Sunday, June 8: Da Benito Ristorante, Union, NJ. This is actually the day before her birthday, but it was the perfect time to gather the family and two of our best friends and go to one of our favorite NJ restaurants and celebrate the day with her. In addition to great food and a good wine list, they have a large private room that is perfect for smaller parties, especially with small children.
|Orrechiette with Arugula & Tomato|
|Tomato Papparadelle w/ fava & shrimp|
Monday, June 9: Ocha, Caldwell, NJ. Carol’s actual birthday. We dined and celebrated quietly at this excellent Japanese-Asian restaurant.
Tempura fried Rock Shrimp with raspberry sauce
Pan Fried Pork Gyoza; Yellowtail with Jalepeno and Wasabi Ponzu Sauce; Tuna and Eel Sushi; Miso Black Cod with sautéed mixed vegetables.
2012 Pascal Cotat Sancerre Chavignol La Grande Cote. Made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc this Sancerre had a gorgeous yellow hue, wonderful acidity and a vibrant stony minerality that danced on the palate and finished with considerable length. $44. NY Wine Warehouse.
We completed her birthday on Wednesday, June 11 going to the matinee of the fantastic Broadway musical, Beautiful about the legendary Carole King. This is a must see musical that is on a par with Jersey Boys. Fantastic music (especially the 50’s music) and spectacular performances by the cast, especially Jessie Mueller who’s performance as Carole King won her this years best performance by a leading actress in a musical.
We dined that evening at Barchetta, the new Italian Seafood restaurant recently opened by David Pasternack of Esca fame. The menu is similar to that at Esca, focusing on pristinely fresh seafood and homemade pastas. Carol passed on an appetizer, while I jumped in with both feet for the evening’s selection of six Crudo (raw fish). David’s Crudo will make you forget Sushi as each piece is impeccably fresh and dressed differently. A spectacular combination of taste and textures on the palate. The first three selections consisted of (left to right), Halibut belly – smoldered bamboo salt; Montauk cod – Muscat grape; Copper River Sockeye salmon – wildflowers.
For main courses we both opted for pasta with lobster. Carol had the homemade Fettucine tossed with local lobster, English peas, spring onions and sorrel. A tour de force of perfectly cooked pasta and lobster.