A Look Ahead: The 2012 Montclair Restaurant Scene

Samba MontclairThere was hardly enough time for food bloggers to digest all the local restaurant news that was fed to us this year.  So what’s the ever evolving Montclair restaurant scene going to look like in 2012?  Here’s a peek at what looms on Montclair’s culinary horizon.

Although Montclair just saw the demise of QBA A Cuban Kitchen, a new restaurant, Plato Cubano, on Valley Road, will be bringing Cuban back by way of self-serve, food-by-the-pound. This seems an  interesting concept; I do remember a place like this during my law school days in Newark – and it was always packed!  Plato Cubano may just hit the right price point and become a hugely popular lunch spot.  It will be  another option for the budding gastronomes among the  high school set who may prefer Cuban to pizza or a bagel. 

Right next door to the sight of Plato Cubano is Cars, a late night food delivery service that originally began in Ramsey, NJ in 2008.  Though I do occasionally fall victim to late night snackage, I’m not so sure “fat” sandwiches, fried ravioli and milkshakes are what my post-holiday love handles really need it. However, considering that Cars will deliver to your doorstep every Tuesday through Saturday from 6pm-3am to areas including Montclair, Upper Montclair, MSU, Cedar Grove, Glen Ridge, Bloomfield, Essex Falls, Caldwell, Verona, and parts of West Orange, Clifton, and Little Falls, I’m sure they’ll find their niche market.

Also coming soon is Koreander (cute name, isn’t it?) in Watchung Plaza.  I’m excited about this eatery, particularly because it’s not a pizzeria or a nail salon.  Korean cuisine has a lot to offer, that said, I hope the fare proves to be traditional and not too tapioca forward.

In the recent months, Montclair has seen the opening of several great new restaurants, which have already garnered a local following.   Fin, True North Osteria, Acappello, and most recently, the new Brazilian restaurant, Samba are among those eateries serving high quality, delicious food, who I believe should sustain and do well over the next year.  I will not speculate on which restaurant will close next.

Chef Michael Carrino (photo take at Passionne in 2010)In early 2012, Montclair will see the return of Zod Arifai, chef and owner of Blu and Next Door, who is currently on hiatus dedicating time to the reopening of daryl, in New Brunswick.  Finally, I eagerly anticipate the resurrection of Chef Michael Carrino, formerly of Passionne.  It is rumored that the highly acclaimed Chef is currently seeking a venue to showcase his cuisine; I look forward to all of his future culinary projects, whether they be in Montclair or not.