Jersey City, New Jersey, is an American region admired for its alluring artwork and outstanding food. Local artists and designers here harness the flare of the city to create innovative, attractive art. Similarly, with a variety of flavorful, natural ingredients at their fingertips, local chefs are able to create exceptional and original dishes found nowhere else in the States. If you want your brunch with a side of originality, inventiveness and unbeatable taste, then Jersey City is the place to be. From breakfast bites to light sandwiches and snacks, here’s our list of the 10 best brunch hang-outs in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Satis is a popular fine dining restaurant located on 212 Washington Street. The venue welcomes guests for dinner, attracting them in with a seasonal menu of artistically combined flavors and inspiration from Italian, French, and Spanish cuisines. Chef and owner Michael Fiorianti, a professional who trained under culinary masters such as Thomas Keller, founded this superb restaurant.
Chef Michael believes that truly delicious food is the result of simplicity and quality ingredients and natural flavors that have not been overworked. The interior design, with its high ceiling and distressed tiled walls, is very welcoming and the outdoor seating area has a pleasant, laid-back ambience. Drop by and ask for the menu’s finest dishes: a selection of salumi and the ricotta gnocchi.
Meet New Jersey’s 50 Best Restaurants: a mix of tried-and-true classics, affordable eats and trendy hot spots spanning the beach towns of the Jersey Shore up to the northern suburbs. Read on below for reviews and photos of all our Top Food winners.
Story and photos by Manos Angelakis
A few years back I worked for a short time in Jersey City in an office near the Grove Street PATH Station. At the time, just as a few Wall Street brokerages were moving their back office operations to the Jersey City waterfront, the culinary experience in that city was dreary, to be charitable.
Near our office there were two sushi restaurants – one pricy but very good, the other an all-you-can-eat place that offered fresh fish on Tuesdays when they got their delivery; the very traditional Lisbon Restaurant that used to serve a nice octopus or shrimp in garlic; Ibby’s Falafel with decent middle-eastern kebabs; a bar called “The Iron Monkey” that offered indifferent cuisine and lots of cheap whisky; an Irish Bar with nice pub dishes that unfortunately closed towards the end of my time in Jersey City, and lots of bodegas that made inexpensive sandwiches for lunch. The only establishment that was known beyond the city limits was the Philippine Bake House that created exceptional cakes and pastries. Oh, and I almost forgot, a Dunkin’ Donuts!
Last month I revisited Jersey City and the difference was astonishing.
We dined in two of the many new restaurants that dot the area and the food quality and dish variety was remarkable. It seems that chefs and entrepreneurs attracted by the newly affluent area come to Jersey City’s waterfront near the towers that house the brokerage back offices to start an eatery.
New Jersey Monthly: Restaurant News
SATIS, JERSEY CITY: Pappardelle al ragu di cinghiale with homemade spring garlic noodles, wild boar ragu, and spiced pine nuts; cacciucco, an Italian fish stew made with a seared diver sea scallop, braised calamari, and crisp rock shrimp in a spicy tomato sauce.
Article by Veronique Deblois
A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to attend “A Taste of Burgundy” at Satis Bistro in Jersey City. It’s a beautiful restaurant and lounge in the Paulus Hook neighborhood. The space, which once housed a bank, was meticulously restored and updated with a lovely main dining room, a cozy loft-like second floor dining area and a popular lounge accessible from the dining room or street with a speakeasy feel.
The wine event was held on the intimate second level and I took a seat near the railing overlooking the downstairs dining room – sort of dinner and a show.
NEW JERSEY MONTHLY: RESTAURANT NEWS
Table Hopping w/ Rosie
We devoured our delicious dinner, drank diligently and laughed our sides off at the Taste of Tuscany wine dinner at Satis in Jersey City, which was hosted by sommelier, author, wine educator and raconteur Anthony Giglio. Satis has always been a favorite of the Safersteins: the food never disappoints. The space also has an energetic, chic ambiance with cured meats hanging above a rear counter, high ceilings, exposed bricks, hardwood floors, filament lighting, antique chandeliers, and a beautiful Carrera marble-top bar with historical pictures donning the walls. We sat upstairs and had an eagle eye view of the very knowledgeable Giglio describing the wines and regaling us with hysterical stories.
A Review of Satis in Jersey City
By FRAN SCHUMER
Michael Fiorianti, formerly a chef at Goldman Sachs, became the executive chef at Satis when it opened in December 2010. (Satis means enough in Latin, as in the word satisfied.) Now the rest of us can enjoy the dishes he mastered by observing his Italian-American grandmother in her Brooklyn kitchen and, later, celebrated chefs like Thomas Keller.
Satis Bistro in Jersey City, writes Pat Tanner in her review, combines the most beloved dishes of French bistros, Italian trattorias, Spanish tapas joints and Portuguese cafes. That’s a lot to juggle, but by adding a modern twist, Tanner says, Satis succeeds more often than not.
