Having arrived from the great Out-West, Andrea and Jim Carbine have carved their dining niche in Cranford. With Au Toute Heure opening more than seven years ago, and now, the stunning, new 100 Steps located just 100 Steps from A Toute Heure on Centennial Ave., the charming couple adhere to the adage, “Fresh is Best”!
Adding to your dining pleasure is their culinary team, Executive and Celebrity Chef Kara Decker, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, who has not only served as executive chef at A Toute Heure for nearly seven years, she serves as Master Chef at the new and exciting 100 Steps. which opened several months ago. Recognized in the first edition of Best Chefs in America, assisting Executive Chef Decker are, Chef de Cuisine Robyn Reiss, and Sous Chef Kelly Zavalla.
When questioning the motive for opening a new restaurant in this sluggish, economic market, Andrea Carbine smiled, “It was time to open another place of business. We all needed a new challenge. The area needed a new and exciting place to dine, and of course, our customers deserved and needed a new and exciting taste!
”What better taste than Oysters? Along with their East and West Coast Oyster Bar, (shucker’s choice), you’re able to feast on New Jersey littleneck clams, baked oysters, and a dish of 3 oysters, (shucker’s choice), spicy chile, with roasted garlic butter, pancetta, and crispy bread crumbs, broiled, ($6).
“Our menu in our dining room features ‘Small Plates’ Tapas Style,” She continues. “Guests are welcome to sample several small plates, or share with their dining partners. That way, they have more access to our menu.)
One Hundred Steps offers a grand Seafood Tower consisting of 1 1/2 dozen oysters, (3 of each), 1/2 dozen littleneck clams, crab claws, 4 pieces of shrimp cocktail, yellowtail ceviche, and marinated lobster knuckle + claw, ($100).
For the exciting Happy Hour Menu, served from 4 to 5:30 p.m., Thursday to Saturday, guests feast on small plates, ($6 each). For example: Warm Castelvetano Olives, Tomato, Thyme, Lemon and Orange Confit, Coppa whole grain mustard on Sourdough Bread, Ladaff or Pawlett reserve cheese on Sourdough Bread, or a trio of house deviled eggs, ($6 each).
Bar sandwiches, ($5 each), offer another winning trio of favorites: Fried clam belly mini sandwich, charred avocado puree, preserved lemon chimichurri on a brioche bun; Crispy fried chicken thigh sandwich, house-made pickles, pimento spread on a brioche bun; and crispy fried squid, garlic aioli and arugula greens, on a brioche bun. ($5 each).
You’ll also enjoy 100 Steps Mocktails ($4 each). Not so dark + stormy ginger puree, lime juice, seltzer; NO-Jito, lime juice, muddled mint, seltzer, and No-Groni, grapefruit soda, orange simple syrup, and a dash of bitters.
But it’s definitely the Cheeseboards offering of 3 cheeses from Saxelbys’ in Manhattan’s Essex Street Market, and others, that will surely encourage your visit to 100 Steps. Board # 3 features: Melville, Lorenzo, and Dunbarton Blue served with apple, honeycomb, and shallot chutney. Priced at $26 each, all Cheeseboards offer a selection of three cheeses, and arrive with house-made sourdough bread. The menu also highlights a selection of Pastas and Plates, as in Fried heirloom potatoes, crispy chicken skin, blu cheese aioli, celery leaves, and One Hundred Steps Hot Sauce, ($15).
Because the Carbine’s take time to select only the finest products and ingredients,, you’ll enjoy 100 Steps blend coffee from Small World Roasters in Princeton. A pressed pot for two, $5, while a pressed pot for four, ($10.)
The highlighted dessert is Sticky Toffee Pudding, with creme fraiche, frosting, orange marmalade, and candied walnuts, a Salted Caramel Budino, or whipped cream on a brown butter cookie, and an array of chocolate truffles, or dark chocolate gelato, house-made truffles, langue de chat cookies, and all are prepared in-house ($10.00 each).
Other Menu choices, feature a selection of Pastas and Plates, the staff at A Toute Heurre and 100 Steps, know that both restaurants offer a truly delightful experience. And no matter what, you’ll not be disappointed.
Happy Monday! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day.
CRANFORD RESTAURANT HIGHLIGHTS
A TOUTE HEURE
232 Centennial Ave., Cranford
215 Centennial Ave., Cranford
Hours: 100 Steps: Dinner: 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday
to Saturday; Happy Hour: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, 4 to 5:30 p.m.
Hours:Au Toute Heure: Closed Monday: Lunch: Noon to 1:45 p.m. Tuesday to Friday. Dinner: 5 p;m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Friday. 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday.
Major credit cards accepted. Tables are reserved, but Walk-Ins are welcome. Street parking. Major credit cards accepted. Handicap accessible. BYOB.
ON MILLICENT’S MENU
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Millicent K. Brody is an award-winning writer and photographer and a resident of Westfield, New Jersey. Contact her at Mkbrody@aol.com
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