been there yet either--I just know that whenever I've tried, the reservations weren't available. May have to go for lunch as the solution!

And of course, although it's not fine dining, tempt your cholesterol with a visit to Amazing Hot Dog!

Edit: I meant to mention Raymond's...I happen to love the place for a casual meal, but I don't think of it for fine dining. Great homey spot, though!

Edited by Curlz (log)

"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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That being said, I found it extremely hard to get a reservation.  I'm not sure if it is as crowded as it once was.  I went during the week, and it was tough to get a reservation several days in advance.  I can only imagine how tough it is to get a reservation for the weekend.

They do participate with opentable.com, but I'm not sure if that's any easier or harder than just calling the restaurant.

As of a few minutes ago, Fascino has space for parties of 2 and 4 on Friday, a week from today, and the following Saturday. Minimal accomodation for tonight or tomorrow, though.

I've found reservations accessible at Fascino once you go out beyond a week on OpenTable.

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

rancho gordo

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That being said, I found it extremely hard to get a reservation.  I'm not sure if it is as crowded as it once was.  I went during the week, and it was tough to get a reservation several days in advance.  I can only imagine how tough it is to get a reservation for the weekend.

They do participate with opentable.com, but I'm not sure if that's any easier or harder than just calling the restaurant.

As of a few minutes ago, Fascino has space for parties of 2 and 4 on Friday, a week from today, and the following Saturday. Minimal accomodation for tonight or tomorrow, though.

I've found reservations accessible at Fascino once you go out beyond a week on OpenTable.

Last month I called on a Friday for reservations for Fascino for the next day. They were for 9:00 but we went and had a wonderful time and the food was delicious! :biggrin:

Had no trouble parking either! :wink:

Lori

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I had a top notch meal at Table 8 on Tuesday evening.  It is located right on Bloomfield Ave, right next door to The Office.

I can't recomend it enough.  Dmetris is an exceptional host, and the food is outstanding.  On top of everything, dinner for 3 was less than $100.  Keep in mind that it is a BYO, so the price reflects that.

Give it a try.  I don't think you'll be disappointed.

My two favorite Montclair restaurants are:

Giotto's and Corso 98. Both are excellent. Giotto's has a parking issue but I adore their food.

As with all Montclair restaurant please BYOB.

Enjoy your meal!

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