Set in the back of a large shopping center on Central Ave. in Clark, Paragon Tap & Table is designed as a gastropub with Chopped Champion Chef Eric LeVine at the helm.
Actually, the accomplished Chef LeVine is the culinary captain of another ship in Randolph, NJ called The Morris Tap and Grill, and he has earned more awards for his culinary artwork than there are beers on both places' menus.
And there are many of those.
Always searching for good beer, good pubs and good people (hey, it's what I DO!), I took the run up the GSP with the missus to partake in the "soft opening" of the PT&T, which is very much like a mighty ship's "shakedown cruise." At this event, the owners, managers, chefs and servers get to prove themselves under pressure, and last night the place was packed and the pressure was palpable.
No biggie. That's what shakedown cruises/soft openings are meant to do: learn what needs attention.
And General Manager Mike DeSimone handled that issue with efficiency and aplomb.
|General Manager Mike DeSimone|
While it took a while for the kitchen and staff to get their "sea legs," (another given for a soft opening) when the food arrived it was simply incredible. Everyone in my group raved about their food. I had Pork and Pear Ravioli that was both unusual and delicious. If you read the link to Chef LeVine above, you'll know that such creations constitute his calling card.
Like a cruise ship, PT&T is decidedly NOT the place to be on a diet. The food at PT&T is as much a delight for the eyes as it is for the palate, from appetizers to entrees. And part of the staff's training will be to learn which beers complement which dishes best. That policy is already in full effect at the Morris Tap and Grill.
Many couples choose cruises as a honeymoon trip. With outstanding food of high pedigree and exceptional beers flowing, I have a feeling that the Paragon Tap and Table Honeymoon Cruise will last a long time.
It opens officially on September 10. Bon Voyage!