Much to the dismay of Baristanet’s hyper-local die hards, Hot From The Kettle left the official Baristaville city limits, and drove north on the Parkway to the retail hub of Bergen County — Paramus, NJ. Our destination was Chakra, 144 West State Route 4, Paramus, approximately 11 miles from the geographical center Montclair.
Some restaurants are romantic, but Chakra is more than that — it’s unabashedly hot. With soaring ceilings, cushy, plush “bungalow” banquettes, and cocktails like “Tantric Lemonade,” “Gin Sin” and “Pama Sutra”, Chakra is decadent, hedonistic, and sexy beyond good behavior.
But Chakra isn’t “all show and no go.” The kitchen turns out impeccable meals under the consummate guidance of executive chef, and owner Thomas Ciszak. You won’t see Chef Ciszak as a cheftestant on any food shows, he is a very highly lauded chef. He launched Copeland Restaurant at the Westin Governor Morris Hotel, and is a veteran of The Manor, Shelly’s, and Tavern on the Green.
Trained in Europe, Chef Ciszak is very connected to old world methods and dedicated to the freshest ingredients and finest methods of preparation. He cures his own pancetta and prosciutto, and creates Parmesan stock from Reggiano rinds. Along with these rustic traditions, he combines modern methods like using an immersion circulator to poach eggs perfectly – to the tenth of degree.
Want to take a peek inside Chakra? Click Play.
Chef Ciszak shared his recipes with us:
Tuna Tartar with Coconut Foam
12 oz center cut -sushi grade tuna filet
½ oz tapioca
6 sprigs chives
Pinch of saffron
1 oz high quality lemon oil
8 oz of coconut milk (un sweet)
1 lemon grass
2 oz ginger
1 red Thai chili
3 kaffir leaves
Method of preparation:
To make the coconut foam:
Fill a small saucepot with coconut milk.
Add sliced ginger, Thai chili, chopped lemongrass and sliced kaffir lime leaves.
Add juice of one lime.
Season with salt.
Bring to a simmer and immediately remove from the heat.
Cool down and strain.
To create a foamy consistency, blend the sauce with hand blender and skim from the top to serve.
To make the tuna tartar:
Soak the tapioca in 1 cup of water for about 8 hours.
Cook tapioca gently with water a pinch of salt and saffron until see thru.
Strain and refrigerate.
Cut tuna filet in large dices.
Cut the chives into ½ inch sticks and add to the tuna.
Add the tapioca.
Season with salt, pepper, and lemon oil.
The Bitter Pill:
1 oz. Pimm’s Cup No.1
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. Fair Trade Goji Berry Liquor
Dash of Simple Syrup
Combine all ingredients into mixing glass.
Add ice and shake vigorously.
Strain and pour over fresh ice into Collins glass.
Garnish with an orange twist.