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Need rehearsal dinner restaurant near West Orange, NJ--Italian or American?

Hi all. My fiance's parents are trying to select a restaurant to have a rehearsal dinner before our wedding for about 30 people. My mom is quite picky, so it needs to be Italian or American or just a place that can make a good steak or might be willing to make her chicken parmesan.

His parents are foodies...they would prefer a BYOB place and they would like it to be upscale; I don't think price is really an issue though I'm pretty certain something like the Manor would be too expensive.

Any suggestions in or near West Orange? As long as it was within maybe 15 or 20 minutes driving, that would be ok, but the closer to West Orange the better as that's where the guests will be staying.

Thanks! I appreciate any suggestions anyone has...the wedding is Memorial Day weekend so we really need to get this sorted soon. :)

Daina

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    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      I have friends who live in the Chatham/Madison area and they tell me Johnny's on the Green is a favorite local spot....but it's not BYOB

      http://www.johnnysonthegreen.com/

      1. re: fourunder

        It doesn't mean a thing, but I've lived in this area for most of my life and have never even heard of this place! Is it new?

        1. re: Curlz

          I believe it's been around for quite some time. It's at the East Orange Golf Club. It's popular with m friends during the warmer months, as they like to enjoy their cocktails on the outdoor patio during the week late afternoons and early afternoons on the weekends during their happy hours. It's a place that caters to an older crown and families.....it's quality reliable food. If you are looking for something flashy or inventive, this is probably not your place.

          There's one review on Urbanspoon from someone who seems very practical and calls them the way he sees them.....he gives a positive review.

          http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/53/584354...

          1. re: fourunder

            They opened as Fore Seasons, but quickly got hit by a lawsuit from the Four Seasons restaurant in NY. I think it's very strongly leaning to Italian, but they need an Italian to check the mispellings on their menu.

    2. An upscale BYO Italian in Montclair that may work for you is Fascino on Bloomfield Ave. There is a more casual Italian BYO in West Orange that has very good food called Due Amici on Eagle Rock Ave. They do a lot of parties in their second room. I think you would be very happy with either of these.

      1 Reply
      1. re: SuzieQ

        We actually tried Due Amici on the recommendation of a friend who grew up in West Orange, but my future father-in-law said he was looking for something "more upscale," which kind of pissed me off as I thought the food was very good. He wants people to be able to order off a menu, not just pick one chicken or one fish or one pasta. And he apparently wants them to be able to order steak. But they do not have time to actually pick the freakin place--that's become my job (not like I have anything else to do, like finishing planning the WEDDING or anything...or working...).

        I did find Fascino online and recommended it to my in-laws. We'll see what they think....I'm living in Virginia and therefore do not intend to be involved in the decision beyond telling them some places to try.

        Thanks for your help!

      2. You could check out CulinAriane in Montclair. It hits all your requirements but it's so small you would probalby need to buy it out and I don't know if they'll do that.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Spiritchaser

          Exactly why I didn't recommend Blu in Montclair. But it would absolutely be worth asking Blu if they'd do it...can't say the same for CulinAriane based on my experience...

        2. The Manor is actually your best bet!

          1. Have to agree that Fascino is your best bet for folks who are serious about food to be happy; they do a WONDERFUL job all around. BUT--not sure you're going to get them to do chicken parm; it's not THAT kind of Italian! Sounds like you're trying to find something that's tough around here, because the restaurants tend to be either "red-sauce Italian" or contemporary Italian--like Fascino. BYO is understandable but I wonder if you (they) will find everything in one place.

            I wonder if Above, which is in South Orange, might work. www.aboverestaurantbar.com

            1. Not sure if this place might work for you. The owners of Fascino just opened a new Italian restaurant on Broad Street in Bloomfield called Bar Cara. It is not a BYOB but is more "red sauce Italian" and probably would make a chicken parmesan. I can't exactly remember, but they may have steak on the menu. They have a really nice bar and 2 dining rooms, one that is intended especially for private parties. The prices are less expensive than Fascino, but what you save on food you will probably spend on alcohol. I don't think they have their new website up yet. Ryan, the chef from Fascino, is actually cooking at Bar Cara so the food is just as good. You might want to check them out.