A.J. Capella is an award-winning chef and recognized as one of the leading under-30 chefs in New Jersey. He honed his culinary skills working at various kitchens including Grant Achatz’s Aviary and Anthony Bucco’s Uproot and is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. He is currently the executive chef of Jockey Hollow Bar and Kitchen in Morristown, NJ. A.J. took time off his busy schedule to chat with Suburbs 101. He shares with us his favorite restaurants in Montclair, NJ and NYC.
Eat Where the Chefs Eat is a column where local Chefs and food industry insiders share their favorite restaurants in the New York metro area. Learn where your favorite chefs go when they aren’t in their own kitchens!
What’s are your favorite restaurants in Montclair, NJ?
I don’t go out to eat that often, but when I do it’s to eat something I don’t cook myself. I love Ani Ramen in Montclair, especially the pan-fried Gyoza and the brothless Mazemen Ramen. I cook a lot at home. My girlfriend is a vegetarian, so I make a lot of vegetarian dishes especially for her.
Ani Ramen at 401 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair, NJ- (973) 744-3960
What’s your favorite restaurant in NYC?
When I was working in NYC, it was Blue Ribbon Brasserie, late at night. I loved their Bone Marrow with Oxtail and Escargot. I went to Blue Ribbon with Anthony Bucco and other chefs the night we cooked at the James Beard House, and I saw Anthony Bourdain and Wiley Dufresne having champagne and oysters, and that was really a thrill. I felt like I’d arrived.
Blue Ribbon Brasserie at 97 Sullivan Street, New York, NY- (212)-274-0404
Tell me more about Jockey Hollow Bar and Kitchen? What is your favorite dish at your restaurant?
I feel like Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen is unlike any other restaurant in New Jersey, with four distinct dining environments under one roof, and on such a massive scale. Chris Cannon, the owner, really has a vision for hospitality, and for using local farms and artisans. We have an abundance right here in New Jersey and close by — I can drive to where the majority of my menu comes from.
Right now my favorite dish on the menu is the Torchon of Foie Gras with Concord Grape, Peanut and Brioche. I’ve spent time at the Hudson Valley farm where the ducks are raised — we get our duck breasts from there as well.
Jockey Hollow Bar and Kitchen at 110 South Street, Morristown, NJ- (973)-644-3180
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