12 West Restaurant & Bar, Upper Montclair, Opens

BY  |  Monday, Feb 11, 2013 5:01pm  |  COMMENTS (47)

12 West restaurant and bar montclairUpper Montclair has a new addition – 12 West Restaurant & Bar. The restaurant and bar is open this week for dinner only but next week will open for lunch and dinner.

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.

12 westJerry 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 welcome12 West Restaurant & Bar, 275 Bellevue Ave.. Upper Montclair, 973-337-5813, reservations suggested.


  1. POSTED BY shrimpalert  |  February 11, 2013 @ 5:15 pm

    “attractive, friendly bartenders”

    I’ll take ugly, competent bartenders any day of the week, thank you very much.

  2. POSTED BY sohobound  |  February 11, 2013 @ 5:23 pm

    It tried the pad Thai. It was very good, with a nice little spicy kick! The staff was very attentive. I look forward to trying more of the menu.

  3. POSTED BY redrum  |  February 11, 2013 @ 5:30 pm

    I give it 4 months and “Space For Lease” signs will be in the windows, as per usual in Montclair.

  4. POSTED BY mtc4life  |  February 11, 2013 @ 5:34 pm

    Last I checked there were plenty of quality restaurants lasting more than 4 months all over Montclair, maybe you’re just checking out the wrong places.

  5. POSTED BY mtcmom22boys  |  February 11, 2013 @ 6:15 pm

    Best of luck to the new owners. The location is idyllic for residents in Upper Montclair.

    Hopefully there will be some kids friendly options on the menu….

  6. POSTED BY yougottalovehim  |  February 11, 2013 @ 7:14 pm

    Best of luck to the new owners. After having lived here 12 years, it’s simply amazing to me how many restaurants Montclair really has. We eat out all the time and it’s amazing to me how many times we find a place for the first time that’s been here for years. Some great places but many many good places. We are truly spoiled by the variety of places in town. While it’s easy to bitch about the prices or service in some places, name one other town anywhere that has the choices we have. If this place does it well and gives a classy dining experience I have no doubt they will have staying power. That last place was a lame sports bar that brought nothing to the table.

  7. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  February 11, 2013 @ 7:26 pm

    “The new space is polished and sleek…” Funny– that fits what this location will always be for me: the LOTSA PASTA space. Though since there was no mention of price, I assumed that put it into the $10 appetizer/$20 main range.

    And I was right. Oh well, seems as if the prof/mrs. prof campaign to save the US economy one meal at a time will continue indefinitely.

  8. POSTED BY walleroo  |  February 11, 2013 @ 10:12 pm

    Sophisticated, eh? Gosh, I hope not too much for the likes of me. I kind of liked the old “sports bar feel.”

  9. POSTED BY wendyf  |  February 11, 2013 @ 10:17 pm

    Thought the food at the Montclair Station was hit or miss for us, ny husband and I enjoyed the fact that we could bring our dog who was left alone all day to enjoy a meal outside on the deck after a long day at woek on a nice evening when we just didn’t feel like cooking or staying home. There are no other pleaces in Montclair that were as dog-friendy. There were always one or two well-behaved dogs outside that pretty much layed down and slept the whole time and no one really seemed to mind!

  10. POSTED BY wendyf  |  February 11, 2013 @ 10:20 pm

    Oops,please ignore my typos on the last comment!! I forgot to proof read!!!

  11. POSTED BY yougottalovehim  |  February 12, 2013 @ 7:25 am

    Didn’t know dogs could chill on the porch at the old place. That’s cool. Would be nice to have a few places in town where you can have that. Not sure many owners would want to assume the issues with a mini dog park on their property, but would be a nice luxury for dog owners with the right dogs,

  12. POSTED BY jerseygurl  |  February 12, 2013 @ 7:36 am

    I wish them well, it’s a great location.

    It would really be great to have a place with just a basic menu, moderate prices and good food. Something that’s not a dining “experience”, just a good place to go to dinner or just pick some up on the way home. I still miss Lotsa Pasta.

  13. POSTED BY concernedmtc  |  February 12, 2013 @ 10:20 am

    Amazing atmosphere. This place is going to kill it. Congrats to the owners. One thing I don’t have to be concerned about.

  14. POSTED BY oliver  |  February 12, 2013 @ 10:31 am

    I miss Lotsa Pasta!

