Nicole’s 10 is a beautifully decorated, upscale restaurant – with separate bar section – in Randolph, NJ that is self-described as having “modern comfort food.” While more upscale than I prefer, it’s been a Friday night favorite for my parents for the past few months (so much so that the manager has gotten to know them, as I noticed last Friday night when I tagged along for the second time.)
First of all, always say ‘yes’ to the bread when the server asks. The sourdough bread is pretty solid itself, but it’s also accompanied by olive oil with fresh garlic and parmesan cheese (I apologize to the Italians for the spelling, but I’ll save the correct spelling for my reviews of authentic Italian food.) I’m a sucker for garlic, so if you are, you’ll be in heaven.
Second, take a deep breath before you open the menu. Even during my second time there, it was a little jarring having read the elaborate descriptions for each dish (then again, I never read novels for leisure, so if you do then you may enjoy this good book.) To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, I’ll add the web site descriptions to the menu items that I review. Honestly, I wouldn’t be able to describe the food any better. Nicole’s 10 literally.
If you’re looking for a crowd-pleasing appetizer, Lobster Mac & Cheese is a great idea – albeit, for those not lactose intolerant, allergic to shellfish, a vegetarian… okay, so I’m generalizing. But I digress, the Lobster Mac & Cheese at Nicole’s 10 is quite good with generous portions of lobster claw meat. My only complaint is how it was drowning in their blend of 6 melted artisan cheeses. Here’s the menu description:
Our award winning blend of 6-artisan cheeses, roasted lobster, prosciutto de parma, braised shallots, Napa Cellars Chardonnay braised spinach, & try-colored rotini & toasted fregula flurried with lemon herbed panko & tobacco onion oreganatta.
Finally, it took a while to choose, but I finally decided on The French Quarter as my entrée – because of my love for the Cajun food from New Orleans. The menu describes this dish as:
Bolder than a Maire Laveau spell, a voodoo spiced medley of shrimp, scallops, lobster, crab & mussels bathed in our basin st. #1′ Luisiana cajun beer broth over dirty rice garnished with a juju doll pastry.
Did I want to compare Nicole 10’s dish to the authentic foods of New Orleans? Of course. Did I expect them to compare? No. However, I was pleasantly surprised. While the dish itself was a New Orleans stereotype, all the seafood was cooked perfectly, the portions of each were generous, and the flavor was phenomenal. Just a warning to those with sensitive taste buds, the dish is somewhat spicy.
Despite the higher prices, the fancier dining atmosphere, and the assortment of complicated dishes, Nicole’s 10 is an overall great restaurant with food that won’t disappoint. It’s the right atmosphere for a special date, so go ahead and book a reservation (you can do it online), order a bottle of wine, and enjoy a hearty, flavorful meal!
Customer Service: 4/5
Atmosphere & Cleanliness: 5/5
Food & Drink Quality: 4/5
246 New Jersey 10
Randolph, NJ 07869