When the holidays are over, many of us start to feel the winter blues. That’s when we crave comfort foods—the rib-sticking goodness that invariably boosts our mood.

DiningOut asked three New Jersey chefs what their most popular comfort food items are this season. When you get the craving for something warm and hearty, take their advice for soul-satisfying indulgences.

Kitchen at the Grove

David Viana, executive chef of The Kitchen at Grove Station {299 Marin Boulevard, Jersey City; 551.222.4362; grovestationkitchen.com}, raves about the restaurant’s Pork Belly with Egg and Cheese. “We cure, smoke, and braise pork belly, then cut it into slabs,” he explains. “It’s very popular—a dish everyone will remember.”

Viana takes pride in elevating comfort foods, and often says that patrons like to share in his own love for bacon, egg, and cheese. Is it any wonder the Pork Belly dish is tops?

Le Jardin - Seafood Casserole

Touching on the comfort of the seas, the Seafood Casserole over at Le Jardin {1257 River Road, Edgewater; 201.224.9898; lejardinnj.com} is a big hit in the winter. According to Executive Chef Franco Xhilaga, this dynamic dish is prepared with lobster, jumbo shrimp, calamari, clams, and mussels combined with two reductions: lobster sauce and brandy sauce. Warm and rich with the flavors of the sea, it’s a perfect warmer on New Jersey’s coldest nights.


Then there’s the binge-worthy Pumpkin Hummus flavored with winter spices at Park West Tavern {30 Oak Street, Ridgewood; 201.445.5400; parkwesttavern.com}. As Executive Chef John Benjamin sees it, the recent popularity of health foods made this a lust-worthy indulgence. “This is a light dish, while also being hearty,” he says. No guilt here—just great flavor and constant comfort.

By Jeffery Steen | Managing Editor