Gladstone Tavern - Mardi Gras WeekFrom Tuesday, February 28 – Monday, March 6, 2017, the Gladstone Tavern, 273 Main Street, Gladstone, New Jersey, will celebrate Mardi Gras with Cajun menu specials and live Zydeco music by the Hot Take-Out Band on Friday, March 3rd.

LIBATION – Hurricane: Gosling’s & Bacardi Rum, Passion Fruit, Lime… Sazerac: Redemption Rye, Peychaud’s Bitters, Absinthe… Abita “Big Easy” IPA: New Orleans, 4.5% ABV

STARTERS – Spicy Crawdaddy Gumbo: Crawfish Tails, Andouille Sausage, Okra, Holy Trinity, Black Roux, Green Onion, Rice… Fried Green Tomato Salad: Chicory, Kale, Tomato, Black Eyed Pea, Cucumber, Blue Cheese Dressing… Popcorn Shrimp: Cornmeal Crusted Rock Shrimp, Pimiento Cheese Sauce, Hot Pepper, Fried Okra

ENTRÉES – Oyster “Po’ Boy” Sandwich: Crisp Hog Island Oysters, Butter Toasted Bun, Remoulade, Spiced Potato Chips… Catfish Crab Étouffée: Lump Crab, Creole Crustacean Sauce, Vegetable Succotash, Creole Rice… New Orleans Scampi Strip Steak: Shrimp, Garlic, Pernod, Demi-Glace, Haricots Verts, Creole Rice

DESSERTS – Bourbon Caramel Bread Pudding: Café au Lait Ice Cream, Brownie, Coffee Caramel, Pecan praline, Whisky Chantilly… Bananas Foster: Banana Cake, Roasted Banana, Rum, Chocolate Mousse, Caramel Corn, Sassafras Ice Cream

For more information, or to make reservations, please call (908) 234-9055.

Bon Appétit!

 

TAD

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Tickets are now on sale for the 9th annual New Jersey Wine & Food Festival at Crystal Springs Resort, Hamburg, New Jersey, taking place Friday, March 31 – Sunday, April 2, 2017.

NJ Wine & Food Fest 2017 - Daniel BouludThis year, Daniel Boulud, one of the most celebrated chefs in the world, will be the guest of honor. Proceeds benefit the James Beard Foundation and its mission to celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone.

Nj Wine & Food Fest 2017 - Wine Cellar DinnerChef Daniel Boulud, an industry legend, has won four James Beard awards with restaurants in New York and around the world. Chef Boulud and his team will be preparing the Wine Cellar Dinner on Friday, March 31st. The Wine Cellar Dinner will be a once in a lifetime experience, featuring a menu by Chef Boulud and Chef Anthony Bucco. The five-course dinner will be accompanied by rare vintages wines from the cellar. The cost of the Wine Cellar Dinner is $2,200.00 per person and includes access to the Welcome Champagne Reception and all taxes, gratuities and service fees. Tickets are non-refundable.

NJ Wine & Food Fest 2017 - Top Chefs & Top Wines DinnerAlso on March 31st at 8:00 p.m., a Festival favorite – Top Chefs & Top Wines Dinner – will be returning. This year, the dinner will feature three chefs from the current season of Bravo’s Top Chef: Katsuji Tanabe, Silvia Barban and Casey Thompson, alongside Chef Martyna Krowicka of Restaurant Latour and Pastry Chef Miro Uskokovic of Gramercy Tavern. Tickets are $288.00 per person.

NJ Wine & Food Fest 2017 - Grand TastingOn Saturday, April 1st, 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., the Grand Tasting returns with 30 top NJ and NYC chefs and winemakers from around the world (early VIP admission at 6:30 p.m.). The VIP experience will feature Daniel Boulud and 5 acclaimed restaurants. Regular tickets are $135.00; VIP, $295.00. At 10:00 p.m., guests can party into the ight at the Meet the Chefs & Winemakers After Party ($150.00).

