HOME > Chowhound > New Jersey >

Discussion

Restaurant Nicholas

I know that there have been a few naysayers of late regarding Restaurant Nicholas, but I must report that my family and I had a first rate experience there last evening. The amuse bouche was a celery root puree and it was very good, if slightly over salted.
A starter of Fresh Black Truffle Hen Egg Ravioli was spectacular!! One of the best things I've eaten in a long, long time. Seared Day Boat Sea Scallops with Carrot Puree and Pickled Ginger Sauce were very well received as was a plate of Green Asparagus with Abalone Mushroom Ragout
Mains were very good as well. Filet Mignon, "Pulled" Suckling Pig and Pheasant, all were prepared expertly and satisfied each of us. A wonderful selection of artisanal cheeses followed, and desserts were uniformly good, particularly the Cranberry Souffle with Vanilla Sorbet.
Service was excellent, the room buzzed with a small army of servers and captains.
A nice addition to the dining room since my last visit was a spectacular blaze orange lighting fixture that consisted of over 700 hand blown, twisted pieces of glass. The room's banquets have been reupholstered to match and combined, they give the room a newly freshened feel.
The cost for all of this was about $580 (including taxes) before tip, of which $245 were devoted to wine. The relative value remains for you to decide. But for me, I must report that despite recent reports, in my opinion, Restaurant Nicholas remains the gold standard for fine dining in Central New Jersey.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Bernie - Thank you for the excellent report. Not to nit pick but I would argue that Nicholas is the gold standard for the entire state (as I believe the universe of central New Jersey restaurants is quite small).

    11 Replies
    1. re: bgut1

      I have waited entirely to long to try Nicolas. One question I do have is as I will most certainly sit in the bar area on my first visit, what is the dress required for the bar? Needless to say, I am intimidated, as I hate to 'dress up'.

      1. re: Herm

        Wait no longer Herm. And fear not the dressy atmosphere. A casual business attire will make you feel at home in the Bar of Nicholas (no jacket necessary). I've eaten there twice at the bar and been comforted by affordable beer and a wonderful selection of small plates ranging from $15-$20. I have yet to sit in the dining room but I may never because I have a similar anxiety for stuffy atmosphere, which I can't say the dining room has any of, but the bar has none of.

        1. re: rockweed

          Herm - The other night I wore jeans and a dress shirt. No need to get too dressy - unless of course you want to.

          1. re: bgut1

            Glad you posted that, bgut. Forget business casual! One can dress extremely casually at the bar. Even a "dress shirt" is unnecessary. A sport shirt would be fine. During the summer, Mr. R. has worn what he calls his black "dress T's," aka "Manhattan sheik." lol

            Btw, even though reservations are not required for bar dining, I strongly suggest if you are any distance away from the restaurant that you call to make sure the bar is open. We drove there one Sunday evening only to discover the entire restaurant, including the bar, was closed for a private function.

        2. re: Herm

          Herm, last Saturday night, several male patrons in the main dining room were sans jacket. With the new decor, the room seems less formal (in a good way).

        3. re: bgut1

          bgut1, the reason I said Central New Jersey is that I have very limited experience dining in the Northern part of our state, and my Southern experience is largely limited to Cape May, therefore I don't feel qualified to speak for the entire state. But thanks for the compliment and I suspect that you are correct.

          1. re: BernieMSY

            Thanks for the clarification Bernie.

          2. re: bgut1

            b, I don't want to get carried away here, but to extend what you're saying, I don't know if there're any restaurants in NYC that can match Nicholas for the money.

            1. re: joonjoon

              joon - Are you referring to me or Bernie? Either way you pose an excellent question.

              1. re: joonjoon

                joonjoon,

                I agree that Nicholas's cuisine, service, and ambiance can match many of the finest NYC restaurants, while price-wise, it's a comparative bargain, at least as far as the 3-course prix-fixe ($55) and the tasting menu ($75) are concerned. However, wine may be a different matter and could boost the final cost into NYC territory.

