The Star Ledger‘s food reporter, Teresa Politano, was recently back at CulinAriane, the Montclair restaurant owned by Verona’s Ariane and Michael Duarte. Here’s a small piece of the story that ran in Friday’s paper:
“It would be wrong to compare Duarte to a phoenix; there was no crash and burn. And it would be wrong to imply that she has reinvented herself. She was already a good chef — even, sometimes, flashing with brilliance. But now she’s a great chef — more nuanced, polished, sure.
It’s no wonder you have so much trouble securing a table at this restaurant, years after Duarte’s television buzz has been supplanted by the continuous hum of one Jersey chef TV star after another — and despite a renovation that increased seating at this tiny restaurant by 50 percent, to 48. We would be hard pressed to recall a better meal recently, start to finish, in the state.