For a full roster of events, or to purchase tickets, please visit http://www.crystalgolfresort.com/dine/wine-fest/. Rooms at the Crystal Springs Resort may be booked at (855) 415-2776.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Eclipse Bistro

1020 North Union Street

Wilmington, Delaware

(302) 658-1588

www.eclipsebistro.com

Eclipse Bistro - interiorAccording to the British Art Journal, the Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington has long boasted the largest and most significant collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings in the United States. I mention this artistic tidbit for one very good reason: Eclipse Bistro, flagship of the Platinum Dining Group*, just happens to be located a scant mile from the museum’s front door. So after a rewarding session of browsing through the Bancroft Collection, Eclipse would make a most convenient gastronomic & libationary stopover for either lunch or dinner.

At first glance, you might be somewhat disappointed by Eclipse’s appearance. But don’t be fooled… Although the restaurant doesn’t look like much from the outside – domiciled in a rather nondescript modern building tucked away behind a BMW dealership – once across the threshold, you will soon discover why TripAdvisor rated it number 4 among the some 450 eateries in the Wilmington area.

Eclipse Bistro - BarAs you enter, the diminutive bar beckons. There’s a very nice selection of wines by the glass, including a crisp Italian Pinot Grigio from Annalisa, fabulous Pinot Noir courtesy of Oregon’s Chad, and a racy Sangiovese blend from Tuscany’s Caparzo. Zesty cocktails include the likes of the Italian Gentleman (Old Forester Bourbon, Amaro Lucano, lemon, bitters & mint), Cosmo Blanco (New Amsterdam Orange, white cranberry, lime & sun-dried cranberries), and the Saint (Hendrick’s Gin, St. Germaine, lemon, basil & sparking Cab Franc.

The adjoining dining area isn’t terribly large, but the tables are quite comfortable and well-spaced. You’re just far enough from your neighbors to carry on a discreet conversation; but just close enough to savor a bit of that bustling bistro bonhomie. The service, in true bistro fashion, is friendly, exceedingly knowledgeable and, even on the busiest of evenings, as smooth as a Japanese railroad.

Eclipse Bistro - Open Kitchen w QuoteThe food, I would hasten to add, is as agreeably cozy as the ambiance. Like the atmosphere, it’s charmingly sophisticated without being the least bit stuffy… And Julia Child’s maxim, inscribed above the semi-open kitchen, tells it all: “Cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”

To start things off, the Mushroom & Chorizo Tart – trust me on this – is nothing short of spectacular. Wild mushroom ragù is companioned by spicy bits of chorizo sausage and baked in a perfectly prepared crust. The pièce de résistance, however, is an extraordinary gastrique. A gastrique is basically a reduction of vinegar and sugar that can be infused with a variety of culinary options: from liquor to garlic, to onions & shallots, to fresh fruits. In this case, the fortuitous ingredient of choice is sherry. It is designed to bring out the assertive flavors of a particular dish and look good while doing it. And here it does both – in spades. An addictive treat for both eye & palate and simply not to be missed!

Eclipse Bistro - Chicken, Corn & Avocado FritterEqually recommended is a recently sampled daily special: the chicken, corn & avocado fritter. You can always count on the Eclipse kitchen to come up with something uniquely distinctive; and the fritter most assuredly fills the bill. For starters, the batter is just the right consistency: light, airy, and delightfully crunchy. Then, of course, there’s that incredible poblano/potato cream sauce… rich, but not at all heavy or cloying… beautifully & subtly seasoned… and velvety smooth on the palate. Seldom have I sampled a dish so utterly beguiling. Kudos to the kitchen. Another must try.

 The restaurant’s salads also make excellent starters. The Caesar is quite good – though not terribly exciting. I much prefer the Bibb Lettuce, spruced up with grape tomatoes, pine nuts, shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, and splash of dynamite preserved orange vinaigrette.

Eclipse Bistro - Wedge SaladMy nod, however, would probably go to the Wedge Salad (pictured). This is, of course, a menu item that has recently suffered from a good deal of “ubiquitous consumption” (with apologies to Thorstein Veblen); be that as it may, Eclipse’s rendition succeeds admirably where others often fail. Not only is the iceberg pristinely fresh, as you would expect, but the other accoutrements – namely the tomatoes, lardons (diced, fried bacon), and creamy Stilton dressing – are more than generously applied. The latter is particularly important, as, in many eateries, you usually run out of dressing long before you run out of Wedge. No such worries here, however.

