Clark’s 1300 Raritan Road is no stranger to change. What was once the Tex-Mex hotspot favorite, Senorita’s, two Brians—French Culinary Institute trained Executive Chef Brian Walter, alongside his partner, Brian Costello—have replaced the fiery atmosphere with a romantic pub fare for the second Union County location at Oh’ Brian’s On the Green.
Walter has a background in traditional pub fare with extensive experience working with New York City’s elite eateries such as The French Embassy, Mario Batali’s Pó, Le Cirque 2000, Lespinasse, Gustavino’s and The Union Club. After his return to the Garden State, Walter’s passion for fresh ingredients and fine dining seasonal weekly specials caught the attention of Brian Costello, and soon after, Walter’s culinary mastermind made a baby named Oh’ Brian’s Pourhouse, born in Fanwood. With the Fanwood eatery still going strong, Costello partnered with Walter again, this time with its sister restaurant, a casually romantic à la carte restaurant that overlooks the breathtaking landscape of the Hyatt Hills Golf Course in Clark.
The packed bar section hasn’t changed since the Senorita’s days; however, the quaintly lit area was chock full of busy and friendly bartenders in cute, plaid skirts. After a 20-minute wait, my boyfriend, James, and I were able to sit in the newly renovated dining area that donned low, dark chandeliers accompanied by the simple elegance of autumnal ambience.
With no specials prepared for the night, our friendly staff was knowledgeable about the copious menu. The appetizer selection was topped with 16 choices—ranging from Osso Buco marrow bones, Hoppin’ Popper’s frog legs, fish tacos, jumbo prawns, among others. We chose to share the Jumbo Prawns which came at 13 dollars. It was served beyond bite-sized—think crushed—cloaked with a spicy pico de gallo sauce. For those who would rather taste the seafood and liberally use the sauce, choose something else—even though the pico de gallo is a delicious choice for whole prawns, yet not for the price.
As for our entrée, James ordered the filet mignon, which, at an à la carte eatery, came with roasted potatoes and green beans for $30. The beef was perfectly medium rare, and with an even generous size with the mignon title. Tender and juicy, “This was perfect,” James said. Walters didn’t skimp on the sides, either—the copious amount of garlic and oil drizzled green beans was deliciously accompanied to the herbed starch. Although pricey for a rather casual place, the filet was worth every penny.
Although the menu had some delectable choices such as roasted duck, blue fin tuna and New Orleans pudding (which came with corn bread pudding), I decided to go with Walter’s traditional with a swanky spin of pub fare—ale-battered fish and chips. At $16, the 10-ounce cod was fried flawlessly—with the amber batter complementing the flaky and buttery fish inside its salty pocket. At first, the single piece seems excessive, since the roasted chips leave a blank space on the white plate. Fear not, for it is plenty—and sapid.
There was no dessert menu to speak of, and our server didn’t mention any, but with our palates satiated, a sweet treat wasn’t even on our brains.
As the Clark’s beloved Senorita’s has gone and passed, regular patrons may feel vulnerable to an upscale change, however, with an Executive Chef with four-star New York City status and an already successful restaurant just around the corner, Oh’ Brian’s On the Green is a palatable pledge for those who crave beyond better cuisine.
Oh’ Brian’s On the Green
1300 Raritan Road
Clark, New Jersey
Lisa Panzariello is thrilled to be part of the Jersey Bites crew, and as a fellow Jersey foodie, she lives and breathes all things delicious. Born and raised in Essex County, she now resides with her boyfriend, James, in Union County. Her writing career has stemmed over 14 years, starting with Metal Edge Magazine, then later as an editor for Penthouse, where tasting many an ethnic cuisine in The City made her realize her true passion: Mixing food with writing. Now focusing solely on freelance writing, her flexibility is giving her more freedom to cook and bake, sometimes for 24 hours straight. Given her Irish and Italian heritage, Lisa travels for an impressive beer list and loves anything relating to her Celtic roots; and just like her Nona before her, she wants everyone to feel the love and warmth in her cooking—while splitting it with those around her—especially her two dogs.