                1. re: RGR

                  Well, wine will always boost the cost of dining whether you're in NYC or NJ so I'm not sure if that's really an issue. But going strictly by the tasting menu, I don't know who else can match what Nicholas does for 55/75$ in terms of Food & Service.

                  I wish I wasn't sick, now I'm in the mood for Nicholas. :P

            2. I'm glad someone else was smitten by the black truffle hen egg ravioli. I could eat the dish for lunch daily. While the pulled pig is passably good, as I wrote elsewhere, try the similar dish in Eleven Madison and I suspect you'll stop raving about Harrary's creation. Still, if Nicholas isn't the gold standard in each and every way, given the paucity of greatness in New Jersey, it does remain a very precious metal indeed.

              1. We've lived at the Jersey shore for nearly 6 years now and have never had the pleasure of dining at Nicholas, but will be heading there in a couple of weeks. Really looking forward to this and will report back.

                7 Replies
                1. re: bnemes3343

                  Enjoy your meal bnemes3343. If you get the chance, take a look at the menu online. I have had most of the items and would be happy to answer any questions. Good luck and please let us know how it went.

                  1. re: bgut1

                    Well, the obvious 1st question is whether to do the 3 course meal or the tasting menu with/without wine pairings. I suspect this is an easy answer (tasting menu with wine pairings), but would like opinions. My wife is a bit less adventurous than I am, and not really that big an eater, but since it's my bday, I am hoping I can convince her to go for the full monty.

                    1. re: bnemes3343

                      You should do what my wife and I do. I usually get the tasting menu with wine pairings and my wife gets the the 3 course. Nicholas is the rare restaurant that does not require that all diners at a table order the tasting menu if one wants it. This results in an extra course or two for me, but my wife never minds and usually has a taste of what's on my plate. Enjoy.

                      1. re: jsfein

                        That sounds like a great idea! Would they somehow be able to do a wine pairing with both as well?

                        1. re: bnemes3343

                          The other option is to do what we do. Since as a general rule, my wife finds the tasting menu to be too restrictive in choices, we usually order ala carte and add an extra course or two. This allows us the flexibility "we" desire and at the same time permits us to taste the breadth of the chef's abilities. Either way you can't go wrong at Nicholas. The only thing I do recommend is that you fit in a cheese plate somewhere. It's divine.

                          1. re: bnemes3343

                            They will be more than happy to do pairings for your tasting menu and your wife's 3-course prix-fixe. Btw, your wife can also add just one extra course if she wants, and if she feels it might be too big, she can request that it be made tasting portion-size.

                            Happy Birthday, bnemes! Enjoy and Bon Appetit!

                            1. re: RGR

                              Thanks bgut1 and RGR for the great advice. Really looking forward to Jan 5., and will be sure to post a review.

                  2. We were there the night before you on the 21st and I agree with everything you stated. We had a terrific meal. We were celebrating my birthday and my friend's and we got sent home with truffles and the nice cranberry loaf for the holidays. A nice touch.

                    Also, you didn't mention something that I LOVED! The drunken cranberry mojito from the bar-provided Chris makes it. It was perfect. We are actually going to try to replicate it this weekend for my brother's new year's party.

                    I could have eaten the ravioli and the scallops again and again. I also thought the chatham cod was fantastic and although I really enjoying the pulled suckling pig, it was my least favorite.

                    We are definitely going back to sit in the bar some time soon.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: heathergt

                      Heather,

                      I am glad you had a good time and it is because of you that I am on this site now, so thanks again. By the way here is the recipe for those mojitos so you can recreate them whenever.

                      Spiced Drunken Cranberry Mojitos

                      First a day or two before serving I take about a quart container filled about 3/4 to the top with dried cranberries

                      then I add equal parts of spiced rum (mt gay preferably), cranberry juice and simple syrup.

                      fill the container to the top, the cranberries will absorb most of the juice.