Cherry-pick the most beloved dishes of French bistros, Italian trattorias, Spanish tapas joints and Portuguese cafes, give them a slight modern twist, and you have Satis, the pan-European bistro in Jersey City’s Paulus Hook neighborhood. Bouillabaisse? Oui, monsieur. Gnocchi? Si, signora. Patatas bravas? Si, señor. Kale, potato and linguica soup? Sim, senhora.
The linguica in that Portuguese soup, which also contains chorizo, is one of about a dozen first-rate cured meats on offer, some made in house by Chef Michael Fiorianti, others from Salumeria Biellese in Hackensack. Platters of interesting salumi like wild boar cacciatorini and culatello (prosciutto’s highbrow cousin), as well as equally well-chosen cheeses, are significant draws here. Fiorianti ran the kitchen at Goldman Sachs in Jersey City when he was with Restaurant Associates and also once interned with Thomas Keller. The chef is one reason this 68-seat bistro quickly became a neighborhood hot spot, especially for hip young professionals, soon after opening in December 2010.
The aforementioned gnocchi are made in house of ricotta, not potatoes. Rather than the usual nubbins, they’re fat, fluffy pillows. At Satis, they’re tossed with a tumble of white beans, braised escarole and mellow garlic confit so full of good, earthy flavors that the dish has become Fiorianti’s signature. My companion who ordered it was still talking about it weeks later.
When a beef-loving companion ordered the cauliflower steak, I thought he had misread the menu. Instead he wound up hoarding it, and I can’t fault him. The thick white slab is the size and shape of a big steak and treated as such: seared until caramelized, then paired with house-made steak sauce amped up with pine nuts and raisins. Peppery arugula and half-size roasted tomatoes filled with fregola (a couscous-like pasta) are the apt accompaniments to this hearty, satisfying vegetarian dish.
The setting also takes cues from casual European eateries, albeit with a big splash of downtown cool. A wall of vintage brick soars to the open second-floor dining room of a handsome building that dates to the early 1900s. It was vacant for three years before being purchased by Satis owners Michael Garcia and Geza Gulas, whose first project was Lucky 7 Tavern in Jersey City.
“We completely gutted the space,” says Garcia (framed black-and-white “before” photos hang in the main-floor restroom). “We love this location and the space and thought a European-style bistro would be a good fit with the neighborhood.”
Towering bay windows sport tangles of flowing greenery flanked by drapery. At night, the worn, dark-wood floor and tables gleam in the faint glow of vintage chandeliers and table votives in both the main and mezzanine spaces (where it can get really noisy). In the rear of the main space is the brightly lit salumeria, walls lined with white subway tiles and decorated with hanging sausages, salami and cured hams. In good weather, there’s seating on the bluestone terrace.
Gulas acts as host and sometime server. He is quirky, so you’ll either be charmed or turned off by his idiosyncrasies. He often appears put-upon and once tried to win our sympathy by complaining about a negative comment he had received on Yelp. The service team is generally efficient, although on one occasion attention flagged for seriously long periods after we received our entrées. And a caveat to groups: 22 percent gratuity is added to parties of six or more.
In true European style, you can make a meal of the appetizer, salumi and adventurous cheese plates. My favorite starters include the albondigas: three tender, golf-ball-size spheres of ground lamb and pine nuts bathed in just-spicy-enough tomato-saffron cream sauce. Almost as compelling is Fiorianti’s duck-liver mousse—unctuous, deeply flavorful, multiplied by a slab of toasted brioche smeared with whipped duck fat.
Satis has its share of middling dishes. House-made gravlax is very good but was taken down by Kalamata olives and baby potatoes that were both too salty. The so-called daily bruschetta was white-bean hummus on each visit, a bit boring. Braised short ribs fell short on flavor, moistness and tenderness. The goat-cheese mashed potatoes they nest upon almost made up for the ribs, but why bother when you can order a side of mashed potatoes with goat cheese and chorizo? I guarantee your table will be fighting over these.
Osso bucco with roasted-chestnut polenta is delicious, but does it warrant a $34 tab? With only eight entrées (seven on nights when the bouillabaisse is not offered), Satis needs to make sure every single one is worth ordering. The biggest disappointment is that very bouillabaisse, which one night featured grouper and tiny clams—both nearly tasteless—and watery, wan broth.
Gelato is a strength here. The menu also features three deep-bowled gelato sundaes—like German chocolate cake, made with coconut-almond chip and dark-chocolate gelati, candied pecans, toasted coconut and butterscotch sauce. Word to the wise: Share. We enjoyed the sundaes more than, for example, a banana tart tatin with tough pastry. My favorite ending to a meal at this cool homage to European bistros is affogado, simply a shot of hot espresso poured over vanilla gelato.