Artisan Kitchen and Bar Opens in Hawthorne, New Restaurant in North Jersey

Restaurants  / 

It’s only been open for two weeks, but something in my gut tells me that new restaurant Artisan Kitchen & Bar in Hawthorne is here to stay—and I’m not just talking about the fantastic meal I enjoyed on my recent visit there.

Opened by North Haledon native Chef Howard Stilianessis, who spent the past 17 years as an executive chef at some of the best restaurants in Las Vegas, and his childhood buddy, this place is definitely one of Bergen County’s best new restaurants.

So, what’s Artisan Kitchen all about? Innovative, interesting and expertly executed small plates of farm-to-table Mediterranean fare (is there anything better this time of year?) and one of the most fun drink menus I’ve seen, with red and white wine and prosecco always at the ready (tip: be sure to have a chat with the co-owner/sommelier, Jeff Wozniak, who hand-picked some very interesting bottles for us, including an especially yummy dessert wine!).

After taking in the ambiance—wood burning pizza oven? Check!—of AK’s spacious dining room, we immediately started ordering up a storm. Fortunately, our friendly waiter was more than happy to oblige. The focaccia that came before the meal was light and fluffy and incredibly flavorful. It was served with homemade ricotta cheese that was so light my husband thought it was butter as well as marinated olives.

Next up was the Cheese Board ($14), which included four artisan cheeses served with candied nuts, dried figs, and an order of the Charred Octopus ($14), which was served with chickpea puree, tomato, and chili oil. The octopus was a nice portion and delicious— perfectly charred without being too dry and the chili oil added a little kick without being overpowering.

We also split the Bucatini Amatriciana ($13), which was served with fresh chilies, pancetta, and tomato sauce. OMG, this was easily one of the best pasta dishes I’ve had in a long time: perfectly al dente, and the sauce was magnificent. Then there was the Artic Char ($20), which was served with potatoes, asparagus, onion, and a basil butter that melted in our mouths. Delicate, yet buttery—a wonderful dish.

For dessert we sampled the whisky milkshake (served with cookies, because, well, why not?) as well as the warm banana cake. Most of the desserts here are vegan and ALL are created in house by AK’s resident pastry chef Tanya Newell. Both were BEYOND, so much so that we struggled to leave anything on our plates.

Going forward, the restaurant will showcase live jazz music on weekend nights, and we hear there are also plans to convert the downstairs into a whisky lounge with its own menu and live entertainment (the words “light burlesque” may or may not have been uttered).

Hmm, me thinks date nights with the hubby this summer could be rather interesting.

Carla Sullivan is the dining editor for Bergen Mama and the founder of nyc dining resource, she resides in Ridgewood with her husband and 3 kids.

Artisan Kitchen & Bar
142 Goffle Road
Hawthorne, NJ
Open for dinner Monday – Saturday

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