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Best fine dining towns in New Jersey


dRock
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Imkennedy,

It seems like you are using this thread to contstantly plug your restaurant.  Since your restaurant is "such a destination",  I dont think its necessary.  Its actually getting quite annoying.

I beg to differ with you!! I am not here to promote my restaurant!! Fortunately, I don't have to !! I rarely talk about it and have posted on many other topics!! Your age is definitely showing!! I probably shouldn't say that cause my son is 22 and he would never be so rude!!!

Lori

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You guys are hilarius.  Yes I am a spy who is on egullet to promote myself.  Im 21 years old for Petes sake. :angry:

well, you do work in a professional capacity and have aspirations to open a place, according to you.

not that there's anything wrong with that. but i'm puzzled why you seem to refuse to listen to people who are probably older, smarter, and more experienced than you. when i was 21 i made sure i listened to people. hell, i still do. for example, katie has forgotten more about the restaurant business than i'll ever know. you should listen to her. it's just that simple.

and i'm still taking the under.

Edited by tommy (log)
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Let's get back to "best fine dining" rather than personal attacks.

I feel that in NJ if the food is exceptional then people will drive to almost anywhere to have it. So while location can make a difference to some people, serious "foodies" will go anywhere for a memorable meal.

With that being said if you have a spot where there are people walking the street such as Montclair or Ridgewood you have a better chance of filling up tables. For ex. one Montclair restaurant recently had more people come in during the snowstorm then they had on the books because locals were able to walk to the restaurant.

Additionally, I usually go to Hoboken only in the summer when the parking is easier and the walking more enjoyable.

Rosalie Saferstein, aka "Rosie"

TABLE HOPPING WITH ROSIE

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Let's get back to "best fine dining" rather than personal attacks.

I feel that in NJ if the food is exceptional then people will drive to almost anywhere to have it. So while location can make a difference to some people, serious "foodies" will go anywhere for a memorable meal.

With that being said if you have a spot where there are people walking the street such as Montclair or Ridgewood you have a better chance of filling up tables. For ex. one Montclair restaurant recently had more people come in during the snowstorm then they  had on the books because locals were able to walk to the restaurant.

Additionally, I usually go to Hoboken only in the summer when the parking is easier and the walking more enjoyable.

Don't forget about Red Bank and Lambetville, the other good restaurant "towns" in the State, NOT north of New Brunswick. :smile:

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Are there other "fine dining" towns/establishments in NJ - preferably with a tasting menu and preferably north of Middlesex County?

I have noticed that slowly Hackensack, Weehawken and Jersey City are becoming more popular locations as well... are there any besides Ridgewood that come to mind for Bergen county?

Stacey C-Anonymouze@aol.com

*Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books except the books that nobody reads!-G. B. SHAW

JUST say NO... to CENSORSHIP*!

Also member of LinkedIn, Erexchange and DonRockwell.

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I am currently a student @ The Art Institute of New York City. I am an aspiring chef and restaurant owner. I am always talking up you know where because I am a fan of the chef who is an alum of my school. I do appreciate everyone on this forums advice and yes I want to eventually open up my own fine dining restaurant in NJ. I hope we can all move on now and get back to the original topic.

In school they preach that the location for a restaurant means everything. I understand that if you are a "destination" people will travel but if you are in a location where weather, parking and travel aren't issues, doesnt it make more sense to pick a spot where your locals and demographics meet your concept? You can be in a wealthy town and be a "destination" at the same time.

I also hear that the parking situation in Montclair is bad. Ridgewoods parking isnt great but the town is beautiful with high end shopping and it has the same draw as Hoboken but with a more older sophisticated croud. No offense to Hoboken but it is a college town. As nice as the Saddle River area is, its true that the only decent restaurant in town is The Saddle River Inn. Im begining to think that fine dining in general is fading away and a more casual place with very high quality food gives you a much better success rate in New Jersey.

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Im begining to think that fine dining in general is fading away and a more casual place with very high quality food gives you a much better success rate in New Jersey.

I don't think it's fading away, it's just that by definition you have a smaller customer base. More people can afford the mid-priced casual place and the fancy expensive fine dining venue becomes a "special occasion" place or a place where only the tiniest top fraction of a percent of folks can go with any frequency.

McDonald's isn't as successful as it is because the food is that good, y'know?

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Montclair has built new parking decks and finding a parking spot is not a problem anymore.  Or it hasn't been a problem for me!

This is good news. Please tell me where I can find them.

Hank

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The new parking deck in Montclair is on the Crescent, behind Church Street. There are entrances on South Park Street and South Fullerton Ave.

According to barista, there are some issues with new deck, I hope they'll be worked out soon.

http://www.baristanet.com/barista/2006/01/...m.html#comments

There is also a parking deck on Park Street, next to the YMCA. Enter on Park Street or North Fullerton.

