Top Ten List of Jersey Restaurants
It has been a year of exceptionally good eating in New Jersey, as more restaurants aspire to a higher standard--and reach it. Choosing the 10 best of the 51 I reviewed in 1998 was difficult because the state is attracting top-flight chefs and more places are putting together exemplary food, service and atmosphere.
I also went back to some old favorites I had not visited for a while. It was gratifying to find time had added to their luster.
At Stage Left, 5 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick, (732) 8284-11-44. the new chef, Patrick Yves Pierre-Jerome. brings his eclectic internationalism into play as he prepares delicate ravioli and various types of napoleons, layering effectively with the likes of Atlantic salmon, puff pastry, celerv root and fennel.
Famed for its wine list, the restaurant expanded this year to gave patrons a little more in the way of space and comfort.
All three of these four-star restaurants do not come cheap, of course. They are, however, worth their price. Most appetizers cost double digits, and entrees are in the $20-30 range, sometimes beyond. Each has a fabulous wine list, though it's always possible to buy a bottle for $25 or slightly less if you don't require a vast selection.
It was fun to have several four-star restaurants going head to head in the same calendar year. Someday, I'll have to do all my prior four-star favorites, including New Brunswick's The Frog and the Peach and Bernardsville's Bernards Inn and Le Petit Chateau within a few months of each other to see who comes out on top.