  15. POSTED BY silverleaf  |  February 12, 2013 @ 11:02 am

    “I give it 4 months and “Space For Lease” signs will be in the windows, as per usual in Montclair”

    redrum – Have you been to eat there yet?

  16. POSTED BY concernedmtc  |  February 12, 2013 @ 12:18 pm

    Redrum thinks a good meal comes from the dollar menu.

  17. POSTED BY silverleaf  |  February 12, 2013 @ 12:43 pm

    Since 12 West just opened to the public last night (two earlier private openings last week), I’d be interested in knowing if redrum has eaten there yet. One would think such a POV was based on personal experience. Otherwise why would someone post a negative comment like that?

  18. POSTED BY jerseygurl  |  February 12, 2013 @ 1:38 pm

    I think it’s great they named it after a 70’s gay dance club.

  19. POSTED BY concernedmtc  |  February 12, 2013 @ 2:37 pm

    Jerseygurl this post like all your others confirms you have no clue.

  20. POSTED BY silverleaf  |  February 12, 2013 @ 2:56 pm

    concernedmtc – I have not been there yet, I intent on going for dinner this weekend. I have spoken with several members of the TC who attended Thursday nights opening. All were unanimous in their opinion that the food and service were exceptional. Looking forward.

  21. POSTED BY silverleaf  |  February 12, 2013 @ 3:17 pm

    “intend” on going

  22. POSTED BY mtcmom22boys  |  February 12, 2013 @ 8:01 pm

    I am absolutely looking forward to trying it out. I hope it has staying power. Friends and acquaintances can only take it so far. While I typically go to one of Montclair’s “upscale” restaurants every weekend or so, I was truly hoping for a good, laid back restaurant in upper MTC. An Uptown Raymond’s if you will, with a liquor license. Now that would be a recipe for a financially successful restaurant with staying power! Btw, technically it should be be 14 West…

  23. POSTED BY theprimroseplath  |  February 12, 2013 @ 8:03 pm

    I’m very excited to try this place! Porcini risotto! Mmmm.

  24. POSTED BY dmz1  |  February 12, 2013 @ 9:34 pm

    We ate there tonight and the service was fantastic and the food was great too. We will be back. We would like it to be a little more laid back–we would love to go often for drinks and apps at the bar. Too many friends and family there tonight to really tell what the atmosphere will be like, but it looks very promising.

  25. POSTED BY jerseygurl  |  February 13, 2013 @ 7:46 am

    We’ll give it a go on Thursday night.

  26. POSTED BY PAZ  |  February 13, 2013 @ 8:02 am

    We will not give it a go until Obama Nationalizes all restaurants. Power to the Proles!

  27. POSTED BY yougottalovehim  |  February 15, 2013 @ 5:51 pm

    Went Valentine’s night. As you would expect the place was packed to the gills. Hard to judge service on a night like that, as everyone was basically in a full sprint to get the food and drinks out. All things considered the service was quite good. Knowledgeable staff and well trained. Food came out faster than expected and was perfectly prepared. I’d giving the dining experience itself maybe a B+. Not so sure we’ll rush back. My criticism of the menu is that it’s trying to be all things to all people. Pad thai? Mini pizzas? Along with the typical staples of steak, tuna, etc. Just didn’t feel a unique identity there. Everything was really well prepared, and the Pad Thai was delicious. But when you are in the mood for pad thai aren’t you going to a Thai place? Ditto for pizza. I wish them well. It’s professional through and through and I think they will be successful.

  28. POSTED BY jerseygurl  |  February 15, 2013 @ 7:17 pm

    I went there last night too, service was not up to snuff yet. People next to me waited forever for their bottle of wine. Someone came by after we had been there 10 minutes with bread and asked if we had ordered appetizers yet and we said, “no”, so he took the bread somewhere else. My second glass of wine came after we were finished eating (having waited 15 minutes between courses). A lot of waiting for wait staff, asking for water, etc. The place is nice, the food seemed well prepared and okay but if you’re going to have a TV screen over the bar then maybe try having a burger on the menu? Then Russo started talking to the people next to him about being deputy mayor and how he had been mayor before and on and on and when I leaned over and asked him if he’s really feeling good about those taxes , my husband pulled me away and took me home.

