The Capital Grille, a national steakhouse chain with about 50 locations across the country, recently debuted a bar menu. Essentially a reduced menu from the one offered to dining room patrons, it’s divided into categories such as plates to share, soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees and sides. What’s new though are a couple just-introduced dishes: seared dry-aged sirloin with sweet chili vinaigrette and wasabi oil ($15), very tender and full of beefy flavor nicely balanced with a bright chili vinaigrette, and cast-iron garlic shrimp served over olive-oil crostini ($18). Both of these new items are sized to be shared although I would have been quite happy with the sirloin as an entree.
You’ll find the same size salads, apps, soups, salads and entrees on the bar menu as you would on the dining room menu. If you’re looking for for a quick bite before visiting the Westfield Garden State Plaza’s AMC or after a long afternoon of shopping, the sandwich selections may be just the ticket. There’s a hefty signature cheeseburger ($18) or Maine Lobster roll ($21) which are sizable portions.
Flanked by two flat screens with a row each of bar and counter seating and a half-dozen tables, the bar still offers a more luxe feeling for patrons looking for something more upscale with table linens and a full bar. In fact, the bar menu has a number of hand-crafted cocktails to boot which explains the large groups of men and women mingling at the bar. On a recent Saturday night visit to the Capital Grille at Westfield Garden State Plaza, that was the case, making it a festive scene for couples and clusters of friends who chose the bar over the dining room as their destination.
Another desirable aspect of the restaurant is free valet parking for guests. Since this Paramus, NJ mall can be challenging to park in, this feature is very welcome.
Address: 1 Garden State Plaza Blvd, Paramus, NJ 07652
Summer is nearly here and what better way to cool down than an icy cold, fruity, refreshing cocktail? Bibi’z Restaurant and Lounge invited us in to try two new summer cocktails that scored high in terms of taste, refresh-factor and smoothness. This restaurant continues to stick to its tradition of unusual, thoughtfully-crafted dishes and cocktails, emphasizing local, seasonal fare.
Ida Martin, founder of Bibi’z, gave us a demonstration of the new cocktails recently. Her new margarita, Good Karma, is a subtle combination of refreshing orange slices which is complemented by fresh basil leaves. Ida slightly muddles up the two ingredients before adding a touch of Karma tequila, a splash of lime juice as well as a splash of triple sec topped off with sour soda. After shaking everything up, Ida adds a final touch of orange juice. This colorful drink is a delicious concoction with a lovely balance of flavor and subtle sweetness.
Ida also introduced us to her revisited SummerLemonade made with pineapple vodka and an infusion of watermelon and cucumber. The drink consists, on one hand, of a splash of sour soda, a fair amount of lemonade, topped with pineapple vodka. Ida then muddles up on the side the watermelon and the cucumber before adding the mix to the rest of the drink along with ice. The cocktail is a surprising marriage of flavors that together are the tastes of summer with a little bite. This elegant cocktail keeps its promise of offering a refreshing delight.
It always seems to be happy hour at Bibi’z – although it’s officially offered six days a week from 3.00PM to 6.30PM. But these cocktails are recommended equally for a relaxing brunch, lunch or dinner as they offer sexy sipping that is equal parts summer and refreshing.
