Crab Macaroni & Cheese is one of the entrees at Bazille, a full-service restaurant serving bistro cuisine in the Nordstrom department store at Westfield Garden State Plaza, the biggest mall in New Jersey.
By VICTOR E. SASSON
My friend Arthur has a favorite lunch spot for nearly every day of the week.
On Mondays, you'll find him tucking into one of the imaginative specials at Seafood Gourmet, the fish market-restaurant in Maywood.
And on Tuesdays, Arthur takes to the streets to avoid having to fight traffic on Route 4, and enjoys one of the bistro dishes at Bazille, a restaurant on the lower level of the Nordstrom department store in Paramus.
That's where I met him for lunch this week, bringing along another friend, who, like Arthur, is a Korean War veteran.
Bazille's Prime Rib French Dip is made with sharp white cheddar cheese and a roasted parmesan baguette, and served with a light beef gravy.
Cage-free eggs, organic greens
Bazille is among only a handful of restaurants in northern New Jersey that is "committed to bringing you local, sustainable, natural and organic foods and environmentally friendly products whenever and wherever we can," including cage-free eggs, organic greens and naturally fed and humanely raised poultry.
Arthur ordered the Crab Mac & Cheese entree ($15.50); I tried one of the salads, Nicoise with Wild Salmon, which was cooked to order ($16.95); and my friend Gene had one of the sandwiches, Prime Rib French Dip ($16.95).
Unsweetened iced tea was $2.50 with refills. Gene asked for a glass of water with no ice, and the waiter also set down an old-fashioned glass milk bottle filled with more.
We really enjoyed our food. Arthur and Gene took home leftovers, but managed to find room for a shared dessert of chocolate mocha gelato.
I walked through the men's clothing department on the first floor of Nordstrom -- past $200 shoes and $85 ties -- and took an escalator to the lower level, where I found the entrance to Bazille on the other side of a display of baby strollers.
The restaurant has a full bar, but is too brightly lit. When the dining room is full, expect a lot of noise and slow service.
Still, I'm looking forward to returning and trying other non-meat dishes, including Brick Oven Brussels Sprouts and Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Zest & Fleur de Sel ($6.95 each).
An entree of Shrimp Linguine with Spicy Tomato Sauce comes with organic spinach, petite tomatoes and fresh herbs ($2o.50).
My Nicoise Salad with Wild Salmon included organic greens, French green beans and Kalamata olives, with a Dijon mustard-and-herb coating on the roasted fish fillet.
Bazille is on the lower level of Nordstrom, 501 Garden State Plaza, Paramus; 1-201-712-5930. Closed Sundays. For holiday store hours, call 1-201-843-1122.