Fine dining to food truck grub: The best things we ate this week (2024)

Double good news, North Jersey: I'm back from Europe, and it's officially summer!

That's right — according to science, the North Pole has reached its maximum tilt towards the sun, meaning the best season of the year is in full swing.

And, in case you need a reminder of why the next few months completely destroy the others? Here are a few reasons:

  1. Denville Dairy
  2. Curly's
  3. Cliff's
  4. Francy's
  5. Nasto's
  6. Conrad's
  7. Holsten's
  8. Van Dyk's
  9. Kohr's
  10. Beenie's

In other words; I'm going to be eating a lot of ice cream for the next 104 days.

Need a break? Play the USA TODAY Daily Crossword Puzzle.

I will, however, still have dinner first, because — unlike the cities of my recent vacation — New Jersey offers dishes that are equally as euphoric as a cool vanilla swirl on a hot July day.

These are three of them; AKA, the best things I ate this week.

The Sausage Smash, Culo Grosso Pop-up

Fine dining to food truck grub: The best things we ate this week (2)

Culo Grosso may only be a pop-up restaurant, for now, but that doesn't stop it from consistently turning out some of the most mouthwatering food in Jersey. When I first met the team at a Kinjo collaboration dinner, I was blown away by the chefs' contemporary take on Italian food.

And now — as it moves towards becoming an official brick and mortar — I'm convinced the upcoming spot could be the region's best new restaurant of the year.

Dishes like the Sausage Smash, which I tried at the restaurant's current pop-up inside Ale House Tavern & Tap, support my hypothesis.

Loaded with creative flavors, the sloppy sandwich features two sausage smash patties (one hot, one sweet), provolone, cherry peppers, basil aioli and salt and vinegar chips on a grilled, buttery bun.

From the textures to the fat content (to the salty and sweet spice profile, to the vibrant colors —and I could go on), everything about the greasy handheld was perfect.

Go:1899 Route 35, Sayreville (inside Ale House Tavern & Tap for the foreseeable future); instagram.com/cg.pizza.

Literally everything, Celebrity Chefs & Friends Golf Tournament

Fine dining to food truck grub: The best things we ate this week (3)

Two days ago, I attended Karlitz & Co.'s at Alpine Country Club. With over 60 of Manhattan's most acclaimed chefs on the same patio, it was easy for me to declare the fundraiser North Jersey's culinary event of the year.

What was harder for me to declare, however, was what dish was the best of the night — because the culinary superstars behind the stoves weren't TikTok chefs or television personalities, but rather the Daniel Bouluds and Kwame Onwuachis of the world.

For a second, I thought the grand cru galbi ssam from Michelin-starredCOTE was my favorite creation, but then I tried the caviar-topped king crab rolls by chefMarcus Ware. And, when I sunk my teeth into the seared scallops from Grand Banks? Both of those thoughts went out the window.

In my recap article, I named The Restaurant at Kanopi's beef tartare poppers my top bite, but, in hindsight, literally every dish at the event could annihilate 99.9% of the things I eat on a weekly basis.

So, yeah. You should definitely splurge on a ticket next year.

Go:Monitor Karlitz & Co.'s website for next year's event; karlitz.com.

Banoffee Pie, Seasonal Sarah Pie Truck

Fine dining to food truck grub: The best things we ate this week (4)

New Jersey's newest food truck is a mini pie-mobile, and I'm kind of obsessed with it.

Called Seasonal Sarah's Pie Truck, it features rotating flavors of homemade pies by Sarah Deller; a local baker who’s won multiple blue ribbon awards for her tasty desserts. Past varieties have included strawberry rhubarb, coconut cream and honeysuckle crème brûlée, to name a few.

Though any flavor you try will transport your tastebuds to the champions circle of the county fair, my favorite pie on the menu is the banoffee.

With a rich center of cool, gooey toffee (that's almost like pudding in consistency) and smooth globs of banana over a melt-in-your-mouth graham cracker crust, the bite-sized pie is as delicious as it is adorable.

Go:New Jersey-based food truck. Track location on Instagram; @seasonalsarahpietruck.

