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[Montclair] Fricassee


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Hot from the Kettle reports that Mark Papera, co-founder and original chef at Epernay years ago, has repurchased the space. This is exceptionally great news, IMHO

 

Mark has purchased the space (again) and will be bringing some of his favorite dishes back to Montclair. According to Papera, "I am beginning renovations and rename/rebrand into a great, classical French Bistro." Fricassee plans to open in February and will serve dinner Monday-Saturday 5-10pm.

 

Hot From The Kettle (http://s.tt/1vRJV)

 

Fricassee

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  • 1 month later...

Hot from the Kettle has two more pieces of information

 

--soft opening begins next week

 

--copy of the menu at the link. Looks very French with hanger steak, braised lamb shank, etc. The wonderful duck confit is listed, and Tuesday is cassoulet night.

 

http://www.hotfromthekettle.com/food-and-drink/2013/1/29/fricassee-french-bistro-prepares-to-open-in-montclair.html

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Melody Kettle offers a glowing review of the restaurant on the website Devil Gourmet.

 

http://devilgourmet.com/fricassee-french-bistro-montclair-opens-tonight-for-dinner/

 

I heard a distinctly less enthusiastic review from a friend who was there earlier this week. Slow service even though the restaurant was only half filled. Unimpressive dishes although nothing was truly bad or badly prepared, dessert was OK. I've been impressed with the accuracy of his comments in the past, although I'll probably check out the place for myself in the next few days.

 

(Another reason to apply some consideration to press preview meals or meals where the writer is known to the house.)

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Rosie reports that Fricassee has closed. I couldn't find any other information on the internet. The web site is still active, but the Facebook page is gone, and the phone number has been disconnected. My wife & I just ate there about a month ago (after not having eaten there for a while) and there was no sign of trouble. The service was amateurish but Chef Mark's food was still very good. I wonder what happened. I'm going to miss the amazing short rib and mushroom mac & cheese, delicious mussels, and the best crispy french fries with garlic aioli. Mark's rabbit dish with mustard sauce was also very good, although a little bland. We always had to spice it up with more mustard.

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Also, the cassoulet.

 

Amateur service has been a problem there for years, yea, even decades back to the Epernay days.

 

(In general, it's a problem in the suburbs. The lamented Rosemary & Sage in Riverdale paired wonderful cooking with well meaning but clueless high school kids, one harried adult handling the alcohol, etc)

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Also, the cassoulet.

 

Amateur service has been a problem there for years, yea, even decades back to the Epernay days.

 

(In general, it's a problem in the suburbs. The lamented Rosemary & Sage in Riverdale paired wonderful cooking with well meaning but clueless high school kids, one harried adult handling the alcohol, etc)

Yes, that is one of my biggest pet peeves; clueless, amateurish, or apathetic waitstaff & hosts/hostesses at fine dining restaurants. No matter how good the food is, bad service will always ruin a good meal, and cause me not to return. There are just too many restaurants out there that would appreciate my patronage to waste time on those that couldn't care less. It is worth paying a few extra dollars an hour more to get more professional, caring, waitstaff and hosts/hostesses. I feel bad for these talented chefs that work their butts off, only to have their hard work ruined by a lousy front of house. That is why I have standing reservations at such fine restaurants as Cafe Panache, Laurel & Sage, A Toute Heure, & Drews, to name a few. They all have wonderful, friendly, professional waitstaff & front of house staff that greet us warmly each time & know who we are. We are always made to feel welcome & feel like we are dining at a friend's home. I enjoy sharing my wine with some of these hardworking chefs who never seem to get any appreciation (and they seem to appreciate it as well).

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Also, the cassoulet.

 

Amateur service has been a problem there for years, yea, even decades back to the Epernay days.

 

(In general, it's a problem in the suburbs. The lamented Rosemary & Sage in Riverdale paired wonderful cooking with well meaning but clueless high school kids, one harried adult handling the alcohol, etc)

 

Agreed Paul...very much so. While I haven't been to Rosemary & Sage in quite some time, I always felt a disconnect between the food, the expectation of the experience, and the service. I've heard both sides of the discussion -- for some it is about food only, and for others the service, ambiance, experience, etc., is a factor. For me, the food is the food. If it's excellent -- it's excellent. But the service, ambiance, and other factors, all a part of the overall experience. While it might not "take away" from the actual food -- it can certainly take away from the experience.

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