Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

The Best Dishes We Ate in January

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

The Best Dishes We Ate in January

Article excerpt

There's a lot of wonderful food in North Jersey, yet often many of us end up eating uninspired, forgettable grub. We at The Record and NorthJersey.com, however, frequently go out to eat (some of us readily admit to being food obsessed). And every now and then, we discover knock-your-socks-off dishes. And since we're in the business of reporting, we thought we'd report back to you on our delicious discoveries so that you can go enjoy terrific food too.

Check back soon — we'll share our finds with you every month.

Most diners associate Mexican food with tasty but dense dishes dripping in cheese, refried beans and rice. That's exactly the kind of thinking that Nutley native Adam Rose, the chef-owner of Villalobos Mexican Restaurant in Montclair, challenges with his menu of creative, lighter fare. Typical of this SoCal sensibility is the tuna tostadas, which I ordered for dinner hours after eating a heavy lunch. Colorful pink slices of yellowfin tuna are infused ceviche-style with lime juice and, along with avocado, cucumber and jalapeno, arranged atop a crispy tostada and dusted with pepper. Fried onions crown the whole affair, creating a crunchy top to match the texture of the gently-fried tortilla bottom. The dish's tart and salty, creamy and crunchy ingredients satisfied a number of cravings at once without being filling; at $13, hungrier diners can order more than one. — Cindy Schweich Handler, Editor, Montclair, Millburn & Short Hills and Wayne Magazines

Go: 6 South Fullerton Ave., Montclair, 973-337-6667, villalobosnj.com

At this month's InstaYUM event at Garden State Plaza, we were lucky enough to get the Callahan's folks to give us a taste of their newest menu item, the Cap'n Crunch Fried Chicken Burger. The Chicken Burger — coated and fried in, yes, Cap'n Crunch crumbs — is then dunked in a Sriracha-honey glaze, and served with lettuce, tomato, pickled onions, Muenster cheese and bacon, on two slices of white bread made at Rockland Bakery. It is absolutely sinful yet delicious, and its generous size is good for sharing, albeit messy — ask them to cut it in half for you. …

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