Located on the bottom floor of a luxury rental building on Washington Boulevard in Jersey City, the newly opened restaurant VB3 offers revamped Italian classics with a decidedly local flair.
The menu, composed of a selection of small plates perfect for mixing and sharing, changes often to highlight the local produce offerings of the seasons. With prices ranging from eight to twenty-five dollars, you can compose a complete meal for a reasonable price. The staff, chefs, and owners were all beyond wonderful, and proud of what they had to offer.
To start, I tried the shaved arugula and baby artichoke salad, given a kick with shaved caciocavallo cheese and lemon juice, and the scallop crudo, zingy with tangy grapefruit and basil. The pan roasted Chatham cod was phenomenal, topped with ribbons of shaved asparagus on a bed of prosciutto-laced vegetables, and the spring lamb ragu, topped with mint and pecorino, was rich and hearty. I also got to try the Raviolo di Ouvo (homemade oversized ravioli with an egg cooked inside) swathed in luxurious truffle oil and Parmigianino cheese, and laced with springy fava beans and morels. Dessert was a real stand out, with chocolate hazelnut cake (think chocolate cake laced with Nutella) topped with hazelnut gelato, and Froscia, a light and fluffy Sicilian ricotta cheesecake laden with blueberries and fresh mint. The chefs at VB3 certainly pay attention to detail with their dishes, their love and intention clearly apparent.
Aside from its culinary offerings, VB3 brings a broad selection of cocktails and libations to its customers. Bartenders shake up fresh fruit juice, house-made syrups, and infusions into delicious drinks, and local microbrews are offered on tap alongside more mainstay beers. All these are served up at the large walk around bar lined with huge flat screen TVs playing enough sports games to appease even the most avid fan.
My only concern about VB3 is the disparity between their bistro style gourmet menu and their trendy sports bar vibe. If they can marry these two styles, I’m sure they’ll become a mainstay on the Jersey City restaurant-bar scene.