Taste of Bloomfield Exceeds Expectations
The annual Oakeside Mansion event was more popular than ever this year
Perhaps because of the beautiful weather or perhaps because of the recent success of Restaurant Week, the annual Taste of Bloomfield event drew an unexpectedly large crowd this year. The event was almost too successful, said some of the participating restaurant owners, who ran out of food before the evening was over.
“Last year, we had so much food left over. This year, they came all at once,” marveled Quang Tran, co-owner of Mes Reves. Tran, along with wife Tammie and sous chef Michael Albano, served hundreds of crab cakes and muchroom tarts to the appreciative crowd at the Oakeside Mansion on April 15. They were gone in a flash.
“Next year, we’ll bring more,” he vowed.
“It was absolutely busier than last year,” agreed Paul Brewster co-owner of the Glen Ridge pub-restaurant Fitzgerald’s 1928. He attributed part of the success of the event to the fact that it came on the heels of Restaurant Week. “We had a huge reaction from people who saw Patch or went on the Restaurant Week website.”
In a large tent set up behind the property, many people said they had lined up to sample tempting offerings from the Orange Squirrel Restaurant. Owners Francesco Palmieri and wife Elaine were pleased at the popularity of their menu, which included veal cheese steak, pepperonata, applewood smoked bacon and profiteroles.
“It’s always great to have an outcome that exceeds people’s expectations,” smiled Palmieri.
“The weather was perfect. We had a constant flow of people. Everyone loved everything,” commented Tom Van Beveren, chef and Express manager of ShopRite. The supermarket’s table featured a tempting array of crowd favorites like chicken wings and sushi.
Despite the popularity of the offerings, Van Beveren said he had not run out of food. “Because we’re ShopRite, you know? We know how much to bring.”
Kim Reilly, Executive Director of Oakeside, said she was pleased with the event in every way. “Everybody pitched in. We were all happy. It worked out very well for everyone.”