Laurel & Sage: Opens Tomorrow in Former CulinAriane Space

by Melody Kettle

I still haven't adjusted. Driving past the corner of Walnut & Pine, visions of tuna flowers and corn-meal crusted oysters flash before my hungry eyes. Excuse the post-mortem, but the absence of the CulinAriane awning at 33 Walnut St. is something of a foodie tragedy. But, to everything - particularly the Montclair food scene - there is a season.  And, now, we turn to embrace Chef Shawn Paul Dalziel, the new chef/owner of Laurel & Sage, located at - you guessed it - 33 Walnut Street in Montclair. 

Tomorrow, Laurel & Sage will open it's doors. Named for the owner's daughters, Laurel & Sage will feature locally sourced, globally inspired, modern American cuisine.  

According to a recent press release: 

Born in Malibu, CA, Shawn's passion for food began at a young age. Spending much of his early years in his father's popular Hollywood restaurant, Two Dollar Bills, instilled in him the "restaurant way of
life." Since then, Shawn has traveled coast to coast, working at a range of restaurants and doing what he loves
touching people's lives and filling their bellies and souls.

Shawn is chef/owner of Laurel & Sage, a modern American restaurant located in Montclair, NJ. After a decade and a half working in kitchens, an opportunity to open a restaurant close to home was too great to pass up. Named for his daughters, Laurel & Sage is an intimate, neighborhood restaurant featuring globally inspired, locally sourced fare. With a background in seafood, farm to table, Italian, Asian, Mediterranean and American cuisines, Laurel & Sage represents the culmination of Shawn's culinary experiences.

After relocating to New Jersey from New York City, Shawn found himself in the vibrant food community of Montclair. Most recently, Shawn was the executive chef at 12 West Restaurant & Bar at the Upper Montclair train station. He was part of the team that opened the restaurant in early 2014. While living in New York City, Shawn was the executive chef at Recipe. He opened the restaurant with the owner to rave reviews in 2009. Recipe was a front runner in the rustic, new American concept and was an upper west side favorite among locals. Prior to Recipe, Shawn was a sous chef at the high volume, Blue Water Grill, consistently rated by Zagat as one of New York's "Most Popular" restaurants.

Upon graduating UCLA, Shawn began his traditional culinary training in San Francisco, at California Culinary Academy. After completing the program at CCA, he remained in San Francisco and began his culinary career at the Tuscan restaurant Delfina in the Mission district and Kokkari Estiatorio, a Greek restaurant recently named a "Top Rated Bay Area Restaurant" by Zagat. Subsequently, he had the privilege to hone his skills and work under Michael Mina at the world-renowned restaurant, Aqua.

Throughout his career, Shawn has received positive reviews from a variety of well-known publications and food blogs including The New York Times, Metro Mix, The Insatiable Critic and others. Being a California native, Shawn loves good wine, the outdoors and fascinations of the natural world. When he's not doing it up in the kitchen, he enjoys spending time with his wife, daughters and chocolate lab, Lola.

Here's a glimpse at the menu. Please note, all items subject to change: