A Philadelphia Love Story

My partner in crime and frequent dining companion.

As I sit here trying to grasp the state of our country the morning after two more mass shootings in the past 24 hours and three in the past week, I am angry. I am disillusioned. I feel helpless. So I am writing this to highlight a beautiful experience I had this past June with the person I love, in a city I love, eating a meal that I loved. Because hate and violence makes me sad and all of those things makes me happy.

For the past two years, my girlfriend Stephanie and myself have attempted to re-create our first date in the City of Brotherly Love, a city that up until then I didn’t spend a whole lot of time in. For both our one year and two year anniversaries, we enjoyed some combination of pre-dinner drinks, dinner at ROOT restaurant, a wine and tapas bar in Fishtown, and post-dinner cocktails at nearby Lloyd Whiskey Bar. Unfortunately, ROOT’s ownership decided to scrap the small plates concept and rebrand as “R&D,” a craft cocktail bar with rotating drink concepts that is receiving rave reviews. I mean, for all intents and purposes this should be a concept I love, so maybe it’s our nostalgia associated with ROOT, but with almost no menu to speak of (I got to enjoy a small bowl of mixed nuts for $7) and a wine list so unremarkable it’s almost not worth mentioning, R&D was a swing and a miss for us. We tried it out prior to our dinner during their month-long Tiki concept, something neither of us particularly enjoyed. We may give it another go at some point in the future, but needless to say we are pretty devastated they axed one of our favorite restaurants, which was such an integral part of our love story. But honestly, fuck ’em. I’ve written numerous (three, I believe), glowing reviews of dinners enjoyed there, explaining how important they’ve been to meeting my girlfriend and our love story, all while tagging them across the internet, and haven’t received so much as a single like, comment, or share from them. You don’t want great press? C’est la vie.

The death of ROOT combined with our obsession with Top Chef Season 16 led us to Laurel, a modern, French-influenced American restaurant in South Philadelphia, one of the best restaurants in the city, and the home to not just one, but two former Top Chef contestants: Season 11 winner Nicholas Elmi and Season 16 contestant and one of our favorites, Eddie “Money” Konrad.

I’m sure Elmi has been experiencing this a lot recently, as I did not start watching Top Chef until Season 12 and am not particularly well-versed with Philly chefs, but I didn’t really know who he was, let alone the fact that he was crowned Top Chef several years prior. Stephanie and I were there due to Eddie’s recent run on the show and to experience his food at an acclaimed Philly restaurant. Needless to say, I am now more than aware of both of them.

Coug in his natural habitat.

The restaurant is small, with only 22 seats. Intimate and elegant, but still casual, with alternative rock quietly playing in the background. As usual, I was stressing about being under-dressed, wearing jeans instead of dress pants or khakis, but the couple across the room from us in t-shirts and shorts quickly put me at ease. Weighing our options, which included two different tasting menus, with or without wine pairings, and a few à la carte additions, we finally settled on the six-course seasonal tasting menu, a killer bottle of Grüner Veltliner to pair with at least the first half of the meal, and added Elmi’s famous gnocchi with black truffles. Like I’ve been known to say: Life is short. Live large. Eat well. And when in doubt, get the truffles.

And eat well we did. This was one of the most experimental and whimsical dining experiences we have yet to enjoy. Much more so than our dinners at Restaurant Latour or elements. I won’t review each course as not only were we there in June, I also didn’t take tasting notes. Sue me. Instead, I will let the photos speak for themselves. I apologize for the poor lighting, as the dimly lit, romantic vibe may be perfect for special occasions and of course to make people like myself look better, it is not ideal for food photography.

Each course, as you can see for yourself, was gorgeously plated. Simplicity is where this meal shined and only faltered when there was a bit too much going on like I felt was the case with the Dry-Aged Pennsylvania Duck. Regardless, the highlights for me were the Turbot, Icelandic Cod, and the stunning Marinated Razor Clam, which I actually wasn’t a huge fan of upon the first bite, but it grew on me substantially. Plus, come on, have you ever seen a more beautiful dish? That seemed to be the case with most of the meal, where each bite revealed even more depth of flavor, more layers, and occasionally more weirdness (not in a bad way) the further down the rabbit hole you traveled. And it goes without saying that Elmi’s gnocchi with black truffles was pillowy, cheesy, nutty perfection. There’s a reason people make a pilgrimage here just for that.

