Skinner’s Loft

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Skinner’s Loft (146 Newark Ave.) is one of my favorite spots. Choose your floor depending on your fancy.

The copper-ceilinged bar scene on the first floor is always bubbling and best suited for drinks and small bites with friends.

The second floor, which I most frequent, offers more intimate dining with its candlelit atmosphere, ever-present gorgeous fresh flowers, a fireplace, well thought-out antique decor and different place settings on each table (totes my style).

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Skinner’s has a warm, welcoming feel on cold winter nights. While the ambiance is beautiful, you don’t feel the need to dress up or be well-versed in wine (or Italian beer that comes in a corked bottle, for that matter). It is an elegant scene, but while the restaurant’s servers are super professional, they also make you feel relaxed—nothing’s uptight.

I’ve been here many times since I discovered it and will continue to go. Now, on to the menu:

Skinner’s Loft changes its menu seasonally, but here are some of the things I’ve tried:

Click below to read on…

The wild mushroom pizzetta (ricotta, mozzarella, baby arugula,
truffle oil drizzle) is one of my go-to favorites. It is greens on top of a cheesy funghi thin-crust pizza—and is topped with truffle oil, which makes everything feel special.

truffle mushroom

The fried calamari (roasted tomato sauce, jalapeño-citrus aioli) is spot on, and the parmesan-herb fries are the perfect balance of crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. There were also brussel sprouts one time, which were well seasoned and could make anyone a vegetable lover.

The Filet mignon sliders (sautéed mushrooms, garlic butter, shoestring fries) melt in your mouth. The meat is quality and therefore they taste better than your average sliders.

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Meatballs: These were delish for a gal who’s very judgmental about meatballs, always comparing them to the best (my fathers! and now my own, which are still better, but not by much). I hope these come back on the menu this winter.

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Below: Me, devouring the Prince Edward Island Mussels (dijon, white wine, tarragon). Both times I ordered them, they were divine.

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The salads! Warm sliced steak salad: I like medium rare, and the steak was cooked to perfection. Add grilled onions, roasted portobello mushrooms, blue cheese and tomato over romaine, then top it with fries and roasted shallot vinaigrette. It’s pretty perfect for those who love steak salads. (The strip steak and burger also prove that this restaurant is fab in the red meat department.)

I’ve also had the Asian pear salad and the brussels sprouts, baby spinach, avocado & goat cheese salad, both of which were full of fresh and interesting ingredients. I hope they bring these back next year, too.

I recently went for lunch on a cold, rainy day. Here is the Tarragon chicken salad club (avocado, bacon, lettuce, tomato, pumpernickel loaf, served with french fries). My dining companion loved this and devoured the entire thing. It’s much bigger than it looks!

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I had the grilled chicken and peach salad (radish, arugula, endive, blueberry-citrus vinaigrette). The peaches were sweet, the chicken was juicy, the cheese (gorgonzola wedge) was sharp—it worked. The portion was large and my appetite was low, so I made three additional meals out of my leftovers. Tasted even better with age.

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I recently went to Skinner’s during brunch time, because my bestie wanted a Sunday cocktail. I ordered this Ginger special (love ginger in drinks) and she had a mojito.  These were delightful; the mixologist knows what’s up.

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We split a breakfast pizza. A perfect combination of sausage & egg with mozzarella, parmesan, chiles, and scallions. While lovely, it is a small portion for sharing. We each had three bites.

Thank goodness for their amazing brunch bread basket to add to our fuel though, which has assorted biscuits, muffins and other carbs, plus jam:

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The bread basket at dinner is equally entertaining with its own selection of breads and olive oil.

The service in my opinion is perfectly paced—I hate to be rushed!—in that the food arrives with your second drink. Waiters are attentive and will certainly serve you sooner if need be, but my servers have always been patient with my indecisiveness about what to order, and because the food doesn’t come out immediately once you do order, it seems like the chefs are putting some effort into it.

If I order and the food is out two minutes later, I feel weird. I’m European and like to linger over a long dinner and catch up with my dining companions, not be rushed through like part of an assembly line. The staff is attentive but won’t rush you if you aren’t in a hurry. So refreshing for this go-go-go-all-the-time area.

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Menu here.

Next up: I want to try the lobster b.l.t and the strawberry-goatcheese “pop tart.”

skinners upstairs

 

To cozy dining in cold weather,
JCG

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