Seizing the moment at Carpe Diem for Restaurant Week
After finding a last minute reservation (after 9 p.m.) at Carpe Diem in Elizabeth, we needed a ride there since Saturday nights rarely end after dinner. Luckily, we not only spread the gospel of Uber, we also use them frequently. A few taps in the app later, and we had a driver coming to pick us up. For those who have not used Uber before, using the promo code RESTAURANTTRAFFIC instantly gets ridersÂ $20 off of their trip. OurÂ driver was so quick thatÂ we did not even have time to tie our ties orÂ reapply lipstick before heading out. Make sure to hashtag #UberTakesRW if you too are using their services to enjoy the week’s festivities. It’s cheaper than a cab, and way cheaper than a DUI.
Our whirlwind evening started fantastically with a couple glasses of Carpe’s Petit Petit red from California, which got us ready for the first course. Of the fantastic options, the grilled grape salad seemed like the best first courseÂ to whet our appetites for the larger entrees. Had we been feasting without regard to portion control, our pick would have been the potato soup with duck bacon and truffle oil. The grape salad was plentiful, and the acidity from the blue cheese and white balsamic that it was dressed in balanced nicely with the full-bodied wine selection. We were happily surprised when a boule of raspberry sorbet came out as a palate cleanser before our main dish.
Being a bit of a blue cheese fanatic, the next course was an easy choice. The grilled medium-rare hangar steak had as much blue cheese as oneÂ could have hoped for, alongside OMB Copper-caramelized onions, creamed kale and a veal demi-glace. We had gotten there late, and the restaurant was closing, but our serverâ€”Jenniferâ€”was still extremely patient with us despite it all. We wished we could stay longer to enjoy the comfortable art-nouveau atmosphere, but the night beckoned as dessert had to be chosen and sampled before we left.
The cherry cobbler was served perfectly with contrasting temperatures of the ice cream and the hot fruit at the bottom, protected only by a flaky baked crust. Getting temperatures right for desserts seems to be an afterthought at many restaurants, so we were pleasantly surprised by the execution here.
For us, Carpe Diem will be a reliable standby for great food and forever great deal for Restaurant Week. The menu does not hold too many surprises, but we can count on fantastic foodâ€”even when we go at a moment’s notice after deciding to seize the night.