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Restaurants & Bars 5

Next Door (Montclair)

ELA | Feb 2, 2015 09:12 AM

I had lunch recently at Next Door in Montclair...in one word...excellent!

Upon arrival, I was very surprised the place was empty, except for one large party of 10 or so. Didn't matter to me as the place has an excellent reputation -- and based upon the food we had -- it should! Did I already say excellent? LOL.

There was one person working -- a waitress -- and she was in the back so we waited and eventually just started to walk in and seat ourselves. She appeared and said go ahead sit anywhere you'd like. She was attentive, polite, and on the job very well even though she was alone.

The menu was their "express lunch" menu -- about 6 to 8 diverse items on the list, and includes a salad or soup -- but there was more than enough to pick from amongst that diverse list and of course the rest of the menu.

On to the food -- the duck taco appetizer was excellent! Very tasty duck topped with cucumbers, radishes, etc. and a spicy mayo/chipotle dressing. It had a nice -- not too much -- kick, but the dish was excellent. A lot of flavor, married together very well, excellent balance. We then had the butternut squash soup. It was good. It had some julienne apple slices and some cranberries -- which was a nice touch and combination. It added another dimension to the soup, obviously a little citrus, sweet type flavor -- just a hint and not overwhelming at all. Perfect combination. The soup itself had a nice flavor and I am not a butternut squash soup expert -- as I've only ordered it maybe two dozen times -- but for my liking, it was a bit too "thin" so to speak. It wasn't as savory, thick, etc. as I would have liked -- but that's just me, however, it was flavorful and good, and again, the apple and cranberry was an excellent addition to the dish.

As the entree, I had the burger -- white cheddar and caramelized onions -- and it was excellent! One of the best burgers I've had in a long time. I don't know what kind of blend he (Chef Zod) uses, where he gets his meat, what he does to it, etc. -- but whatever and wherever, it was excellent! The meat itself had a lot of flavor and taste, and balance. I just really enjoyed the burger and the flavor. The white cheddar and the caramelized onions just seem to bring the entire burger together -- along with a nice roll/bun, which held the burger, didn't get soggy, etc. This was an excellent burger!!!

My friend had the chicken salad sandwich -- with apples, walnut, raisins, on a multi-grain bread, with small salad of greens and a very good dressing...again excellent. A lot of taste, not overpowering, but good nuances, very good balance. It was tasty and again, the perfect balance, brought together well, melded together for a really good sandwich. It didn't fall apart, get dwarfed by the bread, or anything of the like. And the various ingredients just seemed to go together perfectly.

Overall -- excellent! Everything about it, excellent. Chef Zod is a master, a brilliant chef.

As I've said on other threads, I am not sure if this restaurant is closing, or it is Zod's other restaurant, Blu (also in Montclair). I don't know the details or the latest, so perhaps someone can shed some light on this.

At one time, I heard Zod was allegedly opening "down the street" in the next town over or something, so he can get a liquor license. Personally, I'd like to be this guy's partner and financial guy. Again, I don't know the details or actual plans.

Anyway, as far as Next Door...go there!!!

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