2-23-07: Chef Barry Bonser has left the building.
“Chef Todd Villani is now wearing the top toque at Church Street, effective Presidents’ Day. Chef Todd joined the team on January 2 of this year as Chef de Cuisine and was instrumental working with Chef Barry in the conception and implementation of our Winter menu. He has been responsible for the day to day operation of the kitchen since February 1.
Most recently, Chef Todd was working for Marcus Samuelsson at the renowned Aquavit restaurant and at Samuelsson’s subsidiary interest, World Yacht. His repertoire & expertise is right in line with the New American regional cuisine featured at Church Street. Additionally, from his days at Aquavit, Chef Todd possesses an extensive array of smoked & cured fish & seafood preparations that will be featured prominently in our upcoming Spring menu (hard to believe spring is just around the corner).
Chef Barry has departed amicably to pursue other interests and we wish him well.”
2-14-07 UPDATED: Winter Menu Dishes added at bottom of post.
12 Church St, Montclair, NJ
Last week I attended a friends and family/press Fall Preview dinner at Church Street in Montclair (formerly Church Street Cafe), which recently brought aboard Chef Barry Bonser to head the kitchen only a few weeks ago. If the quality of what we were served at this dinner represents the level of cuisine that the restaurant is going to be serving every single night, then I’d have to say without reservation that Church Street could easily be considered one of Northern New Jersey’s best casual dining restaurants, and a destination restaurant at that.
I had first become familiar with Chef Bonser’s cuisine when he led the kitchen team that launched The Pasta Factory in Teaneck, where he was charged with creating an innovative fish pasta menu under the restrictions of Kosher dietary laws. Bonser has cooked at some of the top restaurants in Manhattan, including Bouley and the 21 Club. And not only is he an accomplished chef with savory dishes, but the guy is skilled at making desserts as well — something that most top restaurant chefs have difficulty doing, as dedicated pastry chefs are usually the norm. So I was absolutely psyched to hear that he had gotten a new gig in Montclair after leaving the Pasta Factory some months ago.
Church Street storefront, in Montclair.
Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more of Church Street Cafe.
Main Dining Room
Upstairs Private Dining Room / Catering Area
Hangar Steak with Horseradish Sauce
Tuna and Avocado Tartar on Wonton Crisps (With Cilantro Microgreens)
Confit of Eggplant and Goat Cheese Mousse on Puff Pastry
Pumpkin Seed Crusted Lamb Chops with Creole Apple Mustard
Beer Batter Sardines with Wasabi Mayonnaise
Chef Barry Bonser, working behind the open kitchen area in the Main Dining Room.
First Course: Butternut Squash and Apple Soup Demitasse.
Second Course: Applewood Bacon Wrapped Sea Scallops with Lobster, Fava Beans, Corn and Yukon Gold Succotash
Third Course: Trilogy of Jansal Vally Microgreen Salads
Fourth Course: Wasabi Pea-Encrusted Yellowfin Tuna with Baby Bok Choy, Baby Corn, Cardamom Rice, Ginger Vinegar
Fifth Course: Chai Rubbed Winona Duck Breast, with Wheat Berries, Swiss Chard and Grand Marnier Vanilla Reduction
Dessert: Chocolate Caramel Tart
Updated Below: Winter Menu Dishes
Shaved Truffle Mushroom Risotto
Moroccan Spiced Lamb with Roasted Vegetable Couscous, Goat Cheese Crostini with Mango Chutney
Mixed Seafood Cioppino in Saffron Fume’
Pan Roasted Barramundi, Roasted Vegetables in Grapefruit Beurre Blanc
Venison Medallions with Parsnip/Apple Puree, Sauteed Greens, Cherry Lambic Veal Glace Reduction
Chocolate Ice Box Cake
Chef Barry Bonser and Chocolate Ice Box Cake