Bibi’z Restaurant | Lounge
Fri-Sat 12p-11p (Bar until 12a) Sun Brunch 11a-3p | Dinner 3p-9p
284 Center Avenue
Westwood, New Jersey 07675
Open for 12 months, Roots Steakhouse in Ridgewood, NJ is Harvest Restaurant Group’s third Roots opening, with others located in Summit and Morristown. A classic old-fashioned New York style-steakhouse, Roots is a stand-out for multiple reasons, ranging from a luxe swanky club-like interior to excellent food and super polished wait staff under the watchful eye of GM Scott Hooyman, a young, capable gent who cut his teeth at Ruth’s Chris before joining the Harvest team, and the skilled kitchen leadership of Chef Jason Morey, a man who clearly enjoys running the show with precision and creativity. Chef Morey handpicks the menu each day and changes his specials weekly to offer peak season freshness in locally sourced produce. Everything made at Roots is prepared from scratch, including tartar, cocktail and steak sauces. This attention to detail and fussiness over ingredients shows. But the biggest surprise, and one of the most delightful aspects of the restaurant, is its tremendous value for the dollar. Menu prices are designed to keep patrons coming back and not view the restaurant as a special-occasion-only destination. With a menu that spans seafood, lighter fare and entree-sized salads, it’s easy to view Roots as a fine choice for leisurely lunches, weeknight dinners of grilled protein-topped salads and a modestly priced 10 ounce burger ($11.95) for weekday business lunches.
The Roots name came from the Summit clothing store of the same name, which was where its restaurant was first located. The restaurant offers a spirited yet classic selection of steakhouse standards updated slightly with Chef Morey’s whimsy and an enveloping upscale, yet not stuffy, ambience. At full capacity, the restaurant can be noisy. Impeccable detail in floor to ceiling decor and a formidable array of military-inspired artwork that reflects the owner’s veteran status adds to an ambience that is masculine without alienating women. A smartly outfitted bar area is elegantly old school with the welcome absence of flat screens that dominate most bars today. That lack of technology lends a sedate, grown-up feel free of the clutter of busy screens and more noise.
Roots’ 16 cooks are visible in an open glass-walled kitchen and 10 wait staff tend tables, all neatly clad in jackets. All butchering is done on premises and vegetables are sourced locally.Popovers and whipped butter are served upon arrival to whet the appetite. Appetizers on the lunch menu range from $6.95 to $22.95. From an excellent colossal lump crab cocktail and huge, nicely crisped crabcake to half-dozen salads that are abundantly portioned, crisp and dressed with well-seasoned dressings, lunch at Roots delivers on all fronts. On a recent lunch visit, about 80% of the customers were women, which speaks to the menu’s success in appealing to women. The lunch menu sports a larger salad selection with prices $9.95 at its lowest and $13.95 at its highest. All salads, from sliced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella to a colossal iceberg wedge, comprised of two wedges topped with a lip-smacking Ranch dressing and smoky bacon nuggets, are enough for two to split or one to take home leftovers.
Fish is a big seller at Roots, I am told. Large portions, deft cooking and excellent quality make seafood options attractive, even if you visit hankering for beef, veal or lamb. Roots’ lunch menu has 19 different entrees ranging from $10.95 to $30.95 including spicy barbeque baby back pork ribs, lobster roll and swordfish steak. The dinner menu is more streamlined and steak and chops centric.
Roots is known for its slow roasted prime rib which comes in 12 ounce ($29.95) and 24 ounce ($39.95) cuts. Unfortunately, the kitchen had sold out before I arrived, but I am determined to enjoy this on my next visit and have been told to call ahead to reserve a cut of the roasted prime rib on the afternoon of my planned visit. However, I couldn’t have been happier with the prime strip steak (10 ounces wet aged) at $42.95, perfectly cooked and full of wonderful beefy flavor. All beef, available in wet and dry aged varieties, comes from cornfed cattle in the Midwest. Roots’ dry aged Kansas City styled steak was juicy with intense flavor. The three-pound porterhouse steak for two at $79.95 was well cooked with a delicious crust and quite tender. A variety of different sauce selections supplement steaks including its horseradish cream and Hollandaise sauces, all house made. Steaks can be prepared Oscar Style, topped with asparagus, crabmeat and Béarnaise sauce for an up charge of $15.
There are 18 different sides at $6.95 each. The grilled local asparagus is a top seller followed by lushly flavored creamed spinach. Creamy Brussels sprouts are toothsome thanks to chunks of smoked bacon and pearl onions.
