70 Greene Street
Jersey City, NJ Map it
New restaurant brings dressed-up bistro fare to Downtown Jersey City
Published: Wednesday, June 29, 2011, 4:28 PM
Adam Robb/For The Jersey Journal
Cityside Bistro officially opened its doors for lunch and dinner last week, anchoring 70 Greene St. in Downtown Jersey City with its first restaurant two years after the residential complex completed construction.
The new bistro -- a first attempt at fine dining from the owners of O'Hara's Downtown
on First Street -- combines an eclectic collection of design elements with a moderately priced, modern-American menu prepared by executive chef Gregory Moylan, a Jersey City native, and former sous chef at nearby Marco & Pepe
So, while flatscreen televisions are mounted over the bar, a waterfall wall flows opposite it, and blown-up photographs of neighborhood landmarks like the Colgate clock fill the walls, nothing overshadows Moylan's menu of dressed-up bistro fare.
Seafood dishes dominate most categories. Quail eggs sink into crabcakes, red snapper arches over a bed of clams, and shrimp spiral up from a shellfish stew, making dishes hearty and elegant, something Moylan learned working for David Pasternak and Mario Batali at their Hell's Kitchen seafood spot Esca.
Instead of attending culinary school, Moylan, a graduate of Bayonne High School, opted to work his way up through the industry working for some of New York's greatest chefs.
"I started when I was about 15 years old as a busboy," Moylan explained, working his way up as a dishwasher, prep cook, then working on the line.
Moylan was a line cook for April Bloomfield at her iconic West Village gastropub the Spotted Pig, where "attention to detail, attention to detail, attention to detail" was drilled into him, giving the tunnel vision and discipline that makes his new position such a pleasure.
"She's scary, but one of the best," Moylan told us of working for Bloomfield, saying of his work now, "this is second nature to me, it's no problem."
Of the many lessons Moylan learned in Bloomfield's kitchen was how to work with fats, and it's especially apparent in his execution of a hearty duck a l'orange entree, which turns the classic French dish into upscale soul food, sharing a plate with green beans tossed with stewed onions piled beside a cheesy risotto.
But right now, with no menu in the window or a working website yet, what draws most passersby to Cityside Bistro's open doors is the lengthy bar that wraps around the restaurant's front room. Holding court on high chairs that first week were local hospital executives and bankers, upstairs residents, even Peter Mocco, the former North Bergen mayor and Liberty Harbor North
developer, there talking up his plans to reopen the legendary Sandbar
in the coming weeks.
Those at the bar figured out something few patrons dining outside behind secluded topiary may have discovered -- the full menu is available at the bar as well.