Lambchops_1You’ve heard of the white glove treatment, but at Montclair’s newest French, Passionne on Walnut Street, we got the black napkin. Service is so attentive, that when the hostess noticed one in our party wearing a black skirt, she offered her a black napkin. Why, we asked? So her skirt wouldn’t get that any lint on it from a white napkin. It was a little gesture, but it said a lot about Passionne.

OK, sure, we know you’re saying. “yes, but you can’t eat a napkin.” True, but you can and will eat Passionne’s wild mushroom tart with Gruyere and herbs, (and get your own, because appetizer portions are perfect for one, but a bit skimpy for two). We also sampled the foie gras, prepared with a Hannibal Lectoresque-fava bean puree and cassis reduction (yum). Entrees are generous and deliciously complex — lamb chops (above) with warm chick pea and goat cheese salad, Long Island duckling with a red currant reduction and below, the classic steak frites…


featuring hand cut pomme frites and sauce bearnaise. For dessert, we liked the creme brulee with a Passionne twist — laced with passion fruit. Mmmm.

Only one criticism — the fancy wooden box that arrives at your table holding the check, needs to come with some chocolates or mints inside. A check is no present.

For contact info, click here.

22 replies on “The Black Napkin Treatment”

  1. What a great new reataurant,and the Chef/owner, Michael Carrino, is a very creative person. We will be featuring him again ( you can watch him now prepare a unique soft shell crab entree )on my cable show, Inside Montclair on Tv – 34 – Mon. Wed. Fri. at 8:00pm.
    It’s French, but without an atitude.

  2. Hello,
    I, too, have had the luxery of dining at passionne and I can honestly say that it is more than a mean, its an experience.

  3. My husband and I had the pleasure of dining at Passionne this evening – a lovely experience. The atmosphere is very cozy (great music) and the service was extremely attentive (especially Rachel – thank you!). We both had the classic steak frites and loved it. Afterward, Chef Mike Carrino came over to our table to talk about the meal, his background and the restaurant industry. He convinced us to try the cheese plate, which we did and thoroughly enjoyed – it was fantastic. Mike is an attentive, passionate chef and we wish him all the best with this new French jem. We’ll be back and we’ll be bringing all of our friends. A wonderful new addition to the growing Montclair restaurant list.

  4. My wife and I ate here the second week it was open. The steak I ordered on the waiter’s suggestion was the “house cut”. It was an inedible piece of shoulder that was more gristle than meat. Unacceptable for a featured menu item. They did the right thing and replaced it promptly. Conversely the chef’s menu that my wife chose was excellent and the service is very good.

  5. my husband and i ate there last friday. i heard the portions were small before we went but we didn’t find that at all. the chef’s menu was awesome – great rabbit stew elmer fudd worthy. definitely go again.

  6. We ate there on 6/23 with another Montclair couple. Found lag time between courses, and mistakes made with order. However waitress and staff very gracious. thought food ok, pairings somewhat electic, however felt that something was amiss with foie gras and beets. Potatoes were a bit oily and soggy. But mostly the kitchen was slow.

  7. Star-Ledger reviewed it this week. Liked the food, but wasn’t impressed with the service or the long waits between courses.
    I don’t have the review in front of me, but I believe it was an hour between the appy and the entree, and they forgot an item, to boot.
    It’s unfortunate, but sometimes a kitchen needs time to ramp up to full volume, and that means cutting the number of tables for a while. Investors don’t like that.

  8. I have eaten here twice now. Both times on very busy Saturday nights. I thoroughly enjoyed the meal all of my food was cooked to perfection. We got in at 7:30 with probably 15 other people and our meal was just over 2 hours, and that was perfect!!! we had wine, there were four of us…and we ordered 5 courses. I personally read the review and do not agree with the service “issue” as our server, Rachel was great on both occasions. We will be back and very frequently. It’s a great addition to montclair culinary world. we hope it’s around for ages. chef carrino and staff are doing a great job.
    Guys–if you read this don’t feel knocked down, it’s all about what the customers think, who cares what the reviewer gives in stars…. it wasn’t an accurate rating.

  9. Restaurant Passionne will be having a 5 course Bastille Day Chefs tasting menu on Friday July 14th and Saturday July 15th. Amanti Vino on Church St. will be joining Restaurant Passionne and offering wine pairings for the 5 courses. We hope to see you there!!
    The tasting is $65 and the wine pairings will be offered by Amanti Vino for $20 per person.
    Bon Appetit!!

  10. Lovely restaurant, good service, great food if you are on a diet. The fish portions were less than the size of a deck of cards. The lime sweetened blueberries with homemade lime ice cream was exceptional although the teaspoon size ice cream was just a tease. Good try.

  11. Tried Passionne on a whim, pleasently suprised. The Mussels were exceptional, carrot and ginger and orange who would have thought it? Delightful. Service grade A, and the rest of the meal was great. A must try, and a must return.

  12. I just wanted to post that I found out that Passionne is going to be starting Sunday brunch beginning this Sunday! I’m thrilled to hear that, I can’t wait to try it, I think we are going this Sunday.

  13. I must have been there on a off night.
    Because when I went in I was looked at like why is this woman here? The Hostess was rude in my opinion. She look at me with that question in her mind and said rudley CAN I Help YOU?? I don’t know maybe it was because I was alone,not dressed to her approval,or my looks, who knows. She just looked at me and grabbed a menu and showed me to a table all the way in the back of the room by the kitchen door. I guess thats how your looked apond when you dine alone.. Anyway from there fourth the service was not that great. The portions were a bit small and a bit over priced. and no one asked me if I enjoyed the meal. The owner needs to give his Hostess some lessons in how to handle a party of one! So much for the French!

  14. Hey Barisatville, I regularly enjoy Passionne for dinner, but now I hear they are doing brunch on Sundays, has anyone been yet?

  15. I was there last Sunday with four girlfriends and it was amazing and very appropriatly priced. I had the croque monsieue which was amazing, chef makes it on brioche instead of regualar bread, was delicious. One girl got the crepes (they came w/ 4 different filling) they were great and the other two got the french toast which was also delicious. I’m so happy to have this option v. going to diners every Sunday morning. I highly recommened it. And, I’m actually taking our weekend company there again this Sunday.

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