Our lone gripe over our nearly two and a half hour meal was the service, which was surprisingly laid back for such a high-class meal. For instance, instead of one dedicated server or sommelier, we often had several different people bringing food and explaining the dishes or wine, which got a little chaotic. A bit strange for a restaurant of this caliber, but this hiccup was overshadowed by the studied pacing and exceptional food. And by far the highlight of the evening was towards the end of our meal when both Konrad and Elmi came out to say hello, with Eddie spending a good ten to fifteen minutes chatting with us about his experience on Top Chef, his relationship with fellow Season 16 contestant David Viana of Heirloom Kitchen in Old Bridge, and his love of Philadelphia and Polish food. For two people who are typically more star struck by celebrity chefs than we are by actual celebrities, this elevated our anniversary from a phenomenal meal to a truly unforgettable experience.

Thank you to Chefs Elmi and Konrad for blowing us away. Finally I want to wish Eddie the best of luck, having just announced his departure from Laurel to pursue a yet-unannounced solo venture. Whatever it may be, we can’t wait to check it out. Bravo chefs, and of course: Go Birds.

Laurel
$$$$
1617 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148
(215) 271-8299
Website: https://www.restaurantlaurel.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/laurelepx/
Foursquare: https://foursquare.com/v/laurel/527d7a91498eb53b312053f9

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A Guy, A Girl, and Two Pizza Places

Paulie Gee’s Slice Shop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY

Alright, Frankie…

The saying goes that even bad pizza is pretty good. I mostly agree with that statement, unless we’re talking about Papa John’s, which is a travesty. Growing up in New Jersey I’ve been spoiled with exceptionally above average pies. Something about the water and some kind of aquifer that makes for extra special crust or something. Plus add in a ton of Italian Americans and you’re in business.

New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut are pizza heaven. And as a kid growing up in Clinton Township you simply couldn’t go wrong with a slice from Pizza Como (RIP), DiMola’s or Natale’s. I’ve been all over this crazy country, and nothing tastes better than a tri-state pie (sorry Philly and Chicago). Although my pizza palate has gotten a little more refined as of late, there are few things in this world more satisfying than the perfect slice.

See my write-ups on Luca’s Ristorante in Somerset, NJ and Fatto Americano in New Brunswick, NJ.

It just so happens that over the past month my taste buds have been blessed by some of the most iconic pizza on the East Coast. After recording my very first podcast sesh with the gents from Not A Foodie Show and a delightful lunch at the one Michelin star Oxomoco in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (CougEats Blog Post), I figured I couldn’t leave BK without grabbing a slice from the iconic Paulie Gee’s for dessert because I’m a fat piece of crap and it was basically on the way back to my car. I had no excuse, plus I don’t make it out to Greenpoint very often (ever).

I’m not especially up to date with NYC pizza trends, but I had recently listened to an episode of Here’s the Thing featuring Debra of eatquestnyc who mentioned that she thought Paulie Gee’s Slice Shop was the best slice in the city. Spoiler alert: it lived up to the hype.

A greasy, cheesy masterpiece with pepperoni cups crisped to perfection and a firm crust that successfully captured any grease pockets and held up well to the classic fold. I threw on some hot pepper flakes, folded it, and was on my way. Without a doubt one of the top five best slices I’ve ever eaten.

Paulie Gee’s Slice Shop
$
110 Franklin St, Brooklyn, NY 11222
(347) 987-3747
Website: https://pauliegee.com/slice-shop/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pauliegees_sliceshop
Foursquare: https://foursquare.com/v/paulie-gees-slice-shop/57040eae498ef7367c74b057

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana in New Haven, CT

I have a confession to make. I’ve (regrettably) become addicted to Barstool Pizza Reviews in addition to being a fan of Section 10, Barstool’s Red Sox podcast. Yes, I’m trash. Okay. Now we have that out of the way.

I’ve always heard that Connecticut and New Haven in particular were a special kind of coal fired pizza utopia. I thought: How could this be? Connecticut is terrible. It’s like a much much worse version of New Jersey. But, El Presidente recently spent some time reviewing a bunch of spots there and most received some outlandishly high ratings. One bite everybody knows the rules.

