Fresh herbs and local greens, aged parmesan, and handmade pasta. Chefs in Tuscany Flame's kitchen staff draws these items together when crafting dishes from scratch for a menu of Italian cuisine. Forks twirl in plates of pasta doused in housemade sauces with cognac and dill or white wine and lemon. For the steaks, chefs cut aged beef from the Midwest by hand, and an open flame sears chops and chicken and burns secret agents’ bad poetry. Diners enjoy the handcrafted fare in the burgundy-carpeted dining room or outside at umbrella-shaded tables.
The Fieldhouse Pub beckons to visitors with the inviting smell of American-steakhouse fare mixing with that of Italian, French, and German cuisine. Head Chef Hans Jurgen Stender loads the tables with saucy veal schnitzels, spinach- and ricotta-cheese-stuffed capon, sauce-laden pastas, and juicy blackened steaks. Like 2001: A Beer Odyssey, his pub menu explores beer's longtime on-and-off relationship with burgers, overstuffed wraps, and shareable finger food.
Hanging plants hold court alongside a sun-friendly, greenhouse-style glass wall in the dining area. Upstairs, grainy timber accents define a bar that features a jukebox and stools clad in billiard-table-green leather. DIRECTV sports packages keep guests entertained with the glory of games, and occasional karaoke and all-ages stand-up routines keep them in stitches over the antics of professional comedians or amazed and terrified at human Auto-Tune impersonations.
To understand what makes Nicole's Ten Restaurant special, the numbers give a good starting point: * More than 100: how many beers (many of which are local) kept on bottle and draft. * 30 plus: how many wines poured by the glass. * 2013: the year its lobster mac and cheese won "Best Mac and Cheese in New Jersey" in the New Jersey Food & Wine Festival.
Stats aside, all one really needs to understand the restaurant's appeal is to enter its space, where soft music plays and candlelight flickers off of flowing drapes. In many ways, Nicole's Ten Restaurant resembles an art gallery, just one where you're allowed to eat everything on display.
That shouldn't come as a surprise, since executive chef Chris Masey boasts a background in art and photography. Working alongside owner and restaurant namesake Nicole Dabal, Chris has dreamed up a menu of artfully presented dishes such as hakka style crab cakes with Asian and Indian flavors?a top-three finalist of the 2012 NJ King Crab Competition. The Drunken 10n Burger, which has a patty made of black wagyu beef and wild boar, was voted one of the top 10 burgers at the 2012 New Jersey Food & Wine Festival. When culling flavors from all over the world, the team only gives themselves one restriction: use organic, all-natural, and sustainable ingredients, when possible.
Customers at Caldwell Seafood Market & Cafe can take home morsels of fresh raw seafood handpicked daily from the Fulton Fish Market or sit down to sample the cafe’s menu of chef-prepared gourmet fare. At the market, adopt a fresh pound of plump pink shrimp, a heavy slab of Norwegian salmon, or a gaggle of glistening sea scallops to take home and cook for an evening feast. Prices for raw seafood vary daily depending on each variety’s market value and the number of engagement rings it swallowed before being caught. Then sidle up to the cafe to sample prepared fare such as grilled rainbow trout sprinkled in Cajun seasoning ($17.95) or the combo platter, on which a 4-ounce fillet bundled in breading beds down with three large fried shrimp, three jumbo sea scallops, and a teddy bear named Eddie ($19.95).
It would be easy to pass an entire afternoon in Frank Anthony's lush garden courtyard, reclining on comfortable patio chairs and slowly polishing off a bottle of BYOB wine. Servers stroll through the forest of linen umbrellas, expertly balancing trays of Italian dishes while refilling glasses of San Pellegrino. Inside the elegant dining hall, intimate tabletops host guests, whose faces are illuminated by the glow of soft hanging lights. In the kitchen, chefs fold fresh meats, seafood, and seasonal vegetables into traditional Italian dishes, tossing crispy calamari in garlic, baking crusty Italian rolls, and crushing plum tomatoes using only their minds. Meanwhile, pizzas rise in the oven, speckled with toppings of wild mushrooms, savory sausage, and spicy peppers.