Gazelle (Ridgewood, NJ), July 30, 2007
I went to Gazelle in Ridgewood for a solo dinner while Danna was still away on a business trip. To be fair, and to come clean, I know one of the chef-owners, Jim Miceli, but am happy to say that if you are in the area, and looking for a tasty, health-conscious and comfortable meal of generous portions - Gazelle is worth visiting and visiting often.
It's location across from the only Whole Foods Market in Bergen County (that I know of) is a wise move as it truly caters to the type of people that shop there. The chefs, Ron and Jim, know when to leave vegetables and proteins alone - allowing their inherent flavors, instead of rich fats (butter and sauces), to provide flavor.
I'm still shocked, however, by the portion size. Depending on how their bottom line looks, they could pack the crabcakes a little thinner and ease down the super-sized salads and still make customers very happy at the same time adding a bit to their wallet at the end of the day. Though I'm not sure they care so much about that -- allowing the customer to bring home some great food to nosh on later or the following day.
I misordered my salad. I wanted the one with beets, but was pleased by my mistake. This Thai-like salad with cashews and a peanut sauce, tangerines, peppers, carrots, lettuce and haricot verts was big and bold but not overwhelming. I took the rest home though confess didn't get to the leftovers.
Two giant crabcakes with absolutely no discernable bread-filling (there is a god!) were served with thick-cut sweet potato french fries - a welcome change in the starch world and one of Danna's favorites. She'd have loved this dish from top to bottom, perhaps even more than me. A winner for sure.
I was going to skip out on dessert because I'm trying to slim down (down 10 pounds in a little over 2 months) but the dessert was included in the remarkably affordable $20 prix fixe meal. This was light but had a strong chocolate flavor to it.
After all of this food, I was definitely sated but not bowled-over-full. So refreshing. And at a very reasonable price.
Not a destination restaurant for those outside of a 20 mile radius, but you'd crazy not to give this place a try if you live in the area. I know I'll be back.