Hungry for more?

Want more on this week's latest food news? Check out some of my best articles atNorthJersey.com/food.

And, if you haven't been keeping up with me on Instagram? I've recently shared videos of pizza art, romantic lakeside dining and Montclair's hottest new cookie spot — and they're all going viral.

For those clips, and more, @northjerseyeats is the place to be.

Kara VanDooijeweert is a food writer for NorthJersey.com and The Record. If you can't find her in Jersey's best restaurants, she's probably off running a race course in the mountains. Catch her on Instagram:@karanicolev&@northjerseyeats, and sign up for herNorth Jersey Eats newsletter.

Fine dining to food truck grub: The best things we ate this week (2024)

FAQs

What is an example of fine dining? ›

An example of fine dining would be a nice steakhouse in a downtown setting. In many cases, the lighting is set to be dimmer even at night and the decor tends to be of a darker palette as to keep the focus on the food and the intimate nature of the establishment.

What is the difference between dining and fine dining? ›

Menu: A fine dining concept typically offers a curated menu featuring gourmet dishes, innovative culinary creations, and artisanal ingredients. Casual dining menus tend to be more diverse, offering a mix of familiar comfort foods, classic dishes, and popular favorites that cater to a broader audience.

What is the main characteristic of fine dining? ›

Fine dining definition

These restaurants typically offer multi-course gourmet meals, sophisticated service and wait staff, and an upscale dining atmosphere. The clientele of fine dining expect an elegant and exclusive experience. They pay high prices on small but high quality portions.

Why is it important for a fine dining restaurant to establish a good reputation? ›

The public perception of your establishment can dictate everything from the guests you attract to your bottom line. It is for this reason that effective reputation management is invaluable for those in the fine dining industry.

What type of menu is used in fine dining? ›

à la Carte Menu

This is a type of menu in a restaurant or food establishment where each dish or item is priced separately.It is often used in fine dining restaurants, where customers are looking for a customized dining experience and are willing to pay a premium for high-quality ingredients and presentation.

What is fine dining at its best meaning? ›

Definition of fine dining: high-end experience with meticulous service, upscale ambiance, and gourmet meals focusing on quality and sophistication. Characteristics: luxurious decor, professional staff, gourmet menus (prix fixe or à la carte), reservations, and formal dress codes.

What is the key to fine dining? ›

ATTENTION TO SMALL DETAILS

Paying great attention to every small detail is the key to the success of a fine dining establishment. From the selection of tableware, stemware to the server uniform is to match with the aesthetic and the food style of the restaurant.

What makes a fine dining dish? ›

In fine dining, chefs push culinary boundaries. Every dish reflects creativity and sophistication, often incorporating rare and exotic ingredients to create a unique dining experience.

What is good about fine dining? ›

Fine dining is a sophisticated dining experience within a high-end restaurant. Here, every detail matters. The restaurant sources the finest ingredients, transforms them into creative dishes, and presents them with impeccable style. The ambience is refined, and the attentive staff pampers you with exclusive care.

What are the values of a fine dining restaurant? ›

Delving Into The Fine Dining Experience

Each dish is meticulously crafted with high-quality, fresh, often locally sourced ingredients. The menu tends to be concise, thereby allowing the restaurant to focus on the quality and presentation of each dish.

What are the benefits of fine dining? ›

Fine dining restaurants offer a more upscale experience than your average eatery. These establishments typically have higher quality ingredients, sophisticated menus, and attentive staff. ambience of the restaurant can also be more refined, with dimmer lighting and quieter music.

What is the fine dining service style? ›

How do you serve food in fine dining? The general rule is to serve from a guest's left using your left hand. You or your servers never want to reach across a guest to reach the table, and it's best practice to take the plate from the closest point.

Why do people call fine dining? ›

Fine dining is a sophisticated dining experience within a high-end restaurant. Here, every detail matters. The restaurant sources the finest ingredients, transforms them into creative dishes, and presents them with impeccable style. The ambience is refined, and the attentive staff pampers you with exclusive care.

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