Many bemoaned the loss of Bar Cara in Bloomfield when it shut its doors mid-July of this year. However, as the bright umbrellas and patio tables attest, the father-son team of Dennis Lukic and executive chef Chris Lukic have risen to the challenge to ensure Broad Street wasn’t left with a culinary void for long. Yellow Plum is a worthy addition to Bloomfield’s collection of eateries, and its menu adds flavor and class for the entire family.
Yellow Plum has kept the divided, peek-a-boo layout that Bar Cara had. It feels elegant without being stuffy. The bar is classic, well-stocked, and feels welcoming for a solo drink or to meet friends.
Once seated in the dining room, patrons are greeted with fresh bread and two choices for dipping. There was an olive oil and balsamic dish which was lovely, but our entire party loved the white bean and garlic dip. Truly delicious! In response to our inquiries about child-friendly options, our server assured us that the chef, Chris Lukic, was happy to adapt any plate, but that the macaroni and cheese was a favorite with children, and the homemade pasta could also be served with a red sauce or butter. Options of a grilled cheese or the BLT sliders were also recommended.
My kids went with the macaroni and cheese and pasta with red sauce. We all agreed that the macaroni and cheese was the very best we’d had. Ever. The red sauce, served on the same homemade pasta as the macaroni and cheese, was rich and tasty, so “red” isn’t at all a fair description. It had mild spice and a true depth to its flavor.
My husband and I argued over who would order the Burrata and Heirloom Tomato appetizer; I won. It was lovely, surrounded by olive oil and lightly seasoned. The Burrata appetizer is perfect before a heavier entree. Losing the Burrata appetizer to me turned out alright for my better half. He enjoyed the Crab Cake and Pork Belly. The one improvement would be to allow the crab cake a chance to show off its own flavors more, without other savory distractions.
A roasted corn risotto arrived, hot and a rich yellow. The risotto was beautiful, and the rice was a perfect consistency. The lobster pasta had wonderful layers of flavor. I asked our server how the lobster obtained its smokiness, and soon the owner, Dennis Lukic came out to explain the process. Clearly very proud of his son the chef, we heard about the details and ingredients that go into each dish.
According to the elder Lukic, the menu will adjust to the seasons, allowing Chef Chris Lukic to both improvise with new flavors while retaining the clear favorites. The lobster pasta, ordered often and again by many, will be around for a while. Other favorite dishes include the scallop appetizer, the skirt steak entree, and the BLT sliders.
Not to be outdone by the creative dishes at Yellow Plum, the bar deserves a special mention. First, it is gorgeous and inviting. When we visited, several patrons were eating and enjoying drinks at the bar. And while the wine list was tempting and well-chosen, I couldn’t resist trying one – okay, two – of the cocktails. The Intermezzo is light, a little fizzy, and happily delicious. And the signature Yellow Plum cocktail is fresh and tasty.
Yellow Plum is billed as casual dining, and the friendly, attentive staff and comfortable, classy decor are all the best that casual has to offer. The prices for entrees run from the low-20s to low-30s. Appetizers are about half that. The children’s meals are reasonably priced at $6 and up. Cocktails hover around $10, with a variety of beers, wines and spirits available.
Check out Yellow Plum while the weather is perfect for enjoying drinks and a meal on the patio with friends. Then return with the cooler weather to see what autumn brings to the table.
Yellow Plum is open for lunch and dinner every day but Sunday at 1099 Broad Street in Bloomfield, NJ. (973) 893-3681