Eclipse Bistro - Brussels & CauliflowerThe only slight disappointment arrived with the Brussels & Cauliflower. When it comes to Brussels sprouts, you either love ‘em or hate ‘em; and I must confess that I’m a devoted fan. But this dish certainly wasn’t as I’d expected, as its components looked suspiciously like they had been dropped onto the plate from ten thousand feet. But while the presentation was not particularly photogenic, the interplay of tastes & textures was right on the money; and the paprika-honey vinaigrette quite seductive. It was even better when reheated the following day. If you can manage to turn a blind eye, so to speak, it’s a worthy contender.

As you move on to the entrées, possibilities abound – all gently tweaked by the kitchen’s captivating caresses. The Pan-Seared Scallops, for example, are pillowed on mushroom risotto, aided and abetted by an intriguing chorizo relish, shot of sherry gastrique, and splash of truffle oil. The Bistro Catch (fish of the chef’s choosing) is presented on an island of saffron dirty rice and companioned by roasted broccoli and a zippy sauce etouffée. And the Shrimp & Linguini (pictured) is buttressed by wilted spinach, crushed tomato, and infusion of red chili.

Eclipse Bistro - Seared Ahi TunaAnd speaking of matters piscatorial, nothing quite beats the extraordinary Seared Ahi Tuna. It is prepared succulently rare, precisely as ordered, and arrives at table on an island of winter vegetable ragout surrounded by a rich sea of smoked butternut squash purée. The crowning touch…? An stylish splash of tangy balsamic glaze. Tuna is a rather robust denizen of the deep, and the kitchen’s chosen accompaniments prove to be excitingly complementary in their strong supporting roles.

Meatier matters are ably represented by the likes of a hefty Black Angus New York Strip and succulent Pan Seared Venison Loin teamed with roasted cauliflower mash and intriguing cranberry-apple salsa. Even the plebeian European Chicken Breast flexes its culinary muscles courtesy of an outstanding potato, leek & andouille hash and garlicky chimichurri sauce. In this case, however, I think I’d cast my lot with the extraordinary Sherry Braised Pork Shank (pictured). The meat, basking in an intensely flavorful au jus, is just fall-off-the-bone tender, with broccoli rabe, crispy polenta, and smattering of pickled mustard seeds spicing up the festivities.

Eclipse Bistro - Pappardelle BologneseBut if there is one entrée that is an absolute must, it is the kitchen’s incomparable rendition of Pappardelle Bolognese… Bolognese sauce, or ragù alla Bolognese, a meat-based sauce originating from Bologna, Italy, seems like a relatively straightforward dish. In reality, however, the proper execution of a genuine ragù alla Bolognese is infinitely more complicated than it appears. In other words, anything that can go wrong… well you get the idea. Fortunately, Eclipse adroitly manages to avoid all the usual (and unusual) preparational pitfalls. Its consistency is neither too dry nor too soupy, its flavors intense without being over the top, and its seasonings – including a sublime hint of tarragon – are exhilarating without being intrusive.

Eclipse Bistro - Lemon Tart BruleeDesserts carry on the restaurant’s exemplary work. Possibilities include a number of old favorites like Molten Chocolate Cake and S’mores Bread Pudding, as well as a top-notch Chocolate Truffle Gelato. But the table – and personal – favorite proved to be the incomparably delicious Lemon Tart Brûlée. An innovative takeoff on the traditional crème brûlée, the tart features a crumbly hazelnut crust, addictively tart lemon infused custard, layer of semi-hard caramel, and colorful strawberry compote. The perfect conclusion to a most satisfying evening at table.

Highly recommended on all counts, Eclipse Bistro is surely worth a journey… Well, a short road trip at the very least.

*Note: The Platinum Dining Group is a full service hospitality group based in northern Delaware. It was founded in 1996 by Carl & Lisa Georigi when they opened their first restaurant, Eclipse Bistro. Platinum has since added three more restaurants – Capers & Lemons in Wilmington (which I plan to review at a later date), Taverna in Newark, Redfire Grill in Hockessin – an “any event” catering company, and a fine-goods retail market to its extraordinary stable of gourmet & fine dining establishments.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Bernards Inn - Terri BaldwinOn Friday, March 10, 2017, from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., the Bernards Inn, Bernardsville, New Jersey, will host a wine tasting with 100 wines from some of the most celebrated wine regions of the world. This will be an extraordinary opportunity to taste many of the wines from the restaurant’s award-winning wine list – a collection that has earned coveted wine awards year after year.

