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Sep 4, 2007 08:22 PM

Spectacular: A Toute Heure in Cranford, NJ

I just came home from a truly exciting dinner at A Toute Heure in Cranford. This is a very special place and in all likelihood will eventually become one of my top favorites.
Without any attitude or pretension they serve up the most amazing food creations and they do it with very fresh locally sourced meats and vegetables. From a food perspective - and that is one of the most important perspectives in my life - I haven't had such a pleasurable evening in quite a while.
This little French Bistro has a lot of potential. One great innovation are the "bites". Conceptually between amuse bouche and traditional appetizers, "bites" are a more refined French interpretation of tapas. Large enough to be sharable but small enough to order quite a few, they are an ideal set up for a flavor and texture joy ride. One example was the one with grilled peaches and ricotta that opened up new possibilities.
After a few "bites" we decided on the two steaks that were on the menu tonight. Both the hangar and flank steak were expertily cooked as ordered. The meat was clearly high quality, tasty and had the right texture. The sides were creative, well made and had their own flavor contribution to the overall flavor profile of the dish.
And for dessert I had something that my friend called pretty adventurous and that I never had before in my life: Goat Cheese Ice Cream. Yes, you got that right. This is not a gimmick, but quite enjoyable.
More details in my blog
We are planning to go there again this Thursday. If a fellow hound wants to join send me a note.
The place is small (30 or so seats). So during a busy time there may be some wait. They do not take reservations but you can call ahead and they put you on the waiting list. And it is BYOB.

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  1. Thanks for the report, FF. Having already put A Toute Heure on my "go to" list, I'm pleased to hear that you had a very positive experience. Btw, I've had goat cheese ice cream and it is, indeed, delicious!

    3 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      I would love to go but that no reservation policy is a killer. For the locals it may not be such a problem but for the rest of us who have travel at least a half hour and who need to procure a sitter, its a big problem. A shame as I really wanted to try it.

      1. re: bgut1

        You're right about the no reservations policy, b. It's really a bummer!! Even for those of us who don't need a sitter but are not local, it could be a problem. I'm guessing/hoping if we go early, there's a better chance of snagging a table. However, I plan to have some back-up restaurant(s) in the surrounding area in mind just in case....

        Here's a thought. I don't remember if they take reservations for larger parties, say 6 or more. If so, we could consider going there for one of our CJH get-togethers. :-)

        1. re: RGR

          A fantastic idea RGR. I love your thinking. :)

    2. Why the hell is'nt this place in Monmouth County!!!! ha ha...wishful thinking, besides we lack on Italian restaurants :) yeah right!!

      Anyway, have not been on this board in a while as I was away, savoring the most AMAZING French food possible, aside from France, but this place looks fabulous! The menu is very inviting.

      I really will hate the drive up to Cranford, but it is as good as RGR's Lorena's in Maplewood, then I will sure be a happy girl!

      I am glad to hear everyone had a plesant time at Indigo Moon while I was away!

      1. Great report FF. Now I really have to make a point of going. Did you get a table right away or have to wait? And if so, for how long?

        This place really sounds devine. I'm glad we live close by, I guess even if we had to wait, we could find something to kill the time.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sivyaleah

          Sivyaleah, I called ahead when I left home and we immediately got a table. That was around 7:30. There was just one table left at the time. Around 8:15 most other guest had left and there were only two other parties there. They are open till 10:00. Seemingly after 8 or so it is a bit more quite.

          1. re: FoodFetish

            That would work for my husband and I on weekdays for sure. We both don't normally get home until after 7pm anyway so, by the time we got ready and drove over, it could be nearly 8ish. Thanks for the info. Definately looking forward to trying this one!

        2. Thanks for the report. I would love to try this place.

          1. Does anyone know of a liquor or wine store nearby? (I am familiar with all the surronding areas, so if you know a place..please post!!) Merci

            1 Reply
            1. re: Angelina

              There is a liquor store in Cranford on their main shopping street right near North Avenue. There is also a liquor store (Shoprite liquor formerly Town and Country) about 5 minutes away on South Ave, in Westfield. There is another in Garwood, off of South Ave. across the street and down the block from Roberts Steakhouse. A votre sante!