The desserts, courtesy of Chef Denise Scanlon, all priced at $8.95, are presented in enormous portions and well-executed. Fabulous cheesecake made with ricotta was very creamy and light. Warm butter cake with a blueberry compote and fresh whipped cream is a cross between pound cake and tea loaf, at once delicate yet deeply rich. The desserts are offered alongside over forty different wines. Connecticut artisanal maker of gelato and non-dairy (sorbet) gelato, Gelato Giuliana, cover a wide assortment of flavors and are the perfect way to cleanse and freshen the palate. Roots offers loose teas at $3.50 that are freshly brewed at table side.
Roots offers an extensive wine list of over 100 different wines by the glass and bottle organized by region and type. Servers and the menu suggest pairings to suite palate and wallet. Staffers are knowledgeable working under wine and beverage director Vincent Comunale. This is a steakhouse in the classic tradition that is hitting many marks. Go hungry and go often.
Brasserie is defined as “an unpretentious restaurant that serves drinks and hearty meals.” Brasserie Brandman located in Park Ridge, New Jersey lives up to its name. The restaurant serves an American menu, many of the items informed by hotelier owner Steve Brandman’s personal favorites. Housed in a 100 year old home (formerly Valentino’s restaurant), the space has been restored and has a minimalist vibe spiked with Brandman’s collection of large Man Ray photos. Why would a successful hotelier open a brasserie when he’s got so much on his plate already, plus a wife and growing family in Saddle River to tend to? Turns out he’s a steak lover. His wife and kids are vegetarians. He needed a place to go for steak. He built one. That’s Brasserie Brandman. Brandman brought in Julie Farias, who held stints at several notable NYC restaurants, to serve as executive chef.
The polished, handsome bar has flat screens which show loops of Godfather parts 1 and 2 on mute. The dining room’s ambience is straightforward and understated. Yet the beauty of Brasserie Brandman is in the details. Like exquisite, delicate glasses for water and wine. Elegant Bernardaud candle hurricanes on each dining room table with sweet peas etched into them, flames dancing within. Half-inch discs of danish butter accompanying house-made Southern biscuits, which, while oddly cool in the center, were redeemed by a slathering of that creamy, super fatty butter and a generously sprinkling of the flake salt served alongside. Drizzled with local honey, which came in a small syrup dispenser, helped me forgive the cool interior. Brandman’s excessive attention to the small things, which makes a big statement about all that Brasserie Brandman is and has the potential to become, that’s compelling. Brandman is also a wonderful host and it’s clear he loves owning a restaurant as he circles the dining room and bar frequently, asking questions and making small talk with guests.
The menu’s selections speak to comfort and familiarity. Prices are on par with other Bergen upscale restaurants. Tempura Rock Shrimp, crispy fritters in a pleasantly hot sauce, was among the better choices and Chocolate Spare Ribs, a riff on BBQ ribs cooked low and slow and served with a glaze of Mole, were tasty, sticky and satisfying. Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice was our favorite, a smart melding of yielding, delicately flavorful flesh with salty, crispy rice crackers. Steakhouse Slab Bacon (pork belly) had intense flavor and a maple sweetened soy sauce to add further depth.
Selections in the mains section of the menu include a buckwheat crepe with vegetable stuffing, a variety of seafood options including bouillabaisse, pastas, local poultry, steak and chops. Veal Milanese with arugula, tomatoes atop made a beautiful presentation. A breading of something that resembled matzoh meal didn’t produce the crispy exterior I would have hoped for, but the meat (sourced from Pat La Frieda) had good flavor and tenderness. Skirt steak was nicely cooked with delicious beefy flavor. Spaghetti and meatballs scored with well-seasoned meatballs in spite of the pasta being cooked too long. Portions are good size. Hand-cut fries were meaty and toothsome and served with mayo for dipping.