  29. POSTED BY bbooper74  |  February 17, 2013 @ 1:27 pm

    Had dinner at 12 West last night. Had a GREAT experience. First off the parking is fantastic!!! So much more relaxing then meters and parking garages. Pulled right in. Bar staff was very fun and professional. My Cosmo was perfect. (My husband’s bottle of Heineken was perfect too in a chilled pilsner glass.) Menu has something for everyone. The caesar salad was the best we’ve ever had!!! Lamb chops were cooked to perfection, and the risotto that accompanied them was crazy delicious. Also tasted the special salad of the night, and the chicken pad thai, both were just as delicious. The staff was very attentive and made the evening VERY ENJOYABLE!
    I don’t usually judge a new restaurant until open for at least a month, but can’t wait to go back to 12 West again next week!

  30. POSTED BY thisisjen  |  February 21, 2013 @ 7:44 pm

    THis looks nice – HOWEVER – if you want to survive more than addressing any prices, etc (your prices look fine) you NEED TO MAKE IT SOMEWHAT KID FRIENDLY… just somewhat. Have a kids menu!! You are discluding most of montclair. Especially wealthy young families that still want to go out but feel obligated to be with their kids. We were regulars there every week – didn’t particularly like the menu but felt comfortable bringing our 9 year old with his iPad!

  31. POSTED BY walleroo  |  February 21, 2013 @ 8:52 pm

    Please, please do not make this restaurant kid friendly. Just survive. Mere survival is under-rated.

  32. POSTED BY PAZ  |  February 21, 2013 @ 9:26 pm

    Please provide a “Wealthy young families” menu.

  33. POSTED BY thedudeabides  |  February 21, 2013 @ 9:32 pm

    too funny. you need to have a nice restaurant serve chicken fingers to your kid so you can eat at a nice place more often? i’m sure those nice wealthy young families can afford to have the nanny stay a couple extra hours…

  34. POSTED BY Gail  |  February 22, 2013 @ 10:25 am

    Please do not make this restaurant “kid friendly”. It’s great having a nice restaurant & bar in Upper Montclair, owned by one of Montclair’s own. No need to make it kid friendly. There are so many other places to go with your kids.

  35. POSTED BY hrhppg  |  February 22, 2013 @ 10:43 am

    “but feel obligated to be with their kids. ” – ahh what loving parents.

    I agree do not make this kid friendly. There are enough options for families in the area.

  36. POSTED BY Gail  |  February 22, 2013 @ 2:43 pm

    If your kid is going to sit with you at dinner with his iPad, why bother having dinner together?

  37. POSTED BY jerseygurl  |  February 22, 2013 @ 3:12 pm

    If you’re wealthy, and your child feels the need to stare at his/her iPad at dinner, it would probably be best for all, including the other patrons, to call the sitter for two hours. And yes, I’m the kind of person who asks to be moved when sitting next to a child screaming or throwing food – whether it’s a restaurant, plane, salon. I’m also paying for the dining experience and would prefer the ambience of a restaurant, not the family kitchen.

  38. POSTED BY mtcmom22boys  |  February 22, 2013 @ 5:00 pm

    We already have Upstairs. For true staying power and what Upper Montclair needs certainly isn’t a kinda, sorta, Halcyon, Upstairs II, Fascino ( or any other type of Italian restaurant for that matter). No one is looking for Montclair Diner, or Charlie Browns. Yes, we have/had that.

    This was the perfect opportunity for fulfilling a need in 07043. Without some sort of kid friendly feel, in family filled Upper Montclair, a restaurant that size may have a tough time surviving unless it blows people away.

    Sorry but NYC is just too close. Most parents don’t want to waste money on a sitter to eat at a simply “good” restaurant in Upper Montclair when we have “excellent” in the city.

  39. POSTED BY jerseygurl  |  February 22, 2013 @ 5:16 pm

    mtcmom – the cost of chicken fingers and sodas for 2 kids in a place like this would wash with the cost of a sitter. I agree, family friendly places do really well, i wish Tuscany weren’t trying so hard and could add a banquet, charge less and feel more like an Italian Dai Kichi. But 12 West has a liquor license and a bar smack in the middle of the place so it’s already not a kid place, so why add bad “kid” food to a nice menu?

