Who would believe that this fabulous restaurant would be sitting on the campus of Kean University. This suburbanite was stunned after driving through the campus gates to see the valet parker waiting for us in front of this magnificient glass building.
Upon entering the restaurant we were blown away by the dazzling bar sitting below a breathtaking chandelier sweeping the ceiling. The reflection shining on the glass walls of this setting formed a honeycomb pattern. It was gorgeous.
We were ushered down a spiral staircase where keepsakes from Governor Kean were encased in the wall. At the bottom of the steps we walked around an Asian stoned circle in the floor creating a pathway that led to the main dining room. Great detail went into the contemporary decor, such as, the huge planters hanging down from the level above. One wall was cleverly covered with the blueprints of the restaurant in a glazed color blue. The other was all glass looking onto the campus. I loved the feeling before even sitting down.
The staff was cordial and efficient. We learned that some were students from Kean and nearby colleges. They were well trained and aimed to please.
The menu was varied including the wine and cocktail list. Their concept is to use homegrown produce and local foods as part of the ingredients, and this was even incorporated into the signature drinks that were well priced at $10. I selected an exotic concoction with fig infused vodka. It was quite good.
A delicious bread was served with a bean puree that was wonderful. I enjoyed my Autumn salad that was incorporated with local cheese, apple, squash, and cranberry. My husband's grilled octopus was most flavorful with the taste of chorizio caramel and tomato emulsion. We continued with our entrees. I thought I had winner with the Cod garnished with cockles and chorizios served over a sliced potato until I tasted my husband's roasted veal loin. The meat was so tender, and the tomato marmalade, olives and artichokes made this dish a "10". The portions were fairly sized. We were getting quite full, but after looking at the dessert menu we couldn't resist ordering. We opted for the pumpkin bread pudding that was "beyond". It came with a scoop of pumpkin ice cream and a brittle cookie that was out of this world. I usually don't even like pumpkin. We also had an interesting lemon ricotta ice cream sandwich that was refreshing.
Perhaps I was most impressed with the tea caddy of all things. A lovely wooden box was presented to us with tiny jars filled with various tea leaves. We were encouraged to open each to get a whiff of the divine aromas before making a selection. I jokingly told our server that I loved the presentation, but unfortunately the tea box was too big to fit into my handbag!
We enjoyed that dinner so much that we asked to speak with the chef who was most generous wth his time to meet us. While paying the bill we were presented with small carrot muffins individually wrapped to take home for the morning fare. There was even an urn filled with warm apple cider that we sampled while waiting inside for the attendant to bring our car.
There were no complaints from us diners, and we are still in awe that this all took place in Union, N.J. As transplanted New Yorkers, go know!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.