Hot From The Kettle’s Restaurant Buzz from Montclair

Montclair is one of New Jersey’s most formidable food towns. Predominantly a BYO town, competition is tough, and only chefs and restaurateurs with their finger on the pulse and their heart in the kitchen survive.

Among the most recently opened restaurants in Montclair is Fin Raw Bar & Kitchen.  Fin is owned by New Jersey restaurateur, Gerry Cerrigone along with his business partner Robert Gaccione.   Gerry and Robert also own and operate the very popular Salute Bistro.  The kitchen will be run by Mike Juliano, a restaurant veteran, who has been in the business over twenty years.  According to Cerrigone, Fin is dedicated to sustainability and seasonal quality, offering “light, clean fare, with a price point that’s sensitive to the times.”  Although Salute and Fin are sister restaurants there will be no menu overlap, as Cerrigone plans to “accentuate the fish.” All fish will come from Hunt’s Point.  If you want to know more about Salute, read the full review.

Last month, Chef Tre Ghoshal opened Adara, Montclair’s first molecular gastronomy restaurant.  The Adara kitchen will operate with immersion circulators, liquid nitrogen, and smoke guns, but Chef Ghoshal maintains that “there is a lot of honest cooking involved.” Ghoshal says, “The equipment that we’re using that’s new, so to speak, are also being used in kitchens across the country, molecular gastronomy or not.”  Enjoy the video of the Family and Friends Champagne Reception.

True North Osteria recently opened their “City Table. Farmhouse Kitchen.” Although True North is a fast, casual restaurant that offers grilled pizzas with freshly made mozzarella; this is not your ordinary Jersey pizzeria.  True North offers a refreshing variety of bruschetta, reasonably priced from $4 -$6, including Ricotta and Olive with wine braised oil cured olives over herb whipped ricotta.  Small plates ($4 -$6), feature selections like seasonally prepared Farro, and Roasted Sweet Potato and Mushroom with rosemary and truffle balsamic. Stay tuned to Hot From The Kettle for more from True North Osteria.

If you’re in the mood for seasonal American fare and a creative cocktail, like The Mad Hatter, then take a trip Upstairs!  Upstairs offers a streamlined menu of small plates and large plates.   Owned by Aki Kaneda, Upstairs is the metro-sexual, alter ego of the subdued Japanese restaurant, Dai Kichi.  Want to watch the chef cook up some Littleneck clams with beer and bacon? Go to the video!

Finally, for those with a sweet tooth, Montclair resident Jennifer Snyder, recently opened Little Daisy Bake Shop.  The 1940’s style bakery is fully stocked with a variety of delicious treats, all baked fresh on the premises!

In unfortunate restaurant news, QBA Restaurant, the brick and mortar extension of the popular Cuban food truck is seeking a business partner, who according to owner, Lynna Martinez, must have “industry experience and just enough money to help me reopen the store.”

There has been quite a bit of buzz surrounding Trend Coffee & Tea House that opened several months ago and offers a full on foodie menu.  Also worthy of note is cocina Peruana Costanera, Suzy Que’s BBQ & Bar, and the perennial curry favorite, Brick Lane Curry House which recently hosted the first Phaal Curry Challenge in Montclair.  Think you could handle the Phaal? Watch the video first!

This month, Hot From The Kettle chose Patria Restaurant and Mixology Lounge in Rahway as it’s Out-of-Town restaurant pick.  Co-owners, Edwin Gomez and Fabian Huerfano, along with renowned chef, Andrew DiCataldo, are creating an inventive and exciting nuevo Latin cuisine.

Mixologists at Patria are creating artisanal cocktails, reasonably priced at $10, like Strawberry Cilantro Margarita with Milagro Tequila, Cherry Tomato Gimlet with Double Cross Vodka, cherry tomatoes, and lime juice, and the Drunken Rabbit with Leblon cachaca, Cointreau, carrot juice, sliced bell peppers, and lemon juice.  Patria is also mixing up the classics like Caipirinha with Leblon Cachaca, and my personal favorite, Dark & Stormy, with Gaslings Dark Rum, Homemade Ginger Beer, lime juice, and fresh ginger.  Patria also offers an extensive wine list.

Patria’s Chef DiCataldo has mastered the balance between plating aesthetics and gastronomic satisfaction.  Masterful riffs on classic Spanish dishes like Pariguela ($10) a seafood stew of tomato, Peruvian corn, clams, calamari, octopus, shrimp and mussels, as well as Seafood Fideos ($23) featuring Shrimp, scallops, calamari, clams and mussels sautéed with toasted thin noodles and saffron red pepper sofrito.  For the meat lover, a masterfully sauced Churrasco  ($23) marinated grilled skirt steak with red chili-parsley chimichurri, roasted beet salad, Peruvian blue potatoes, mushroom, onions, and demi-glace.

And that’s just the food!  Watch the video for a chat with Chef DiCataldo and a tour of Patria.

In wine news, Bomb, an artisan wine company founded by Montclair resident, Susan Weeden, and Soho resident Jim Carney, launched their 2009 Oregon Pinot Noir in Montclair. Gary’s Wine & Marketplace also hosted their 20th Annual Grand Tasting at the Park Avenue Club in Florham Park.  Guests were given an exclusive preview tasting at “Gary’s Best of Bordeaux 2009” table which included the outstanding Domaine de Chevalier Pessac Leognan.   Watch the video for a quick sip!

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Salute – 173 Glenridge Ave., Montclair NJ 07042

Fin – 183 Glenridge Ave., Montclair, NJ 07042

Adara – 77 Walnut Street, Montclair, NJ 07042

True North Osteria – 345 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair, NJ 07042

Upstairs – 608 Valley Road, Montclair, NJ 07043

Patria – 169 West Main St., Rahway, NJ 07065

Costanera- 511 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair, NJ 07042

Suzy Que’s Bar & BBQ – 34 South Valley Road, West Orange, NJ 07052

Brick Lane Curry House – 540 Valley Road, Montclair, NJ 07043

Melody Kettle, owner and executive editor of Hot From The Kettle LLC, currently resides in Montclair with her husband and two children. She grew up in Bergen county, and spent most of her time beside her grandmother in the kitchen, where she developed a love for cooking, food, and entertaining.  After receiving a B.A. in English from Rutgers University, Melody attended Rutgers Law School where she earned a Juris Doctorate. In 2010 Melody began blogging and “vlogging” (video blogging), and in March of 2011she launched Hot From The Kettle®, One Steamy Wine & Food Destination.  Hot From The Kettle has established itself as the definitive on-line source for restaurant news and reviews in Montclair and surrounding areas.  Hot From The Kettle also publishes content such as culinary demonstrations, recipes, and methods that have attracted national and international interest.