It has been a little over a year since Uncle Moustache the French Lebanese Bistro opened its doors in Montclair, there success has only grown. This cozy restaurant decorated in a retro style that reminds you of a bistro you could find in the Left Bank of Paris draws an enthusiastic crowd of diners every night and for Uncle Moustache’s fabulous brunch.
You’ll find all your Mediterranean/middle eastern favorites here, from Falafel or Foul to Mousakka and Shawarma. All fresh and prepared “Slow Food” style. Then there are the enticing “Pitzas” which of course is Pizza but Lebanese style. They also have dishes like the “Momo” burger, ground sirloin served on a challah bun with caramelized onions served with crispy french fries you will not forget.
And If you like french fries you are going to want the grilled lamb chops, which are tender and delicious, you get three chops, enough to share with fabulous grilled local tomatoes and a wonderful chopped salad. I like their focus on fresh local produce.
We have dined and brunched here many times and have always been greeted with welcoming smiles. Of course the food is fabulous. Of all the Middle Eastern cuisines you can enjoy in New Jersey, I do find Lebanese to be the most interesting and enjoyable.
This cuisine is a cross culture of various civilizations that have resided in the country over thousands of years including Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, Arabs, the Crusaders, the Ottoman Turks and most recently the French. The capital city Beirut was called the Paris of the Middle East.
For our dinner this past week we started off with a Fatouch, a classic Middle Eastern bread salad made from toasted or fried pieces of pita bread and vegetables and herbs according to harvest and the chef’s taste. Here it is a made with crisp cucumbers, lettuce, radish, tomatoes and sumac with a light vinaigrette.
I love wines from Southern France with tonight we enjoyed this Montgravet Cotes De Gascone Blanc, 100% Columbard. The bright citrus flavors of this wine contrasted so well with the dishes.
For our entrees I had one of my regular favorites the Chicken Tangine with with preserved lemons and green olives over couscous. The chicken is tender and just falls off the bone.
We also enjoyed the flavorful Lamb Kabab with grilled tomato, shallots and basmati rice. The lamb was herbed nicely and cooked to perfection the tomato, not all that photogenic, but very flavorful, and the rice made a perfect bed.
By then we had open a second bottle of wine, a luscious Cotes Du Rhone, Lavau Cotes du Rhone Villages, a Grenache and Syrah aged half in French oak which has a beautiful fruity yet smokey flavor that paired very well with our last courses.
We were having such a good time enjoying the vibe and cool Pandora play list running in the background we decided to indulge in dessert. Unable to decide on one we enjoyed a very sensual rice pudding and a beautifully natural pistachio ice cream. If you enjoy trying new dishes and a menu full of interesting, healthy options, do yourself a favor and put this restaurant on your “must try” list.
702 Bloomfield Avenue
Montclair, New Jersey
Peter Conway, a resident of Montclair, NJ, works by day in the business technology field. He began writing about food and wine in December 2005 as a learning venture into a new Internet publishing medium called “Blogs.” Peter has a passionate interest in wine and craft beer, and the foods that pair with them. He is completely self-taught, but fueled by his love of writing and fervent pursuit of new viniculture and culinary experiences Peter’s food and wine blog, manoavino.com has flourished and is enjoyed by thousands of readers around the world. He is often found in the kitchen creating some new internationally inspired dish or waiting by the oven for a delicious dessert to emerge. Over the years, living in the culturally rich New York City area and trips to Europe, South America, Australia, the Caribbean and Canada have provided many opportunities to explore the vast world of fine wine and craft beer. In addition to wining, dining, cooking and writing Peter hosts wine tastings for private parties and fund raising events.