Bloomfield Steak & Seafood House dishes up a dry-aged menu of steak, seafood, and Italian classics. Dinner guests marvel at the building’s 341 years of history before being startled into the present by the wild-eyed stare of angry jumbo shrimp ($12), a spice-flecked starter that careens from the kitchen still glistening from the pan. Having undergone 28 days of in-house dry-aging, steaks, such as the 16-ounce new york strip, fill plate centers, flanked by a garden salad and a choice of garlic mashed potato, baked potato, yellow rice, french fries, or broccoli ($36). Pelagic delights swim amid the menu's steak islands, as well, singing siren songs with such entrees as jumbo shrimp stuffed with jumbo lump crabmeat and butter sauce ($22) and add-on options including broiled 6-ounce lobster tails ($16). Moods can be marinated in soft drinks ($2), house wine ($21/bottle), or a selection of draft beers and spirits.
A Nutley tradition since 1934, The Old Canal Inn closed in 2008 only to rise phoenix-like earlier this year, complete with its old shuffleboard lane, and history-heavy bar top, each lauded by the Bloomfield Patch. Kick off a night of ribald revelry with a heady glass of Guinness and blackened steak bites, as beefy and darkened as Mr. Coal Miner USA, or tuck into a plate of southwest-chicken eggrolls with tongue-tingling cusabi sauce. Though the bar proudly touts its dive-ish nature, the dinner menu features such gourmand fodder as chicken marsala and peppercorn-crust new york strip, basking in a balsamic demi-glace. Events abound in the hop-house, including open mic every Tuesday, when troubadours draw inspiration from the bar-backing photos of old-timey hep cats singing Baby Got Back.
A fresh take on cooked-to-order burgers, Smashburger combines all the comforts of a well-stacked meal with the modest luxuries of expedient service and ample sit-down space. The menu boasts more smashes than two monster trucks playing tennis; Smashburgers (starting at $4.99 for a 1/4 lb.), grilled and crispy Smashchickens (starting at $5.99), Smashsalads ($4.99–6.99), and Smashsides such as the Smashfries fire up the hearts and bellies of all gracious guests. The Smashburger—100% Angus Beef plus quality veggies and cheeses on an artisan bun—takes center stage during most meals, while non-secret specialties, such as the Häagen-Dazs shake, keep mouths grounded, cool, and smiley.
At Bar Cara, chef Ryan DePersio uses rustic Italy as the inspiration for his upscale, mouthwatering meals, served in a modern and casual environment. Kick-start a culinary quest with an order of mascarpone polenta fries, served with gorgonzola sauce ($10), then envelop hug-loving taste buds in an embrace of slightly charred thin-crust pizza, such as the tomato basil with mozzarella cheese ($9). When overhead jumbo jets ring the northern hemisphere's primary dinner bell, meat-fanciers can opt for the veal Milanese with arugula and a cherry-tomato salad ($19). The impressive wine list at Bar Cara includes champagne and prosecco along with whites and reds, served both by the bottle and the glass. After dinner, let pastry chef Cynthia DePersio’s cupcake platter, which includes banana with caramel buttercream, carrot with cinnamon, and bittersweet chocolate with chocolate buttercream, take your endorphins on a magic platter ride. Glossy hardwood floors and exposed brick craft a warm and rustic aura around Bar Cara, and evenings are suffused with amber illumination from low lighting.
At Anthony's Cheesecake, owner Anthony Lauro crafts each and every cheesecake made-to-order from fresh ingredients, using treasured family recipes passed down to him by his mother and grandmother. The classically delectable New York–style cheesecake ($18 for 8”; $24 for 10”) delights naturally urbane palates with a buttery graham-cracker crust, and boston-cream cheesecake ($22 for 8”; $29 for 10”) charms chompers with its vanilla sponge-cake crust, ganache topping, and insistence that everything is "wicked." Diners unwilling to commit to one single dessert can find delicious compromise in an Oreo-cookie cheesecake ($20 for 8”; $29 for 10”) or chocolate-chip-cookie-dough cheesecake ($20 for 8"; $29 for 10"). And because our founding fathers declared the enjoyment of cheesecake to be an unalienable right, Anthony's bakes up sugar-free varieties to suit the sweet needs of the calorie-conscious in flavors such as italian ricotta, baked cinnamon apple, and blueberry.
Chef Lukic can't credit any one person with inspiring his cooking. The French Culinary Institute graduate honed his professional skills in kitchens throughout Manhattan, working alongside world-renowned chefs such as Wolfgang Puck, Rocco DiSpirito, and Marcus Samuelsson. Drawing a little bit of inspiration from each of these fine-dining experiences, Chef Lukic showcases his own culinary voice at The Yellow Plum. His seasonal menus feature regionally inspired American dishes with eclectic Latin, Mediterranean, and Asian influences. Short rib and avocado quesadillas, shrimp and grits with cilantro and sriracha, and an otherwise familiar burger served with boursin cheese and ancho-spiced fries represent a handful of the surprising flavor combinations that may be found on The Yellow Plum menu.
The restaurant's dining room similarly fuses traditional and contemporary elements. Exposed brickwork and cream-colored walls complement the warm earth tones of the space's simple wooden tables and moss-green banquette. At the same time, custom pieces of modern artwork add vibrant splashes of color. Lemon-yellow sun umbrellas rise above tables in the outdoor seating area, providing cozy bits of shade where diners can enjoy a meal or take a break from the constant work of photosynthesizing their own nutrients.