Most desserts were unavailable due to our late arrival, but looked as thoughtfully chosen as the rest of the menu items. The chocolate cake we ordered, several layers of dry, inedible cake cemented by a nearly flavorless icing, was beautiful to look, defying gravity.
This is a new venue and my prediction is that the kitchen will work out its kinks in the coming months. I’d recommend the brasserie for quiet evenings out or dining with couples. It’s low-key enough for conversation and service is polished enough to keep a comfortable pace. The bar is ideal for dining solo and challenging your Godfather I.Q.
Open since September 16th, D’Vine Bar, the brainchild of Grape D’Vine wine boutique owner and four-time restaurateur Joe Printz, offers a playful menu and smart curation of wine and beer in a polished, urbane ambience. Printz relocated his Tappan, NY boutique to Sparkill and constructed a jewel box-sized atelier where diners could commune over wine, conversation and a menu that irreverently brings together eclectic ingredients in playful compositions. With 46 seats, including bar and communal table, in a handsome interior and an outdoor area that can seat another 30 guests in warm weather, D’Vine Bar has been welcomed with open arms by Rockland, Westchester and Bergen patrons. These folks have long-awaited Printz’s vision realized through the skill of Chef Christopher Holland, a self-taught cook who, since leaving Session Bistro, a storefront in Maywood, NJ and AXIA Taverna in Tenafly, has developed a menu that balances sophistication with playful renderings of classics with largely successful results. Front of the house is managed by 29-year old Monika Riley, GM, who was sommelier/beverage director at ’76 House in Tappan, NY and also had stints with Mario Batali’s Tarry Lodge in Portchester, NY.
D’Vine Bar’s whimsical menu is divided into seven sections: Ruffage (salads), Pizzaaas, Six (apps), Cheese, Please!, Twelve (small plates), Eighteen (entrees) and Escorts (sides).
Expect seasonal changes to the menu. Four types of pizza are offered, starting with the Scattiatta with grape, black pepper, fennel seed crust and a parm/regg and arugula topping ($12), the Heirloom Pie with white bean crust underneath heirloom tomato blend and house made ricotta ($14), the Greek Pie cleverly incorporating rosemary into a chewy crust and topped with house made lamb sausage, feta, olives and mint tzatziki ($15), and the mushrooms and goat cheese version with an arborio rice crust, blend of mushrooms, goat cheese and drizzle of 50 year Balsamic ($15). Each Neaopolitan style pizza is cooked in a custom 1,000 degree oven and presented on a round wooden slab. These are well-executed pies and generously sized making them ideal for nibbling at the bar over a flight of wine. While this is Holland’s first experience making pizza, it’s clearly something he’s skilled at. Look for more developments in this area, as crusts showcase delightfully unexpected textures and flavors, all working harmoniously.
“Ruffage,” the first section of the menu, has five items to choose from: the House Salad ($9), Seizure Salad ($11), Compressed Watermelon & Tomato ($11), Heirloom Tomato ($12), and Greek Quinoa Salad ($12). The watermelon salad was intensely flavored and left me wanting a portion three times the size. Sadly, the item is moving off the menu for more fall-inspired ruffage creations, hopefully returning in the summer. It’s a winner.
In the Six category, selections include the Elote’, which combines Mexican street corn, pecorino, romano, cilantro, smoked paprika, house chili powder, and lime, and the Cornflake Chicken, which is marinated with sriracha, covered with a crisp cornflake crust, and served with bleu mousse. There are six choices to choose from, $6 each. Chef Holland continues to use the fryolater with abandon, producing tasty, crispy and caloric delights ranging from Cornflake Chicken, a play on Buffalo Wings with simply tenders coated with cornflakes and deep fried and served with traditional accompaniments with a twist.
The Cheese, Please! category offers an assorted cheese plate for market price. The “Twelve” category has seven selections to choose from. There are some delicious offerings in this section, among them Catalan Shrimp and the Bacon & Eggs.
