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The Hill In Closter?


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#1 joechartreuse

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 06:15 AM

Once again hoping you folks have traveled outside of Montclair.

The former site of The Harvest on Schraalenburg Road in Closter

is now occupied by The Hill.  Wondering if anyone has any information or critique on this restaurant.?


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#2 Tubbs

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 11:14 AM

Wow, it actually opened! Chef is Ben pollinger who was at oceana in NYC when it had a Michelin star. Considering it opened yesterday I don't think theres much out there on it yet. Very excited as this is just a few miles from me...

#3 rozrapp

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 01:27 PM

We had a number of meals at Oceana when Pollinger helmed the kitchen. His food was excellent, so its a good bet his food at The Hill will be just as fine. We wont be trying it, though, because Closter is way too far from our house.

Edited to add: Although I typed its with the apostrophe, when the post appeared the apostrophe disappeared. I tried modifying but as you can see got the same incorrect result.

#4 AaronS

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 05:47 PM

I cant get apostrophes to work either.

#5 Sneakeater

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 06:20 PM

I can't when I'm posting from my phone (but can from a computer).


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#6 rozrapp

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 06:32 PM

My post above was typed on my iPad.  I'm now on my laptop.

 

Edited to add:  As you can see, the apostrophe appears.  



#7 Sneakeater

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 06:36 PM

I can't post dashes from my phone, either.


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#8 Sneakeater

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 06:36 PM

And I think not quotation marks.


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#9 Rich

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 07:03 PM

Since, I; never/ use - punctuation> marks: it" doesn't) matter\ to? me!



#10 Sneakeater

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 10:21 PM

I guess its something in iOS? (As you can see, Im now on my phone.)
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#11 rozrapp

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 12:52 AM

Well, the disappearing apostrophe does not happen on other forums on which I comment. So whatever is causing the problem seems to be specific to this site.

#12 Tubbs

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 11:01 AM

From one of the chefs Instagram accounts, it appears they get their meat from fossil farms. I am going this weekend and will report back.

#13 E.L.A.

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 02:47 AM

Don't know a thing about it, and more, I haven't heard a thing about it. So many people asked, wanted to know, etc. -- and there was no buzz about this place?

 

I was very surprised that Harvest closed like it did. Regardless, I am sure there will be some reviews posted here soon. Thanks.



#14 Tubbs

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 03:35 PM

Well we made it here this weekend. In general I enjoyed the food very much and it's different from anything else in the area (closest food-wide I'd say is 17 summer). As ELA's post above alludes to, there are some very strange aspects to this opening. Very little buzz (I guess boozy burbs ran an article when they finally opened, that's about all I see), their instagram account has never posted even though it's linked from the main site, the main info email address bounces back, and it's tough to contact an actual person. I had entered my email on the website months ago and never got anything either. This explains why, for example, I got a very disapproving look from the GM when I showed up toting a bottle of wine. (No BYO allowed, even with a corkage fee, but good luck finding that out without reading this post). Also explained why the restaurant did not seem too full on a Saturday night - though in fairness we were done at 7:45 and there was a table for a large group set, presumably for 8pm, which made the dining room seem quiet before then. 

 

Speaking of wine, the menu online has the very pedestrian BTG list (supermarket selections, as I like to say) but not the bottle list. Luckily the bottle list is much better, with many nice selections in the 50-100 range. I think the GM is worried about putting pricier wines on the btg list and not selling, but it seems a bit chicken or the egg. Or he just wants you to buy a bottle, which isn't a bad strategy. We had a great Alsacian riesling, I think retail goes for mid-30s and it was $72, so not bad. Prices in general were reasonable, I think our total check was just over $200 with a bottle of wine and 3 courses each. 

 

I'm also not really sure why they need valet parking given the large parking lot, though I guess that's just a thing in these parts. 

 

Now, on to the food. The weakest for me was the rabbit pasta. Described as "Homemade orecchiette pasta, rabbit, fennel, green olives," I didn't notice any fennel flavors, and the olive wasn't assertive enough. Was missing the briny and bitter flavors you would think this should have. It also was sitting in a thin broth that did not want to stick to the pasta at all. If I made this at home I would be perfectly content to eat it, but it didn't impress. Rest of the dishes were much better. Chickpea and pea salad was refreshing and I liked the bright yogurt dressing. Scallops with tomatillo salsa worked well as a pair, and oyster mushroom with it maybe a little out of place but delicious. Pork chop - amusingly my waitress had to warn me that the chef cooks it medium well (with some pink) - I guess non-well-done pork chop is still a new concept out here. However mine was not pink at all. No matter, it was still very tender and juicy, the advantages of good product. The sides with that one were very umami (eggplant, miso, mushroom) - maybe could have swapped one of those out for something with a different profile - but they were good nonetheless. Desserts - panna cotta was a unique presentation - very thin on a large plate - but flavors were good, and the homemade chocolate walnut cookies were delicious. 

 

Service was very good and friendly, and in general they seem very interested in getting suggestions to improve. As it's 10 minutes from my house I'm sure I'll be back. It's closer to me than 17 summer and the pricing is about the same (nb - did 17 summer lower their prices? we haven't been in a year and I seem to recall pastas in the 30s and entrees in the 40s, not the case anymore) though it's not byo.



#15 paryzer

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 04:47 PM

Thanks for the write up, Tubbs. I tried emailing them as well, but my email also bounced back. Several phone attempts immediately went to voice mail. I was finally able to get a live voice to see if they would allow me to bring wine, & pay a corkage fee. They told me probably not, but they would have the GM call me. Mike, the GM, (who used to manage Local Seasonal Kitchen), called me back about 1/2 later and said that they did not allow BYO with a corkage fee. I thought they only had 8 bottles of red wine, since that was all that was posted online (but those were btg as you mentioned). He said that they have about 90 wines, but none under $40.00. I normally only go to BYOs, but was willing to make an exception. I just hate to pay $40+ for a bottle of wine, but am still tempted to try this. Katherine, one of the servers at Cafe Panache, and Local Seasonal Kitchen prior to that, just started working there. She used to work with Mike, the GM, at LSK, and he asked her to come to The Hill with him. She is very nice. I am very disappointed to hear about that rabbit pasta dish. I love rabbit & it sounded like an interesting presentation. Too bad it was boring & flavorless. As far as the pork chop, I have seen that at a few restaurants myself. Every time I ask for it medium rare, they give me a look, and also say the chef recommends it be cooked medium. I expect them to hand me a waiver to sign that they are not responsible if I get sick :)

 

PS..It does seem like 17 Summer has lowered their prices a little (by about $5.00 per pasta & entree). I also remember their pasta's being in the 30s & some entrees in the 40s.


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