Red Horse, David Burke’s new restaurant in Rumson named one of NJ.com’s best New Jersey restaurants of 2021.
New Jersey restaurants spent 2021 battling to rebound from a catastrophic 2020, a year in which the COVID-19 pandemic created a series of crises unseen in our lifetimes, closing eateries around the state and putting the industry on the brink of collapse. This year brought an ever-evolving set of challenges for restaurants, from a massive labor shortage and hostile customers to supply-chain issues and proof of vaccination debates.
But 2021 also saw the return of indoor dining with zero capacity limits in May, the closest thing the food world has had to normalcy since early 2020. It was a chance to begin the climb back from plummeting profits and lost restaurants.
No one was happier for this development than NJ.com’s trusty (and hungry) food writers Peter Genovese and Jeremy Schneider. We were on the dining scene reporting and eating all over the state as new restaurants opened their doors for the first time and old favorites welcomed packed dining rooms once again.
Peruvian, Lebanese and German restaurants opened in North Jersey. Fancy steakhouses and smoked meat food trucks were hits down the Shore and a South Jersey pizzeria was so good it was named the best pie in the state by NJ.com. The bottom line? It was a good year to be a New Jersey foodie. Here are NJ.com’s 21 best restaurants of 2021.
5. Red Horse by David Burke, Rumson
Red Horse, celebrity chef David Burke’s latest upscale dining experience, is a necessary splurge. The steakhouse in the building that once housed local landmark Fromagerie opened this spring and was the perfect place to celebrate the return to indoor dining. The steaks are unsurprisingly great (Burke, of Hazlet, is a steak specialist, after all) but I was equally impressed with the duck potstickers, the bone marrow and the tin can cake served with chocolate and caramel sauce, vanilla gelato and heath bar crunch — maybe the best dessert I had all year. (JS)