The Eighteen section has at least three fish items and two red meat items. Some notable items include the Cast Iron Fish (changes daily) and the Campfire Steak.
Escorts/sides section includes Mashed Potato Casserole, Sauteed Spinach and Mushrooms, Cauliflower Croquettes, and Hot Slaw, each $6. Desserts are made on premise and on my visit, two of three offerings were deep fried. Reservations are strongly recommended. The restaurant plans to add another day of service; they are open only Tuesday-Saturday now. Watch for Sunday wine dinners.
Bibi’z Restaurant | Lounge, a Bergen county pioneer in offering gluten-free and vegan menu options, is now sourcing quiche, muffins, scones, focaccia and pizza dough from Englewood, NJ gluten-free baker Deliciously Alicia.
“I am thrilled to support a local small businesswoman while giving my patrons delicious, healthy gluten-free options that are a great alternative to wheat-based baked goods,” said Ida Martin, Bibi’z founder and co-owner. “The demand for gluten-free baked goods and menu offerings has exploded in recent years and we’ve tirelessly worked to create tasty options for our customers who cannot eat wheat. Deliciously Alicia Focaccia is the perfect foundation for a crispy GF flatbread appetizer and the pizza dough will be a canvas for more culinary creations. Texture, mouth feel, taste and quality ingredients are essential components of delicious gluten-free baked goods and dough.”
Bibi’z uses Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all purpose flour with corn meal to make the restaurant’s acclaimed mini corn dogs’ tender, golden crust. Also, their Chicken Florentine is dredged in all purpose flour before cooking to create the perfect exterior. Bibi’z also carries gluten-free beer and vodka. The menu displays a “V” or “GF” next to items which are vegan or gluten-free. The restaurant also welcomes requests for GF alternative preparations to entrees on its menu.
About Bibi’z Lounge
Founded by Ida Martin in 2011, Bibi’z offers Global American cuisine with a Mediterranean twist. Located at 284 Center Avenue in Westwood, NJ, Bibi’z is open Tuesday-Thursday from 12:00-10:00PM, Friday and Saturday from 12:00PM – 11:00PM and Sunday 11:00AM – 9:00PM. Bibi’z bar is open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Happy hour is offered six days a week from 3:00-6:00PM. Catering and private dining facilities are available. Bibi’z offers thoughtfully- sourced, eclectic cuisine in healthy renditions, much of it coming from local sources. The restaurant provides top shelf organic and conventional spirits, wine, and beer.
Bibi’z also offers “Girls Night Out” every Thursday with happy hour drinks all night long in the dining room and lounge.
NOODLES & COMPANY CELEBRATES 400th LOCATION WITH FAIR LAWN, NJ OPENING
First Bergen Store for National Chain
Noodles & Company, serving classic noodle and pasta dishes from around the world, today announced that it will open its newest location on Route 208 North at 2140 Promenade Boulevard in Fair Lawn, New Jersey on Wednesday, June 4 at 11:00AM. This is the 400th location for the company, and to celebrate, Noodles & Company will be serving FREE small bowls of its signature Wisconsin Mac & Cheese to the first 400 children under the age of 13. Local Noodles & Company locations in East Brunswick and Eatontown at the Monmouth Mall will also be offering the FREE Wisconsin Mac & Cheese giveaway to the first 400 children under 13 to celebrate their new neighboring location. Additionally, Noodles & Company has partnered with the Fair Lawn Fire Department to help raise funds for the organization during the grand opening celebration. A portion of the funds raised will go toward the renovation of Fire Company 1’s 55 year old fire house.
“We are thrilled to bring Noodles & Company to Fair Lawn as we introduce a world of flavors to local residents. At Noodles & Company we offer dozens of ways to enjoy delicious noodle dishes, salads, sandwiches and soups which celebrate wonderful cuisines from around the world,” commented Scott Gillman, CEO and owner of Mascott Corporation, which is the franchise owner of the Fair Lawn Noodles & Company. “From healthy to indulgent, spicy to comforting, we have something for every member of every family. We are excited to open our doors to the Fair Lawn community and look forward to welcoming kids (13 and under) in with their families for a FREE bowl of Mac and Cheese.”