                      In a small shaker I then muddle 3 lime wedges, 6 large mint leaves (or its equivalent), and a tablespoon of drunken cranberries together.
                      At this point I also add a shot of spiced rum and a splash of fresh lime juice before muddling.

                      Muddle well
                      Add ice
                      Shake and place into high ball glass
                      add club soda and a splash of cranberry juice on top
                      (you can also substitute sprite for those with a sweeter tooth)

                      Then enjoy.

                      It does take a little planning and prep for the drink, but you know how well it can turn out.

                      Cheers all!

                        1. re: shorebilly

                          REALLY good drink, Chris!! My only change was, instead of club soda or sprite, adding a splash of French lemonade. A bit sweet, a nice citrus hit and good bubbles.

                          1. re: radiogrl1

                            I sometimes like to add a little bitters to offset sweetness, it really depends on my mood you know. Some days are just a little bitter.

                        2. re: chris the bartender

                          Thanks Chris. I wasn't aware that Mt. Gay made a spiced rum??? I've never seen it anywhere.

                      1. Sorry, but our first experience at Nicholas last night did not live up to our expectations based on the heaps of praise bestowed by so many others.

                        To some up, my GF and I both had the Tasting Menu and while we left feeling like suckling pigs, the overall experience was not a 5star, Exceptional, 29/30 occasion. More like a 4Star, Very Good, 24/30 occasion!

                        The highlights were the House Cure Salmon Gravlox, the much heralded Black Truffle Hen Egg Ravioli that I substituted for my fish course, my GF's Seared Skate Wing & the artisan cheese plate;

                        The midlights were all the other courses (we chose opposite each other for each course so we could sample everything); there was an apparent lack of seasoning/spices/herbs as each course was rather bland; case in point was my Roasted Sirloin of Veal cooked a bit too long to bring it closer to medium well versus the suggested medium (pink center) served over an Autumn Bean Cassoulet which ended up being some fava beans swimming in a too thin Veal Jus. This dish cried for some seasoning on the veal and the Jus would have been better if it were a thicker/heartier sauce that one would find on an osso-buco;

                        The lowlights were a pre-dessert muse of a loose coconut tapioca with a mango sauce; an extremely limited wine's by the glass offering on the printed wine list - (1) Cab and (2) Bordeaux's; a sterile dining atmosphere as we were seated at 6:15 in an empty dining room (on a Friday night) and had the constant eye's of the service staff on us, anticipating our next need/action;

                        For my fellow hounds in Mommoth county, I'm sure Nicholas is a great place to have on the local dining scene. Unfortunately for us, it's a tough place to get to (from Princeton) on a typical Friday evening. In the same amount of time or less, we can be in NYC or Philly.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Foody4life

                          Hey, Foody,

                          While I am sorry to hear that Nicholas didn't live up to your expectations, I have to be honest and say that, during the many times we've dined there, only two dishes have truly disappointed me, one of which was a veal dish that I ate at the bar some time ago. Veal, in and of itself, is a rather bland meat, so I feel it needs assertive seasoning and saucing to bring it to life. While I don't remember exactly how the veal I had was prepared, I vividly recall that it was bland, and whatever sauce there may have been didn't help.

                          With regard to wines by the glass, I am surprised to hear that you were unhappy. Since I don't drink, my husband does wine pairings by the glass, and he has always been extremely satisfied with the selections offered at Nicholas.

                          Btw, I've mentioned in a prior post that we once had the experience of eating at Nicholas in an empty dining on a couple of days after New Years, but it didn't bother us in the least!

                          As I like to say, a restaurant only has one chance to make a first impression. Thus, given your feelings about your meal and where you are coming from geographically, I can understand why you would be reluctant to go to Nicholas again.

