NJ Dining: Lunch at Bar Cara & Tasting Menu at Blu

September 27, 2012

For those who don’t know, take heed: Ryan DePersio’s Bar Cara makes great pizza! The dough at Bar Cara undergoes a 24-hour cold ferment – like any great pizza dough should – and has a nice flavor profile that is noticeable and a light lift.
Then, there’s the Burger Americano priced at a very reasonable $10. Much has been said about burgers in New Jersey, and  I have my own personal favorite, but Ryan’s ranks right up there with the best. Bar Cara uses a special blend of beef, brisket, short rib, and sirloin. And can we say, toothsome?
Read more about the Bar Cara lunch, including charred octopus with crisp sunchoke, and the best-ever pistachio ice cream, on Hot From The Kettle.
Next, Blu, a small, darkly lit, BYO in Montclair is the perfect place to indulge a sinfully delicious meal.  Chef and owner, Zod Arifai, never appears in the dining room, but works wizardry from the kitchen, weaving textures and tastes into an all-but-irresistible spell.
When you are in the restaurant of a renown chef, like Zod Arifai, it’s best to let him have his way with you- opt for the chef’s tasting menu!   Read all about the  nine-course degustation on Hot From The Kettle.

NJ Dining: Daryl

April 15, 2012

Daryl Restaurant
302 George Street, New Brunswick, NJ. 08901
(732) 253 7780

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

Local New Jersey food blogger Melody Kettle recently did a great write up of all of the restaurants of Zod Arifai, the Albanian-born rock n’ roller turned rogue self-taught chef whose establishments have been getting tons of critical acclaim.

In Late February I was invited with a group of other food writers/bloggers to dine at Daryl, the wine bar in New Brunswick where Zod has taken over as Executive Chef.

I have dined in the past at Zod’s other restaurant, Blu in Montclair. Many of my peers are of the opinion that it is one of the most creative and best fine dining establishments in all of Northern New Jersey.

While I agree that the quality and creativity is definitely there, as is Zod’s technical skill, Blu just isn’t my speed. I think there’s just too much going on with the food, as if the place is Zod’s mad scientist laboratory.

I’ve had some major and heated arguments with folks about the place, and I’ve been accused of being closed minded.

While I do enjoy modern cuisine interpretations, ranging from the deconstructivist to molecular gastronomy, I personally tend to prefer cuisine that is more straightforward and which isn’t trying to break the light speed barrier or re-invent the wheel.

Blu is more of the second type, so stylistically it doesn’t tend to resonate with me as well. This is more of a personal preference thing, and not a reflection of the quality of the restaurant.

So I was actually relieved when I found Daryl to be more down to earth in concept — small plates, pastas, meat and fish to compliment the restaurant’s wine list and beverage program. And it also is conveniently located very close to the State Theatre, so if you are going to see a show there, it’s an ideal dining venue.

Daryl’s main dining room.

Daryl is a modern, but earthy restaurant which will please foodies and wine enthusiasts alike. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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