The Total Package: Maritime Parc, Jersey City

I like superlatives; the freshest produce, the creamiest burrata, the frothiest cappuccino, the best restaurants!  Maritime Parc, the yacht-like  gem nestled in Liberty State Park, is absolutely fit for superlatives – the problem is picking just one!

On a recent cold, clear night, Mr. Hot and I ventured to Jersey City to join a few friends at a press dinner at Chef and owner, Chris SiversenMaritime Parc.  In a steely, open kitchen, perched above Liberty Landing Marina, Manhattan's pulse rippled across the Hudson, as chef and owner, Chris Siversen, created an evening of undeniable cuisine.

Over cocktails, we compulsively picked at a refreshing, colorful plate of pickled pearl onions, zucchini and feta.  Balthazar bread, always pleasing to any carboholic, was served alongside sea salt and sweet cream butter. 

Our first course, a warming Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, stunned with silky texture and subtle notes of apples, and the spiced pumpkin seeds floated on top added a crunch and capsaicin kick. 

"Kung Bao" Pork Belly (yes, it is that good)The Patron Saint of Pork must have assisted Chef Siversen for our next course: “Kung Bao” Style Pork Belly! Braised with sake and soy, with peanuts and butternut squash, this was the most unctuous piece of heritage pork to pass my lips!   A pleasure for the palate, the gentle infusion of Chinese flavors allowed the delicate nuance of the Berkshire pork to remain at the forefront. 

A golden Chatham Cod followed, with Tasso and Crawfish, atop a delicious, buttery Cockle Ragout.  Then, a land and sea inspired duo of local Barnegat Bay, Sea Scallops with Sauce Gribiche, and fork-tender, succulent Braised Short Ribs continued to impressed.

Smoked mushrooms and remarkably pleasing glazed red pearl onions, accompanied a perfectly cooked Niman Ranch Filet Mignon ($28), while a tangy parsley salad added herbal flare.

The sides, all priced at $7, were nothing short of phenomenal.   Duck fat fries with garlic and parsley were all a fry should and more, and the broccoli rabe, with bacon, garlic, and lemon zest, was better than Grandma’s (but don’t let her know).  There were two favorite sides at our table; the first was a spiced nut glazed butternut squash with subtle flavors of maple syrup, and then there were the crispy-on-the-outside, creamy-in-the-middle Mash Potato rings, served with the perfect dipping accompaniment - grainy mustard fondue.  Given a choice between the two – I’d eat both!

Dessert was a spectacle to behold - something like watching fireworks on the Hudson – each presentation dazzled, while the table continued to oooooh and ahhhh! Brioche Bread Pudding, with ginger butterscotch Ice Cream with caramelized bananas and candid walnuts; chocolate tart with orange Ice cream, salted caramel, and bittersweet chocolate ganache; Candy Cane Sundae with chocolate Brownie Ice Cream, peppermint fluff and chocolate crunch; Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Egg Nog Ice Cream, Gingerbread.  As if that wasn't spectacular enough, there were duck fat donuts!

Most dynamic? Best setting? Most romantic? Best Pork? My favorite meal of 2012?  One superlative doesn’t quite sum Maritime Parc.  Put succinctly, Maritime Parc is the total package: cuisine, setting, design, atmosphere, and service.  Need I say more?

Visit the gallery for more photos from Maritime Parc.