Wines for this special tasting event have been specially selected by Wine Director and Sommelier Terri Baldwin, who is now in her 24th year at the restaurant. Many of these extraordinary wines are not in retail stores, but will be available for purchase that evening. Light hors d’oeuvres will also be served to complement the wines.

Reservations are $55.00 per person, with $20.00 credit toward the purchase of wine. For more information, or to make reservations for this event, please call (908) 766-0002.

Attendees may also turn this event into an overnight getaway with an Around the World package that includes luxury guestroom accommodations, a welcome amenity from the pastry chef, entrance to the event, $20.00 credit toward the purchase of wine, and a $100.00 gift certificate to the restaurant.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Frog and Peach - Falesco Wine DinnerOn Friday, March 10, 2017, 7:00 p.m., the Frog and the Peach in New Brunswick, New Jersey, will host a special dinner paired with the extraordinary vintages of Famiglia Cotarella’s Falesco Winery.

Falesco is the home estate of Riccardo Cotarella, legendary Italian winemaker and consultant enologist, and their flagship wine, Montiano. According to Robert Parker: “No one has done more to elevate the quality of wines from Umbria and Lazio than Riccardo and Renzo Cotarella… These are among the most exciting modern-styled reds of Italy.

The complete menu and wine pairings are noted below…

Local Spanish Mackerel Crudo: Ginger, Apple, Green Chili, Basil; Wine Pairing: Falesco Ferentano, Lazio, 2012

Risotto “Cacio y Pepe”: Shaved Sunchokes, Shaved Truffles; Wine Pairing: Falesco Tellus Syrah, Lazio, 2013

Spinach Crusted Lamb Loin: Celeriac, Cannellini, Herbs, Olive Oil; Wine Pairing: Falesco Montiano, Lazio, 2013

Tasting of Parmesan Reggiano: Aged 18, 24 & 36 months; Wine Pairing: Falesco RC2 Sagrantino di Montefalco, Umbria, 2013

Buttermilk & Lemon panna Cotta: Hazelnuts, Chocolate; Wine Pairing: Falesco Pomele Aleatico,m Lazio, 2015

The cost of the Falesco wine dinner is $110.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make reservations, please call the restaurant at (732) 846-3216, ext. 0 (reservations for this event cannot be made through OpenTable).

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Autograph Brasserie - ExteriorAutograph Brasserie, 503 West Lancaster Avenue, Wayne, Pennsylvania, recently announced the debut of its $39.00 prix-fixe menu to be served Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

The three-course prix-fixe will change weekly and will feature Chef Ralph Fernandez’s contemporary menu, which is inspired by the flavors and classic dishes from France, Spain, Italy, and America.

The menu for February 19 – 23, 2017, is noted below…

First Course (Choice of) – Albondigas de Carne: Veal, Beef, and Pork Meatballs, Hand-Crushed San Marzano Tomato Gravy, Aged Parmesan Reggiano… Warm Baby Arugula Salad: Roasted Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese, Pecans, Sweet Potato Hay, Balsamic Shallot Reduction… Yukon Gold Potato Leek Soup: Crispy Shallots and Chives

Entrée Course (Choice of) – Honey-Glazed Rohan Duck Confit Leg: Brown Butter French Green Lentils, Honey Crisp Apple… Gulf Shrimp & Prince Edward Island Mussels: Saffron Rice, Chorizo, Tomato, Micro Coriander… Petite Medallions of Filet Mignon: Gruyère Yukon Gold Potato Gratin, Duck Fat Roasted Baby Carrots, Rosemary Scented Zinfandel Demi-Glace

Dessert Course (Choice of) – Chef’s Dessert Tasting TrioHouse Churned Ice Cream: Sea Salt Caramel, Fresh Berries, Crisp Florentine TuileFlourless Chocolate Cake: Crème Chantilly, Fresh Berries.

As noted above, the price of the prix-fixe menu is $39.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity). There is no question that dinner at Autograph can be quite expensive. The special prix-fixe menu gives guests an opportunity to enjoy an excellent dining experience without putting a major dent in their pocketbook.

