“I’m done” says my pressed waistband about to pop…
And I really don’t care; I’m here to enjoy myself, all the holidays, and the over indulging possibilities. The WONDERFUL part about living where I do, and being in the wine industry, are the really great BYOB restaurants in my very close vicinity. When a new one pops up, we gotta go…
Side note – I spend most of my money on food. Sad, but true. Eating healthy or not, where you want, how you want, and when you want comes with a price tag. I’ll spend the dollars on an experience; I have no problem with that. But, let’s put everything on a scale here.
Zaferon Grill hosted my girl squad and I for our holiday get together. I went in with high hopes and an open mind; Verona New Jersey, eclectic “American Bistro”, and a enormous price tag. Hmmmm – not adding up, but whatever. Upon making a reservation (there are about 10 tables in the restaurant and a floating bar), my friend was told she needed to leave a deposit. A DEPOSIT ON A TABLE FOR VERONA NEW JERSEY. Turned off, nose in the air, I poo poo’d this place right away. C’mon, let’s check ourselves. However, I get it – new place, trying out new things. This better be good.
And it was, it was, then it was again. EVERYTHING was amazing. I am still dreaming about the vegetable risotto that came tucked under a perfectly cooked scallop. And a dream lamb shank…a dream people. However, the star of the evening was the hamburger. You heard me correctly. My lovely Jackie is a, well, not so adventurous eater. She can be at times, but does like a direct and consistent dining experiences. The server raved about this burger, and of course, we laughed when she ordered it. This was possibly the best burger I have ever had. Charred perfectly on the outside, medium rare on the inside – joke on us when Jackie had the best meal on the table.
But you are waiting for the not so great moment. I’m sorry, and I do hate to say this, but I just don’t think a $30 price tag should be on these entrees. As good as they were, is the Verona New Jersey dining audience ready for this? I am not ready for this. Montclair is a coin toss away where I can get the same great meal for much less. ( I can probably name you five restaurants without thinking. Blog post?) With Fat Fish Taco two doors down, and Verona Inn screaming at me to join them for a cocktail (Uppercut by the glass anyone?), it just doesn’t add up. (literally-see what I did there) Even the appetizers – wow shrimp and chorizo loveliness – are around $15 and $16. I want to say yes, but I can’t and I won’t.
We all want to feel good, but we all want to live in reality. Zaferon; you got the feeling good part in spades. Can we reorganize ourselves in understanding our sense of place?
Wine choices for the evening, and any “American” eclectic fanciness that comes your way? Safe choice for my Jackie; Etude Pinot Noir. Pinot noir, as I have said before, is a grape that has everything in it for everyone. It is mellow, but firm. It has something to say, yet teases your pallet with a mystery all it’s own. With little intervention from the winemaker – Jon Priest believes that winemaking is done IN the vineyard – you get a true and authentic California Pinot Noir expression when drinking Etude. Love in a bottle. But for my lamb – give me a cab. I chose Beringer Distinction Cabernet Sauvignon. I needed a wine with a structure and intensity yet with characterized and varietally specific fruit, balanced with a full body and concentration. Yes, perfect.
Where can you buy both of these wines? Well – across the street at Caldwell Shoprite Wines and Liquors. Do you know that if a wine shop does not have the wine you are looking for, you can ask them to order it for you? Just saying… (Same goes for a restaurant. Help a girl out here.)
Should I go to Zaferon Grill? Eh, sure, why not. Splurge and don’t look back. Will I go again; no. Too many restaurants out there to experience that are not bleeding my wallet.