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The new parking deck in Montclair is on the Crescent, behind Church Street. There are entrances on South Park Street and South Fullerton Ave.

According to barista, there are some issues with new deck, I hope they'll be worked out soon.

http://www.baristanet.com/barista/2006/01/...m.html#comments

There is also a parking deck on Park Street, next to the YMCA. Enter on Park Street or North Fullerton.

Yes, the deck can be a little funky. I was there the other night. Paid my fee and tried to leave. The machine said my card was unreadable. After a few tries I was considering other options, like breaking the gate.

Luckily a pleasant voice came on and asked me what was happening. I explained and he opened the gate. Technology, can't live with it and can't live without it.

Peter Conway

Food and Wine Guy

Mano A Vino Montclair Food and Wine Blog

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I think at issue here might be that "fine dining" is so subjective. For example, lots of people on egullet don't agree with my opinion that a BYO cannot be fine dining, no matter how great the food is.

I lived in Princeton for 10 years. While there is certainly wealth there, it's not a fine dining scene. More mid level, no destination dining. Now I live in Lambertville, and that is a restaurant destination, but not a fine dining destination.

I agree with Rosie, when it comes to fine dining, if you build it, and it has parking, they will come.

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I think at issue here might be that "fine dining" is so subjective.  For example, lots of people on egullet don't agree with my opinion that a BYO cannot be fine dining, no matter how great the food is.

I lived in Princeton for 10 years.  While there is certainly wealth there, it's not a fine dining scene. More mid level, no destination dining.  Now I live in Lambertville, and that is a restaurant destination, but not a fine dining destination.

I agree with Rosie, when it comes to fine dining, if you build it, and it has parking, they will come.

How can you hold the liquor license policies of various municipalities against the quality of a restaurant?

Certainly there is more to fine dining than an exquisite wine list or a bartender who knows how to make a stellar Manhattan.

I find your tying of "fine dining" to a liquor license unsettling... :unsure:

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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I think at issue here might be that "fine dining" is so subjective.  For example, lots of people on egullet don't agree with my opinion that a BYO cannot be fine dining, no matter how great the food is.

I think that's a bit of an extreme. Sure, there are issues of wine pairings, and wine selection. Some folks, like me, are less sophisticated about their wine, and it matters little about pairings. If the food is great and I bring a wine I know I like, that's fine dining for me.

If a BYO restaurant you knew had fabulous food and was GREAT in every way, couldn't you stop in a large wine store and get a wine that was acceptable enough so as not to diminish your experience?

Not to mention all the money you save on the wine...

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I think at issue here might be that "fine dining" is so subjective.  For example, lots of people on egullet don't agree with my opinion that a BYO cannot be fine dining, no matter how great the food is.

Mark me down as one of those who totally disagrees with your contention that there cannot be fine dining at a BYO. To me, it's all about the cuisine. Service and ambiance play important roles. Having a wine list is nice though for those, like me, who don't drink, that makes no difference.

Have you been to Lorena's, the jewel of a restaurant, in Maplewood, that just received an "Excellent" rating from the NY Times? David Corcoran's final line says it all: "...one of the finest in the state." So, I dare you to go there and come back and argue that Humberto and Lorena are providing anything but a fine dining experience.

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I think at issue here might be that "fine dining" is so subjective.  For example, lots of people on egullet don't agree with my opinion that a BYO cannot be fine dining, no matter how great the food is.

I lived in Princeton for 10 years.  While there is certainly wealth there, it's not a fine dining scene. More mid level, no destination dining.  Now I live in Lambertville, and that is a restaurant destination, but not a fine dining destination.

I agree with Rosie, when it comes to fine dining, if you build it, and it has parking, they will come.

If I understand you correctly you are in effect saying that when I bring a bottle of wine to Jean Georges (a $60.00 corkage charge) I cannot experience fine dining. In fact there is hardly a restaurant left in NY that does not allow you to bring your own wine. All you need to do is ask when you make your res. Last week 4 couples brought 5 bottles to Gramercy Tavern and they charged us $125.00. Please do not tell me that we had anything but outstanding food. Therefore I totally disagree with your premise.

Hank

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I think at issue here might be that "fine dining" is so subjective.  For example, lots of people on egullet don't agree with my opinion that a BYO cannot be fine dining, no matter how great the food is.

