Determined to pursue a career in the culinary arts, executive chef Evan Kechely mastered his craft in the kitchens of restaurants, country clubs, assisted-living facilities, farmers' markets, and other venues, opting to learn by doing rather than attending culinary school. His experiences shaped his ingredient-driven and sustainable approach to meals, leading him to fill Leaf's menu with farm-to-plate options built from locally sourced meats and produce. Kechely has also learned that beer and food go together as well as camping and boy-scout repellant, and his staff is able to recommend a brew for any dish on the menu. In addition to pairing suds with the various dishes, staffers can suggest premium cigars that can enhance flavor profiles. The eatery's advanced ventilation system even allows visitors to indulge in a puff without disturbing neighboring patrons or forcing them to stare at failed smoke-ring attempts.
The minds behind The Bookstore Speakeasy know that the Roaring Twenties were about more than drinking bathtub gin and trying not to accidentally bathe in bathtub gin. The restaurant fully immerses patrons in the period, lighting their tables with candles and oil lamps and filling their ears with the bombast of live 1920s- and '30s-style jazz. And the bartenders behind their copper counter give a nod to the bootleggers of the past by preparing classic cocktails such as the Manhattan, the Rob Roy, and the Old Fashioned with fresh juices and hand-carved ice.
Yet the sizable selection of craft beers demonstrates the restaurant's willingness to incorporate some contemporary touches into the speakeasy experience, as does its menu of snacks and entrees. Between sips, groups can share artisanal meats and cheeses, crabmeat-stuffed mushrooms, and flatbreads topped with duck confit, plum-barbecue sauce, and smoked gouda.
Chef Orville Brandon combines skills honed over more than 20 years of executive-chef experience with island flavors from his Jamaican upbringing to create Hibiscus Restaurant's menu of Caribbean and American fare. Traditional curry sauces and jerk seasonings sear Caribbean-style dishes such as oxtail and jerk chicken, Chilean sea bass in a guava glaze, and classics such as new york sirloin steak round out a selection of American staples
Nestled inside the Best Western Morristown Inn, Hibiscus Restaurant's 60-seat dining room with white-linen-draped tables and bright pink napkins stand along side the New Jersey Jazz Society's Baby Grand piano. On Sundays, diners can sample a brunch buffet while grooving to the mellow sounds of local jazz players and potted palm trees snapping their fronds to the beat.
Inside La Luna Dance Studio, students whirl like colorful tops, salsa dancing, tango dancing, or swing dancing atop a 5,000-square-foot dance floor as a crystal-clear sound system pumps tunes. Encouraging instructors stand nearby, breaking down the music and the steps of each style, as friends, partners, and the newly acquainted bond over each tap of their toes. While the studio specializes in these adult Latin-dance courses, junior-level programs welcome kids aged 3 and older, and all classes are scaled to beginner, intermediate, or advanced levels. In addition to their comprehensive month-long programs, the sashayers host special events and dance parties, such as BYOB Salsa Friday every second and fourth weekend, and an annual symposium on the safety risks of holding roses in your teeth.
If it’s not clear from its name, MoonShine Modern Supper Club is an amalgamation of concepts. This is also demonstrated in its dark walls and bright paintings of pink birds and horses, and its menu that takes comfort-food classics and adds a spin of sophistication. Appetizers of truffle gnocchi with meatballs bathe in sherry-cream sauce, and the duck egg and hash is served with duck confit, peppers, and onions. Cooks put a twist on classic ravioli, filling it with sheep-milk ricotta and piling on hazelnuts, brown butter, and a pear puree, and they dress roasted atlantic salmon in cilantro-basil pesto and chorizo. A restaurant called MoonShine wouldn’t be complete without its share of housemade beverages, and double-certified sommelier and mixologist Joe San Philip delivers. His take on the manhattan combines white whiskey with Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, cherry bitters, and a cherry garnish. The Winter Moonshine Punch takes cranberry-infused Midnight Moonshine and adds cinnamon-infused rye whiskey, amaretto, pomegranate juice, and walnut bitters.
Martini Bistro & Bar’s specialty drink should come as no surprise. Creative martinis—such as the Lebowski, which features Three Olives Dude lemon-lime vodka—fill out the majority of the cocktail menu. The restaurant’s red-hued space sprawls over 5,000 square feet and encompasses both a lively lounge and a private dining area. Here, chefs serve plates of upscale American fare. They spread a smoked-jalapeño aioli over ahi-tuna burgers and sprinkle pepper jack, mozzarella, and cheddar over barbecue-chicken pizzas. The chic eatery also has a full sushi menu. Specialty rolls include the Mustang roll—with layers of tuna, crayfish, and yellowtail—and the shrimp-and-crab-filled King of the Sea, the only sushi roll that’s okay to eat with a trident.