Stephanie and I had a wedding on the calendar in Milford, CT over Memorial Day Weekend and figured this would be as good a time as any to scope out some of these famous (a)pizzerias. It seemed like Sally’s Apizza, Modern Apizza, Roseland Apizza, and the original Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana were the spots, but unfortunately, most were closed on Memorial Day. Luckily for us, Frank Pepe’s was very much open.

Home to the original white clam pie, Frank Pepe’s is a New Haven pizza institution. Many have claimed it to be the best clam pie in the country and maybe…the world. I wouldn’t go that far, but these were still some damn good pies.

As it was our first time there, we didn’t stray too far from the classics. We got a twelve inch original tomato pie and the famous white clam pie, forgoing bacon to keep it as authentic as possible. Something I would normally never do. The crust is the star here. Crispy, crunchy and blackened, it was structurally perfect. The pies themselves were sublime, though they didn’t necessarily reach “best pizza of our lives” levels. Maybe we should have opted for the bacon.

We ended up taking about six slices home and honestly, we kind of liked them even better after re-heating in the oven. The clams were a little crispier, which is how I tend to like them. The original tomato with some added red pepper flakes and hot honey and the white clam smothered in red pepper flakes ascended them to a higher plane of pizza existence.

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana
$
157 Wooster St, New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 865-5762
Website: https://pepespizzeria.com/new-haven/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/frankpepepizza
Foursquare: https://foursquare.com/v/frank-pepe-pizzeria-napoletana/4afe0a99f964a520562d22e3

Yeah, there’s definitely some really bad pizza out there, but I feel like junk food pizza, good pizza, and artisan pizza maybe need to be put into their own categories. Hell, even a Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust Pizza scratches that junk food itch when I feel like slumming it. The point is: Pizza is love. Pizza is life. And I’ll share a pie with you any day. Thanks for comin’ out.

A Salted Lime, a Podcast, and a Michelin Star

Strategically cropped photo of Coug himself. (Photo Credit: Not A Foodie Show)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know it’s been awhile. I’m of the mindset that writing as a hobby should never feel like a chore and I simply haven’t been as motivated to compose long form content for all you loyal readers as of late. Maybe it’s post-20s despondence setting in, maybe I’ve just been busy with my business, or maybe I simply haven’t been going out to eat as much. I’m not made of money! Plus, when I do feel some food blog motivation, I’ve been focusing more on short form Instagram content than here on WordPress. I’m gonna let you in on an industry secret. Most of the Instagram and Facebook content you see from dear old Coug was probably taken during a meal I ate weeks, months, or sometimes even years prior. It’s simply too time consuming to do it on the fly most of the time, especially while I’m at dinner. You have your filters and your editing and your watermarks so jerks don’t jack my shit and then you have to invent some clever copy and do your account tagging and your hashtagging and frankly I’m out of breath just typing all that.

That being said, I have an extra special post for you all. We have a couple quick hits: a Central Jersey recommendation, a write-up about my very first podcast guest spot, and my first Michelin star experience. I was going to also tie-in my recent visits to two iconic pizzerias, but this post ended up getting away from me. So there’s a teaser for next time!

Salted Lime, Somerville, NJ

Salted Lime in Somerville, NJ (Photo Credit: Salted Lime Bar & Kitchen)

By golly, the folks at Mark Daniel Hospitality have done it again. You may know them from their widely acclaimed Central Jersey restaurants Uproot in Warren, NJ and INC Restaurant in New Brunswick, NJ. Despite INC being a New Brunswick favorite, a frequent recommendation to area newcomers, and one of my preferred watering holes to the frequency that I actually had a cocktail named for me once upon a time (El Coug: El Dorado 8 year, Demerera sugar, coffee pecan bitters, orange peel), I’ve never written about them. Why, you ask? They don’t need the press. Everyone loves them. Oh, and I somehow still don’t have a plaque above the bar stool to the left of the pillar.

