When love is infused in most of the dishes on a menu, we run to that place to eat.
A chef that shows passion for the craft of cooking with emphasis on the seasons makes me hungry without saying anything more. So it goes at Uproot, the several month old dream of Executive Chef Anthony Bucco. He says on his carefully worded web site that: “ his food focuses on bold, natural and honest flavors, inspired by nature and prepared with expert craftsmanship.” We agree with him. On a recent visit to Uproot, we were wowed and taken care of. We were introduced to preparations and flavors that didn’t overtake the quality of the ingredients- I am never impressed at too many flavors on a plate. What does impress me is passion to seek quality ingredients, not quantities of them on the menu. The night we dined at Uproot, we could have been eating in a private dining room, although surrounded by several tables. The sound level is muted, the service unobtrusive and the timing impeccable. Upon entering the room a hand crafted metal sculpture is directly overhead in the soaring atrium.
From the outside you have no idea that this room is so impressive. What you do see from the outside is typical of Far Hills or Bernardsville, NJ. Hunt Country chic clothing is a good way of being noticed at Uproot. This is not an inexpensive part of the state, so dress to impress!
Uproot is well priced for the neighborhood. The portion sizes and the prices match the quality of the ingredients. You get much more style and grace in this room than anything else around.
Uproot features the Nordaq water system that is available at a modest charge. If you believe, as we do that your drinking water should be not an afterthought, but an integral part of a meal and how the flavor of the water complements the meal, then order a bottle. Uproot is the only restaurant in New Jersey that offers this state-of-the-art system where the water is triple filtered and minerality, balanced. It is brilliant!
Several cocktails of varying strength charm the palate, as do a robust list of cocktail/bar snacks such as a respectable shrimp cocktail, an Alsatian inspired Goat Cheese Tart and a carefully comprised cheese course with perfectly aged specimens.
The wine list is formidable and contains offbeat, under the radar samplings. We picked a wine (a Bandol) that was brilliant! They also have a very creative beer list.
The Maple (Manhattan) was perfect. I loved the maple sugar on the rim of the glass and GRADE B syrup. It is a nice touch that is very appreciated by this ex-Mainer, weaned on the dark amber syrup.
Bread pudding with my Fois Gras Torchon was toothsome and bold against the liver. A nice glass of Sauternes is a welcome addition. Foie Gras Torchon is a classic interpretation of the flavors without forcing a preparation to over think the flavors-the power of the liver speaks clearly through the presentation. A fig puree is a complement, not a distraction. Salads are similarly flavored and the beets screamed of the soil. The shaved Uproot salad, brimming with mandolin carved Meyer Lemons, toasted pumpkin seeds and Celery leaves are akin to dining in Vienna, Austria. The flavors of the salad are bold and sweet, but not cloying.
My mom-in-law's Black Sea Bass was cooked exactly as she wanted it; she is notoriously picky about food. She likes things extremely pared back, no sauce, and cooked well through. Her portion was prepared as if she was the only one ordering something special at the table, with grace and a smile.
My wife's 21 day aged steak was an exercise in brilliant cooking with care. Her marrowbone, crusted by the broiler had guts! If the meat could speak, it would have been saying, “Eat me!” That’s real FLAVOR and that’s how we like it. I had the wood roasted organic chicken. Anyone who follows my writing knows that I often order the chicken when ordering in a restaurant on assignment. This chicken was reminiscent of the European Bresse Chickens of my youth traveling in Europe. An organically raised chicken that is permitted to scratch around outside just tastes better. Purees of root vegetables (how fitting) complemented the plate. I was enthralled by such a simple yet intelligent preparation. A+ on all courses!
Coffee was of the highest quality, a nice touch as we believe coffee should be an integral part of the meal, not an afterthought.
Uproot is a special place, worthy of your merit and visit. They are not the only game in town, but then they are in my opinion, one of the best restaurants in New Jersey.
9 Mount Bethel Rd
Warren, NJ 07059-5603