Pavilion on the Pinnacle

NEW AMERICAN CLASSICS: Grilled sea bass is among the restaurant’s seafood selections.

DESTINATION DINING: The Highlawn Pavilion’s main dining room showcases a stellar view of Manhattan.

Set at the summit of the forested Eagle Rock Reservation, the Highlawn Pavilion pairs elegant, old-world design with a spectacular New York City view and a creative classic menu.

Housed in a stately early 1900s structure, the site, which boasts architectural details that include arched windows, stone balustrades and a clay-tile roof, was formerly an open-air Italian-style “casino” or summer house. After years of abandonment, the Knowles family—which also owns the Manor and Pleasantdale Château in West Orange—acquired and extensively renovated the space. The restaurant opened its doors in December 1986 with marble floors, a sweeping iron-railed staircase and a spectacular crystal chandelier to greet guests.

On Tap

Highlawn Pavilion
Eagle Rock Reservation, 381 Eagle Rock Ave., West Orange
The skinny: Elegant dining with a spectacular New York City view.

Today, the fine dining venue offers New American cuisine and French specialties under the guidance of executive chef Mitchell Altholz. Armed with years of culinary credits throughout France and New York, Altholz makes creative use of fresh and local ingredients, including seasonal herbs and produce grown at the nearby Pleasantdale Château Farm and Greenhouse. For starters, warm up with a cup of their freshly picked Jarrahdale squash soup, sweetened with apples and cinnamon glaçage. Or share the charcuterie platter with tasting portions of torchon of foie gras, bresoala wagyu, Serrano ham and country paté. Appetizer choices include the lobster salad, beet salad, and duck and rabbit ravioli served with sautéed foie gras and wild mushrooms in black truffle sauce.

The dinner menu is equally tantalizing. Signature entrées include organic veal osso bucco enhanced with saffron risotto and roasted beets; braised Colorado lamb shank served cassoulet style, with diced carrots and Merguez sauce; and filet mignon accompanied by wild mushrooms, roasted shallots, and celery-root purée in a pinot noir reduction. For seafood lovers, Altholz offers Maine salmon with cauliflower purée and grilled artichokes in a sorrel sauce, as well as diver scallops served in lobster sauce over squid-ink linguine with parmigiano reggiano froth.

Guests may dine in the piano room, which features live entertainment; the main dining room, with its scenic views of New York City; the private wine cellar room; and on the outdoor patio during the warmer months. Reservations are available for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. (Stop in during the holiday season to see the Christmas tree; every year, the Highlawn takes pride in having the largest holiday tree of all restaurants in Essex County.)

The Highlawn Pavilion offers customizable special event and wedding packages. The restaurant is open for lunch, Monday through Friday, noon to 3 pm. Dinner is served Monday through Thursday, 5:30 to 9 pm, Fridays 5:30 to 10 pm, Saturdays, 5 to 10 pm, and on Sundays, 5 to 9 pm.

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