NJ chefs share where they want to dine first when restaurants reopen

Have you been obsessed as much as I am? Where, oh where, will my first meal be out?

I’m still working on my answer (there are so many restaurants I would love to revisit and so many more that I would love to try for the first time once this pandemic is finally and hopefully over forever). But until then I have asked chefs in North Jersey to tell me where they would dine out the first time they could sit in a dining room and be served by a professional waiter.

Of course, there is no guarantee that restaurants will survive the pandemic. But I keep my fingers crossed.

Ryan DePersio, Chef / Owner, Fascino in Montclair, Battello in Jersey City, Nico Kitchen & Bar, Newark

“Where would I go? Really as long as it’s a date with my wife and a bottle of wine it’s okay. If New York is open we’ll go to Marea and have the fusilli with octopus and maybe mash. “Us a box of caviar. We may have to splurge. We have three children, ages 14, 6 and 2, so a date night is in order.”

John Campbell, Owner, River Palm Terrace at Edgewater and Fair Lawn

“I would probably have a steak here at the River Palm. I would have a medium rare shell steak with hash browns and a nice glass of Cabernet wine. It is a very basic and classic American meal. And for dessert: trendy pecan pie. “

Jamie Knott, Chef / Owner, Saddle River Inn and Saddle River Cafe in Saddle River, and Cellar 335, Jersey City

“Marea in New York. No question. My wife and I would start with the caviar service for sure. I’ll bring my AmEx. And we will launch into the meal. must celebrate life.

Anthony Bucco, Partner / Leader, Felina in Ridgewood

“My first meal at the restaurant? Hopefully it will be in Citifield to watch a Mets baseball game with my kids this summer.”

Eddy Sujak, Owner, Sofia, Englewood

“I grew up in New York City and would go to Sushi Seki, a high quality sashimi restaurant on the East Side. It’s not your typical sushi place. They put a nice twist on sushi. I’m a big sashimi guy. I always get omakase sashimi. ”

Arthur Toufayan, Owner / Chef, Café Amici, Wyckoff

“I want to go to Per Se. I was there on March 19, 2019. I took out my aunt and uncle. I just looked at the menu. I have a lot to celebrate: my family is fine, I am going well, my business is fine. I want to make champagne. I don’t go to the noodle shops. I go to the high end. “

George Giorgiadas, Owner / Chef, Eons Greek in Montvale, Paramus and New York City

“Houston is in the Riverside Square mall in Hackensack. I love the place. I’ll have the trout with veg. I ate so much rich food that I cooked and no fish. eat fish again. “

Cesar Sotomayor, Owner / Chef, Café 37, Ridgewood

“I know I’m not supposed to say this, but I don’t think I’m going out for long. I’ll eat at home. I do it every day. My wife and I cook for our kids, 10 and 15. We cook Italian, Asian fusion, Spanish. “

Luck Sarabhayavanija, Founder and CEO, Ani Ramen in Montclair, Jersey City, Summit and Maplewood

“I’m going out for dim sum in Chinatown, especially New York’s premier dim sum restaurant, Nom Wah. It’s close and you often have to wait two hours to get in. But everyone inside is smiling. – tourists and New Yorkers. The menu is a piece of paper with check boxes. I’ll run my pencil through each box. “

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Chris Masey, Chef / Owner, Morris Tap & Grill, Randolph

“Savonas Trattoria in Kingston. It’s a two hour drive but worth it. It’s really good, good Italian food, some of the best Italian food I’ve had. And the owners are great people. really lovely people. In Jersey this is Dullboy a little craft cocktail bar in Jersey City that serves great little plates. The bartenders are incredibly knowledgeable. ”

Cynthia Pacillo, Owner / Chef, Cyndia, Totowa

“Honestly to God, Cosme (an elegant Mexican restaurant in New York). I love Cosme. Of course, I will have several tequilas. This is one of my favorite restaurants. I love all of their moles. I could, like, drink them. “

Rick St. Pierre, Owner / Chef, Verve in Somerville

“Sushi Yokohama, a great little sushi restaurant on Main Street in Somerville. I want a little place where people know me. I tell the chief to do “whatever you want” to me. The chef makes you feel like a king and a queen. “

Christopher Cannon, Owner, Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen in Morristown

“Le Bernardin in New York. What would I have? Everything the chef thinks I should have. “

Marilou Halvorsen, President, New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association

“I’ll be the first one out as soon as the restaurants open. I’m sick of cooking. I know where I’ll go: David Burke’s Driftwood in Sea Bright. I’m friends with David. My husband and I are going to go with it. David at the restaurant. We’re going to get the excellent bacon clothesline and the black ink seafood dish. I’ve been thinking about it for a while. And the dessert? Something that involves chocolate. “

Esther Davidowitz is the Food Editor for NorthJersey.com. To learn more about where to dine and drink, please sign up today and sign up for our North Jersey Eats newsletter.

Email: [email protected] Twitter: @estherdavido

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