Story by Barbara Angelakis
Photos by Manos Angelakis
LT Bar and Grill
390 Hackensack Ave
The Shops at Riverside
Hackensack, NJ 07601
Welcome LT Bar and Grill to the upscale dining scene at The Shops at Riverside in Hackensack, New Jersey.
Riverside Mall is an upscale shopping venue, easily accessible from most of the major roads in North Jersey and a perfect location for Chef Laurent Tourondel to open an informal, fashionable, modern restaurant catering to the tastes of the recent influx (during the COVID-19 pandemic) of affluent ex-pats from New York City. Actually Chef Tourondel took a huge gamble opening at this time but from the casual ambiance, to security precautions, to outside dining (weather permitting), the gamble looks like it will be paying off.
The spacious interior of the restaurant features an open kitchen along the far wall where masked line cooks were busily at work. Adjacent to the kitchen on the left wall is a long well-stocked bar for when bar hopping is again acceptable, and at that time will undoubtedly be jammed with revelers, anxious for social interaction in a comfortable setting after perusing the designer shops in the Mall.
The handsome seating arrangement consists of caramel-colored leather banquets and socially distanced tables enclosed by Plexiglas separators, making indoor dining a safe reality in the age of COVID. Roomy natural wood tables are accented by LT black place mats for that informal elegance. Wait staff is abundant, friendly, knowledgeable and non-intrusive. The upper floor boast a private event room and an additional dining area to handle any overflow.
The menu is well presented with choices listed by category. “From the Grill” offers a selection of aged American meat including Wagyu cuts; “Sushi” offers specialty designer rolls; “Seafood” a small but original selection of fish and seafood; “Salad & Appetizer” a cornucopia of choices that made choosing difficult; and “Sides” that all sounded divine. Make sure to leave room for the in-house created desserts.
Although there is a good wine, saké, beer and spirits list I choose LT’s signature rum punch and Manos went with Hackensack pale ale, while we lit into LT’s savory signature popovers. Manos would have preferred warm crispy artisanal bread but I was in popover heaven. Chef Tourondel’s version was a generous size warm taste treat; dense on the outside, creamy on the inside and topped with a herbal cheese melt.
For appetizers we choose the Dragon Roll from the Sushi menu and the Grilled Octopus from the Salad & Appetizer section. Both dishes arrived looking picture perfect but alas lacked the flavor and texture we anticipated. We chalked it up to the time required for a newly opened restaurant to get all dishes “right”.
Known for their top-notch meat offerings Manos ordered the mixed grill… rare of course… in order to sample several of the cuts and I ordered the King Prawns. The prawns arrived country style (heads on) in a pyramid layout over sticky rice and bok choy with a curry-lemongrass sauce… absolutely scrumptious! Our charming waitress offered to have the prawns undressed (heads removed) in the kitchen but I declined her offer since that is where much of the flavor lives.
For dessert we had “just puffed eggs” (famous chef’s quote) for two, a red mixed berry filled soufflé accompanied by vanilla ice cream.
LT is still in the shake-out state all new restaurants go through, but we think its off to a good start as the new trendy place in town.
© January 2021 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.
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