They’ve now hit back to back to back home runs with Salted Lime Bar & Kitchen, a feat typically reserved for your Mike Trouts or your Christian Yelichs or your Bartolo Colons. Located in the heart of downtown Somerville, NJ, Salted Lime is a modern twist on Latin American staples with a menu of delightful small plates and some of the best damn house margaritas you’ll ever drink. I talk a lot about New Brunswick, as it not only has been my home for the past eight years, but because I believe it still has one of the most underrated dining scenes in the state. It’s time to start taking a look at its little sibling to the west. With staples like Tapastre and Verve, Somerville has always been a low-key sneaky dining destination, but with recent additions like Salted Lime and Project P.U.B., a revitalized Main Street buzzing with activity, a bevy of new housing options, and rumors of the return of one-seat rides to Penn Station on the Raritan Valley Line, it gets a look from me almost as often as New Brunswick.

Salted Lime finally opened in late 2018 after a few delays, but it was worth the wait. Helmed by Executive Chef Renner Burgos, a native of El Salvador, and Director of Operations & Hospitality Daniel McGill, a varied and creative seasonal menu paired with some boozy, inspired cocktail creations and an earthy, cantina-inspired interior packs the dining room and bar most nights of the week and the outdoor patio, now open for the season, as soon as it opens its umbrellas. Their tacos, arepas, and mezcal cocktails got me in the door, but their happy hour, daily specials, and elote-inspired corn dogs(!) have me coming back again and again.

Salted Lime Bar & Kitchen
$$
46 E Main St, Somerville, NJ
(908) 864-4403
Website: http://saltedlimerestaurant.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/salted_lime_restaurant/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/saltedlimerestaurant
Foursquare: https://foursquare.com/v/salted-lime-bar–kitchen/5be77db0a2a6ce002cca8ab6

Not A Foodie Show & A Michelin Star

For someone with such a perfect face for radio coupled with the ability to drone endlessly about restaurants you’ll probably never go to, I’m surprised it took me this long to stumble my way onto a podcast. A big thanks to Sam Doyle, Wine Consultant at Wine Library, who you may know as The Bearded Wine Guy on Facebook or @Sammoman on Twitter & Instagram, for making the introduction. Sam and podcast co-creator Michael Miranti both worked at the Corkbuzz wine bar back in the day, where Sam no doubt regaled him with tales of Gewürztraminers and Barolos whilst stroking his beard.

Last week I met up with Tom Miale & Michael Miranti, co-creators of Not A Foodie Show, at BK Media Studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn to talk about a range of Central Jersey gems worth braving NJ Transit for, pork roll vs. Taylor Ham, and a few of my favorite cocktails. You can listen to my episode in full above or on their website. My segment, which also aired on Radio Rampa 620AM NYC this past Saturday, begins around the 20 minute mark.

After a brief intro into my motivation behind CougEats, I did my very best to mention as many of my favorite deserving locations as I could squeeze into a 20 minute segment, but I still managed to leave a few out (my apologies to Destination Dogs, Clydz, Luca’s Ristorante, and Salt Seafood & Oyster Bar specifically). I also referred to the dish at Heirloom Kitchen as a “peanut, potato & leek soup” when I believe it was actually a cold corn chowder with crème fraîche. (Sorry, Dave! Though, I’m pretty sure that dish hasn’t been on the menu since last fall.)

Below, I’ve included a list of all the restaurants mentioned during my show segment:

After recording, Tom & Mike brought me to Oxomoco for lunch. Located almost directly across the street from the studio, this modern, relaxed, one Michelin star Mexican cantina from Justin Bazdarich was bright and airy, with stark white walls, lush greenery, and sunlight spilling in from all directions. A cozy patio out front invites you in to sample an adventurous menu and a generous selection of mezcal and tequila inside.

We shared a few plates between the three of us, but my attention was drawn to the “Beef Tartare Tostada” with grasshopper mayo, avocado, arbol peanut, watercress, and yes…grasshoppers. I hate to admit this was my first time trying grasshopper, which I’ve been meaning to try and was delighted to find offered a delicious, salty crunch and a taste sensation similar to anchovy paste. I followed that up with a succulent “Carnitas Cemita” with black bean, quesillo, chipotle, and papalo, which I quickly demolished along with a “Toronjada” (grapefruit, pet-nat rosé) and at least one “El Chihuahua” (tequila, grapefruit, tajin-salt rim). My experience was nothing short of espectacular. Bravo, Chef.

