Just a hop, skip and, if you take the back roads, a country drive from Rockland, Grange is just the sort of place you’d love to have in your own neighborhood. There’s a hint that Grange is farm-to-table before you even walk in: The outside of the building looks like a barn! The same reclaimed wood lines the interior walls, and the dining room, dotted with exposed brick and industrial-style lighting fixtures, has an casual, open feel.
Why it’s worth the drive: Chef Christine Nunn, formerly of Picnic in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, and the author of “The Preppy Cookbook,” is helping turn the tables on the Bergen County dining scene. She puts a modern twist on old-school classics like deviled eggs, house-made pickles and steak with creamed spinach, and finds ways to elevate their flavors with surprising ingredients and textures.
What to order: The spatchcocked chicken with smashed potatoes is a must: charred, juicy and lip-smackingly delicious. The Deviled Eggs are a signature; there are usually three flavors: lemon, pepper and curry. If it’s on the menu, try the Blue on Blue salad, which has tender Boston lettuce, hints of tarragon, cucumbers and blueberries with blue cheese. An original, flavorful combination you’ll want to recreate at home, if you can.
See more: Destination Restaurants Worth a Drive.
While you’re there: The little downtown of Westwood is just adorable. Retail storefronts include throwbacks like Shaw’s Book Shop, Conrad’s Homemade Candy and Ice Cream and Papillion Bambino, a children’s clothing store. Even if the shops are closed, window shopping makes for a delightful after-dinner stroll. The restaurant fits the setting perfectly: it’s a little gem.
Insider tip: The restaurant is BYO! Get that bottle you’ve been saving (for what?) out of the cellar and enjoy it with dinner. Also, watch for Nunn’s new iteration of Picnic, coming soon to Ridgewood, New Jersey.
Details: 31 Westwood Ave., Westwood, New Jersey. 201-497-3788,grangewestwood.com.
— Liz Johnson