Epernay’s executive chef Jayson Grossberg trained under legendary French chef Jean-Louis Palladin before attending New York’s Culinary Institute of America. Grossberg has used his pabulum-preparing powers for good and not evil, recently redesigning Epernay’s menu to add flavorful new dishes, such as the summer gazpacho with crab meat and lime ($10.95). Fresh-caught mussels come in three broths, such as the “a la Linda” with saffron and tomato ($15.95 single serving, $19.95 shared platter). If you'd like to keep your meal as light at a globetrotting eccentric's hot-air balloon, try a juicy beet salad with summer melon, arugula, and feta cheese ($10.95). Reward your stomach for keeping quiet during last night’s visit to the opera with an entree such as caramelized sea scallops with sweet corn, bacon, and tomato ($26.95). Or delve into the crispy duck breast with wild mushrooms, pistachios, and asparagus soaking in a sundried blueberry jus ($26.95) to enjoy a culinary harmony unseen since the California Raisins dominated the airwaves.
The chefs at Crepe N Grill serve both sweet and savory crepes, thin pancakes crowned with fresh ingredients such as honey-cinnamon apples or braised pork. Freshly blended fruit smoothies, lattes, and cappuccinos from the espresso bar pair up with crisp salads, soups, and paninis.
The chefs at Isabella's American Bistro like to put their ingredients through their paces. French onion soup comes in its traditional form topped with garlic croutons, but it also pops up in dumplings oozing with gruyere, asiago, and Monterey cheeses. Braised beef short ribs star in an entree and melt into wild mushrooms and asiago cheese in a quesadilla, and crispy bacon both tops a bleu-cheese burger and fills a stuffed meatloaf. Their playful approach creates a broadly appealing menu that’s still unified by common flavors.
Isabella’s storefront perch in the heart of Westfield beckons neighborhood regulars and visiting shoppers alike to wander in between the baskets of flowers that flank the doors. They take a seat amid décor of brass, dark wood French doors, and mustard-yellow paint that puts the emphasis on the “bistro” part of the café’s name as they dig into horseradish-crusted salmon and juicy but still fashionable skirt steaks.
If Kidville were a real city, it would be pretty fun place to live—it's outfitted with a rock-climbing wall, a theater, a hardwood-floored dance studio, and a tumbling gym. Notably, each fixture is slightly shrunken to suit the city's denizens: kids ages six and younger. Tots roam freely through the play complex during open play time, and learn in a more structured way during enrichment classes on topics from art to athletics. Meanwhile, the center hosts birthday parties with themes from dinosaurs to treasure hunting, a more fun party activity than waiting for treasure to hunt you.
Un, deux, trois. Such is the simplicity of Café Monet’s menu, whose three-part, mix-and-match structure is the brainchild of Egyptian-born chef Wes Sawi. The child of a diplomat, Sawi spent his youth traveling the world before finding his passion in food. He studied at the New York Restaurant School and trained at notable kitchens in Paris and Lyon, all of which contribute to the global touches on his predominantly French creations.
On the dinner menu, plates under the “un” and “deux” sections are served in appetizer-sized portions, while the “trois” offerings constitute full entrees. To start, a Moroccan tuile adorns mounds of crabmeat a la mango, and duck confit comes paired with wild-mushroom strudel, a creation that the New York Times hailed as “a small masterpiece of a dish.” Merlot-braised beef short ribs and an onion ring sit atop a mint-fava-bean-potato puree, and mint essence flavors rack of lamb and a Provençal–style vegetable tian. In addition to the egg dishes, sandwiches, and salads that populate the lunch menu, the cafe runs a patisserie that serves baked goods and gourmet coffee throughout the morning and afternoon.
Large canvases sporting colorful still-life paintings of fruit adorn Café Monet’s warm, neutral-colored walls, which reach down to a bare wooden floor in the cozy, 50-seat dining room. Granite tabletops separate chairs from leather banquettes, where diners sit and uncork wine they brought from home. Outside, red umbrellas shield tables as guests sip coffee and take advantage of complimentary WiFi.