Brasserie Brandman Opens in Park Ridge New Jersey

Restaurants  / 

On a quiet street in Park Ridge, the last thing you might expect is a whole lot of ooh la la radiating from a historic 100 year-old cottage. Bien sûr! But of course. Prepare for agréablement surpris (to be pleasantly surprised.)

Step inside the new Brasserie Brandman on Spring Valley Road (formerly Valentino’s) and you’ll immediately notice quality touches: Bernadaud votives on each table, Reidel glasses, and floor-to-ceiling photography by Slim Aarons and Man Ray. The dining room is home to a private table permanently reserved for Richard Nixon (yes, he actually dined there when he was a Park Ridge resident) directly underneath a photograph of Nixon’s first televised presidential debate with JFK. Brasserie Brandman’s owner, Saddle River resident Stephen Brandman, former owner of the Thompson hotels and now the SIXTY hotels, even went so far as to have the chairs in the photograph replicated by the original designer. Have a seat in one of these in the bar’s dining area.

We were fortunate enough to get a tour from the owner himself, allowing us to take a peek at the two private rooms upstairs (capacity 40 and 50) each with its own private entrance, before getting recommendations for dinner. Not that we needed recommendations. Everything we had from executive chef Julie Farias was absolutely fabulous! Don’t be fooled. The “brasserie” actually serves modern American cuisine- but was named for the french meaning of an “unpretentious” dining establishment. For appetizers, we sampled the Steakhouse Slab Bacon, served with black pepper and a sweet maple soy sauce ($15) and the Tempura Rock Shrimp with spicy citrus mayo, pickled chili and cilantro ($19). Wow! The portions were ample without being too filling. We then tried out the Homemade Biscuits a la Lundy ($6) with salted butter and honey. Decadently dense but also flakey and flavorful – reason enough to want to give up the carb-free diet for the rest of your life. For vegetarians, there are plenty of options on the menu as the owner’s wife and two children are all vegetarian.

For dinner we enjoyed the Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimchurri sauce and grilled onions ($33) perfectly prepared to the chef’s discretion with an amazing flavor that melted in our mouths (all the meat is from Pat Lafrieda) plus the Fish Stew: cod, salmon and calamari served with fennel, tomato, saffron aioli and crostini ($31) which was one of the most delicious seafood stews we’ve ever had. The chef managed to cook each piece of fish to perfection – while steeping it all in the flavorful broth. As a side we had the Truffle Parmesan Potatoes ($8) with a crisp outer edge, tender inside and a generous coating of parmesan and truffle. We wanted to take them home. After all of that deliciousness we were (no surprise) too full to partake dessert, but were told all the desserts were house made (except the Junior’s Cheesecake, “because Junior’s does it the best.) We did get to sample the homemade Schlaag (delicious thick whipped cream) that they serve with all desserts to ensure that we leave room on our next visit.

Bottom line: we’ll be back! It’s definitely worth the trip. The food, the bar (did we mention the full bar menu of signature drinks and live music Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday?) makes Brasserie Brandman a destination you’ll want to return to again and again.

Carla Sullivan is the dining editor for Bergen Mama and the founder of, a dining guide for families in NYC. She is also a mom of three living in Ridgewood.

Brasserie Brandman
103 Spring Valley Road
Park Ridge, NJ 07655
5-11pm Tuesday – Saturday
Full bar

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