In Bloomfield is the trendy Essex Junction Craft Kitchen & Bar. It’s big, spacious, and located close to the train station so it’s incredibly convenient to get to if you want to have a few drinks and don’t feel like taking Uber home.
Let’s start with the service. The hostess was very kind, and our waiter, Mike did a wonderful job. He was charming and surprisingly knowledgeable about the menu despite it only being his second day on the job. If he wasn’t certain about the answer to a question that was asked, rather than just fake his way through it, he actually took the time to go and ask to make sure. He was attentive without being annoying and hovering, so that was also a plus.
Onto the menu. The menu isn’t huge, which isn’t technically a problem as, personally, it’s more about the quality of food than how big the menu is. On the Small Plates menu were 14 items which offered a good mix of vegetarian dishes, light and heavier selections, and options for those who just want something delicious regardless of what it has in it. One of the good aspects of the menu is that it’s labeled with “VG” (vegetarian), “GF” (gluten free), and “V” (vegan) so it’s easy to navigate.
Up first were three starters. The crab cake ($15) came with chipotle aioli and a pineapple chutney, and Mike made sure to inform us that it had no fillers. It was light, delicious, flavorful, and filling; it’s an excellent choice for those who are looking to start with a seafood dish. Onto the Fried Brussel Sprouts ($8) with sweet soy, sriracha, shallots, and garlic. These were absolutely phenomenal. They were light and flaky, not heavy or greasy at all, yet they had some crunch to them and were packed with deliciousness. Now let’s talk the cheese board ($18). It came with three kinds of artisan cheese (blue cheese, drunken goat, and kunik as we were told) along with pickled vegetables, bacon jam, mustard seeds, and peasant bread. There were also some slices of oranges. Two of us split it, so there was a slice of the kunik, two small slices of the drunken goat, and splitting of the blue cheese for each of us. However, what was a bit disappointing was that the cheese board on the menu was mislabeled as “vegetarian” when this dish contained bacon jam.
Onto the entrees at Essex Junction Craft Kitchen & Bar. Up for review was the Salmon with purple Peruvian mash and haricot verts ($21) as well as the Diver scallops with crispy mushrooms, romanesco, and carrot puree ($28). Frankly, there was not one bad thing to say about either dish. The scallops and salmon were cooked perfectly, the crispy mushrooms were just right to offer a fabulous texture without reaching burnt taste or consistency, the Peruvian mash and carrot puree were ideal accompaniments, and the haricot verts and romanesco tasted fresh and were just crisp enough where they provided the desired crunch.
As far as the drinks at Essex Junction Craft Kitchen & Bar, sure there’s a good variety of beer available, but you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t try the legend cocktails. They’re fantastic and they were extremely well made. Not one was too strong or too weak, the ingredients were perfectly blended, and there was not one negative to say about them at all.
Lastly, let’s talk dessert, specifically the Anthony’s New York Cheesecake ($8) and the Chocolate mousse with whipped cream and berries ($8). You know when you eat something and you start getting full but it’s so delicious that you start having an internal struggle with yourself between just going for it and finishing it off or backing down? Yea that happened with the desserts but they were SO worth every single bite.
With that said, Essex Junction Craft Kitchen & Bar is certainly worth a visit. It was such a great time made even better by kind staff, delicious food, phenomenal drinks and a welcoming atmosphere.
Essex Junction Craft Kitchen & Bar
90 Washington Street
Bloomfield, NJ 07003
Disclaimer: The products reviewed in this article were generously provided by Essex Junction Craft Kitchen & Bar. However, the opinions are my own and are fair and accurate based on my own experiences. Results and opinions may not be the same for everyone.