For more information, or to make reservations, please call Autograph Brasserie at (610) 964-2588.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Stage Left - InteriorOn Monday, March 6, 2017, 6:30 p.m., Stage Left in New Brunswick, New Jersey, will host a special dinner featuring the spectacular wines of Paolo Conterno. Giorgio Conterno will be the special guest of the evening

The menu and wine pairings are noted below…

Hors d’Oeuvres – Arneis, Correggia 2015

Tuna with Jamon Blackberry Jam and Mint – Barbera d’Alba “Bricco,” Paolo Conterno 2015

Rabbit Terrine with Marjoram and Rosemary – Langhe Nebbiolo “A Mont,” Paolo Conterno 2014

A Study in Wild Boar: Chop, Belly & Sausage with Polenta and Crispy Kale – Barolo “Riva del Bric,” Paolo Conterno 2012… Barolo “Ginestra,” Paolo Conterno 2012

Coffee and Zeppoli

The cost of the Conterno Barolo wine dinner is $149.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity).

To make reservations, please call (732) 828-444 or visit Reservations@StageLeft.com.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Antique Bar & Bakery, Hoboken, NJFor more than 100 years, Antique Bakery was an essential part of Hoboken. Its 30-ton coal oven made such delicious bread that Hoboken’s favorite son, Frank Sinatra, would have loaves of it couriered to him around the world.

On Tuesday, February 7, 2017, Antique Bakery reopened as Antique Bar & Bakery… And they’re keeping that 30-ton oven burning, with Chef Paul Gerard serving up reimagined coal-oven dishes. Antique Bar & Bakery also offers quirky ambience with a projector screen showing old movies.

Antique Bar & Bakery will have bakery/café open from 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Saturday through Sunday. They will sell bread, coffee, baked goods, and specialty items such as meats and cheeses. All the bread that is sold in the Antique Bar & Bakery café is baked by former Antique Bakery owner Ivan Rodriguez, who moved his business to Jersey City last Year. The new Antique Bar & Bakery also makes all of its pastries in-house and sells them in the café. The pastry chef is Ashton Warren, a two Michelin Star recipient of Marc Forgione fame.

The restaurant will be open for dinner 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. on Sunday, Tuesday & Wednesday; and 6:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. on Thursday, Friday & Saturday. Bar hours at 4:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. Sunday, Tuesday & Wednesday; and 4:00 p.m. – 3:00 a.m. on Thursday, Friday & Saturday. The restaurant is closed on Monday.

For more information, or to make reservations, please call (201) 583-7029 or visit http://antiquebarbakery.com/.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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National Drink Wine Day - Adelphia RestaurantOn Saturday, February 18, 2017, in celebration of National Drink Wine Day, cousins and business partners Bill & Evelyn Balis of Adelphia Restaurant, 1750 Clements Bridge Road, Deptford, New Jersey, will be serving complimentary glasses of wine to all guests of legal drinking age during lunch and dinner service.

Wine lovers and casual imbibers alike may choose from either the house red or house white wines, and receive one complimentary glass when dining at the restaurant. In addition, guests who choose to order full bottles of wine will receive 10% off the cost of the bottle.

According to http://nationaldrinkwineday.org, “The purpose of the holiday is to spread the love and health benefits of wine, which include reduced risk of heart disease and the enhancement of food and life.”

“Wine is great not only because it’s delicious and contains vast health benefits, but also because it pairs well with so many foods, and makes any meal that much better,” notes Evelyn Balis. “This is just one way of giving back to our customers, while also making their dining experience more enjoyable. We’re really looking forward to connecting with our customers and pouring glasses of wine while seeing smiles on their faces.”

Adelphia Restaurant is open from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, please visit http://www.adelphiarestaurant.com.

Cheers!

TAD

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Nicholas - Exterior 2On Friday, February 24, 2017, 7:30 p.m., for one night only, Restaurant Nicholas in Red Bank, New Jersey, will host a special dinner, paying homage to one of America’s food meccas, New Orleans…

First Course: Classic Oyster Rockefeller

Second Course: Shrimp Po’ Boy

Third Course: “Mighty Rad Gumbo”

Fourth Course: Fried Chicken à la Willie Mae’s

Fifth Course: Beignets à la Café du Monde, Rook Chickory Coffee Ice Cream

The cost of the New Orleans dinner is $75.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity). Space is limited. For more information, or to make reservations, please call (732) 345-9977.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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