Saturday, November 1, 2014

Quiet Halloween dinner at Chakra in Paramus is full of treats

Chakra in Paramus specializes in 2-pound lobsters available three ways, and on Friday night, we split one stuffed with jumbo lump crab meat, a $12 supplement.


We chose a quiet celebratory dinner at Chakra, an oasis of calm on Route 4 in Paramus, over greeting Halloween revelers at our home on Friday night.

The restaurant, which calls itself "Modern American," recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, but this was our first visit.

We were seated in a spacious booth, with large, fluffy pillows supporting our backs, and enjoyed a sumptuous meal of risotto, roasted beet salad, crab meat-stuffed lobster, wine and three great side dishes -- red cabbage, bok choy and pureed sweet potatoes.

The menu offers sushi, lots of other seafood and naturally raised meat and poultry.

A side dish of Braised Red Cabbage with baked Lady apple transformed the familiar vegetable, which melted in our mouths ($8).

Sweet Potato Puree with apple, cashews and yuzu, an East Asian citrus fruit, was truly comforting ($9).

Wilted Bok Choy Chinoise with garlic, ginger and sesame ($8)

I asked the waiter if the kitchen could prepare my food without butter or cream, and when he served us the split lobster, he gave the drawn butter to my wife, who doesn't follow those restrictions, and a lemon half to me. The 2-pound lobster was $54, including the $12 supplement for the jumbo lump crab meat.

I ordered the Roasted Beet Salad for an appetizer and was pleasantly surprised by the small scoop of grapefruit sorbet and the navel orange vinaigrette ($13).

My wife chose an appetizer special of creamy Pumpkin Risotto with Duck Confit and Parmesan, and really loved the lemon-juice accent ($16).

A couple of minor gitches

After we were seated, Patrick, our waiter, came over as we looked over wine and specialty cocktail lists, and I said I would like my food prepared without butter or cream.

He took our order, and another server brought us bread and a large disc of butter, and I started eating the crust of one of the rolls.

Still, I wanted extra-virgin olive oil for my bread, but for several minutes couldn't find anyone except the man who greeted and seated us to bring a small dispenser.

He offered to crack black pepper into the oil, and it was a great combination.

And I thought our entree could have been hotter, but it was beautifully cracked to make the delicious lobster and crab meat easily accessible and good enough to eat some of the shell. 

The dinner at Chakra was a great choice as the first in a series of restaurant meals I have planned to celebrate my birthday.

The lounge, above, and dining room both have comfortable benches and big, fluffy pillows.

I didn't miss windows in the restaurant, and the brick walls completely shut out the roar of Route 4.

Wine by the glass is available from $8. I chose a glass of pinot noir ($12), and my wife drank merlot ($10). Both glasses were poured from the bottle after the waiter showed us the label and offered us a tasting.

A wall relief above one of the booths. In Indian thought, chakra refers to each of the centers of spiritual power in the human body, usually considered to be seven in number.

The restaurant entrance is off of a parking lot at the end of Acadian Avenue in Paramus. 

Chakra, 144 Route 4 east, Paramus; 201-556-1530. Dinner and late-night menu only. Closed Sundays. Reservations recommended.

Web site: 'Embark on a Culinary Journey'


  1. The bill. The bill. How much did this one cost, and did you use any kind of a coupon? And how much of a tip did you leave? Inquiring minds want to know. And you didn't really eat some of the shell, although I probably would have when I saw the bill.

    1. Just add up the prices, add 7% for tax and a 20% tip. No coupons.

    2. When I say "shell," I mean the thin legs, which hide a little meat.

  2. Add up the bill? No way. You lost me at that $16 appetizer.


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