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Picnic, the restaurant


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#46 Rail Paul

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 11:38 PM

Picnic: The Restaurant in Fair Lawn will offer a honey tasting dinner with Thomas Griffiths, a certified master chef, Ultimate Chef Bergen County judge and beekeeper, on Friday, April 15. There will be two seatings, at 6 and 8:30 p.m. The dinner was inspired by the honey menu that won chef-owner Christine Nunn and chef Michele West the 2009 Ultimate Chef victory.


More info on the Honey Dinner

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#47 Rail Paul

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 05:33 PM

Dee and I had dinner last night at Picnic, and it was the usual excellent result. Well trained and helpful staff, excellent food, and modest noise levels.

We had an early seating, as the house was full later in the evening. Christine had mentioned that soft shell crabs are in, so that's what I needed.

A starter plate of brie, parmigiano slices, croutons, olives, honeyed walnuts, dried cranberries. Great flavors.

I had an arugula salad which included shreds of the Parmigiano, poached pear slices, and a peppery olive oil and hint of lemon dressing. This was very good. Dee had an artichoke dip with wedges of pizza crust. Usually served with spinach, the house was out, so we did without. This had excellent tastes, with garlic, peppers, artichoke, etc emerging from a cave aged Gruyere base.

Dee had the venison, which was superb. Very generous serving with four pieces, perfectly cooked to medium rare. Great fragrances, esp on a night threatening rain. I ordered the soft shell crabs, which were two large, thin battered crabs lightly sauteed in white wine, garlic and oil. Not overly engineered or deep fried, but moist and tasting of the sea. I immensely enjoyed them. Served over a bed of haricot vert and wild rice.

We drank a Ch. des Capitans Julienas (2004) which went well with meal. I've been making an effort to work through my older Beaujolais, and this was the last of the 2004s. We didn't order dessert, but the cappucino and coffee were a fine ending to the meal.

The bill came to $90, pre-tip, which I thought was eminently fair. Michelle did an attentive and unobtrusive job watching the table, and there was evident cooperation among the FOH staff. Noise levels were fine, and didn't affect the ability to converse at a suitable level even though the place had about 50 of the 60 seats filled. I've noticed that before, and it's a rare treat in many restaurants.

Joint dinner - Christine mentioned that she's had discussions with other chefs about joint dinners, where she and the other chef would cook together in each restaurant. Bringing different approaches to menu design and composition, etc. Her initial conversations have been good, and she may have announcement(s) soon.

Wine dinner - Also, she mentioned that she would be happy to host a wine dinner during the week, and help in the creation of a special menu. Picnic has done several and they've shown off the cuisine. Friday and Saturday nights tend to be more difficult because the house is running full out, and any special menu would need to be integrated into the extensive regular menu and chef assignments.

Note to travelers using the Fair Lawn Avenue bridge from the south and west: The bridge will be closed for repairs beginning May 31 for an indefinite period of time. Plan accordingly. We've found that I-80 to NJ 20 north to the Fair Lawn Avenue bridge to the restaurant is very direct for us. Taking Route 4 to Plaza Road and then north has more congestion, lights, etc but that would be the best alternative, I think. I don't think Morlot Avenue would be much of an improvement, either

Website

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#48 Rail Paul

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Posted 03 July 2011 - 01:01 AM

Picnic turns a year old this month, and has a birthday celebration planned. Susan Sherrill has an update in the Record:

To celebrate Picnic’s first anniversary, on Wednesday, July 6, 2011 Nunn will offer a three-course prix fixe menu at $40 per person, featuring Picnic’s most critically acclaimed dishes, and some from opening night.Complimentary hors d’oeuvres will start the evening as well.


Happy Birthday!

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#49 Rail Paul

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 09:52 PM

Chef Christine has "thick as a London fog" yellow pea soup on the menu tonight. If tomorrow turns out to be as miserable as forecast (inch of rain, scattered flooding, temps in the 50s), that sounds like a wonderful way to end Wednesday.

Menu Page

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#50 Rail Paul

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 10:34 PM

Three words: White Alba Truffles! This weekend at Picnic. Going rate this season topped 3K a lb. Try them on soft scrambled eggs or as risotto.


From the menu earlier this week

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#51 Rail Paul

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 04:49 PM

Rosie notes an early January game dinner at Picnic. Sounds interesting, and $85 is a very good price

First item

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#52 Rail Paul

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 07:08 PM

Chef Christine is offering $20.12 fixed price menu next week (Tuesday through Thursday). It looks like an excellent deal.


Menu

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#53 Rail Paul

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 08:59 PM

$35 Prix fixe menu is available on selected nights. Soft shell crabs are included!


Bergen Record

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#54 Rail Paul

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 05:55 PM

Three and a half stars from Teresa Politano, who reviews for the Star Ledger and its related lifestyle publications.

This is an excellent review, midway between excellent and extraordinary on their scale. It's obvious Politano tasted a number of items, and observed many more. Lovely photography.


