| Date Night | Talde Jersey City
The DATE NIGHT series on BURBS + A BBQ spotlights local restaurants and adult playtime activities for those fleeting but important couples-only nights. It's been a minute since the opportunity arose around B+aBBQ headquarters, but last night it was on like Donkey Kong at Talde Jersey City. And I'm still dreaming about it this morning. Dreaming and scheming. How can I get more? Can I have bao for breakfast? Does anyone deliver 8 AM pretzel pork and chive dumplings or tuna spring rolls? Can we get another babysitter tonight?
I have a problem, and the only solution is more Talde Jersey City.
On Tuesday night, the Love of My Life and I ducked into Carrino Provisions to piece together that night's meal about fifteen minutes before that night's dinner guests arrived at our home. Three of the owners/partners, Anthony Carrino, Dale Talde and David Massoni, just happened to be having a quick tete-a-tete in the market. Naturally I interrupted (bombarded? Bum-rushed?) them to thank them profusely for changing our neighborhood with all of this goodness.
After last night's Date Night dinner at Talde Jersey City, I want to thank them all over again. Dale, David and John: you've done good for the tastebuds of every Chilltown resident. And judging from the packed crowd on a Wednesday night, the tastebuds of many visiting borough residents (who will now want to move to our amazing little city. Dammit!).
Confession: I don't watch Top Chef, so I didn't go in there loaded with Mr. Talde's TV-show fame. I have read plenty of hype about the food, however (my kind of hype!) and based on how much I already love the restaurant's sister market, and how much I have been anticipating this meal and evening, I was more than excited.
The Love of My Life and I have not had a Date Night in for.ever. and my growing list of must-try's in Jersey City is becoming so long and the anticipation level so high, it's starting to quiver and quake. So yeah, combining all of the above, it was time.
My Love and I met up after work at the bar inside Talde JC (he came straight from the office and I from the, err, home office). That was fun in itself and reminiscent of the early days, where we didn't watch each other get ready and co-attempt leaving the house five times (because I forget my keys, then my phone, then my wallet, then my...).
I highly recommend the meet-at-destination as a deliberate Date Night tactic; the surprise-and-delight factor sets the perfect tone for such an occasion.
My Love arrived first, so a Navy Grog cocktail (el dorado rum, honey syrup, lime and grapefruit juices) was already waiting for me. He really does know me well. It was so refreshing and delicious, lightly -- but not overly -- sweet, and oops, I accidentally chugged it in the first 20 minutes or less.
As he and I began to chat and catch up about our respective days, we realized that we didn't want to move to a table. We were loving our little corner of the bar and so, opted for the bar menu (check out the full menu here). That limited our options, but already anticipating many return visits, we weren't worried. We love sharing small plates, and always used to eat that way pre-baby, so it felt very us -- the couple us (i.e. perfect for Date Night) as opposed to the family-style us.
The restaurant serves casual Asian-American cuisine. Everything sounded tempting, honestly, but we chose the Pretzel Pork and Chive Dumplings, the MC Bao, the Tuna Tartar Spring Roll and the Kung Pao Chicken Wings. Since I gulped cocktail numero uno, we went for number two and played a game of "I order yours, you order mine." But surprise, surprise, we went for the same thing: a lychee martini (broker’s gin, lychee liquor, lychee sake, lemon-lime bitters).
Our bartender (and server) was lovely and took perfect care of us, which is to say she left us alone but was there whenever we needed her.
Every bite and every sip seemed to be another exclamation of, "Wow! This is so delicious!" from one, the other, or both of us. The spring rolls were light and crispy on the outside, but the tuna was cool and fresh once you bit in. The dumplings melded the savory flavors of a pork dumpling, while the spicy mustard dipping sauce brought out the pretzel twist. The MC bao (char siu boneless ribs with pickles) was s-crumptious, with perfectly cooked meat punctuating the soft buns. Lastly, the kung pao chicken wings (I had been craving wings for some reason, so this was one hell of a way to satiate that need!), which were again, deliciously savory and flavorful. We were thrilled with our choices, and very full.
I was also quite tipsy, because the last time mama had two cocktails in quick succession was, um, oh right, a very long time ago. We tried to head over to Dullboy bar even so (another spot on my dying-to-try list) for a cocktail-and-oysters dessert, but there was a private party until 10 PM last night preventing our entry. So that's tabled for the next opportunity.
Instead, my date totally got to take me home. Because, you know, we both live there.
If you're keeping a Date Night must-try list, I implore you to push TaldeJC to the very tippity top.
Find Talde Jersey City on the interwebs (and then in person as quickly as possible):