Mark me down as one of those who totally disagrees with your contention that there cannot be fine dining at a BYO. To me, it's all about the cuisine. Service and ambiance play important roles. Having a wine list is nice though for those, like me, who don't drink, that makes no difference.

you do realize, of course, that with not drinking, you are in the minority, and therefore your views may not necessarily reflect those of most others. you are right though: it's not just about the food. atmosphere, service, are usually taken into consideration.

i think an excellent wine program, one that is integrated into the food and experience, is a component for a top-notch experience. whether you choose to define that as "fine dining", or "four star", or "five star" makes no difference. those descriptions, after all, are usually just made up and are in the eye of the beholder (what is "4 star"? 4 stars from whom?)

i submit tht if you have 2 identical restaurants, one with an excellent wine program, and one serving 2 kinds of chardonnay, i think it's safe to assume that by most criticial barometers, the one with the oustanding wine program will be more highly regarded. after all, the service will have to be that much more informed because of the wines. so, by default, that restaurant will have a more informed staff. +1 points for the restaurant with the wine program.

luckily when i BYO to jean-georges, the staff is already top-notch and knows exactly how to handle my wonderful bottle. i can't say the same for the staff at, say, Blu, or Venue, or, well, just about any other BYO. and i won't even mention the stemware that one encounters at these places. so yeah, the restaurant with the wine list in our little comparison wins out. i'm sure the other place is very good, though.

edited because i typed "wines out" instead of "wins out".

Edited by tommy (log)
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Well, yes. that is a point. What we're really saing is that a major factor in this area is just how "wine sophisticated" one is. I've already said that I was quite a novice, I don't get into the fruits, flavors, or the slurping. I know what I like, usually under $20, and stick to it. So, fortunately, (or unfortunately) for me, wine plays a very small part of the experience for me. I like wine, I want it with the meal, but that's it.

Perhaps I'll get educated into "Oeonophile" status one of these days, but that might also be a burden. Then I would probably be disappointed in a lot of things that don't faze me now.

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Well, yes. that is a point.  What we're really saing is that a major factor in this area is just how "wine sophisticated" one is.  I've already said that I was quite a novice, I don't get into the fruits, flavors, or the slurping.  I know what I like, usually under $20, and stick to it.  So, fortunately, (or unfortunately) for me, wine plays a very small part of the experience for me.  I like wine, I want it with the meal, but that's it. 

Perhaps I'll get educated into "Oeonophile" status one of these days, but that might also be a burden.  Then I would probably be disappointed in a lot of things that don't faze me now.

we should hang out. i could teach you how to become a hard-to-please-pain-in-the-ass like the one i've grown into. :biggrin: i'm told i'm no fun to go out to dinner with, because i am always disappointed because i know i can do it better. and i know i have better taste (or at least a somewhat more informed and passionate taste) in wine than whoever is putting together the list (and that's not saying much).

but yeah, stick with me and i'll make ya miserable.

for what it's worth though, most of the wine i drink is btwn 7 and 12 dollars, and it's still more interesting than what most restaurants are serving.

but back to the topic.

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we should hang out.  i could teach you how to become a hard-to-please-pain-in-the-ass like the one i've grown into.  :biggrin:  i'm told i'm no fun to go out to dinner with, because i am always disappointed because i know i can do it better.  and i know i have better taste (or at least a somewhat more informed and passionate taste) in wine than whoever is putting together the list (and that's not saying much). 

but yeah, stick with me and i'll make ya miserable. 

for what it's worth though, most of the wine i drink is btwn 7 and 12 dollars, and it's still more interesting than what most restaurants are serving.

but back to the topic.

Better yet, come with me to France when I go again this fall. That would make a heck of a starting point for my wine education. :smile:

No BYOBs there, either.

P.S. I won't become a wine snob, will I?

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I think at issue here might be that "fine dining" is so subjective.  For example, lots of people on egullet don't agree with my opinion that a BYO cannot be fine dining, no matter how great the food is.

Mark me down as one of those who totally disagrees with your contention that there cannot be fine dining at a BYO. To me, it's all about the cuisine. Service and ambiance play important roles. Having a wine list is nice though for those, like me, who don't drink, that makes no difference.

you do realize, of course, that with not drinking, you are in the minority, and therefore your views may not necessarily reflect those of most others. you are right though: it's not just about the food. atmosphere, service, are usually taken into consideration.

i think an excellent wine program, one that is integrated into the food and experience, is a component for a top-notch experience.

snip

luckily when i BYO to jean-georges, the staff is already top-notch and knows exactly how to handle my wonderful bottle. i can't say the same for the staff at, say, Blu, or Venue, or, well, just about any other BYO. and i won't even mention the stemware that one encounters at these places. so yeah, the restaurant with the wine list in our little comparison wins out. i'm sure the other place is very good, though.

Yes, I am well aware that as a non-drinker, I'm in the minority. However, my husband does drink wine and knows a little something about it. Nonetheless, he agrees completely with my views.

When it comes to handling wine at Lorena's, it is done quite correctly since George, the dining room manager, has some expertise in that regard, having spent the previous 5 years on the service staff at Nicholas, known to have one of the best wine lists in the state. As for the issue of stemware, I'm no expert, but when my husband has brought brought more than one type of wine (one time, there were three), he has been provided with different and, I'm presuming, appropriate glasses.

As I said to Kim, go and check it out for yourself.

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