Crystal Plaza Creates Dazzling Feast for the Eyes, Palate

Dessert platter

Note: Jersey Bites was invited to attend this event. The meal was complimentary.

Love was in the air in Livingston last weekend as the elegant Crystal Plaza marked its second annual client appreciation celebration with an evening of fine dining, sensational appetizers, lively music. Owner and president Allan Janoff, along with his sons Max and Hunter, welcomed guests to the event.

Sculpted ice boat with crab claws, shrimp, and clams

Showcase for the Evening

The evening served as a showcase to present the Crystal Plaza as a dazzling wedding and event venue in the heart of northern New Jersey. The highlight of the night was an extended sampling of hors d’oeuvres and cocktails—a colorful display of various stations including sushi, beef and lamb, cheese and figs, and grilled cheese bites in a small cup of tomato soup. Freshly shucked oysters were presented by the strolling duo of Oysters XO. Champagne flowed throughout the night, complemented by blue lagoon cocktails, made with vodka and fruit juice sorbet.


Expert oyster shuckers for Oysters X O
Preparing the blue lagoon: vodka and fruit juice sorbet

Grand Entrance

Upon entering the 5,000-square-foot grand ballroom, guests enjoyed rock shrimp and crab salad with mango and lime crème fraiche, bacon dust, and pea tendrils. Main course options included delicacies such as bone marrow-crusted filet mignon with celeriac puree, brussel sprouts and grilled onions; pan-seared Chilean sea bass with tomato consommé, peppers, spaghetti squash, leeks and crispy kale; and spaghetti squash with roasted zucchini, red peppers and pesto. The decadent dessert platter consisted of a chocolate cream-filled tube and candy bar (pictured at top).

Bone marrow-crusted filet mignon


Executive Chef Paul Fonte, a 1999 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (based in Hyde Park, NY), orchestrated the artisan gourmet food selections during the reception, all of which proved to be an alluring feast for the eye and palate. Fonte has served as the Crystal Plaza’s executive chef since 2005 and his creative cuisine made a bold artistic statement throughout the night.

Preparation of tuna tartare bites with wasabi and caviar
Paul Fonte, executive chef

Excitement in the Air

The high-tech DJ and entertainment team LJDJs provided dance music, much to the delight of the energetic crowd. Elegant, skillful dancers entertained the audience with illuminated butterfly wings and athletic routines using torches and swords.

Electric butterfly dancer

About the Venue

The origins of the Janoff family business goes back four generations, to 1917. According to information provided by the Newark-based media and marketing agency GMLV, the business started in Newark and then moved to Maplewood, with a venue known at the time as The Alpine. In 1967, the family opened the Crystal Plaza in Livingston.

The Crystal Plaza houses three separate kitchens for non-kosher, kosher, and glatt (“smooth”) kosher dishes, which provide custom catering for any affair. Rabbis work closely with the executive chef and kitchen staff to ensure that all Alpine Glatt kosher food and preparations are fit.

Operating in a stately, nineteenth-century residential mansion designed by famed New York architect Stanford White, the Crystal Plaza maintains a waitstaff of 150 associates. The five-acre property includes manicured gardens where 18,000 new flower bulbs are planted each year. The Grand Ballroom, with more than 30 glittering crystal chandeliers, can accommodate up to 400 guests for dinner and dancing. As stated on its website, the Crystal Plaza, with its white-glove service and attention to detail, hosts only one event at a time—weddings, social receptions, or corporate events.

Sparkling elegance
Max, Hunter, and Allan Janoff

The Crystal Plaza executive team includes Allan Janoff, owner and president; Max Janoff, managing partner and director of sales; Ronni Janoff Weinstein, vice president; Hunter Janoff, managing partner; Barry Ress, general manager; Nella Mellace, senior operations manager; Marco Chiaravalloti, assistant general manager; Mikheil Tatishvili and Ryan Howell, operations managers.

The Crystal Plaza
305 West Northfield Road
Livingston, NJ 07039

LJDJs Event Design & Entertainment
412 Main St.
Clifton, NJ 07014

53 Edison Place, Level 3
Newark, NJ 07102