Oxomoco
$$$
128 Greenpoint Ave, Brooklyn, NY
(646) 688-4180
Website: https://www.oxomoconyc.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/_oxomoco_/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oxomoco/
Foursquare: https://foursquare.com/v/oxomoco/5ae8ed8eb3c961002b3360da

I had a blast recording Not A Foodie Show with Tom & Mike, and look forward to coming back on to talk more Jersey gems, greasy diners, and to discuss my Central Jersey thesis at length. Cheers and a huge thanks to everyone who tuned in last Saturday to listen live to the show’s simulcast on a Polish AM radio station. These guys are passionate, knowledgeable, and just a little too similar to myself. Don’t hold that against them, though. Give em a follow why don’t ya?

Not A Foodie Show
Website: http://www.notafoodie.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/notafoodieshow/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/notafoodieshow
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/notafoodiecom/

Tom Miale
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tmiale/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tmiale

Michael Miranti
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mikemiranti/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MikeMiranti

A NYE to Remember: Scott Anderson’s Magnum Opus

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elements in Princeton, NJ

There’s a balance I struggle with when I go out to eat, especially to a particularly memorable meal. Documenting the meal with photos and occasionally with tasting and wine notes can be exhausting. There’s no doubt it takes away from the overall enjoyment of the experience. In the back of my mind I know I’ll most likely want to write about it at a later date, but at the same time I want the full, uninterrupted dining affair. This is what I struggled with this past New Year’s Eve while enjoying the best meal of my life (thus far).

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elements in Princeton, NJ

Stephanie and I have been compiling a dining bucket list, trying to check one or two off per year. Over the last two years we’ve made it to Restaurant Latour at Crystal Spings in Hamburg, NJ and Heirloom Kitchen in Old Bridge, NJ but the one right in our backyard loomed large. We decided to finally pull the trigger and made a reservation for New Year’s Eve at elements in Princeton, NJ. Having heard nothing but stellar reviews, we did it up big at arguably the best restaurant in the state. Chef’s Grand Tasting Menu and Premium Wine Pairing dressed in our Sunday best.

As this was such a spectacularly special occasion, aside from photos of the menu and individual courses, I decided to prioritize the experience over documentation. Combined with the fact that this dinner was now almost two months ago (sorry y’all, my life is busy now), I will not be providing detailed tasting notes or a full review. Instead I will simply state that each of the 12+ courses at elements was the most delicious, perfectly balanced, marvelously succulent bite of that particular food I’ve ever eaten up until this point in my life. All the way down to the bread and butter. Paired with a number of elegant wine selections (of which I have zero notes on, sorry again), this dinner transcended time and space into a higher plane of existence.

I will let the photos speak for themselves.

Note: I’m not 100% sure about the crispy potatoes. I believe they may have come as part of the ribeye course. 

I understand why the Michelin Guide limits their ratings to major cities in the United States. The country is simply too large for inspectors to visit restaurants in every corner of every state, but maybe it’s time for some small changes to the system. There’s no doubt in my mind that Chef Scott Anderson’s magnum opus would have at least one Michelin Star were it located in New York City, Chicago, or San Francisco rather than Princeton, NJ.

I’ve always described an incredible meal as the highest form of art, enveloping the senses, and evoking long lost memories, smells, and tastes. Dinner at elements was no exception. It was a pleasure and an honor to have experienced Scott Anderson’s art. I may not be back for some time, but I assure you I will be back. If you consider a great meal as an transcendent experience rather than mere sustenance, I urge you to visit elements, yes even if it means traveling to New Jersey.

 

A Top Chef & A View

First and foremost let me apologize to all my dedicated CougEats fans for not putting out a new blog post in a few months. I’ve come to the realization that a lot of you may think that food writing is my full-time gig. Not the case. I own and operate a digital marketing consulting firm (website in the works), which after two years of intense business development has taken off and is keeping me very busy, but I will do my best to put out long form content more often! That being said, there is no better time to spotlight the incredible 31st birthday dinner I enjoyed at Heirloom Kitchen, a farm-to-table restaurant, cooking school, and supper club in Old Bridge, NJ.

