The Fruited Plain Café's amiable staff lures eaters with an eclectic menu of made-to-order breakfast classics and hearty sandwiches crafted with fresh ingredients. Recharge sluggish neurons with morning-time edibles such as the egg sandwich—fortified with the choice of bacon, sausage, or Taylor ham ($3.25)—or the egg-laden hashbrown wrap brimming with meat and cheese ($4.50). Diners can muffle afternoon stomach laments with a hot bun swaddler, such as the philly cheesesteak ($6.50) or BLT ($4.75). Or, choose a sandwich from Fruited Plain’s selection of specialty creations, ranging from the avocado-speckled Vermont cheddar ($6) to the light and airy Hart’s Favorite ($6.50), a comestible construction stacking together roasted turkey breast, brie, cranberry mustard, and greens. The Fruited Plain also dishes out daily soup specials ($2.89), grills up half-pound burgers ($5.50–$6.75), and rolls together wraps such as the spicy buffalo chicken, an enswathement of breaded chicken tenders, blue-cheese dressing, and hot sauce squeezed fresh from the udders of lava-grazing bison ($6).
Mountain Lakes Market, which first opened in 1914, caters to diners with discerning palates. Executive chef Matt Schmitt's New American menu features delectably contemporary eats crafted from fresh-made breads, gourmet cheeses, and artisanal Cheetos. Rouse a slumbering breakfast sandwich of eggs and cheese tucked into a kaiser roll bed ($3.55), or teach tongues to jitterbug with the Danish dancer, a panini layered with turkey breast, dill havarti cheese, tomato, wilted spinach, and sun-dried tomato aioli ($6.95). Entree-sized salads (from $4.99) are tossed with delectable, fresh ingredients, and 6-ounce Angus burgers ($5) sate heartier hungers. Like most celebrities' faces, the dinner menu is crafted anew each week.
In her article for the Star Ledger, Teresa Politano uncovered some impressive facts about Nenad “Nino” Tamburin and his 21-year-old restaurant Eccola. Given the quality and range of authentic Italian dishes, one might think the 65-year-old Tamburin hails from Italy himself. However, he is in fact a Croatian with ancestors from Venice, and spent his early adulthood in Paris, where he studied under revered chefs Jacques Pepin and Giuliano Bugialli. And if time spent working with Giuliano Bugialli isn’t enough, Tamburin is also lucky enough to count Italian restaurateur and celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich as a friend. The influence of his roots and mentors can be found throughout Eccola’s menu, in the fresh pasta he makes in house to the boutique Croatian and Slovenian wines he imports for his cellar. And if that’s not enough, the restaurant itself is an early design of famed restaurant architect Tony Chi, who has worked with Alain Ducasse, Michael Mina, and Wolfgang Puck. Politano also points out that “[Tamburin’s] purveyors are equally storied—the butcher, Wayne Meat Corp., that’s been around since the ’70s, the produce guys, Carl Mallone & Sons in Hackensack, whose ﬁrst company vehicle was a horse and carriage.” In Tamburin’s skilled hands these tried and true meats and vegetables turn into classic Italian favorites such as linguine alla carbonara, three types of veal scaloppine, and a filet of sole baked with herbs and breadcrumbs. The menu also features lighter fare such as roasted asparagus with shrimp and wild mushrooms, as well as a nostalgic dessert tray with fresh, homemade sweets such as ricotta cheesecake and a maple pecan-tort, all inspired by Tamburin’s wife, who he met in Paris.
When The Melting Pot originally opened in 1975 just outside Orlando, the location was cozy and quaint, but diners had only three options: swiss-cheese fondue, beef fondue, or chocolate fondue. However, as the restaurant grew in popularity, so did its menu selection and atmosphere. The restaurant first expanded four years later under the leadership of a Melting Pot waiter and enterprising college student named Mark Johnston, who teamed up with his brothers Mike and Bob to open a new outpost in Tallahassee. This location grew in reputation to pave the way for future franchise expansion. Today, the company—now owned by the trio of siblings—reigns as the premier fondue, wine, and drink restaurant, stretching across North America with more than 140 restaurants linked by underground tunnels. The restaurant's menu has also ballooned, and patrons can now expect six varieties of hot dipping cheese paired with salads, meats, and molten chocolate.
On a given night, groups of foodies gather around tables to dine on signature four-course meals, from cheese-fondue appetizers and various salads to steaks and seafood cooked in a choice of healthy broth or oil. Birthday revelers and couples can share decadent evenings at private tables, capping off meals with chocolate desserts that have defined The Melting Pot for decades.
Unified by their love of skillfully spiced Indian cuisine, the chefs at Amiya craft distinctive menus for their two locations. The Jersey City location's menu features traditional elements such as spicy curries, homemade paneer, and tandoor-roasted lamb and lobster, as well as a selection of Indian-Chinese fusion dishes. The classics from the Parsippany location's menu are joined by creative flavors such as pomegranate-tequila shrimp and wasabi-crusted crab cakes.
Though their cuisine differs, the two spots are linked by an ultralong zipline and their upscale contemporary decor. In Jersey City, crisp white tablecloths pop against warm mango and persimmon walls, and a cushy, curvaceous booth spans two walls. Golden statuettes watch over the Parsippany dining room from small nooks in the walls, and an attached bar and lounge glows bright yellow and blue. Patrons sample cocktails and tapas plates, and on Friday nights hop up to the mic for Bollywood karaoke.
They say you can't be all things to all people, but that apparently hasn't stopped Red Stone Tavern from trying. For starters, there's the decor: an aesthetic compromise that incorporates rustic building materials with a sleekness that feels decidedly modern. A walk through the restaurant reveals an expansive dining room with high ceilings and plenty of space, but it's partitioned in such a way as to make every meal an intimate experience.
Above all, however, people from all corners of Jersey flock to Red Stone Tavern for the food. Equal parts upscale and casual, the menu features hearty dishes of pasta and seafood alongside handmade pizzas topped with arugula, pesto, and balsamic glaze. Despite all this diversity, many guests stick to the grilled offerings. It's hard to blame them, as the choices include a 12-ounce sirloin steak, a zesty lime chicken breast, and a rack of St. Louis ribs signed by the chef in tangy barbecue sauce.