Picnic review

Chef Nunn has also posted a recent menu on the restaurant's website. Many interesting items. Here's a sample:

Roasted golden beet salad with feta, strawberries and balsamic 8
Baby green salad raspberries, almonds, brie and balsamic vinaigrette 7
Bowl of warm marinated olives with Javi’s homemade cheese straws 6
Good old fashioned plate of devilled eggs with chives from my garden atop 4
Greek pizzette with sun dried tomato, kalamata olives, feta and artichoke 9
“Cbicks in blankets” buffalo chicken sausage with spicy dipping sauce 10
Duck breast quesadilla with brie, melted onions, blackberries and fig balsamic drizzle 11

Entrées
Loin of Colorado lamb with rosemary mint jus 36
Half a Long Island Crescent duck, strawberry rhubarb gastrique 29
Pan seared barramundi with seared dayboat scallop with ramp and white wine sauce, 29
Prime filet mignon, morel ramp and bacon cream sauce 34


“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#55 Rail Paul

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 03:59 PM

Dee and I had a pleasant dinner at Picnic the Restaurant last night. Chef Christine is offering a number of items in the Homage to Julia series.

Among the Julia offerings were moules mariniere, ribeye with a sauce Diane, as well as other items. The double lobster roll is also back on the specials menu. Christine said it will likely be available, supplies permitting, for at least a few weeks.

The lobster roll is the dinner size, and the quantity of meat is significantly larger than I recall. Two split top buttered rolls, lots of chunk lobster, bit of celery, onion, and a little (tarragon?) mayo. Sweet corn relish and grilled purple potato pieces. Nicely plated, good size, very tasty - $36.

Dee had the salmon, which was perfectly cooked to medium rare as requested, on a bed of polenta, topped with butter broiled asparagus. Nicely done. Other diners asked if they could have the salmon over greens instead of polenta, and the kitchen was pleased to oblige. Same with sauce on the side, etc.

I had the "BLT" salad, which was a large Jersey tomato sliced into 1/4 inch thick disks, plated over mixed greens, radicchio, etc to give a nice color contrast. Topped with bacon pieces, a vinaigrette tasting of citrus etc. Nicely done.

Dee had the mixed greens, cranberries, nuts, etc salad with a goat cheese vinaigrette. This was a pleasant enough plate of greens but light on the cranberries, etc and somewhat dry. Our waiter was able to have the cranberries, etc added, but we were told the goat cheese was part of the vinaigrette, not crumbles, etc.

Dessert was a decadent chocolate mousse pie. Very rich, with a swirl of whipped cream.

Service was adequate, but the team definitely could have used help. Two waitstaff worked the room, they needed a busser. I'm sure that vacations (for customers and help) make workload forecasting difficult, but they did their best.

Michelle did a great job, keeping an eye on tables, clearing where necessary, filling water glasses, watching the pass for plates coming out, etc. Joe was a little over his head, and clearly needed more experience. Once we realized that we needed to keep an eye on him (failing to put in an order for example, asking that various things be cleared, etc) things moved along pretty well. In the overall scheme of things, this was a minor quibble. A good attitude goes a long way.

For the middle of Summer vacation season, the house did pretty well. They were about 2/3 full, with one turn. That's a lot of work for two people when greeting, etc is included. Christine was in the kitchen, doing much of the cooking.

Pre-tip, the bill came in around $90.

-----------------------------------

Christine mentioned the Bistro 55 project is coming along well. She's been working with the chefs on several new menu items.

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#56 Rail Paul

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 07:49 PM

Open tonight:

Picnic will be open for dinner...not our usual fare, but just what we all need after the storm...fried chicken, mac and cheese, beef pot pie, meatloaf, gravy and mash...reasonable prices, come get warm, charge your phones and eat dinner with lights!


“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#57 E.L.A.

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 02:11 PM

Open tonight:

Picnic will be open for dinner...not our usual fare, but just what we all need after the storm...fried chicken, mac and cheese, beef pot pie, meatloaf, gravy and mash...reasonable prices, come get warm, charge your phones and eat dinner with lights!


Sounds like an excellent choice -- "comfort" food. Any idea how long this menu will be around for?

#58 Rail Paul

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:29 PM

Picnic  the restauarant has closed, at least for a while

 

Rosie has a copy of the release

 

http://njmonthly.com....html#read_more

 

the catering business will continue, and the space will be available for events and parties

 

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Picnic's own site:  http://www.picnictherestaurant.com/


“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#59 marauder

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 08:19 PM

That is a real shame. Great, great restaurant. 



#60 Rail Paul

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:38 PM

That is a real shame. Great, great restaurant. 

 

Yes.

 

I believe Susan Sherrill noted in the Record that the balancing a BYO with expensive, high end ingredients, upscale real estate, and good staff is always precarious.  Christine and her team did a great job, and my several experiences were never less than pleasing.

 

Nice people, good food, I hope they all land on their feet.


“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman