12 Lackawanna Street
The skinny: Casual fine dining in a trendy atmosphere with an eclectic menu.
Opened last june, Sublime brings a bit of flair to the town of Gladstone, with a contemporary design and diverse menu.
The interior balances shades of espresso brown and crisp white, with dim lighting that lends a sensual atmosphere. The contemporary dining room boasts cushioned seats, a chocolate accent wall and small globe chandeliers that illuminate a playful geometric pattern on the ceiling. A small lounge area, complete with leather couch and bar seating, is tucked behind a cream-colored divider. The bar, adjacent to the lounge, is small, but inviting, built of glass tiles, illuminated with shades of blue to create a ice-like appearance.
Owner and executive chef Scott Howslett fashioned a new look for the space, which previously housed Opah Grille. Prior to opening Sublime, Howslett served as executive chef for all three Sushi Lounge locations (Morristown, Totowa and Hoboken). His resume also includes stints in New York, Florida, Japan and Mexico. It is no wonder his menu is culturally diverse.
To start, there’s the caprese salad, a classic antipasto, or the all-American—a feel-good chicken noodle soup—with winter vegetables, herbs, shredded chicken and udon noodles. Howslett’s appetizers include curried mussels, cooked in a Thai red-curry sauce with kaffir-lime leaf, cilantro and Thai bird chili and baked brie, with toasted macadamia nuts and basil honey.
Seafood is prominent among the entrée selections, but for those who enjoy something a little heavier, the menu offers that as well. Along with choices such as the tuna khatsu, a panko breaded and deep-fried ahi tuna loin served over truffled fingerling home fries with Thai red-curry sauce and sea scallops, there is sweet and sour chicken as well as filet mignon, wrapped in applewood-smoked bacon over chipotle smashed potatoes with buttermilk hush puppies and maple gastrique.
An extensive wine list is accompanied by a drink menu offering exotic mixes like the Jasmine Blossom martini, prepared with Firefly Sweet tea vodka, Bacardi Limon and Jasmine simple syrup garnished with an orchid, and the cucumber mint Mojito, made with freshly muddled cucumbers. Tempting desserts include milk-chocolate praline pudding, an artisanal cheese platter and drunken berries.
Sublime’s main dining area seats 68 with additional seating for 30 in a separate, semi-private room, at the bar lounge and, weather permitting, on the patio. Dinner is served Monday through Saturday, 5 to 10 pm, while the bar remains open until 1 am weekdays and 2 am weekends.
Raise Your Glass
In this new feature, we’ll meet local wine aficionados from sommeliers to wine shop owners and industry consultants who will offer insights into their businesses and tips for finding and enjoying wine.
This issue, we talk with David Mendez, co-owner of Grapeful Palate, a Morristown-based wine shop that opened in October 2009 and specializes in wines from family-owned and -operated wineries and vineyards.
What distinguishes the artisan wines you carry from other varieties?
Most of the wines we carry come from wineries that produce fewer than 5,000 cases—and some are from wineries that produce just a couple of hundred cases. To put this in context, most of the larger producers out there are making hundreds—sometimes millions—of cases a year. When a winery has a limited production, they are able to really focus on the quality.
Is there a difference in the way smaller production wines are manufactured?
The difference you will find is in the attention to detail. One example of this is that smaller producers tend to harvest by hand as opposed to by machine, enabling them to pay special attention to choosing the best grapes—you just aren’t going to get this level of care and quality control with a mass-produced wine.
A lot of wineries, particularly the smaller ones, are also turning to sustainable farming practices; they aren’t using pesticides and chemicals in their vineyards. This produces a fresh, clean juice that allows the unique characteristics of the terroir to best express itself in the wine. Terroir is a term used to describe the local climate, soil and geography of a certain place.
Are artisan wines more or less expensive than products produced on a larger scale?
These wines come at all price points and most of the wines in our store are between $10-$35. It’s not that you are necessarily paying less, I think the key difference in terms of price is that you can often find better values from some of the smaller wineries.
What tips can you offer for selecting wines?
The most important thing I tell people is, don’t be afraid to try new wines—look for different regions, producers and varietals. When you go into a store, make sure you talk to the staff about what you like and what you don’t so they can help you find new wines that you’ll enjoy. The best way to develop your palate is to sample as much wine as you can. Many wine shops, including ours, offer free samplings—make sure you take advantage of these.
A few selections from Grapeful Palate’s list:
Ravines 2008 dry riesling—Finger Lakes, New York; $18. Elegant dry style with complex aromas of citrus, pears and lilies. This wine has distinctive minerality and vibrant acidity. Pair with salads, shellfish and chicken stir fry.
Bergstrom 2009 Old Stones chardonnay—Willamette Valley, Oregon; $24. A lush and expansive chardonnay with notes of citrus, peach, apples and hazelnut. Creamy and silky with a persistent finish. Pair with seafood, roasted poultry and cheese platters.
Cruz Andina 2007 malbec—Mendoza, Argentina; $25. A rich and lush malbec with layers of ripe black cherry and blueberry, spicy black pepper and mocha notes. This wine has delicate tannins and great length on the finish. Pair with Manchego and other firm cheeses, pasta dishes with meat sauce, beef and game.
Barone Ricasoli 2006 Castello di Brolio Chianti Classico—$72; The number-five wine on the 2009 Wine Spectator top 100 list. This Chianti Classico is full bodied, with notes of berries and licorice. Fine tannins, well balanced with a long finish. Pair with pasta dishes, lamb chops, beef and roasted duck.
The Grapeful Palate, 66 South Street, Morristown, 973-859-0527