Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Mid-Atlantic >
Jan 29, 2008 10:37 AM

Big B'day coming up.......

you know the one I'm talking about.....the one with the card that has 4 letters associated with it. Well we're going to celebrate this birthday no matter what and I want to pick a restaurant in N.J., actually not just ANY restaurant, but truly one of the BEST. You notice that I gave no specific part of the state though the further we get from the Cranford/Westfield/Scotch Plains area, the more likely we'll get a car service since I'm expecting there'll be wine with each course. We've been to most of the top restaurants in NY (though none yet in the Time-Warner Center) but since we've chosen to live here, we should try to help the state out of this recession. We've been to Lorena's (and Jocelyne's) and love/loved them both, but this is another special occasion restaurant. Chez Catherine, love it again, David Drake, special but for us doesn't have that WOW factor, Ryland Inn.......

We've been reading your responses to Nicholas and that might be the place, so please give me your top 3 picks for best restaurant in the state, WOW factor required. I appreciate your responses

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If you're going for food, Fascino in Montclair, (and it has the benefit of BYOB), probably not much better food in the entire state. If you're going for "event", you may want to try Highlawn Pavilion in West Orange. Good food, gorgeous view and room.

    1. Hey, jnk,

      Since you've been to Lorena's, I would definitely say Nicholas. You might even want to consider doing the chef's table there. Speaking of the chef's table, Table, in Little Silver, also has one, and the cuisine is first-rate though the overall ambiance is not as fancy as at Nicholas. So, those would be my 3 picks for cuisine with a "Wow!" factor; however, since Lorena's doesn't count, maybe Highlawn as suggested by Felixnot? Although we've not been there, the executive chef is forner chef/owner of Jocelyne's, Mitchell Altholtz, so the cuisine is bound to be excellent. It is a fancy-schmancy place, and as noted, the view from the dining room of the Manhattan skyline is known to be spectacular.

      To be honest, much as I love dining at our favorite upscale spots in NJ, for a that once-in-a-lifetime "big birthday," I'd go to NYC. We were just at Eleven Madison Park where we had the 11-course Gourmand menu. To say it was spectacular would be a severe understatement. Excellent wine pairings, perfect service, and a gorgeous space! Highly recommnended for that truly special occasion, and a much easier rec to secure than Per Se (which we haven't been to yet).

      Regardless of where you end up, my best wishes for a Happy "Big Birthday" and Bon Appetit!

      1. We recently celebrated out anniversary at Nicholas chef's table. It's luxurious, diverting, and the food and service are top notch. They make you feel so welcome in your alcove at the edge of the kitchen.
        Given the proximity to the bustling kitchen and serving station, chef's table may not be everyone's choice for an intimate evening of romance. But if you have a passion for the details of fine dining, it's a great experience.

        2 Replies
        1. re: val ann c

          Glad to hear that you had a great experience at Nicholas's chef's table, Val. Was the man himself there cooking and serving you?

          Happy Anniversary to you and J. :-)

          1. re: RGR

            TOP 3 for State:

            HighlawnPavilion, West Orange
            Il Pomodoro, Somerville
            Il Castello, Woodbridge

        2. Pardon the interruption, but please keep the discussion here focused on Mid-Atlantic options. If you want to discuss Manhattan restaurants, please do so on that Manhattan board.

          Thank you!

          1. Happy Birthday!
            I'm going chime in and also agree with those who said, Highlawn Pavilion. It truly is a special occasion place.