NJ Dining: Picnic, The Restaurant (2010)

Note: With the recent 3-star review of Picnic in the Bergen Record, I thought I would update some photos. Congratulations to Christine, Annabel and Doron!

Picnic, The Restaurant
14-25 Plaza Road (Radburn Plaza Building) Fair Lawn, NJ 07410
(201) 796-2700

Web Site: http://www.picnictherestaurant.com/

Picnic, The Restaurant has gotten through its soft opening (see earlier post), but the restaurant is still very much a work in progress, as Chef Christine Nunn and the back of the house staff continues to make tweaks and modifications in the dishes and the service.

We recently returned to Picnic after I got home from a 2-week business trip and it has been very interesting to observe how a restaurant evolves organically, first hand. I’ll be updating this post periodically from time to time so you can watch the changes.

Picnic, The Restaurant, is now open.

Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

The brand-new restaurant is going full bore on reservations, especially on the weekend, so make sure you call early.

Originally, the restaurant served bread with a “trio” spread, but has now moved towards a cheese, nuts and fruit amuse, which changes weekly. This is a plating for four people.

The cheese amuse from a different week, plating for two.

A cold summer Pea Soup. I didn’t get to try this but it looked wonderful.

A cold, sweet summer corn soup with summer truffle and truffle oil. I’m not much of a truffle oil fan but Chistine used it with a very light hand and the dish came out wonderful.

Lobster Rolls are a signature hold-over from Christine’s catering business and part of her New England DNA, from the many summers she spent with her Aunt Joan up in Connecticut and the Cape.

“Pigs in a Blanket” appetizer with Duck Sausage.

Maryland Crab Cake Appetizer

Coquilles St. Jacques, in a classic preparation.

Garde Manger Javi has been kept busy doing the line work. They got him a nice new outfit, too. Stop drooling, ladies.

Chef Christine Nunn, in hostess attire.

Lobster mushroom and chanterelle risotto with truffle pecorino, main course split as appetizer portions

Smoked salmon napoleon with apples, goat cheese and cucumber caper dressing

Salad Nicoise with Jumbo Shrimp, serving for 2.

Lobster Gaspatcho. There’s a secret ingredient in this soup that gives it a nice briny flavor.

Mussels Appetizer, in a porcini cream sauce. Really outstanding.

Here are the mussels on a different night in a Provence-style preparation.

Oysters on the half shell a la mignardise.

Vegetable Tart with Boursin Cheese.

Pissaladiere, a savory French Onion tart with Olives, Garlic and chopped Anchovies.

BLT Salad

Classic Waldorf Salad, with Cashews, instead of Walnuts.

Shaved Summer Squash Salad with Pine Nuts

Summer salad of Watermelon, Tomato, Onion, Raspberry Vinagrette and Fresh Greens

Cheese Fondue Appetizer

Le Quack with pomegranate gastrique

The Pork Chop “Cubano” is one of the items that made the cut from the soft opening. Here’s the finalized version.

Hickory Syrup and Cider Brined Pork Chop with a Summer Fruit Compote

Boneless Pork Loin Chops with Peach Salsa, buttery Mashed Potatoes and Sautéed Spinach.

Cider Brined Berkshire Pork Chop with Sweet Potato Mash

Lamb, prepared two ways, loin with root vegetables and braised and stuffed into figs. Christine created this dish after a recent trip to Greece and Turkey.

Steak. It’s what’s for dinner.

Steak au Poivre, alternative preparation

Steak with Bleu Cheese Crust

Chicken Roulade

I ordered the Scallop entree with a tomato beurre blanc with julienned summer vegetables and rice. Scallops were perfectly cooked and it was delicious but I should have thought twice about two butter-centric dishes in a row.

Rachel went the healthier route and ordered the Arctic Char in a more Mediterranean preparation.

Lobster Fricasee

On another evening the fish had a Spicy Squash Salsa Verde.

