As you walk into South Orange’s tony new Bistro D’Azur you feel a piece of the south of France was transported to suburban New Jersey. The furniture, the linens, the art on the walls — all speak of the Mediterranean and make the meal feel like a mini-vacation.
Owners and Maplewood residents Mary and Tom Conway, along with Partner and Executive Chef Richard Krug have worked hard to put diners at Bistro D’Azur at ease. While many fine dining establishments can feel formal, Bistro D’Azur’s atmosphere seems relaxed.
“We wanted more energy than most fine dining [restaurants],” says Mary. “We are inspired by high-end beach clubs in the Mediterranean. This is destination dining.”
You may remember Executive Chef Krug from Restaurant K at Orange Lawn Tennis Club. He was also the Chef de Cuisine at the acclaimed Maplewood restaurant Lorena’s. During his career, he has championed local and sustainable food when in season. As he develops menus for Bistro D’Azur, he visits farms in New Jersey, the Hudson Valley and Pennsylvania.
“We really do use the best quality ingredients we can find, and our customers appreciate it,” says the Culinary Institute of America graduate.
The menu changes, but right now, entrees range from $27 (grilled cauliflower) to $38 (pan seared diver scallops), and though there is a range of food choices, it’s easy to tell that seafood is one of Krug’s specialties.
And though, like many fine dining establishments, the menu is on the smaller side, Conway and Krug want customers to know they are happy to accommodate requests.
“We go above and beyond to make sure our customers are happy. Vegan, vegetarian, gluten free. I can always come up with a great option. And if a customer is in frequently, I’ll make sure they don’t always have to eat the same thing,” says Krug.
Although Bistro D’Azur doesn’t have a liquor license, through a partnership with Unionville Vineyards they offer customers the opportunity to purchase wine by the bottle and half bottle. There are even some dessert wines available, including the 2018 Cool Foxy Lady, an ice wine style dessert wine that is gaining in popularity. Bistro D’Azur also offers signature non-alcoholic cocktails, using botanical spirits from Seedlip.
They offer special evenings of wine pairings; one with wine expert Hank Zona on November 14 is already sold out, but look for a sparkling wine dinner on December 4th (call for details). Bistro D’Azur also offers a pre-theatre price fix menu from 4:45-5:45 pm.
“We have worked hard to make Bistro D’Azur feel special,” says Mary. And anyone who’d like to take a mini-vacation to the Mediterranean will feel special here.
Bistro D’Azur, 973-327-9725
14 Academy Street
South Orange, NJ 07079
Tuesday, Wednesday: 4:45-10pm