NJ Dining: Picnic the Restaurant (2011)

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

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

It’s not often that I get to really document a restaurant in great detail. Since its opening on July 4th weekend of 2010, I have had pretty much free access to the restaurant’s kitchen, in order to help them provide images for their web site.

Picnic is without a doubt the most important destination restaurant to have opened in Bergen County in 2010.

I’m not going so sugar coat this — although Rachel and I are very close friends of the restaurant, it’s been challenging to get a table even on a typical weeknight, as reservations have been strong for the last six months. Weekend dinner seatings have been booked solid weeks in advance.

Still,  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 Canon DSLR.  I urge you to keep trying and persevere with Picnic’s reservation line, even if a dinner ends up being a few weeks out.

For 2011, I have decided to start a separate blog post to chronicle this year’s dishes.

Sous Chef Javi Ordonez building one of the restaurant’s signature appetizers of 2010, a Salmon Napoleon. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

Smoked Salmon Napoleon

Shaving black truffle over a Deconstructed Caesar Salad, one of the restaurant’s small plates that has recently been introduced.

Deconstructed Ceasar Salad, Plated.

The wedge salad, which still remains one of the restaurant’s top sellers.

Pork, Veal and Beef Meatballs with squash, ditalini, cannellini beans in a light heirloom tomato and San Marzano broth. I’m tentatively referring to this dish as “It Happened in Vegas.”

Prime Filet Mignon with Bordelaise, Bacon and Bleu Cheese (background)

Picnic still is making signature vegetarian/meatless entrées as well. This Risotto with Porcini/Hedgehog mushrooms and truffle oil looked incredibly rich and satisfying.

Berkshire Pork Chop with Apples and Brandy Bacon Butter

Potato Encrusted Chatham Cod with Dijon Beurre Blanc

Split Pea Soup with Bacon. By far one of the best examples of this soup I’ve ever had. This really hit the spot on a cold rainy night.

Cioppino, another one of the restaurant’s current best sellers.

Panko Crusted Pan Fried Veal Chop with Arugula Salad, Parmigiano Reggiano and Lemon Honey Vinaigrette. I ordered this one as my entrée and it was both hearty and light at the same time. One of the best new dishes I’ve had at the restaurant this year.

Javi working the pastry torch


A closeup of the torch action.

Finished creme brulee. If it happens to be on the menu that evening when you go, do not hesitate to order this. I’ve never had a creme brulee made with such classic exactitude, with a super-rich vanilla custard and a burned sugar crust with a perfect texture and hardness.

Apple crisp, if you want something a bit less rich. But still very, very good.

Kathy Bresnan, assistant Sous Chef/Garde Manger. On St. Patrick’s day, she was the Gaelic Cuisine SME (Subject Matter Expert). Here she is holding some of her home-baked Irish Soda Bread.

Loaves of Irish Soda Bread.

Irish Soda Bread, with Jewish Rye Bread, plated. What else are you supposed to eat with Corned Beef?

First Harp Lager of the Evening

These are Emerald Isle Chopped Salads with Green Goddess Dressing.

Smoked Salmon with Irish Potato Cake

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

“Lucky Charms” Salad with dried cranberries walnuts, bleu cheese, chopped apples and pears

Chef Christine, plating

Corned Beef and Cabbage with Roasted Potatoes and Carrots

Chef Christine sauteeing up some veggies

Beer Batter Fish and Chips

Bangers and Mash

Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Irish Coffee (Whiskey not included!)

Several days later, Christine got in a big shipment of Morel mushrooms, so many of the dishes that night incorporated the rare fungus.

Personally, I could eat them just like this, sauteed in butter with garlic.

Heirloom Tomato Salad. This time of year, they aren’t from Jersey, but it still looked fantastic.

Peekytoe Crab Cake

The chicken entree of the evening featured a tarragon cream sauce with sherry.

Lamb Loin, served over orzo pasta

Osso Bucco. The last of it for the winter.

Filet Mignon with Morel Mushroom Cream Sauce. To die for.

Morel Mushroom Risotto

Scallops in a blood orange sauce.

Foie Gras “Pizza”

Peanut Butter Pie

Lemon Bundt Cake

2 Responses to NJ Dining: Picnic the Restaurant (2011)

  1. Beautiful photos, and I’m entirely jealous of your access. Thanks for reminding me about Picnic. The last time I had a meal there, corn chowder was on the menu. In other words, it’s been far too long. (Btw, we finally made it to Zinburger based on your recommendation. Those truffle fries will haunt me for a while.)

  2. Limabean says:

    The food in these pictures looks nothing as to what we had last night – someone else was in charge and unfortunately ruined our ability to go back there, it was horrible. Christine, feel free to email so we can chat if you’d like

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