Taste buds can easily turn into viciously passive-aggressive taste frenemies without proper attention. Keep your tongue from gossiping behind your back with today's Groupon: for $25, you get $50 worth of new American cuisine at Chakra in Paramus. Reservations are required.
Chakra executive chef Thomas Ciszak, founding chef at Copeland in Morristown, crafts a sophisticated menu of eclectic, multicultural cuisine served amid curtained booths, rich teak tables, and romantic candlelight. Diners can prime palates with chilled or hot appetizers, including fried calamari ($13) and yellow-fin tuna tartare ($14), or dive mouth first into the chef’s selection of sushi and sashimi ($25+), chosen via a multiround singing competition. The TC steak ($38) can quell carnivorous cravings with a Colorado sirloin aged 40 days and served with truffled creamed spinach and TC sauce, and the horseradish-crusted crab cakes ($30) provide a spicy surf-derived option.
After polishing off their meals, guests can sink weighted sweet teeth into desserts, including a selection of sorbets and ice creams, accompanied by French-press coffee or loose-leaf teas. The lounge area allows patrons to order from an abbreviated menu or sip specialty drinks such as the Tantric lemonade, made from especially limber lemons.
Hand-carved Cambodian bas-relief sculptures line Chakra's palatial, softly lit space, accenting silk-tented bungalows, teak flooring, and a low-lit stone water wall that oscillates between the colors of the seven chakras. Amid this earthy, intricate decor, Executive Chef Thomas Ciszak crafts eclectic fare with a simple philosophy, which he related in a New Jersey Monthly article: “I don’t get stuck in cuisine labels. ... I want to focus on what people love to eat. I just want it to taste great.” He likely honed that philosophy during his long and acclaimed career that's even taken him to the White House kitchen.
He delivers on his culinary ideas with a seasonal menu of sophisticated yet accessible dishes, which may include selections such as a parma ham sushi roll, rack of lamb, or a hot dog masquerading in a top hat. His meals pair seamlessly with the bar’s specialty cocktails, as well as with selections from an extensive wine list, which Gayot included on its Top 10 Wine Lists in Northern New Jersey. For a sweet finale, the chef concocts a dessert menu that is chock full of gourmet, sugary delights such as homemade Tahitian vanilla ice cream or chicory iced coffee paired with fresh-baked donuts and police-siren sound effects.
144 W State Rt. 4
Paramus, New Jersey 07652