To cook or not to cook? That’s the question we ask ourselves, oh, just about every night at dinnertime in our chockablock kitchen. Now, with the opening of Raw Seafood Bar, Sushi & Grille on the horizon, we’ll be asking ourselves the same question—only this time we’ll be asking it about our entree in their newly renovated dining room.
This new restaurant from Chef Oggi Domani—the culinary mind behind the fabulous Cork & Crust, which is located on the same Harrington Park block as Raw—had us licking our lips back in January when it showed up on our list of Bergen County’s Hottest New Openings of 2021, and now that it’s here, all we can say is it was definitely worth the wait. We got a sneak peek at the menu and a behind-the-scenes look at the place, and by the looks of things, Domani and his team pulled off everything they said they would.
Let’s start with the “to cook” part. This means a reasonably priced (by seafood standards) menu of Italian-inspired ocean, meat, and grill favorites—from Whole Lobster ($33.95) paired with vegetable fried rice and plenty of drawn butter or Seared Fresh Scallops ($29.95) served with a creamy fava bean parmesan risotto to Angus Skirt Steak ($31.95) with chimichurri, grilled onions and garlic mashed potatoes, the Miami Beach-inspired Nikki Beach Chicken ($23.95) topped with capers, artichokes, and sun dried tomatoes in a lemon cream sauce, or the pared-down Burrata burger ($18.95) topped with—you guessed it—creamy Italian burrata cheese and finished with lettuce, onion, a dollop of dijonnaise, and a generous handful of fries.
Now for the “not to cook” selections. Start with the raw bar, which includes six varieties of fresh-caught oysters (market price); chilled shrimp-, clam-, lobster-, and crab-centric specialties; and the Grand Tower ($85 serves two; $160 serves four), which showcases chilled lobster cocktail, shrimp cocktail, colossal crab, assorted oysters, and Long Island littleneck clams. Also not going near the stove is, of course, Raw’s small-but-sure-to-satisfy sushi menu, which features a short selection of Japanese-inspired appetizers ($7.95-$13.95) and a half-dozen special rolls ($13.95-$17.95) like the La Roche Avenue (spicy tuna and avocado topped with spicy crab salad) and the 5th Ave (crab and cucumber topped with salmon, miso honey, and jalapeño). While final selection on just which sushi chef will be manning the station is still being ironed out, Chef Domani says their pedigree will include over 20 years experience at one of Manhattan’s finest sushi outposts.
We’re also looking forward to feasting our eyes on Raw’s fully renovated, nautical-inspired dining room, with its chic navy-and-white color palette offset with gold fixtures. Like the food, it’s clean and modern vibes all the way. For now, service will be limited to dinner Tuesdays through Sunday, but weekend brunch (11am - 3pm) will quickly follow, so get ready to wash down morning favorites like Chicken & Waffles ($15.95), Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes topped with caramelized bananas ($13.95), and the bacon-and-burrata-meets-sunny-side-up-egg-on-brioche Breakfast Burger ($17.95) with a glass of fruit-infused bubbly from the build-your-own mimosa bar.
So, any more questions?Raw Seafood Bar, Sushi & Grille 112 LaRoche Avenue, Harrington Park (201) 660-7865 B.Y.O. Reservations suggested