Last Thursday, before Nemo hit Montclair, we visited 12 West, which was packed with diners for a soft opening event. The restaurant has been completely transformed from its days as Montclair Station. The new space is polished and sleek, with a long bar along one side of the restaurant and booths flanking the windows overlooking the train platform. Another dining area is separated by an attractive wood lattice treatment.
Yes, the bar has flat screens, but long gone is the ghost of the old space’s sports bar feel. Both the menu and decor reflect a more sophisticated dining experience. It’s easy to envision yourself in the elegant, yet welcoming space having drinks after a movie at the Bellevue or sitting down for a business lunch or romantic dinner.
Jerry Rubacky, who has opened acclaimed restaurants in California and Utah, has returned to his boyhood home of Montclair to open 12 West. Rubacky’s family was on hand to support his new venture, including sister and Montclair realtor Katie Severance. Rubacky brings executive chef Shawn Paul Dalziel, who notably worked as executive chef at Upper West Side’s Recipe.
What we tried: Dalziel’s deftly prepared grilled Atlantic salmon with almond cous cous, stone fruit-endive and a charred miso-peach emulsion and a perfectly cooked grilled hanger steak with chimichurri, creamy whipped potatoes and roasted carrots. What we noticed: attractive, friendly bartenders, attentive servers and management and a lot of attention to detail. Verdict? A great first visit that leaves us wanting to try more.
12 West Restaurant & Bar, 275 Bellevue Ave.. Upper Montclair, 973-337-5813, reservations suggested.