Friday, March 25, 2011

Xocolatz Restaurant Review

Quaint, toney Westfield NJ has several interesting places to eat. Xocolatz is certainly the most interestingly named. On Elmer St just off North Ave, it is easy to get to, and inviting as you go by. We decided to go in based on curb appeal.

The decor is a bit odd. Sections are devoted to different design ethics. One wall is Cracker Barrel, one is Mayan, one is abstract, parts are Japanese modern. But the layout, tables & chairs, flatware & napkins say it is a place that place has been a cafe at one time.

With an open kitchen, knowledgeable servers and eclectic menu, it is a bit Napa Valley too.

Our food was impressive when it arrived at table. Even a bit frenetic. One less plating flourish would have been fine. The server recommended skirt steak and it was subtly and effectively marinated, and cooked perfectly. The house made and featured gnocchi was a disappointment. A bit heavy and dense. Vege cooked properly though. The Salmon also perfectly cooked, and the sweet potato cake was delicious. Saucing, like presentation would benefit from more restraint. And the skirt steak and everything on the plate would have benefitted from more seasoning.

Overall, Xocolatz was a pleasant surprise, and we would go back. The owners suffer from a lack of self editing, on the lengthy menu, the decor and the plating. But they have value, service, execution and flavor under control.

One thing though, what's with the name? Nothing on the menu seemed to contain xocolate. Nor were any Mayan flavors described. More evidence of mild schizophrenia.

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