eat. shop. love. nyc.

Maritime Parc Winter Menu

A friend of mine asked me if I might be interested in checking out a place out in Jersey City for dinner. Initially, I scoffed. Jersey City? Do I need a passport? How does one even get to/from Jersey without a car? Does it cost a million dollars to take a taxi? We ended up sharing a car between four people, and it was more than well worth the trip to check out the winter menu at Maritime Parc.

The restaurant is spacious, warm, and modern. It’s the kind of place you can go for a special occasion, but without any stuffiness or discomfort.

Maritime Parc’s executive chef and owner is Chris Siversen, a man who exudes an almost palpable humility and genuineness. His eyes twinkled as he chatted animatedly about his daughter and how she loves to help him out in the kitchen every time she comes to work with him. His food philosophy is one dedicated to seasonal local ingredients, elegant simplicity, and cooking food that is accessible and familiar, but executed exceptionally well in his open kitchen and with a smile on his face.

The cocktail menu at Maritime Parc was designed by Greg Seider of Alphabet City cocktail den Summit Bar.

Named for famous Jersey shipwrecks, the cocktails are inventive, restrained, and mighty tasty.

We started the evening with a bread basket served with a plate of pickled red onions, pickled apples, pickled feta cheese. The mix was pleasantly vinegary with a touch of sweetness, and the crunch of the pickled apples and onions was offset nicely by the give of the feta.

Next up was an appetizer of grilled oysters topped with bacon leek cream sauce, an upscale take on the more traditional Oysters Rockefeller. But really, can you ever go wrong when you combine oysters, bacon, and cream? I think not.

We had a nice bottle of Concerto Gruner Veltliner from Wolfgang Vineyards in Burgenland Austria.

It was a great winter white – full bodied with nice acid, and it did well to cut the heaviness of the cream of the oysters and the cheese in our next dish, an apple chestnut risotto. For me, this dish epitomized winter comfort food. It wasn’t the most beautifully presented dish of the bunch, but I liked the combination of the sweet apple and earthy chestnuts in the rich and creamy risotto.

Then came the lobster with spinach and ricotta gnocchi. Technically, it’s a gnudi and not a gnocchi because there is no potato so the gnudi are very light and pillowy, and they don’t overpower the delicate lobster meat and they don’t need a heavy sauce. This wasn’t my favorite dish of the tasting as I felt like the sauce could have been a little brothier and packed a bigger lobster taste, but that small criticism aside, it was still delicious.

The second fish course was a perfectly cooked fillet of pink snapper with crispy skin, pickled onion, pink grapefruit, lemon, basil, and olive oil. I’m partial to seafood as it is, and I’m a sucker to crispy skinned-anything, so this was easily my favorite dish of the evening.

The pink snapper was served with two hearty family-style sides of roasted brussel sprouts cooked in bacon walnut butter and fried mashed potato rings (donuts) served with a grainy mustard fondue. I got so excited about eating that I forgot to take pics until after we’d already demolished these. Woops. My bad.

The meat course was a venison loin in a juniper reduction, served alongside red cabbage and barley braised in red wine and red vinegar atop a parsnip puree. The parsnip puree was a nice departure from mashed potatoes, lending a slightly sweet dimension to the plate. At this point, I thought my stomach might quite literally explode. This is a very meaty, very filling dish, and while I am possessed of impressive eating faculties, I do have my limits. If you’re really hungry, this would be a great choice. The portion isn’t huge, but it’s so rich that it feels like more food than it is.

The venison was served with a mushroom cassoulet – homnjimeji, king oyster, oyster, and cremini mushrooms combined with mirapois, stock herbs, aromatics, and sauteed with garlic and shallot – and a creamy baked polenta with a crispy parmesan cheese top finished with a dash of truffle oil. If these dishes don’t make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, you might want to check your pulse.

The lovely Michelle Park, NY1’s food and lifestyle reporter and, happily, a longtime friend of mine, asked Chris about where he gets his ingredients. Chris sources his ingredients from a distribution company called Zone 7 that sends him an updated product list every week of seasonal offerings from local farms. He likes to drive out to the farms from time to time, but Zone 7 makes his life easier by consolidating all of the information for the various potential suppliers in one place.

When the servers brought out the desserts, I was torn. On one hand, I was giddy with anticipation. On the other hand, I was cursing the lack of available space in my stomach. But I have discovered that I might have a separate stomach or some small reserve designated for desserts only, and I happily tried a bit of all of the desserts that came out (in order of appearance below): powdered sugar munchkins (not on the menu, served warm and impossibly moist – if Dunkin’ Donuts ever got a hold of this recipe, they might take over the world), the “Poppy-Sicle” (orange poppyseed cake topped with a tangerine creamsicle tube and lemon-yuzu foam), the chocolate tasting trio (milk chocolate pecan pie, dark chocolate brioche pudding, and white hot chocolate), and the deep dish apple pie served a la mode with butterscotch ice cream and a crispy apple cracker.

Woohoo! I love grown-up desserts.

Side note: in the summer, you can actually just take a ferry to the dock and there’s a huge outdoor space right on the water. If you want some primo seats to the Red Bull Air Race, this is the place to grab lunch and hang out all day. While we had a fancypants dinner, there’s also a great bar menu featuring burgers and salads and the like, and in nice weather, Chris fires up the grill on the deck. While I really enjoyed the winter menu, I think this would be even more amazing in summer when you can sit out on the deck and eat lunch and drink beer overlooking the water and the lower Manhattan skyline, make a day of it, yanno?

Eat: Maritime Parc (Jersey City, NJ) 84 Audrey Zapp Drive, Liberty State Park, Jersey City, NJ 07305. (201) 413-0050. Click here to make reservations.


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