                          1. re: Foody4life

                            Foody4life - I'm sorry that the meal didn't meet your expectations. Your post is a perfect example of the subjectiveness of dining. Case in point, while you find the dining room to be "sterile" and the service to be too constricting, I see the opposite. I'm currently reading an excellent book by a former captain at Per Se called Service Included where she defines the perfect service as being anticipatory of a guest's needs. Further, the author opines that the room should be absent of art and other decoration so not to take away from the food. I tend to agree. In fact I find both the service and the room to be perfect. All that being said, I do tend to agree with the following statements:1) the by the glass selection is limited and 2) while good, the sirloin of veal is my lest favorite course on the menu. Notwithstanding the above, Nicholas is not only the best restaurant in NJ but one of the best in the US (and I've been to many of the so called greats - as I'm sure you have too).

                            1. re: bgut1

                              bgut1- I think our experience would have been better if we'd joined you and RGR and dined at Nicholas' bar!! We were unfortunately seated at one of the small banquettes next to the fireplace in the right dining room. While my GF had a great view of the room, I had the grey wall as the backdrop to my 2.5 hr evening. I would have liked one of the 4 top tables so that we could both enjoy the ambiance.

                              With regard to the overall experience, I measure a restaurant of this caliber on the ability to surprise with unique flavors, ingredients or pairings. An example is the Tonic & Gin served at Per Se. As common a drink as there is - yet truly outstanding as they make their own tonic using quinine powder. Hands down the best I've ever had.

                              1. re: Foody4life

                                Foody,

                                Now I can understand your unhappiness with the ambiance. Why were you seated in what I consider the much less desirable of the dining rooms? Was the main dining room (the one one the left) full?

                                1. re: RGR

                                  I agree with RGR. I've never had the occasion to be seated in that area and would have been disappointed as well. As chance would have it, the DW and I just returned from having dessert and coffee at the bar (after a decent dinner at Casa Solar in Belmar). Chris continues to be as personable as ever - a complete pleasure. Foody - the next time you're in the area, please let me know as I would be happy to join you at the bar. Be well.

                          2. My wife and I have been here a number of times - and everything has always been superb. Two things that annoyed us on our last visit were this:

                            1st - What is on the menu on the website is not always available at the restaurant. I had my heart set on venison, but it was not available that night.

                            2nd - People dressing casually at this restaurant. When we went the last time there were 2 men without a sport coat/blazer and they stood out. The other thing that drove me insane is that there was a party in the other room and people were wearing jeans walking through the dining room. Sorry folks, but if I am shelling out this kind of money to eat here, I expect people to be dressed appropriately - and a dressy t-shirt does not count. If you want to wear a t-shirt to dinner, go down the street to the Windmill.

                            And, yes, the new decor is much nicer then the other stark white interior.

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: middletownguy

                              middletownguy, restaurant websites can be a sampler of what to expect and an exact replica of the whole menu. Incorrect pricing would bother me more and I wish more restaurants would offer menu...with prices. As for dress codes, aren't they typically enforced by the restaurant owner or manager? I like to dress appropriately for any occasion but if I see casual and "finery" on dining patrons, I'm going to think its acceptable to the restaurant staff. For those who are regulars of RN, what is their "dress code?" If I'm following previous posts, it's both casual and dressing...yes?

                              1. re: HillJ

                                Nicholas's dress code is, "Jackets requested but not required." Whenever we've eaten in the dining room, I've seen a range of dress, from formal (jacket and tie) to very casual (short-sleeved shirts in summer). Since there is no exacting dress code, it's hard to argue about how people are dressed.

                                Nicholas's on-line menu has never been meant to be a sampler. Melissa used to do a really good job of keeping it very up-to-date. It was one of the things I felt made their website superior to many others. However, I've noticed during the past year that the menus have been updated much less frequently. So, now, it isn't surprising to find that a dish listed on-line is not on the actual menu.

