Ridgewood, NJ is a great village with one of my favorite downtowns in Bergen County. However, the food offerings have not always been up to snuff. But lately, there has been a real revival and upswing in the quality and quantity of great restaurants. One such restaurant is Raymond’s, an outpost of the classic Montclair original.
Raymond’s opened late last year on the corner of Ridgewood Avenue and Oak Street in what used to be an old Washington Mutual bank. Being a frequent visitor to Ridgewood, I’ve watched the slow and meticulous transformation. And boy, oh boy, have I been impressed. Upon entering Raymond’s, much like the original, you feel
immediately transported back to Small Town, USA circa 1950. The front dining room is bright and airy. Its centerpiece is its bar where single diners can sit down for a bite to eat and a coffee. The back dining room is a bit more intimate but still welcoming.
Unless you have a large party or are visiting at a peak time, the wait for a two top is minimal and well worth it. You are greeted warmly from the moment you enter by someone with a wide smile holding open the door to welcome you. Upon being seated, you are again met with a sincere and happy face in the form of your server. A kind smile can go a long way.
On my last visit to Raymond’s, my wife and I went for brunch. I was in the mood for breakfast; she was looking to have lunch. The brunch menu is chock full of comfort food classics that have been elevated to Raymond’s standards including the Cobb Salad with chicken, bacon, avocado and blue cheese ($12.50) and the Steak and Eggs hanger steak, potato-shallot cake, sunny side eggs and chimichurri ($11.75). There’s also a touch of global cuisine with the items such as Migas, which is a traditional Mexican scramble with crisp tortillas, poblanos and salsa verde ($8.75) and the Moroccan Spiced Veggie Burger with eggplant relish, harissa yogurt & Greek salad ($11.50).
We started our brunch by ordering a cup of their Raymond’s Blend coffee ($2.50), which is roasted specifically for them right here in the Garden State by Red House Roasters of Union City. The coffee was excellent. I’m a diehard coffee drinker. Coffee at many places just doesn’t cut it for me. Many times the coffee is astringent and/or bitter. This coffee is neither. Instead, it is mildly strong in flavor with an intoxicating, floral nose. It’s perfect with a scant amount of sugar and a drop or two of cream. Needless to say, I had three cups.
For brunch, I ordered the Huevos Rancheros ($9.25) with an order of Corn Batter Cakes ($7.50). My wife had a Bacon and Blue Cheese Burger with French fries ($12.50). The Huevos Rancheros consisted of two Havenwood Farms organic pasture raised eggs over easy on a crispy corn tortilla with beans and salsa. I’m a lover of all foods south of the border and this dish certainly fulfilled my love and hunger. The over easy eggs were gooey the way I love them. And when I busted the yolks it oozed over the tortillas, beans, salsa and cheese. I was in heaven. I love corn cakes and the ones at Raymond’s do not disappoint. They were light and fluffy the way a pancake should be. They had a natural sweetness from the corn. I had them with a bit of butter and a drizzle of maple syrup.
My wife’s burger was served with lettuce, tomato and onion on a sesame seeded bun with a pickle spear and house cut French fries. The burger, which definitely looked hand-shaped, was cooked to a perfect medium. The only thing I can nitpick about the burger is that the bun to burger ratio was a bit skewed. That’s one thing I’m a stickler about. But the substantial blue cheese flavor and applewood smoked bacon made up for the smaller than bun burger.
Needless to say, we had a filling and fulfilling brunch at Raymond’s, which up until last week was only open for breakfast and lunch. It has since instituted a dinner service, which I am sure will make a lot of people happy. I know I am. I can’t wait to go back for dinner. So if you’re looking for a place to fulfill your craving for a piece of nostalgia with a menu of elevated comfort food classics, then you have to visit Raymond’s in Ridgewood or Montclair.
101 E. Ridegwood Ave.
Ridgewood, NJ 07450