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Orange Squirrel in Bloomfield,NJ- has anyone gone? Other Options?

We'll be heading to the Devils game on Saturday Night and wanted to try something new...Newark's Iberian concept of "more food is more better" does nothing for us but we want to be within a 20 min drive to the prudential center....
NYtimes gave the place a stellar review of the Orange Squirrel and, judging by its menu, it seems interesting. Problem is, I've been MASSIVELY disappointed by the restaurants given the HIGH thumbs up by the NJNYtimes reviewer in the past (Chakra- WTF? Nutley's Farm to Bistro -UberWTF? ). What's your opinion of the place and/or other suggestions for the area...

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  1. Haven't been to the OS, but all I've heard and read about is how expensive it is. You can get one of the best burgers in the area or eat a full 3-course meal at Next Door on Bloomfield Ave in Montclair for $25pp (or a lot less) and it's BYO. Hockey attire wouldn't turn any heads there, but the food really is VERY good (same chef/owner as Blu but it's his casual place).

    There's good brick oven pizza and Italian food at Regina Margherita on Washington Ave in Nutley, or you could pop in to the Shannon Rose pub near Target on the Clifton/Nutley border if that's more your style. From either of those, you can hop on to Rt. 21 and be at the Rock in 20 mins or less.

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. by the way i am going to the orange squirrel tonite with my wife for her birthday
        her girlfriend who is local and whose opinion i respect raves about it
        by the way mr nino's is quite reasonable

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. this is a great place
          the bartender oscar is a genius in the cocktail departemnt
          we wound up sitting at the bar and agte
          the small room can be noisy.
          started with the house sald which is wepp priced at 6 six bucks which proved to be better tah the beet salad as well as the spinach salad.
          the mushroom tempura id unigue and yummy nice dipping sauce also.
          my wife had the gnudi pasta small and nice but wouldn't do it again.
          my branzino was served in a skillet which was quite hot dont touch and kept the fish hot
          the size of the fish could easily be shared simple apt presentation with a lemon inside
          would definitely re-order.
          the free side of mac and chees was curly pasta and hit the spot.
          the cheescake dessert was between a mouse and juniors and well worth the calories.
          the meyers lemon tart was astringent and a palate cleanser.
          now the best part of the meal an off the charts superb hot cocoa for 3.50 order it made with milk and your stomach will salute you.
          the staff and the owner especially are lovely welcoming people with great attention to detail given and always aiminh to please.

          in these desperate times, these peiople give great value and please the palate.
          i agreet with the nyt don't miss.

          1. 3 of us ate there tonight -very creative, good quality. Some portions good size, others small - little expensive, but good value. Room is small, noisy, limited staff. Whole Branzini fish great, polenta with mascarpone side dish very good, ravioli very good, octupus excellent, pot pie, very tasty, perhaps a bit thin but still large and filling, salads good, cheesecake exceptional.

            6 Replies
            1. re: JohnF

              Ironically, we had the complete opposite experience about a month ago which was a shame because our expectations were very high based on the NYT's very favorable review and word of mouth.

              The service was awful. Took over 30 minutes to get greeted and our drinks took another 20 minutes to arrive and they arrived at different times (i.e. her glass of wine first and my drink 5 minutes later) which I have never experienced at any eating establishment.

              The place was packed and the wait staff and the owner/chef were running around like chickens with their heads cut-off. Total confusion which to me is unacceptable given the price point and the fact that they have been in business for over a year already.

              The food was tasty but portions were extremely small. For instance I ordered a fish dish and when it came out it was on a plate only slightly bigger than a bread plate and it contained a very small filet and nothing else. I believe it came with one side but for a $40 entree it was a huge disappointment. My wife ordered the chicken pot pie which is suppose to be one of their signature dishes. It looked wonderful on the plate but upon closer inspection it was mostly filled with air and had little flavor.

              The only positive thing I can say is that the host/maitre d was very nice and tried everything he could to do damage control but even he failed.

              I would stay away from this place at all costs. Don't waste your money.

              1. re: Gotweeedy

                disagree completely, i am sure you haqd a bad experience but give it another try
                the trick for me is to eat at the bar
                this way it is quieter and your drink orders cant be screwed up because you are looking at the bar tender who is quite lovely and accomdating
                by the way i loved my branzino and it was huge and not expensive
                better luck next time

                1. re: foodismylife

                  Going there Friday night. Any other recommendations besides Branzino? Really looking forward to this place!

                  1. re: thinfoodie

                    branzino is lovely served in a skillet
                    i like the mushroom tempura also
                    meats looked great and big enough to share
                    re the trick the room itself is noisy so we sat at the bar withe wife and her girlfriend
                    the bartender is someone special he makes awesome unusual drinks based upon your taste
                    it makes a lovely experience, he came saying if you dont like it you dont have to pay for it and he would make another gratis, what a nice guy
                    do not be afraid to go, this is a great restaurant and great food at fair prices, if you need company i am ready to be fed
                    enjoy
                    parking is easy by the way

                    1. re: thinfoodie

                      THINFOODIE
                      IF YOU'RE TREATING I AM EATING, I AM BRIOKE
                      SERIOUSLY HAVE A GREAT TIME
                      FOR DESSERT THE CHEES CAKE IS GOOD BUT THE HOT COCOA MADE WITH MILK NOT WATER IS OFF THE CHARTS
                      sorry for the caps
                      i never learned how to type and now too old to change

                    2. re: foodismylife

                      Imo, if you need a 'trick' in order to enjoy a restaurant, there's a problem. I just keep hearing/reading the same kinds of complaints about this place!