Scrod with Blueberry Sauce

Roasted walnut crusted halibut with pesto beurre blanc

Salmon with a Peach Salsa and Blackberry Glaze

Pecan Crusted Halibut, with Cranberry Shallot relish and Couscous

Eggplant Crusted Salmon, American Sturgeon Caviar Beurre Blanc

Fried Fisherman’s Platter, which includes Jumbo Shrimp, New Jersey dayboat Scallops and Fried Sole with home-made tartar remoulade. I really loved how the fried coating came out on these, Christine uses a combination of fresh bread crumbs and panko which gives it a hybrid texture.

Buttermilk fried chicken breast with summer succotash and mac and cheese

The fresh pasta of the evening was a vegetable ravioli. It looked phenomenal and I felt bad we didn’t order it.

Butternut Squash Lasagne (Tasting Portion)

Butternut Squash Lasagne (Entree Portion)

Action at the pass

Fall dining room decorations

Fall Table Setting

A side of grilled vegetables.

Another fresh pasta entree.

Chef Christine keeps track of the orders.

Sous Chef John Kaizer plating.

Chef John readying the bacon for the Picnic Burgers.


The Picnic Burger, with mushroom duxelles, tomato confit, bacon and sauce Bearnaise. This was actually developed a few years ago as an extreme burger project for a one-off Off The Broiler post. Now you you can actually order it on the menu on some nights. If it’s popular, it might make it to the menu permanently.

This was a lemon curd pie, photographed as it was just coming off the pass. Javi, the Garde Manger, is now making all of the desserts.

Cherry Goat Cheese Clafoutis dessert. Both Rachel and I really loved this.

Bleu Cheese Ice Cream with Candied Bacon over Poached Pear Cobbler. What can I say, this is definitely a guy’s dessert. This one is actually a keeper from the Roquefort battle at Ultimate Chef Bergen County, which blew the judges away back in January of 2009. You REALLY have to like bleu cheese to order this dessert, though.

“After Eight” Chocolate Mint Ice Cream.

Chocolate Mousse and Pecan Ice Cream

Fresh Berry Tart.

Fresh Berry Tart (portion)

Raspberry Jam Tart

Poached English Pear with Maple Syrup Ice Cream

9 Responses to NJ Dining: Picnic, The Restaurant (2010)

  1. John Sconzo says:

    Looks good! I will have to try this next time I’m in Ridgewood.

  2. My husband and I went to Picnic on opening night based on your earlier post and absolutely loved it. The goat cheese-cherry clafoutis dessert is the only thing I see here that we had, and wow…what a phenomenal dish. We’re planning to go back this week just to make sure we get it again before cherries go out of season.

  3. Rachel Perlow says:

    @John – If you go to Ridgewood, you won’t be able to try Picnic. You need to head over to Fair Lawn for that! :p

  4. mel says:

    Hi, I am a foodie as well but I cannot keep up with food events happening in NJ and in NY. where can I find information regarding these things? what website or what section to read from a magazine. I always see pictures of festivals and things I miss…anyhting happening this weekend. nj or jersey? i am from bergen county

  5. You really do a great job of showcasing a chefs hard work. Thanks for doing what you do.

  6. […] Campania, and I didn’t know Joe very well, but my friend Christine Nunn, Chef and owner of Picnic in Fair Lawn, did. This is what she had to […]

  7. Cambree says:

    Hi Jason,
    Great job with all the photos and food reviews. The berry tart looks yummy too!

  8. dumpling says:

    Oh my, this is the most consistent spread of beauty and desirability I think that I ever seen!

    Nice featuring Jason, and we will have to make our way up to see Christine!

  9. […] a table, even on a typical weeknight, as reservations have been strong for the last six months, I have been privileged to be able to capture images of some of the best things I have ever eaten and some of the most beautiful food I have ever seen coming out of Picnic’s kitchen on my […]

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