                                Finally, since cost has been mentioned, notice that for the first time since they opened 8 years ago, they've raised their prices. The 3-course prix-fixe is now $59 (up from $55), and the tasting menu is now $79 (up from $75). Normally, I wouldn't quarrel with this decision. But the thing that irks me is that while they've raised the prices, they are offering items like monkfish and cod, two of the least expensive fish in the market. And if you want lobster or venison you still have to pay a supplement -- $10 and $5 respectively.

                                1. re: RGR

                                  I guess when you are the number 1 show in Jersey you can tamper with the prices ..
                                  As far as dress ..neatness is far much more important then wearing a jacket ....people wearing jeans is very low class and the place must address this issue..but that kind of stuff give us something to talk about !!

                                  1. re: big1515

                                    Actually, I was surprised that they maintained the opening prices for 8 years. I would have expected a hike some time ago. And $4 is not exactly overdoing things. What I take issue with was that, in terms of cost, some of the items on the menu do not exactly correlate with this increase.

                                    1. re: RGR

                                      RGR, you hit a nerve with me and Italian restaurants. The cost of pasta dishes dont match with ingredients.
                                      As regards Nicholas, I guess his overhead expenses increased and he had to adjust prices accordingly. I wonder if his property was reassessed recently causing a property tax rise.
                                      Codfish is a staple in southern Europe and at one time cheaper than bread. Baccala was one dish my grandmother made regularly during the Depression for its low cost.

                                      1. re: tom porc

                                        My friends and I ate at restaurant Nicholas last night. Total food and wine charge came to just over $3800 including a $1000 bottle of Pinot Noir (good thing my friends picked up the tab). The overall experience was absolutely superb. We tried appetizers and entrees including Caviar, Foi Gras, Lobster, Duck and Quail. If Nicholas himself was under the table servicing us it still woulnd't have been any better. We will certainly go back over and over again.

                                          1. re: njfoodexpert

                                            NJFOODEXPERT, How many people were in your group?

                              2. We were a party of 6 one night. The service was fine. I ordered a NY Strip Steak. It was tough as nails and tasted like it was basted in salt. The others all had something different and agreed it was average and overpriced. Im finding too many new average, overpriced restaurants in this area. Im beginning to think because of the new wealth in the area, these places think high prices mean good food. If your interested in great food at realistic prices, go sample the better restaurants in Key West. Michaels or Antonios. 3 people can have outstanding entrees for less than $100.00. This local foo-foo food is getting old. Local favorites for me? The Molly, the old Fromagerie - original menu, Jimmys - Asbury Park and an occasional Mumfords seasonal tasting.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: robert1456

                                  Though I've never had steak at Nicholas, it is the one item on the menu that has elicited negative comments from other Hounds. However, as someone who regularly dines at some of NYC's finest restaurants and who has been to Nicholas many times, I have to vociferously disagree that the cuisine at Nicholas is average and overpriced. From my experience, it is the equal of many of these fine establishments both in creativity and quality. And if you can tell me where in NYC you can get a 3-course dinner prix-fixe for $59 and a 6-course tasting menu for $79 at this high level, I'd definitely like to know about it.

                                  If by "The Molly," you mean the Molly Pitcher Inn, we've only been there once for a private function, and the food was average at best. My guess is that the food in the public dining room is not any better.

                                  The original Fromagerie? Our last dinner there not long before Burke bought it was seriously disappointing. A once fine restaurant that went downhill.

                                  We've never tried the seasonal tastings at Mumford's, but we used to love going to the eponymous restaurant when it was in Long Branch. Chris is very talented, and his southwestern-stye cuisine was inventive and delicious. And his wife/partner Debbie's desserts were wonderful.

                                  As for Key West, the only place I've been to in that neck of the Florida woods -- or should I say keys -- is Little Palm Island. Superior in every respect but very, very, very expensive!!

                                  1. re: RGR

                                    Well said RGR. Sorry robert1456 but I have to agree with RGR completely. Nicholas is one if not the best restaurant in New Jersey and is on par with the best the City has to offer.

