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.
When Kevin Brennan bought his first vinyl at the age of 7, he dreamed of a future that would somehow revolve around rock 'n' roll. Brennan's entrepreneurial spirit led him on a quest for the next "big thing" as an adult, and he dabbled in various ventures before having an epiphany while traveling in 1989. He was in San Diego, and he visited his first coffeehouse.
Kevin fell in love with the simple coffeehouse concept and had a feeling that gourmet coffee shops would soon become a craze across the nation. He instantly knew that he had found his calling, but it wasn't until he sipped coffee while watching an Asia concert that he knew what would set his establishment apart from the rest: rock 'n' roll.
Today, his trio of shops showcases the marriage of a laid-back coffee-shop vibe with rock music and memorabilia, creating a caffeinated love child in a Led Zeppelin onesie. Each location also features rock-inspired drinks, such as the Van Halen and the Dark Side of the Moo, joined by sandwiches and salads prepared fresh daily.
Realizing the neighborhood was already buzzing with great restaurants and a nearby community theater, owner Jun Yoon knew the only way to improve on it was to add a memorable dessert destination to the equation. With his desire to be part of an enlivened community, he opened his café’s doors to serve frozen yogurt, cakes, truffles, and organic, fair-trade Counter Culture coffee. Within the 26-seat sweets shop, Jun doles out dollops of the Italian ice-cream treat called tartufo, as well as belgian waffles, crepes, salads, and sandwiches. He specifically designed the menu to make it an ideal spot for stopping in before the theater, after dinner, during lunch, or on the way to a castle storming. Jun also welcomes the community to his friendly confines for parties and private events.
A veal chop cut extra thick and topped with fontina cheese. Salmon caught in the wild. Shrimp topped in pink champagne sauce on a bed of bow-tie pasta. At Il Piccolo Ristorante, gourmet meats and seafoods like these star in the culinary team’s classic Italian dishes. They prepare calamari Cajun-style or fry it and serve it with sweet or hot sauce, rather than ocean water, the original calamari sauce. Their vegetarian plates also delight tongues with Tuscan flavor, ranging from a ricotta-filled roasted eggplant to penne tossed in vodka sauce.