  40. POSTED BY mtcmom22boys  |  February 22, 2013 @ 5:25 pm

    Again, think about the clientele at Raymond’s for dinner. Good food, mostly adults. Maybe 12 West will do a great brunch/lunch menu which could really help them in the long term and provide the numerous local families with a better option.

  41. POSTED BY pkst12  |  February 22, 2013 @ 7:35 pm

    No kid menu please or “wealthy young family” menu for that matter….whatever that means?? This entire town is kid friendly. How many restaurants with good food and a nice bar/lounge area with decent space are available for adults to go to in this town? Not many. Good food and a good bar atmosphere that is not pub style. Genius! Been a major void here with all the BYOB’s. Adults are people too!

    The chicken and the salmon were excellent by the way and the bar is a beauty.

    Just might be my new fave local spot.

  42. POSTED BY madmodom  |  February 22, 2013 @ 7:46 pm

    I’m not sure if it’s because I’m not American, but I’m not sure I understand why a restaurant with a bar/liquor license can also not be a kid-friendly place. I also don’t understand the obsession with kids menus. Aren’t they little people? Do they turn 18 and suddenly transition from chicken tenders to porcini risotto? My husband and I went for dinner last weekend, and it was terrific, and we will be going back. Soon! With our 8 and 4 year olds who we take to all kinds of restaurants. Not just places with white, yellow and orange food on a kids menu. And there were a number of families in 12 West last weekend.

    I wish these guys well – we had an awesome time, delicious meal and great drinks. It was a lovely evening.

  43. POSTED BY deadeye  |  February 23, 2013 @ 1:51 pm

    Sounds great. Can’t wait to try it. Personally, I prefer places with liquor licenses, and apparently so do many others in town given the popularity of Egan’s, Halcyon, and Upstairs. Egan’s can get insanely crowded though. In my experience most restaurants are accommodating to well behaved children. If parents decide to bring their children to an upscale restaurant, it is their responsibility to insure that the kids conduct themselves properly, not like they’re at a B’day party at Chuckie Cheese. Unfortunately there are those in our community of sophisticates that don’t subscribe to this maxim. I’ve recently walked into a popular local Japanese place and witnessed the most appalling behavior imaginable. At one table, there was more food on the floor than the table. It literally looked like a food fight had occurred., and the staff kept smiles on their faces and went on as though nothing was amiss. Unfortunately many other diners had to suffer through what they were expecting to be an enjoyable experience.

  44. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  February 23, 2013 @ 2:05 pm

    madmodom hits it. Though I don’t think it’s a “American” thing, Montclair has so few liquor licenses that folks may see those places as being of a higher regard than those that sell “white, yellow and orange food on a kids menu.”

    I also HATE that “kid-friendly” stuff. To me that signals: “badly behaved, poorly supervised kids will be here also.” And nothing makes me more disappointed in folks than kids who are ill-mannered, badly behaved, and using video games/cell phones to “occupy” them during a meal.

  45. POSTED BY walleroo  |  February 23, 2013 @ 4:18 pm

    Tried this place last night. It seems like a winner to me. It had a nice buzz, the food was excellent and our waitress gave us the best service I’ve had in Montclair in a long time. She didn’t do anything fancy, just paid attention to our simple needs. And the new decor is great–chocolate and beige, without the high-pitched cacophony of the previous incarnation. I will always miss that gigantic bar in the center of the room, but you can’t have everything.

    A restaurant can give a nice dining experience, or it can cater to families with young kids, but it cannot do both. I don’t care how “well behaved” you think your kids must surely be, if they’re younger than 5 or 6 I would rather not sit next to them while dropping 100 bucks for a romantic dinner with my honey. And I have nothing against kids. I grow them as a hobby.

  46. POSTED BY dmz1  |  February 28, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

    For the “wealthy” person who wants a children’s menu because of the “obligation” to spend time with your kid–if you have a 9 year old who still orders from the children’s menu, has to use an ipad to get through dinner, and you don’t want to spend time with anyway, something is terribly wrong with you and your family and we don’t want to sit next to you at dinner. Go to Cheesecake Factory please.

  47. POSTED BY Georgette Gilmore  |  March 21, 2013 @ 7:04 pm

    Just had a great dinner there. Husband and I had a sitter because we had a parent/teacher conference and took advantage an went for an early dinner out. I love the decor and atmosphere, the service was great and the food very good.

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