Blackbird Dining Establishment-Collingswood, NJ

Warm. Calm. Inviting.  That’s the vibe you get at Collingswood’s Blackbird Dining Establishment.  My husband, John, and I recently spent an enjoyable and tastebud-tempting Sunday evening there with our friends Don and Martha. After the great meal we had, I am sure that we will be back!

We were seated in Blackbird’s front dining area, where sunlight dapples the airy blonde wood tables (if you get there early enough).  I loved the acoustic music selection that played softly in the background (they get extra points for playing an acoustic Grateful Dead tune).  Three of us ordered from Blackbird’s prix fixe menu, which features three courses for thirty dollars. The prix fixe is available Sunday through Thursday night and is an excellent value.

John and I started off with the Romaine Salad with Lemon-Parmesan Dressing. It was slightly-Caesarish, but had a much lighter and cleaner feel than a typical Caesar salad. Our friends ordered the mussels (plump and flavorful) and the spinach salad, which was one of the delicious specials that night.

Each of us ordered different entrees. Michael, our attentive server, told us that the gnocchi was voted as a “Best of Philadelphia” selection by Philadelphia Magazine. Even though I did not order the gnocchi as my entree, I had to have a sample. They were incredible light and airy pillows of pasta goodness. The Gulf Shrimp with Lobster Couscous was my choice.  The shrimp were fresh and delicately seasoned, and the couscous was nicely flavored with small bits of lobster meat. Since lobster (with wine and chocolate) is one of the essential foods I must have if I am ever stranded on an island, I was happy to see it incorporated into the menu in a creative way. One of our friends ordered the Tilapia special, which had a nice crust and was also well-prepared.  John enjoyed his Duck Confit entree, although he found the skin to be a tiny bit overcooked. We really enjoyed both our appetizers and entrees.

The desserts really delivered, too. I ordered Chocolate Three Ways (there we go with those essential food groups again!). It consisted of a small chocolate cake dusted with powdered sugar, a smooth and creamy serving of chocolate pots de creme, and a chocolate profiterole. Rich, richer, richest-I loved them all! John had a poached pear which was incredibly fresh and was perched in a puddle of chocolate. Our friends split a Honey-Lavender Creme Brulee, which was sweet and delicately favored.

One of the black and white photos on the restaurant’s wall features a smiling child who has immersed himself in a huge pile of fall leaves. I could relate to the delight in the child’s eyes at the end of our meal. What could be better than a great meal in an inviting restaurant with good friends? Life’s simple pleasures are what keep us going, after all.

Blackbird Dining Establishment, 619 Collings Avenue, Collingswood, NJ 856-844-3444

Beth Christian subsisted primarily on cheeseburgers and liverwurst sandwiches during childhood and refused to try most new foods.  Her culinary horizons were expanded during her college days in Schenectady, New York, where she learned the joys of trying slow-simmered Italian dishes, Szechuan cuisine, and everything in between.  When not engaged in the practice of law in Monmouth County, Beth is busy scouting out interesting restaurants,  farmer’s markets and food purveyors near her home in Burlington County. Beth’s primary dining sidekick is her husband John, but she also enjoys having her daughter Meghan, son Michael and her wonderful friends come along for the ride.