Lunching At: The Orange Squirrel in Bloomfield

by Melody Kettle

There are Men Who Dine, and there are Ladies Who Lunch.  The recent advent of the full-school-day has propelled me into the latter category.

If you’re looking to lunch, there are a considerable number of options in our area.  Most recently, I traveled slightly beyond Montclair, into Bloomfield, to no other than Francesco Palmieri’s acclaimed The Orange Squirrel, for a most indulgent lunch.

I wasn’t quite sure what I was in the mood for when I sauntered into the Orange Squirrel. I knew I didn’t want pasta, because, well, you know, carbs (did I have to say it??!!). 

“So you want a protein?” Francesco asked, providing table service. “I’ll make you a surf and turf. You two could split it,” Francesco suggested motioning to my dining companion. “You never had one of my steaks, did you?”

The decision was final: The Squirrel’s Surf & Turf. 

Francesco whetted our appetite with his famous Mushrooms Tempura, with  baby artichoke aioli and white truffle oil.  A great starter before a meal, or a great snack to wash down the fab artisanal cocktails at the bar.

Then, the meal arrived.  If you think you know Cobb or even Lobster Cobb, think again!  Francesco sets a claw and a tail atop a circular stack of avocado mousse and chopped lettuce, and coyly places a quail egg on the side. ($20)

Chiara De Iuis Pepe, Francesco Palmieri, and Polaner repLucky for me, I arrived on a day when Emidio Pepe was sampling wines to distributor house reps. Italian hospitality being the wonderful institution it is, two glasses were sent over to accompany our Lobster Cobb.  And if that wasn’t enough, they sent another two glasses of their Montepulciano d’Abruzzo for good measure.  La dolce vita, indeed!

Then the Rib Eye, oh my! Dry aged, and served in a cast iron pan with chipotle butter. Cooked to delicate deliciousness, and sliced into four pieces the Rib Eye is a carnivorous sight to behold.

I skipped dinner later that evening. To quote the famous philosopher, Ice Cube, “I got to say, it was a good day.”

What are your favorite lunch spots? Hot From The Kettle will check 'em out!


Lunch Hours:

Tues., Wed., Thurs., 12:15 - 2:45


Tel. 973.337.6421