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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 months later...

Well...since there isn't a single person who has anything to say about this place...I will...

 

This has become my favorite restaurant in Bergen County! From arriving, to the raw bar (a minimum of 10 different types of oyster every night), to the shared-plate menu items, to the few entrees...the bread, served hot, right out of the oven...the music, the ambiance, vibe...to dessert...this is the real deal! The chef gets a daily inspiration and the menu is born. Some things stay, some rotate out and come back...but the menu is fluid and ever-changing. The flexing of creative muscle, intelect, inspiration, layers of ingredients...and more...results in perhaps an esoteric, but certainly unique menu.

 

The raw bar is incredible, with the oyster menu bifurcated to East and West Coast, chilled lobster, large shrimp (U-8's), and crabmeat. I can't give the menu the justice and respect it deserves...so all I can say is "GO!!!"...and if you like excellent food, you will thank me. This small, cozy, but certainly hip BYO has a great vibe...speak-easy'ish, but with upbeat, tap your feet rock, pop, and light hip hop music playing just creates a fun, great vibe. I really like it. 

 

Remember...no website, no phone number (you have to call Stella Artisan, get on their email/mailing list, etc.)...so, on the evening of your reservation...go to Ridgewood, stop at Super Cellars on S. Broad Street and pick up a nice bottle of wine, or two! LOL. Walk down the street and and when you show up for your reservation...you check in at Stella Artisan and let them know you have arrived...when ready...they hand you a card with a code number on the back...and they tell you to walk out the door of Stella Artisan, make a left, walk half a block, take a left down the alley...and look for the blue door. No names, no signs, nothing. Just a blue door...with an electronic keypad...type in the code...and that's how you get into No. 12.

 

From there...get ready to enjoy!!!

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  • 3 months later...

No. 12 just had a wild one year birthday party celebration! They had the best, most popular menu items from their first year, some specials, rocking music, and just a great night of fun and great food! I strongly suggest you get on the list, get a reservation...and go!!!

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  • 1 year later...

Looks like the new owner of Stella Artisan is re-opening No. 12

New owner, obviously a different chef, so we'll have to see how that plays out. The original No. 12 was the brainchild of Ted and Heather Rossi, and even more, the menu was Ted's creative flair, his own personal flexing of his creative muscle, etc. So, while I am not a chef, on one hand, perhaps, you can have the recipes, the ingredients, and recreate the amazing food that was being out by Ted. However, on the other hand, Ted cooked what he created, what he was thinking, his own creations, etc. I am not so sure complete creativity can be replicated. You have the recipes, the ingredients, and there were a few dishes that became somewhat standard. Perhaps a very good chef can do it. I guess we will soon see. There didn't seem to be a lot of interest before, LOL, so perhaps there's even less now, LOL.

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Had dinner at No. 12 tonight. This may have been their first night opened. I am not sure. I got an email yesterday, and made a reservation for tonight. As I said above, there is a new owner, who went on a buying spree and bought several restaurants in Ridgewood (including Stella Artisan, No. 12, and the Country Pancake House). So, No. 12 -- same aesthetics and decor, but brighter lighting and very different vibe, very different music (gone is the pop, hip hop, rock, etc., now it's more orchestral, loose classical, almost elevator type music, LOL). The new vibe is not at all like an interesting, hip, speak-easy.

In addition to the vibe, the other two categories -- food and service -- also major differences. First, service -- poor. More on that later. So, they now have printed menu, basic description, just a list of dishes, with no distinguishment between the shared plates and the entrees (I think there were two or three entrees, with one being a $95 ribeye). Let's start with the raw/oyster bar -- major disappointment -- there were five different types of oysters, the waiter only knew three of them and had no idea where they were from. When he asked the guy behind the bar (who was opening oysters and plating them) about the other two kinds of oysters, he couldn't get a discernible answer (because the guy behind the bar did not speak English -- so why ask?) The manager came over, she knew one of the remaining two, but nobody had any idea where the various oysters were from -- only that they were all from somewhere on the "East Coast". As far as the menu, there were a couple of the dishes from the original chef/No. 12 -- the spicy, candy carrots, the clam chowder fries, and the grilled oysters (don't order them), while a few others were attempts of being the same as the original. The carrots were very good, although not as good as the original. The meatballs were good, good flavor and tastes, but served warm at best. The wedge salad was overkilled with tomatoes, but overall was good, and the bam-bam shrimp were good. 

Service, unfortunately, was poor. My reservation seemed to be "lost" but it wasn't a major delay while worked that out. Fortunately the place was not booked/full, so it wasn't a problem, and the specific seats I requested at the oyster bar were available. The entire waitstaff is young. Very young. Inexperienced as well. The waiter simply read off a few specials, offering no details, specifics, etc. He didn't say anything about the menu, were they shared plates, entrees, nothing. After asking, very quickly, twice, if we were ready to order -- even before we opened our wine -- he was not alert and attentive. He never made eye contact, checked back with us, etc. We had to ask for everything -- pepper, more water, fresh plates, etc. Now, they were obviously new, and again, it may have been their first night opened, but the staff was inexperienced. They did not seem well organized or efficient. At the end of the meal, the bill was wrong too. So, while the food was "good" -- the overall experience was disappointing. I'll go back again and give it another chance, because I previously loved the place -- it was one of my favorite restaurants in NNJ -- but unless they work out the problems, I won't go back after I give it another chance.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Went back. For the most part...same same. Service was a little better. Seems like they worked out a few of the bugs. Still not refined, but a little better. Food, same. It's a poor imitation of what No. 12 used to be under the founder/chef (Ted) and his wife (Heather). They have a couple of the dishes/recipes, but they are nowhere near what the founder/chef was putting out. The rest is fair at best. Unfortunately, my last trip there. Looks like I am waiting for...the new O Lar!!!

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