Note: Jersey Bites was invited to visit Braun’s Tavern & Dining Room and the meal was complimentary.
I was recently invited to dine at Braun’s Tavern & Dining Room. The already-popular restaurant is Chef Michael Fiorianti’s new venture, a modern-day, chef-driven, casual neighborhood spot located in the heart of Bloomfield Center’s bustling business district, just off Bloomfield Avenue.
About the Space
Situated in the same location as Satis Bistro, Chef Fiorianti’s previous restaurant, Braun’s Tavern & Cocktail Room has been restored to its former prohibition era glory. Original details of the space include tin ceilings, a beautiful 40-foot solid wood bar and original antique wood ice chest. Antique lighting and mirrors adorn the walls, along with locally sourced vintage artwork that tell a story of the area history along with some handpicked items that have personal significance.
About Chef Michael Fiorianti
Chef Fiorianti has over 25 years of culinary experience and has garnered rave reviews from food critics, including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He’s held various kitchen roles at top New York and New Jersey restaurants including Satis Bistro in Jersey City, where he was the Executive Chef.
While Chef Fiorianti experienced good success as the sole owner of Satis Bistro Bloomfield, he was intrigued by the location’s history, which dates back to the late 1800s through the days of prohibition and into the 1940s. He decided to reinvent the space—into Braun’s Tavern.
About the Food
At Braun’s Tavern, Chef Fiorianti’s goal is to create approachable, inventive dishes using local, farm-fresh ingredients. As he’s known for, Chef continues his tradition of creating elevated comfort food classics with an emphasis on house-made staples, like his pasta.
During my recent visit, my guest and I sampled a few shared appetizers and entrées.
Maitake mushroom tempura ($9) – The earthy mushrooms were coated in a thin tempura batter and fried to a perfectly crunchy exterior. The sizeable portion was drizzled with truffled Fontina fondue. A winner that I’d love to recreate at home.
Scotch eggs ($12) – Expertly soft-cooked egg encased in house made Merguez sausage and cooked to a crisp exterior and served with asparagus and radish salad. A very good rendition of this dish that’s not found in many places but should.
Sherry braised oxtail and foie gras terrine ($14) – The issue I often have with terrines of this type is their overly gelatinous texture. Not the case at Braun’s, where it’s creamy and spreadable and served with a shallot marmalade, pickles to cut through the richness and croutons. Really impressed.
Schnitzel ($23) – Large breaded Berkshire pork cutlet—not overcooked—and plated with roasted beet, crisp bacon, cucumber and apple salad, and heavily drizzled (as it should be) with a whole-grain mustard dressing. A must-order.
Pasta and peas ($17) – Well-made Campanelle pasta served with spring pea and hazelnut pesto, spring peas and marinated Feta. I wanted to love this dish as I’ve been craving spring peas, but it was my least favorite dish, even with the great pasta.
Don’t let being completely stuffed deter you from ordering dessert, they’re fantastic. We loved the Irish Car Bomb ($10) – a parfait made with decadent Guinness chocolate cake with Irish cream mascarpone and bourbon caramel. It’s the perfect shareable dessert for fans of caramel and/or chocolate and we liked the tiny white chocolate curls that gilded the surface of the dessert.
Specials and More
The dinner special, offered from Tuesday through Sunday, is priced at $29 and includes a choice of pot roast, chicken, mushroom Stroganoff or any pasta with a soup or a salad and dessert. For brunch, the special is available on Saturday and Sunday and features any brunch entrée with one brunch cocktail or a draft beer for $19. The lunch special is $15 and served Tuesday through Friday. It includes any lunch entrée with half soup or half farm/Caesar salad or dessert.
There’s also a bar menu available daily from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., with affordable and tempting options like the grilled cheese ($6) – a sandwich made using toasted brioche, Caciocavallo and Muenster cheese and served with a tomato soup dip and disco fries ($10) – French fries, oxtail stew, Fontina cheese sauce, and scallions.
About the Drinks
Braun’s Tavern offers a selection of cocktails, craft beer (four taps and 30 bottles), and a solid wine list with affordable options and sought-after bottles.
I enjoyed a cucumber gin gimlet featuring cucumber-flavored gin by New Jersey’s Silk City Distillery with elderflower liqueur, lime juice, and muddled cucumber. It was refreshing and delightful. There are many interesting wines and we ended our meal with a lovely Tokaji Hungarian dessert wine.
Daily happy hour is available at the bar from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. where customers can enjoy $8 cocktail specials, two for $8 select bottled and draft beers or select glasses of wine.
Braun’s Tavern & Dining Room
289 Glenwood Avenue
Prices are subject to change.