This is the third Noodles & Company location for Mascott Corporation, and the third location in New Jersey, with restaurants in East Brunswick and at the Monmouth Mall in Eatontown. Prior to introducing Noodles & Company in New Jersey, Mascott was responsible for bringing better burger concept, Smashburger, to New Jersey building 13 Smashburger restaurants since 2009. Noodles & Company has locations across the United States and delivers its globally inspired, cooked-to-order menu in a real bowl, delivered to the table with a smile. Its menu consists of more than 25 fresh, customizable dishes that are prepared quickly with quality ingredients. Favorites include the sweet and spicy Japanese Pan Noodles, zesty Pesto Cavatappi and the popular Wisconsin Mac & Cheese. For a limited time only, Noodles & Company will be featuring four fresh new dishes as part of its springtime menu. The Margherita Flatbread includes fresh whole leaf basil, Roma tomato, a custom blend of Italian seasonings, Feta and Parmesan cheese toasted atop flatbread. The Backyard Barbecue Chicken Salad consists of pulled chicken breast tossed in barbecue sauce, fresh-cut corn, Roma tomato and red cabbage over mixed greens with tangy coleslaw dressing. Asparagus di Parm is made with fresh asparagus, white wine butter sauce, mushrooms and tomato tossed with spaghetti noodles. And finally the Rustic Hummus is served with fresh cucumber, red bell pepper, broccoli, pita chips and topped with a Kalamata olive.
The Fair Lawn restaurant seats for 75 guests inside the dining room and an additional 20 on the patio. The restaurant will be open daily from 11:00AM to 10:00PM. Local fans are also encouraged to join the Fair Lawn Noodlegram e-club here. Noodlegram members receive news, offers and exclusive information on Grand Openings, VIP Events, seasonal specialties, giveaways and more. For more information on Noodles & Company, please visit http://www.noodles.com or check us out on Facebook and Twitter. About Noodles & Company Noodles & Company is a fast-casual restaurant chain where its globally inspired dishes come together to create Your World Kitchen. It is a restaurant where Japanese Pan Noodles rest comfortably next to Penne Rosa and Wisconsin Mac & Cheese, but where world flavors don’t end at just noodles. Inspired by some of the world’s most celebrated flavor combinations, Noodle & Company’s menu offers appetizers, soups, salads and sandwiches, too. Everything is made fresh to order, just as you like it, using quality ingredients. Dishes are delivered to the table allowing guests time to sit and relax or grab a quick bite. With more than 390 locations nationwide, from California to Connecticut, guests can find a location nearest them and take a tour of the global menu by visiting www.noodles.com.
Emanu-el Delicatessen in Tenafly is a haven for Israelis living in the area and just about anyone who has a penchant for specialty items from the land of milk and honey. Owner Kfir Sayag bakes challah each Friday (which quickly sells out) along with flaky, cheese filled borek pastries on a daily basis. Israeli coffee and Sachlav, the Middle Eastern thick vanilla-laced comfort drink, are also available, along with an array of flat breads, salami, cheeses, prepared appetizers and spreads and a great olive and pickle bar.
Emanu-el Delicatessen also hosts an annual Purim celebration. It’s this Sunday, March 16 and free, so bring the kids for food, entertainment and fun. Flyer follows.
Here’s a video with Kfir who talks about the delicatessen. He’s charming and makes everyone feel at home. His borek and challah, along with his cheese and appetizers, are delicious. Here’s a link to the store’s Facebook page.
52 W Railroad Ave.
7:00AM-4:00PM – Open later on Sundays. Closed Friday afternoons/evenings and Saturdays.