                                    1. re: RGR

                                      No, I said the original menu at the Fromagerie. Not just before Burke took it over. Marcus and Huber changed the menu and dissapointed many. It was never the same. Besides, its all just a matter of personal preference.

                                      1. re: robert1456

                                        Agree about personal preference. I don't think it's humanly possible for a restaurant to satisfy every single patron. To prove that, all you need do is go to the Manhattan board and search for the "Restaurants Everyone Likes But You Don't" thread, which has so far garnered about 250 responses. You will see that *no* restaurant escapes, including Per Se!

                                  2. My wife and returned to RN for the first time in about two years. It was a much anticipated return and a week later I'm still thinking about different aspects of the evening. I have read through the different replies to this thread and can say I'm not surprised to hear so much praise and few dissapointments with this establishment. One thing that just shocked me is to hear complaints of a four dollar price increase after eight years of operation. This isn't four dollars to a appertizer or an entree. It's four dollars to a three course or six course menu (which both include two amuse bouche). I found this price increase to be extremely modest. As far as to the quality of the food and pricing, I ensure you as a 10+ year vet in this business Nicholas only uses the highest quality ingredients. Nicholas himself goes to the fulton fish market in the middle of the night to bring in the freshest seafood. This isn't granddaddys baklava, this is dayboat cod from Chatham and price reflects. There once was a time in New England where lobster was the food of the lower class, but things change. I also think it is one of the top five in the state, but does not rank nationally, sorry bqut.

                                    Just wanted to get that off my chest. As far as the evening goes even though the food was absolutely wonderful I still think it was a little bit better when Chef Corey Heyer was in charge. My wife had the tasting menu and absolutely loved it. I ordered the the black truffle menu and although very impressive the second course was dissapointing, black truffle risotto with a parmesan foam. The rissoto was too stiff and Marcel killed the foam thing for me. The dessert was a good concept, black truffled pot de creme, but it just was not exucuted well. As far as beverages we started with a cocktail each which were never cleared after we finished them (as with most of the people on this site would agree small details matter when dining at this caliber). Champagne for the first couple courses. Then of course Nicholas paired an awesome burgundy, just perfectly balanced, with the final courses.

                                    The new look of the place is great. Although I do believe the center focal point of the room a giant orange hand blown glass ornament belongs better in The Borgata. And it does disagree with his original concept of the letting the food be the focal point. I guess there's only one way to get that decor number higher, so much pressure zagat.

                                    All in all a great night, just a few minor bumps. Can't wait to check out the lounge dining.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: AC Captain

                                      AC Captain - I am so happy that you enjoyed your meal. No apologies are necessary as it is perfectly fine to disagree on this forum especially with regard to the ranking of restaurants. Clearly, rankings are so subjective. I will add however, that I have dined at many if not most of the "top rated" restaurants throughout this great country of ours and I would have no hesitation to include Nicholas in those ranks. Again this is purely a matter of personal opinion and experiences may differ. Thanks again for your report. Good Luck.

                                      1. re: bgut1

                                        Yay, we're in for Nicholas tonight. Tried to book during the week. Nothing available. Today browsing Open Table and I see they have an opening at 8:30. Granted, it's later than I usually like to dine, but I took it.
                                        Now what am I in the mood for?

                                        1. re: Pink Pepper

                                          Hey, Pink Pepper,

                                          Based on the meal we had in the bar room two Sundays ago, I highly recommend the following: chestnut soup, black truffled potato agnolotti, roasted squab, and for dessert, clementine cake with lemon sorbet.

                                          Enjoy and Bon Appetit!

                                          P.S. Since you've seen an 8:30 opening, if you want to eat earlier, why not call and see if they can change your reservation?