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Chef David Viana (Photo Credit: Heirloom Kitchen)

Top Chef’s sixteenth season kicks off Thursday, December 6th and the preeminent food competition series has featured some culinary heavyweights throughout the years. You can add Chef David Viana to that list. Partner and Executive Chef at Heirloom Kitchen, the 2018 James Beard Award nominee has worked with Bobby Flay, Anthony Bucco, and Michael White, as well as at the iconic Eleven Madison Park, Two Star Michelin restaurant Villa Joya in Portugal, and as the Executive Chef at The Kitchen at Grove Station.

While I don’t know Viana personally, I did get to know his brother Steven during my many visits to INC Restaurant up the road in New Brunswick. A talented mixologist and bar manager, Steve has bent my ear and poured me many a drink over the years. Knowing my love for elevated cuisine in the Central Jersey area, he suggested I check out his brother’s acclaimed restaurant in Old Bridge. Steve has since moved on and now works with his brother at Heirloom Kitchen.

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Heirloom Kitchen

After months on my must try list, I finally got to sit down down at the back chef’s counter with my lovely girlfriend Stephanie for my 31st birthday this past September. And what an experience it was. I even brought my father’s 2014 Vigneto di Dionigi Sierra Foothills Brunello that I’ve been saving for just the right occasion.

The interior is spectacular, awash in white and wood with a fully open kitchen. It’s upscale without being pretentious and designed to be boisterous and bubbly without being obnoxiously loud. The chef’s counter is a must, as it allows you to watch each dish as it’s prepared, plus you may even learn a thing or two to bring home with you.

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2014 Vigneto di Dionigi Sierra Foothills Brunello from acclaimed winemaker Dennis Healey

I was blown away by the complexity of the menu and coordinated with my partner in crime so we could try as much of it as humanly possible. Unfortunately their menu changes often, and most of these items are no longer available. Regardless, you will not leave disappointed.

The journey began with a simple amuse bouche and the Milk Buns with XO Butter. When bread and butter are well worth the $7 price tag, you know something masterful is happening behind the scenes. We followed our first courses with a true standout and the one item that jumped out as a must try as soon as I saw it: Chilled Elote Soup with shrimp, corn, poblano crema, and ancho chili oil. Poured table side, this explosion of creamy corn flavor confused and delighted with just enough heat on the back end to pack a satisfying punch. The bold flavors and fresh ingredients left an impressive mark on my taste buds. Even in the winter I rarely order soup of any kind, but this will go down as one of the best. Paired with the Octopus with tamarind, forbidden black rice, pine nuts, and pineapple nouc cham (which I had to look up…it’s a Vietnamese fish dipping sauce), Heirloom was off to a strong start.

Not only was the food and ambiance memorable, but the service was at a level that more restaurants should aspire to. When my Duck Breast with chermoula eggplant, mint, fig, and harissa red wine reduction was backed up, the kitchen sent out a plate of their Lamb Chops with swiss chard, worcestershire, roasted carrots, and sweet potato puree, which I had been torn on in the first place, so I ended up with the best of both worlds. Our friendly, convivial, extremely knowledgeable waiter handled the entire meal expertly, chatting with us, explaining each and every dish, and apologizing for any delay. Chef Viana came over a few times to introduce himself and Steve chatted with us when he had a chance. We felt like honored guests in someone’s home. “Eat our sweet meats, drink our wine,” as Roger Sterling would say.

In addition to the lamb and duck breast, both of which were gorgeously plated and perfectly succulent, we ordered a side of the sweet cornbread with pickled Hauser Hill vegetables and corn butter that sounded too good to resist but that I regretfully don’t have a photo of.

This meal read like a great novel. It confused, delighted, and unfolded over several hours. Surprises around every turn. I can confidently say that this was one of the best meals I’ve eaten in New Jersey and that includes meals at Restaurant Latour at Crystal Springs, Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen, and The Frog & the Peach. My only regret was that I didn’t make it here sooner.

Chef Viana and Founder, Partner & General Manager Nelly Robinson have created a truly unique experience in an unassuming strip mall in Old Bridge, NJ and you know I’ll be glued to Bravo at 10 PM every Thursday rooting Viana on. I can’t wait to see what he puts in front of Padma, Tommy C, and company.

Those looking for an otherworldly culinary experience in Central NJ, Heirloom Kitchen is a destination not to be missed.