While it's not quite New York City (it's a TK train ride), Summit has some totally respectable dining for suburbs.
Dining tips might seem like commonsense.
Some general tips about dining:
Not getting a 7pm preferred reservation? Dine early or dine late.
Per nearly every restaurant who serves dinner in the United States, busy times are between 6:30 and 8pm. Most people, set on dining with their party of four at 7pm, are baffled that new hot spot is booked up. Just a tip--6:30pm to a restaurant is not consider "earlier," rather 5:30pm is. Even the busiest restaurants want to fill up their pre-6pm and post-8:30pm reservation slots. Dining early lets you hit up Summit
Cinema for a summer blockbluster, or grab the train for a show. If you absolutely must eat at 7pm and can't get in on the typical Friday or Saturday night, try a Tuesday or Wednesday. Off nights won't be as busy.
Many places set aside a number of reservations that can only be booked online via OpenTable.com. It's a great place to scope out new restaurants, great spots in other towns and which places are the most booked, called 1,000 point restaurants. For example, Summit
's Fiorino, a classic Italian spot on TK that features TK from Tuscany, is a 1,000-pointer. The reviews are relevant, as opposed to something like TripAdvisor.com, because more often than not, they are left by people who frequently dine and contain information that's actually useful like how noisy it is for grandma. Reviews are sortable by such usable mechanisms like Most Helpful and and Top Contributors. Everything is calculated and given an overall rating: four stars for food, for service, for ambiance and the noise level is deemed moderate.
On a budget? Go to lunch.
The difference in price point between a lunch and dinner entree can be over 100%. At noon, you are getting a steak sandwich with a fraction of the NY Strip you would get at dinner, plus side of fries or salad. No surprise then that the cost difference is massive. Everyone has that friend or relative who is embarrassingly cheap. The person who is nickeling and diming their choice at a fine dining establishment so that s/he can get a $35 instead of a $50. Keep both of your blood pressures nice and low and bring Auntie Cheap-O to lunch instead of dinner.
Communicate all allergies, and food sensitivities.
To the person with whom you make the reservation. On OpenTable.com. Reiterate it when you check in for your reservation and again to your server. Your stomach won't fault you for over-communicating. But you could have a very, very bad night if you don't.
No reservation? Be willing to walk in and wait.
Waits are rarely longer than what a host or manager quotes you. People cancel; people have a party of four instead of six because someone is stuck in traffic. You'll get in and get fed at some point. Don't expect to get in right away--though that does magically happen sometimes.
On your next train ride in or out of Summit
- check out a few of these hot spots:
Tuscan. Very popular.
38 Maple Street
Indian. Remake of Dabbwalla.
Classic steakhouse that is extremely well-known and popular.
Neighborhood-y Italian bakery
185 Broad Street
Upscale take on tavern food.
3 Morris Ave