                                          1. re: RGR

                                            RGR, I had the roasted squab because of your recommendation. I don't think I would have tried it on my own. It was delicious. Lots of flavor...almost a smoky bacon taste. My friends both had the black truffled potato agnolotti. My husband had the fresh black truffle hen egg ravioli. He said it was excellent. There were 2 filet mignon main courses and one nova scotia lobster. I may have to try that lobster next time.
                                            I loved my dessert. I went with the banana souffle and butterscotch ice cream. Came home with my banana bread. Always a nice touch.
                                            Great night. Beautiful place.
                                            Can't wait to go back and try the rest of the menu.

                                            1. re: Pink Pepper

                                              Hey, Pink Pepper,

                                              Thanks for reporting back. Squab is one of my favorite things, and the current preparation at Nicholas is, indeed, delicious!

                                              They regularly change the souffle flavors, as well as the ice cream accompaniment, and the souffles are always perfectly executed. When choosing my dessert last time, it did come down to between the clementine cake and the souffle. I went with the cake because I'd not had it before, the season for clementines is approaching an end, and I'm guessing that dessert will be taken off the menu soon.

                                              We ate at the bar, so no banana bread for us. :-(

                                              Btw, since there have been complaints on this board from Hounds who have had steak at Nicholas, I'm curious to know what those at your table thought of the filet mignon.

                                              1. re: RGR

                                                Both men said it was it was done beautifully. It really was a perfect meal from beginning to end.

                                                * correction...my ice cream was butter pecan. The guys had the apple tart with the butterscotch ice cream.

                                                1. re: RGR

                                                  The filet is great. The preparation is same as the previous steak, but I prefer the filet especially pan roasted.

                                      2. The only problem wih this place is that the valet will choke on the fumes of my '99 Camry whch has 238,000 mile on it when he goes to park my car...

                                        10 Replies
                                        1. re: JerzeyShore

                                          Well, I'm finally breaking the seal. (No offense, Seal) I'm venturing to Nicholas Tuesday for my birthday dinner. Please, some suggestions? I'm a bit confused as to the menu opportunities available to me, and what I should choose to do. Any help from the resident experts would be appreciated.
                                          Review to follow.

                                          1. re: hotfoodhot

                                            hot - My two favorite appetizers are the gnocchi and the sea scallops. For entrees I would suggest the suckling pig (a dish that's been around almost since day one) and the butter poached lobster. For dessert, I wouldn't miss the beignets. All that being said, you really can't go wrong with anything on the menu. Enjoy your meal.

                                            1. re: hotfoodhot

                                              Hey, hotfoodhot,

                                              As always, bgut's suggestions are excellent. We dined at the bar recently, and everything we had was stellar: foie gras terrine, seared foie gras (this new preparation is unusual but seriously delicious), pea mint soup, gnocci, halibut, sea bass, and for dessert, the chiboust. They are all on the dinner menu. I would also suggest you consider doing the tasting menu. Presuming you are sharing your celebration with a partner, if you each order a different selection from the first 4 courses and then share them, you can end up tasting 8 different dishes + the cheese course and dessert.

                                              http://www.restaurantnicholas.com

                                              Happy Birthday and Bon Appetit!

                                              1. re: RGR

                                                Right back at you RGR. Switching off on the tasting menu is an excellent idea as it provides the best opporutnity to taste as many different dises as possible at one seating.

                                                  1. re: patron_guy

                                                    The cheese course is excellent. The list is not extremely long, but there is a good variety, and all the cheeses are of top-notch quality. You can see the cheese list here: https://www.restaurantnicholas.com/me...

                                                    1. re: RGR

                                                      I tried pretty much every one on that list. The only one didn't really care for was Epoisses. It is a good cheese I just need to build up to that one.

                                                      1. re: patron_guy

                                                        ahh ... Epoisses ... my favorite ... smells like the "feet of angels" :)

                                                        1. re: bgut1

                                                          Love Epoisses! The rind is washed in marc. Had it for the first time during a trip to Dijon. Whole Foods Middletown maintains a reliably fresh supply of it.

                                                      2. re: RGR

                                                        what i also liked about the cheese course is they give you both a sufficient quantity of the cheese <i>and</i> the proper accompaniments.