There are over 100 restaurants in Morristown. Just take a moment to absorb that number.
From sub shops to Chinese takeout, Italian fine dining to Persian fine dining, the options abound in these here three-square-miles. With so many options, competition can be fierce. Some restaurants scream "eat here!" from their front doors. While others quietly, and modestly go about their business for years, blending into the background until that common question comes: Where do you want to eat?
falls into the latter category. I knew of its existence, and it had been recommended to me by several people, but as often as not I would pass by it as I headed to another new dining destination vying for my attention.
No more. I finally patronized this New American BYO this week and, I am happy to say, was quite pleased with the experience.
Unlike some other, newer dining spots in Morristown, Tim Schafer's Cuisine does not shout, from outside or in. Colors are muted, with candles lit at every table, the dining room small and modest.
Service was prominent without being in one's face. I looked through the menu and was ready to order my appetizer and entree when my server informed me of an excellent appetizer special, mussels in a light cream sauce. Excuse me for being so hasty.
And it was with the mussels that this restaurant's motto, "Cooking With Passion" was clear. Out came a work of art. The mussels rested without drowning in a cream that was accented with tomatoes and scallions, with several pieces of toast finishing the dish. These mussels were delicious and could be enjoyed on their own or complemented by the sauce. I will say, however, that sauce, while scrumptious, was a bit salty. This is saying a lot when spoken by someone who loves salt.
Then came my entree, a simple roasted chicken dish served with potatoes and mixed vegetables. Once more, art. Food at Tim Schafer's Cuisine is not just thrown on a plate (which is fine, as long as the food is good); it's assembled carefully, completed with a decorative flower and rosemary sprig.
Surprisingly, my favorite part of this dish were those mixed vegetables. The blend popped with freshness, with subtle seasoning. The potatoes to its side were simple and good. The chicken was tender, although another five-to-10 seconds on a very hot pan would have done it wonders, as the skin was just a little slimy. But, the merlot reduction was absolutely sensational; I made sure to absorb every last drop.
Some restaurants blend so effortlessly into the background of our everyday lives that they only appear in the forefront when the situation calls for it. And, when you finally dine there, some places, like Tim Schafer's Cuisine, make you wonder why you waited so long. Their passion for cooking is infectious; may they continue that passion for many years in Morristown.