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.
Red-hot wood embers smolder at the heart of Barbacoa BBQ's roasting pit, infusing the tender chicken and beef specialties with rich, smoky flavors. In the kitchen, cooks borrow traditional Caribbean and American culinary techniques to slowly seal in the flavors of each specialty dish. Chicken may be ordered half or whole to share with tablemates, as can racks of Barbacoa ribs. The kitchen staff also sears pork chops and new york steaks with just as much careful attention as when they read bedtime stories to each rib.
Tropics Jamaican Restaurant serves a full day's worth of cuisine inspired by Caribbean traditions. The chefs awaken with the rising sun to cook breakfasts of hominy and salt mackerel that pair nicely with the pleasant bite of a ginger-infused tea. They stay busy throughout the day, switching gears at lunchtime to serve dishes of steamed red snapper and curried chicken. While the food is made with local ingredients, beverages such as Jamaican soda and chilled hot sauce are imported directly from the tropics.
At Taste It Again, servers cart out feasts of tropical offerings, from crispy, pan-fried whole snapper fish to tender morsels of spicy jerk chicken with red beans and rice. Like the U.N.’s biweekly potluck, Jamaican cuisine represents a mingling of diverse cultures with its dishes of curried goat and stewed oxtail, salted cod with ackee fruit, or potatoes with Dhalpuri roti. The savory eats pair with BYOB beverages or the kitchen's own ginger beer.