NJ Dining: Fascino

331 Bloomfield Ave, Montclair, NJ

(973) 233-0350

web site: http://www.fascinorestaurant.com

Fascino is a restaurant that I had been meaning to dine at since its opening three years ago, but had never gotten around to. My friend and colleague Rosie Saferstein, who writes for New Jersey Monthly, is absolutely crazy about the place, and with good reason — it’s without argument one of the top restaurants in the Northern New Jersey region, and the best restaurant in Montclair, probably the hottest restaurant town in NJ. I also take Rosie’ s recommendations very seriously, because she used to run eGullet’s New Jersey forum for us back in the good old days and has a very discriminating palate.

What finally compelled to send me to Fascino was the incredible ravioli dish prepared by Fascino’s chef Ryan DePersio at the NJ Share our Strength event this week at the Olde Mill Inn. Additionally, Rachel’s birthday was this weekend, and I wanted to take her someplace that I knew would be a special experience. We were impressed.

Fascino’s dining room is warm and inviting, making it ideal for both romantic special evenings and pleasant dinners between friends.

All of the artwork at the restaurant was painted by a member of the wait staff who interpreted photographs taken by the restaurant’s owners while vacationing in Italy.

Fascino is unquestionably one of the top restaurants in Northern New Jersey. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

Like many fine restaurants in Northern NJ, Fascino is BYOB. However, it also acts as an outlet of Hopewell Valley Vineyards, a New Jersey winery, and you can purchase their wines with your dinner.

Fascino features casual bar seating as well as its dining room service for those interested in having a more casual meal or just coming in for dessert.

Seared Yellowfin Tuna with Black Pepper-Watermelon Vinaiagrette. The watermelon is chopped into a fine brunoise and adds a great summery flavor to the tuna.

Sea Scallop Crudo with Crispy Prosciutto, Chives and Almond Vinaigrette. I loved the bacony-like prosciutto combination with the pristine raw scallops.

Blue Crab Stuffed Zucchini Flowers, Sweet Tomato Shallot Compote. I loved the sweetness and acid combination of the compote against the cheesy crab mixture.

Stuffed Zucchini Flower closeup.

Rhode Island Monkfish with Fresh Garbanzo Beans, Green Garlic and Cauliflower Braised in Yellow Pepper Juices. Definitely one of the best monkfish preparations I have ever had, and I’m no monkfish fan. The sauce which evokes spring and summer flavors is great for mopping up with Fascino’s great bread.

Ricotta Cheese Gnocchi with Sweet Sausage Bolognese and Pecorino-Romano. A heavy and bold dish for spring weather but an excellent preparation nonetheless.

Gnocchi Closeup.

Wild Ramp Fettuccini, Crispy Pancetta and Little Neck Clams with Spicy Grana Padano Crumbs. This was a great riff on Clams Casino, a classic Jersey shore restaurant appetizer, re-interpreted as a pasta.

Pomegranate Glazed Kurobuta Pork Chop with Carrot-Cumin Puree, Baby Spinach and Spring Onion. Perfect pork over spinach with just the right bit of sweetness and tang in the sauce with a zingy cumin flavored carrot side.

Australian Lamb Chops with Fontina Cheese Polenta, Romaine and Sweet Carrot Jus. The chops were perfectly tender and the polenta was incredibly rich and satisfying.

Marscapone Polenta Fries with Gorganzola Fonduta. A nice side dish that would make a great late-nite bar snack.

Cheese Tasting, including Fontina, Triple Creme, Creamy Gorgonazola, Truffle-infused Asiago

Banana/Caramel/Walnut Tart with Caramel/Cinnamon Ice Cream prepared by pasty chef and restaurant partner Cynthia DePersio.

Special strawberry fruit torta dessert with Balsamico.

5 Responses to NJ Dining: Fascino

  1. Rosie says:

    Thanks for the mention. You certainly had a delicous dinner. We order the marscapone fries as soon as we are seated so that we can munch on them while we read the menu. I’d also recommend any fruit torta that is being offered.

  2. Hi Jason

    I’m happy that you and Rachael shared her birthday with us!
    Thanks so much!! Ciao Ryan

  3. Hank says:

    Jason, I can hardly believe that it took you so much time to visit this rest. I begged you a few times (both in posts and personally when we met at Bennies) and am very glad that you have finally discovered one of New Jersey’s very best. In fact I will be there tonight with 6 wino friends for dinner and Burgundies, most from 1985.
    How people can post 100’s of times about hot dog stands and bypass Fascino is beyond me.
    I used to bust Roeie’s chops about the restaurant wasteland of New Jersey and how I will only go over the bridge (NY) but restaurants like this, Blu and a few others have really changed our minds about where to eat.

  4. So many restaurants, so little time. :)

  5. OMG… their ravioli was so delish. It was the one dish that I had more than one serving of at the TON. Even better than last year’s lobster ravioli (Serenade?). I’m glad you enjoyed. And next year, we’ll make it easier for you to take those great foodie-worthy pics. :)

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