When I first found out about the Stern and Bow, it was because my husband and I were bored out of our skulls. We had gotten to the point where we had visited the local restaurant scene so many times, it no longer felt special. My husband decided to look for some seafood, and wow! New restaurant that didn’t come up on our radar before.
What a great place this is!
So, I’ll be the first to say that this is going to be an unusual trip, because we had to go twice. The first time, there was no one there. The second, we got to see it when it was a fever pitch. What we found both times impressed us.
Oh my god, where do I begin? As a New Jerseyan, I’ll be the first to say that our state doesn’t always have good seafood. The Stern and Bow is an exception to that rule. The food here is not only ocean-fresh, but it also is cooked impeccably well. If you’ve ever lived in New Jersey, you know how hard it is to get seafood that isn’t a typical take. That makes it all the better.
I loved their lobster rolls. My husband adored having their pasta primavera, which was served perfectly al dente. Though I also tried their crawfish (ah-mazing and spicy AF!), their real crown gem was their New Orleans Gumbo. Who could have thought that such a petite bowl could pack so much flavor and satisfy a hunger as big as mine?!
So, there’s a couple of things that I want to point out here:
- Their menu is heavily influenced by Louisiana fare. Actually, I’d say it’s more inspired by all of America’s hotspots for ocean fare. I saw some Maine, some Louisiana,and even a little bit of Cali.
- The raw bar here is outstanding. The selection alone is worth an entire article on its own, really.
- You can’t go wrong with anything here. Even the bread they brought to the table is a good choice.
When you have a full menu filled to the brim with signature drinks, it’s hard not to write about it. The drinks here are innovative, flavorful, and pointedly artisan. Expect to see seasonal changes and subtle nuances that make each sip rewarding AF.
While I did try to avoid drinking on my restaurant outings, the truth is that the bar here would be able to put most New York City bars to shame. That’s a massive compliment from a person who wants to live there for the bar scene alone.
What really floored me about the Stern and Bow were the people behind it. This is the type of restaurant that can only happen when the entire staff is equally passionate about what they do. That’s why the head of NY Oyster Week is in charge of the raw bar, and why you have restaurateur Russell Stern at the helm.
At one point, I actually had a run-in with the owner. He was able to regale our table with tales of checking out his first oyster shots in Louisiana, and even offered us a taste of the crayfish. He’s super-friendly, and that just kind of goes with the type of magic that you see in this restaurant’s ambiance.
Speaking of ambiance…
If there is one pet peeve that I hate seeing in seafood restaurants, it’s the way that so many of them seem to want to be Red Lobster or Joe’s Crab Shack copycats. And, you know what I mean by that.
We’ve seen it all. All the fisherman gear, the cheesy nets, and the same lighting since 1984. In New Jersey, it almost seems like that’s a requirement. I hope I don’t need to need to tell you that this is not the case with Stern and Bow, right? Right.
Stern and Bow still carries oceanic nods to style, often found in its color choices. However, it’s not a cheesy look. It’s hard to ignore the nice table settings, the trippy modern artwork on the walls, and the overall sleek look to the place.
The Overall Verdict
The Stern and Bow might just be one of the best seafood restaurants in New Jersey, and I’m not saying that lightly. This is the type of restaurant that you can go to with friends after work, but also works perfectly well for a date night where you want to impress that special someone. As for me, I’m pretty sure I just found my new go-to near home.
Stern And Bow
|171 Schraalenburgh Road, Closter, New Jersey 07624, United States 201.750.3350|