New American | French Influences | Local Ingredients | Rotating Seasonal Menus | Monthly Brunch
When to Go: If it's dinner you're after, then any day Tuesday through Saturday will do. Fans of brunch, however, should mark their calendars for the last Sunday of every month from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. That's the only time that the restaurant serves up its mega-popular à la carte brunch menu, which features favorites such as freshly squeezed juices and housemade french pastries.
While You're Waiting
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Purge all your pent-up tension and stress with a relaxing Swedish massage at Flic Spa (2 South Avenue W.).
After: If, by some chance, you saved room for dessert, treat yourself to a scoop of premium handmade ice cream at Vanilla Bean Creamery (22 North Avenue W.).
C.J. Reycraft and Julianne Hodges didn't cross paths until 2011, but their meeting was destined long before that. Julianne grew up in the South of France, later going off to work in kitchens in Israel and studying at the French Culinary Institute in New York City. C.J. studied there as well, after falling in love with an early job as a line cook. But it wasn't until they were both hired at Chez Catherine in Westfield that they first met, and there learned the fine art of crafting award-winning French cuisine.
So when they had the opportunity to open their own restaurant, Amuse, it was to be a love letter to the French cuisine that brought them together. The menu features modern versions of classic French food, including escargot sprinkled with apples and bacon, and duck breast with a red-beet pur?e. Local ingredients are used throughout, including in desserts such as a chocolate-caramel tart the New Jersey Star-Ledger called "nothing but perfection." There's also brunch on the weekends and wine lockers where regular visitors can hang pictures torn from Dreamy Sommeliers magazine.
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.
BYOB eatery Mojave Grille brings a dash of Southwestern zest to New Jersey diners. Piquant chili-based sauces enhance the flavors of baby back ribs, flank steak, and other meats, and a citrus?red mojo sauce lends depth to lime-braised pork served with sweet plantains. Mojave Grille's ambiance, much like its menu, suggests a passion for the Southwest; surreal paintings hang on sand-colored walls, and you might see Wile E. Coyote chasing a roadrunner across the patio.