Recently, I was invited to dine at Paragon Tap & Table – a restaurant by multi-award winning chef, restaurateur and author Eric LeVine. The esteemed chef and 2011 Food Network’s “Chopped” champion has flipped the script on casual dining with his explosive flavor combinations.
Enter Paragon and you’ll notice that despite the upscale fare, the restaurant has an inviting, casual vibe. Pull up a stool at the bar to watch the big game or sit in the ample dining areas both inside and outside for a sit down brunch or dinner.
Upon being seated in the casual dining setting, Mike and I were greeted by our server. She was professional, friendly and ready to tell us all about the food we were about to enjoy.
I loved learning that all of the meats at Paragon Tap & Table are sourced from local farms that vow to raise their animals hormone/cage-free and the greens are from a local hydroponic farm. The menu options change based on seasons and the fabulous desserts are made in house. This was fine dining in a casual, comfortable setting.
We were treated to the new 6-course tasting menu. I will say that when you come to Paragon Tap & Table for the 6-course tasting menu, come hungry! Each course is a hearty serving sure to leave you full of amazing food worth every penny and very satisfied at the end. No petite portions here.
Each course can be paired with your choice of wine or beer. I chose beer knowing that this gastropub has twenty craft beers on tap! I couldn’t wait to give some a try.
Our first course was sriracha poached shrimp with fennel, edamame and a drizzle of passion fruit juice. This dish was the perfect balance of spicy and sweetness. The passion fruit was a pleasantly unexpected ingredient that brought the dish together. Paired with Ommegang Witte, the flavors came together nicely.
The second course was a crusted lamb chop with warm apples and blue cheese corn bread paired with Rodenback Grand Cru. The lamb chop was perfectly crusted making me almost not want to disturb the beauty.
The warm apples were syrupy and surprisingly spicy thanks to flecks of crushed red pepper. The sweet and spicy combination was right up my alley.
While the blue cheese cornbread was the best combination of savory sweet amazingness! I couldn’t stop eating it. The sour beer was a wonderful pairing with the savory lamb, sweet apples and pungent blue cheese corn bread.
Our third course were the most perfectly seared scallops set over a corn risotto and sweet pea puree paired with 1911 Hard Cider. The cold cider seemed like an odd pairing with the scallops but I’m not a fan of hard ciders so that’s all me, not them. The risotto had kernels of sweet corn throughout and was perfection with the scallops that practically melted in my mouth.
Next came another seafood course with a beautifully flakey sea bass with gnocchi and asparagus paired with Ommegang Glimmerglass. This was my favorite beer of the evening and I can’t wait to track it down to have again at home. I kicked myself later for not having brought a growler of it home from Paragon Tap & Table.
For our fifth course, Troeg’s Chocolate Stout was paired with pork loin, wild mushrooms and white wine mashed potatoes. I was stuffed yet I couldn’t help devour the tender pork and those mashed potatoes, so simple yet utterly irresistible. I’m usually not a fan of stouts at all yet sip after sip, I went back for more of the chocolate stout. It was surprisingly perfect with this course.
Last but most definitely not least came dessert! Freshly make deep, dark chocolate gelato with the most moist, airy espresso-kissed chocolate mousse cake accented by dollops of vanilla cream. Despite being beyond satisfied, very satiated and thoroughly thrilled with the dining experience I had just had, I truly could have gone back for another scoop of that gelato!
When dinner was done, I found myself thinking that the thing that I loved most about dining at Paragon Tap & Table is that Chef Eric LeVine serves up the most interesting and delightfully unexpected flavor combinations. Each course was unique and offered something special. The ingredients were fresh and well thought out.
So if you find yourself in Clark, NJ be sure to stop in at Paragon Tap & Table for the new 6-course tasting menu, brunch every Sunday with their unlimited Bloody Mary & Mimosa bar or for fantastic apps and drink specials! Family dinner, girls night out, first date? No matter what you’re looking for, Paragon Tap & Table has something for everyone.