Pretty soon, we’ll be roasting chestnuts over an open fire and consuming more pumpkin spice everything than we ever thought existed. But for now, we still have a few weeks to indulge in the bounty of fruits and veggies produced here in the Garden State. How to truly appreciate these last bites of summer? Who better to ask than some of our favorite Bergen County chefs? Read on to hear which dishes were topped the food playlists of top Bergen County chefs this summer.
Jamie Knott, Chef/Owner, Saddle River Inn, Saddle River, NJ:
Best Bergen County Restaurant Summer Food: The Summer Harvest Salad from his own Saddle River Inn
What makes it the best: Peaches, yellow watermelon, Sungold tomatoes, cucumber, feta, fresh basil, and an oregano vinaigrette. It’s like every single summer food in one salad!
Jamie’s Perfect Summer Dish: Not sure about you, but Jamie’s pick made our mouths water. He says he’d like a baked heirloom tomato filled with fresh corn, lobster, garlic, fresh basil and corn sauce.
Robbie Felice, Chef/Partner, Viaggio, Wayne, NJ:
Best Bergen County Restaurant Summer Food: Heirloom tomatoes with olive oil and sea salt from Viaggio
What makes it the best: Unbelievable, fresh and local to New Jersey ingredients from The NJ Farm at Glenwood Mountain or Harvest Drop, a purveyor of produce from local farms
Robbie’s Perfect Summer Dish: In this heat, Robbie wants something light and refreshing so he’d go with heirloom tomatoes + olive oil, sea sol, balsamic vinegar, and burrata.
Chris Holland, Chef/Owner, Dvine Bar and Dvine Pie, Sparkill, NY:
Best Bergen County Restaurant Summer Food: Summertime Scallops at Dvine Bar
What makes it the best: Seared scallops and local zucchini sith on top of tomato water extracted from locally grown heirloom tomatoes. Finished with finely diced cucumber and green apple “salsa”. Light and fresh but packed with a ton of flavor. Perfect for a hot day!
Chris’ Perfect Summer Dish: Well, location is key. So, first Chris would have to be sitting on the beach at the Jersey Shore and he’d be eating a Connecticut style lobster roll (melted butter, NOT mayo, thank you very much) and a side of sliced NJ tomatoes sprinkled with rock salt.
Ryan Brining, Owner, White Maple, Ridgewood, NJ:
Best Bergen County Restaurant Summer Food: The White Maple Fish Tacos
What makes it the best: Buttered Chesapeake Bay blue catfish, spicy avocado slaw and pico de gallo on corn tortillas
Bonus Points: Blue catfish are an invasive species. They outnumber the fish in their habitat 3:1. So with this dish, diners get the perfect combination of sustainable AND delicious.
Ryan’s Perfect Summer Dish: He really enjoyed the Lavalet Yacht Club Lobster Roll with light mayo or butter and large chunks of lobster, doesn't get much better than that.
John Vitale, Chef/Owner, Caffe Anello, Westwood, NJ:
Best Bergen County Restaurant Summer Food: Chef Vitale spreads the love and taps Aumm Aumm in North Bergen as having the best dish of the summer with their Octopus Carpaccio.
What makes it the best: Octopus in citronette with ricotta salata and watermelon. It’s tender, salty and savory with a little bit of sweetness in each bite. A perfect light, refreshing summer dish.
John’s Perfect Summer Dish: Fresh burrata, organic arugula, vine tomatoes from Sunset Vista farm (Caffe Anello’s partner for organic produce), balsamic pearls and house made citrus pesto. Chef John, you had us at burrata but made it irresistible with citrus pesto!
Ben Pollinger, Chef/Owner, The Hill, :
Best Bergen County Summer Food: Wild Alaskan King Salmon from The Hill
What makes it the best: Crispy salmon with sautéed corn, wild chanterelle mushrooms, and a cherry sauce
Ben’s Perfect Summer Dish: Can’t get more summer than the bounty of fresh flavors in gazpacho.