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The Craft House...Suffern...excellent!

ELA | Mar 4, 201511:04 AM

A new hit to the local dining scene -- a new place from Craig Levy and the people who own/operate Rocca (in Glen Rock, NJ). This new gastro-pub is located just outside downtown Suffern, where the former Ravi was located. The Craft House has been re-done, re-modeled, and updated quite a bit. It's a very nice atmosphere, casual, comfortable, and welcoming. The bar area seems more "open" than when it was Ravi, perhaps, in part because of better lighting -- but there's far better lighting throughout the entire restaurant.

I'll start out with the service -- from the moment we walked in, service was excellent, and even better was our waitress, Kristen. When we first arrived and were seated, we were catching up, talking, conversations were going all over the place, and she just caught right on and made sure we were enjoying ourselves, had water, drinks, etc. -- and whenever we were ready was perfectly fine for her. Her timing and attentiveness was perfect. She was personable, advised us of different items, specials, etc. -- and explained things very well. She provided a lot of insight over and above the menu. Personally, I felt she enhanced the entire experience and evening.

Next -- the food -- all excellent. The Brussels sprouts appetizer was excellent. Normally, I am not a fan, but I liked the description, everyone was enthusiastic about them, so I decided to go right ahead; and me, I'll eat almost anything. LOL. They were prepared perfectly -- not greasy or oily, and loaded with flavor. Well balanced, but you could pick up the nuances and tastes -- pancetta and grana cheese. The roasted cauliflower appetizer was very similar -- nice cheese and truffle oil, with a light cream. Now, the short ribs poutine -- these were superb. This dish came together perfectly and was exceptional. You just got so much depth and flavor, coming from the short ribs, soft, tender, the cheddar cheese, a light tomato jam, etc. It was an exceptional dish that I will order again without question. I am a seafood salad fan, but I am careful where I order it -- but I ordered it here. It was done well as it wasn't overly dressed, marinated, doused, etc. Nice balance. The seafood seemed fresh, nice size, and yes, very good tastes and flavors from the shrimp, calamari, scallops, and avocado.

Ill touch upon the entrees -- I had the spaghetti bolognese. Now I am a bolognese fan, I like it and depending on where I am and my mood, I'll order it. I've had some very good ones, and some disastrous ones, LOL. This one was very good -- nice flavor, melded together from pork, veal and I don't know what else. Delicate flavors, but excellent balance, not overpowered by any one aspect, including the tomato, finished with some very nice grana cheese. The pasta was done just to my liking, a "soft" al dente with the bolognese layered throughout. Very good. I liked it. The buttermilk fried chicken looked very good and got a very good review from my friend. Everything else was very good as well.

The gastropub theme and motive comes through -- from the liquor to the food -- interesting and quality ingredients and dishes, creative, well prepared, and a nice variety. There's some very interesting items on the the menu -- fried pickles, pulled pork, deviled eggs, soft pretzel and dips, various meats and charcuterie (YES! From Salumeria Biellese!!!), the poutine, mac and cheese, fried chicken, grilled cheese, sliders, salads, soups, burgers, fish, steak, and more. There's a lot here -- and based upon everything I had, there's a lot to like.

If they keep doing what they are doing, once word gets out, this place should do excellent. They can attract, locally, the Bergen County part of the county that's right there -- Mahwah, Ramsey, etc.; and being in Suffern, just outside of downtown (and yes, they have parking, valet), they are accessible -- right on Lafayette/Route 59, as well as to the NYS Thruway -- to the local parts of the Rockland County. They can also capture a lot being they are right down the street from Good Samaritan Hospital. They are doing it -- all of it -- right; food, atmosphere, service, etc. This is a fine addition to the local dining scene and can very soon be one of the best in the area. All in -- they should do very well.

I'd like to see them do well, very well as I will certainly go back for another excellent meal and experience.

Rocca Cafe & Lounge,
Craft House
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