Restaurants & Bars

Best molecular gastronomy in NYC is in Montclair, NJ at Adara! [moved from Manhattan board]

StevenCinNYC | Dec 11, 201109:51 PM     13

Please excuse me for being off topic, but this place is good enough and close enough to be here.

Plus, at least during the week, it's accessible by train from Manhattan, straight shot by train, just across from the station. It's that easy, but not on the weekend because that train line (Boonton) that stops at Walnut St. in Montclair doesn't run (another one does, that goes to Bay St, a bit further away, does).

I went today to visit friends who live in Montclair and had a really great, innovative, and exciting meal. I have a very low regard for WD-50 (all intellect and pretense, no sensuality) and totally miss Tailor. Corton is very innovative, but is overdone with and super expensive. Dovetail is wonderful and innovative, they deconstruct, but they're not really molecular. There was a great place in Seattle called Veil, but, like Tailor, it closed. I don't want the same fate to befall Adara, especially since the chef's next move is likely to be a spot in NYC!

Adara is small and personal with great, exciting food. It's unpretentious, not too expensive, and the best molecular gastronomy in the area.

They have several menu options
A la carte
3-course ($59)
5-course ($79)
7-course ($105)
12-course ($165)

We had the 5-course. There were 5 of us, my friends and their two kids who are 7 and 4. I want to point out that these kids are exceptional, and others their ages might enjoy the menu as much as they did. That said, the restaurant was very gracious and kind to them.

I've pasted the whole menu below, but there were also multiple amuses which were like courses on their own. These included
Umi amuse with hickory smoke, umi lobster espuma and umi ice cream
(the smoke is trapped under a glass that is hollowed out on top with espuma, ice cream underneath the glass)

Keffir lime donut hole, mango sponge, white chocolate lime ice cream, lavender gel, mango sauce. The dessert amuse! This was absolutely incredible--probably the best dish of the whole meal.

There was also a banana bread with white chocolate shavings and a cream cheese sauce.

There may have been another amuse I missed here.

I also have to mention their "brioche" which this yeast-less bread that they make with nitrous--it's fun and doughy and yummy with butter.

The whole meal was great.

I didn't try the clam chowder, but my friends enjoyed it, and one of the children really loved the quail egg and doesn't want chicken eggs any more!

The suspended melon gazpacho was more than thick--it was in a firm sake gel. The flavor was very good, the texture was a little unsettling, but it worked.

Campania didn't work too well. I thought it was the weakest dish of the night, but even so it had some redeeming qualities. The evo gelato--olive oil as I recall--was the best part. The problem was the mozzarella which, in order to inflate as a balloon, they soaked in water which left it rubbery, but it was also bland mozzarella, I don't think it would have tasted so great even prior to the manipulations.

Natura Mia was a great salad. The interesting highlight was the marshmallows.

I didn't get to try the White Truffle Envelope, but the vanilla lobster was great. The vanilla butter sous vide process imparted a very nice flavor though the completion of the cooking process left the meat a bit chewy (not as good as Nana's in RTP where they using a béchamel cooking medium to keep it moist and tender).

The sea scallops were very flavorful. The filet was really great. The sous vide had the greatest impact here--incredibly flavorful, tender--we ordered it rare, and it was great, though the chili sauce was too spicy for me and the kids.

We ended up trying three desserts, all of which were great, including the cucumber sorbet (really!). My favorite elements in the desserts was the tahini ice cream in the cranberry almond dish.

I don't think I've really done it justice, but it was a great meal. We all loved it and wanted to go back, young and old alike.

77 Walnut Street Montclair, New Jersey 07042
(973) 783-0462

5 course


ne clam chowder
quail egg/masago/maple pancetta/deep sea win

suspended melon gazpacho*
sambuca/almond cream/herbal varietals/sake


heirloom tomatoes/mozzarella "balloon"/evo gelato/basil

natura mia
nasturtium/hearts of palm/savory marshmallow/aromatics


white truffle envelope*
hudson valley foie gras/kumquat mostarda/pomegranate/pistachio/cappuccino

vanilla lobster
champagne/baby fennel/corn/umeboshi


acqua di gio*
sea scallops/baby octopus/peas and carrots/bacon/chaat

filet anti cucho*
purple potato/manchego/porcini soil/avocado


bittersweet chocolate orb
chevre/black cherry/violet/orange blossom nectar/smoky cocoa nibs

cucumber shiso sorbet
warm matcha sponge/yuzu ginger/basil seeds/shiso


We ordered an extra dessert:
sesame and cranberry
tahini ice cream/halva soil/ black sesame

They also have these great Mocktails (Tulsi is the best/most interesting):

green tea/lemongrass fizz/kava kava/yuzu cotton candy

vudu snafu
red verjus/strawberry/grenadine/blood orange granita/tropical punch effervescence

coconut water/basil/galanga/mango/lychee caviar

iced hibiscus tea/rasberry ginger beer/bay leaves/sugarcane/ginseng/vanilla/pineapple

bloody maya
meyer lemon lassi/tomato rasam espuma/celery

lady grey
iced earl grey tea/vanilla cream/lavender vapor/carbonated grapes

nude buddha
sparkling asian pear/fennel/ginger mint/egg white/jasmine bubbles


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