With TALDE, Thistle Hill Tavern and Pork Slope, chef Dale Talde and his business partners, David Massoni and John Bush, have pretty much cornered the market in Park Slope. Now, they're attempting to conquer new territory: New Jersey.
Just across the Hudson River and steps away from Jersey City's Grove Street PATH station, the trio has partnered up with Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri of HGTV's Cousins Undercover to open two ambitious restaurants in the former New York and New Jersey TelCo building (switchboards and all), which now houses luxury apartments. The first is another, much larger offshoot of TALDE; the second, an Italian market and osteria called Carrino Provisions.
"When we first saw the space, the neighborhood looked a lot like South Brooklyn did five or six years ago," Massoni says. "Not necessarily in terms of architecture but in terms of a need for more fun stuff."
Enter two new restaurants that are impressive in their own right—and as different as night and day—in the massive, 13,000-foot space. ("Everything's bigger in Jersey," Massoni jokes.) If Jersey City isn't on your list, maybe it's time to head west, young (wo)man. Not only are the restaurants only about 15 minutes away from the World Trade Center PATH station, but there are some delicious reasons why.
Lobster with yuzu koshu brown butter | Edamame dumplings
TALDE Jersey City
The look: Exposed brick, a slick wood bar with cardboard orb lights hanging overhead, a central communal table, massive pine booths.
Why you should hop on the PATH: A killer drink list, a bigger menu, some Jerseylicious eye candy (we're talking leopard print and hoop earrings) at the bar.
The menu: Unlike the Brooklyn original, the new kitchen has a robata grill, so expect dishes like a buttery, blistered lobster brushed with yuzu kosho brown butter ($16). And you'll want to chow down on two new baos, served in traditional steamed buns—both takes on famous fast-food sandwiches. The #6 Bao ($11), with chile oil-marinated, ultra-crisp fried chicken spiked with black pepper and cayenne and slathered with house-made mayo, is an homage to Wendy's Crispy Chicken Sandwich, while the Mc Bao ($12) is a play on the McRib. Its fall-apart-tender short ribs are slicked with sweet char sui and stacked with crunchy pickles.
TT tip: The trio is working on a "secret" basement bar that will be a space for overflow and private parties. While the project is still hush-hush, we do know that much of the bar will be made with leftover pine from the Brooklyn location.
Rib eye for two | Campanelli with braised octopus puttanesca | Rigatoni with rapini pesto
The look: Eataly meets Bar Primi on a smaller scale. The market up front stocks 10 types of pastas made fresh daily, antipasti (including Japanese eggplant caponata and marinated mushrooms) and beef from Allen Brothers. It also just last week started offering fresh seafood like local line-caught flounder.
Why you should hop on the PATH: You could spend an afternoon here, starting with an espresso at the illy coffee bar, a little light shopping (there are nonperishables like cookbooks and beer trays) and a long, lingering lunch of pasta and amari—without the wait of a Manhattan joint.
The menu: Although Talde has cooked mostly Asian cuisine in his career, when it came time to tackle Italian, he said, "If you're a good cook, you should be able to cook anything." His creativity shows in the pasta dishes, such as a deconstructed sausage-and-broccoli rabe rigatoni ($16), where the rabe is used to make a pesto. The campanelle ($22) is not only Talde's favorite but one of the most intriguing pastas we've tried in a while: Octopus is braised in puttanesca, tossed with the pasta and finished off with a hit of beef fat and toasted bread crumbs. It hits nearly every note imaginable. Another showstopper is a bigger-than-your-head rib eye for two ($59), blissfully pink inside and basted in so much beef-fat butter that it should probably come with a warning.
TT tip: Come warmer weather, the osteria will have 40 to 50 seats in the courtyard in between the two restaurants. Stay tuned, as the trio has other plans for the space, such as guest chef dinners, movie nights, live music and more.
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