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Culin Ariane Montclair NJ


Peter Conway
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Ariane Duarte works wonders in the kitchen of Culin Ariane. A new restaurant on Walnut and Pine in Montclair.

Her food is art, perfectly prepared, full of color and playfully presented. A Culinary Institute grad and former executive chef of Vine in NYC.

She and her husband Michael bring a refreshing new entry to the Montclair restaurant scene.

The restaurant is bright, colorful and has lively hip club music playing in the background. Staff is attentive, though not polished. The room is small, some tables awkwardly placed.

The food is sublime. It has an Italian, Middle Eastern and Asian influence, but all seems uniquely Ariane.

Culine Ariane has a menu of 7 appetizers and 7 entrees. They offered two specials.

The meal started with, compliments of the chef, a tiny blue potato with cream fraiche and truffle oil. Delicious.

We had the Tuna Sashimi Flower. Diana was reluctant to order, she expected it to be like the many other Tuna Sashimi appetizers you see. It was totally different.

The Tuna, cut in small cubes, gently brushed with sesame oil and soy or tamari, layered on wasabi cream fraiche, atop a circle of crispy flat wantons, this formed the blossom of the flower, Down the plate was a stem of chive with parsley leaves and pickled cucumber swirls. The dish puts a smile on your face.

I had toasted gnocchi which were delicate and flavorful, in a vegetable ragout and tomato fondue, surrounded with baby carrots, red beets, squash and crispy leaks. We kept sharing the last bite, it kept getting smaller and smaller. It was so good.

We were tempted by the jumbo crab cakes with grain mustard remoulade and mache, the corn meal crusted oysters with greens and horseradish cream or the greens with honey infused goat cheese. Next time.

The entrees we tried were a baked cod, with arugula pesto, over delicate mashed potatoes and carrot puree. A special of the night. The pure white, green, and orange colors were delightful to the eye and sensuous on the palate.

We also had the French cut chicken breast, on the bone, over Moroccan apricot stew with lentils and herbed quinoa. It made you picture nights in the casbah and made your belly dance.

Other entrees sounded very good. I am sure we will be back. Culin Ariane is open Wednesday through Saturday. They pace their reservations so the restaurant was never jammed, but it get's noisy. We will be back on a week night.

Edited by Peter Conway (log)

Peter Conway

Food and Wine Guy

Mano A Vino Montclair Food and Wine Blog

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Any idea if they are open on Mondays?

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 ate here last night.

Appetizers: Crab cake with grainy Dijon Mustard sauce; corn crusted fried oysters with a fresh horseradish sauce. Both very good with an edge to the oysters for their presentation and zesty sauce.

Entrees: Halibut special with spinach, bacon and potatoes. Very good and spinach and bacon are high on my wife's list of favorite foods. I had scallops with a wild mushroom ragout. Great fresh ingredients. No starch?! I'm not on Atkins!

Dessert: Pear tarte tatin with cinnamon ice cream. Tea with nice service--HOT water, good tea selection of real black teas (do people drink red zinger and peppermint that fill tea boxes?) and a cool sugar bowl.

Sevice: Professional and attentive. I think our waiter thought I was nuts to take home two of my scallops.

This restaurant is competive with Blu, Table 8 and Orbis. Get a reservation. It's small and it sold out on a Thurday night.

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Scarlet Knight--have you been to Orbis recently? Matt who was the sous chef has left. We had a disappointing meal there recently although Lowell thought his whole fish was very good. Seafood dumplings had a thick dough and the short ribs were bland.

Rosalie Saferstein, aka "Rosie"

TABLE HOPPING WITH ROSIE

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We last went to Orbis about a month ago. I recall it as a good meal, but I agree that some of the entrees are better than others. We find the daily fish specials, the oven roasted chicken and the hanger steak (medium or rarer, with pommes frites and Bordelais sauce) are consistent winners. We also find the waitresses to be charming and Nancy, the owner, is very nice to us. We have a soft spot for it due to the staff and atmosphere, but critically speaking, it has its hits and misses.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Does anyone have the exact address and or telephone number. Sounds like a restaurant to try.

CulinAriane

33 Walnut St., Montclair

Tel.: 973-744-0533

Thanks for the info. I already left a message on their phone and am waiting for a confirmation.

Hank

Hank

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The restaurant is most accomodating to late diners if your first time choice is unavailable.

The night we were there people were being seated at 9, 930, even 10pm. Quite unusual in many places.

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

rancho gordo

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The restaurant is most accomodating to late diners if your first time choice is unavailable.

The night we were there people were being seated at 9, 930, even 10pm. Quite unusual in many places.

Thanks Rail Paul but that's my bed time. :laugh:

Hank

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  • 4 months later...

Had the nice opportunity of finishing our meal and not 2 minutes after the dessert we were told we had to leave because they needed the table.

No more dollars from me. Buh-bye.

"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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  • 8 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

I'm adding my $0.02 to the praise for Culin Ariane. This was one of the better Montclair dining experiences I've had.

Protip: if the weather's nice, call the day of and see if you can get a table outside.

We started with the crab cake off the menu and one of the specials: a frisee salad with grilled calamari topped with roasted heirloom tomatoes and fried shallot rings. The crab cake was very dense with crab and red/green peppers, and that was that - but the frisee salad was something else. It had a great blend of crispness and softness.

Our mains were the halibut off the menu with fingerling potatoes, rock shrimp scampi, and bacon pieces with mango salsa. I opted for the special: strawberry bass over a faro salad with broccoli, topped with a smoked tomato and paprika cream sauce. Again, what a mix of textures, and of course, delicious.

The desserts were not to be missed. Get the chocolate pudding with banana bread and walnut caramel, avoid the white chocolate and strawberry trifle: it was good, but too basic.

Be sure to book in advance; this is a small place but it is a must-dine. BYO, too.

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside" -Mark Twain

"Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock 'n roll." -Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of The Legend of Zelda, circa 1990

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  • 2 months later...

I recently saw online that Ariane is one of the contestants in the new season of Top Chef! I checked the Bravo site and sure enough, there she is. (Maybe someone with more computer skills than me can post a link) How exciting is this?

Congrats, Ariane- we'll be rooting for you!!

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