Depending on how long you’ve lived in Montclair, Indigo Kitchen is a new restaurant or an old favorite. The beloved blue-hued dining spot, then named Indigo Smoke, occupied a space on Bloomfield Ave. in Montclair for years, then moved a couple doors away to a new space, then went casual as
Indigo Smoke Q. Ultimately, owner Lance Knowling left Montclair diners “blue” in 2010 when he closed up in Montclair to relocate in Maplewood. Earlier this year, when Southern Belle closed (in the former Table 8 space), Knowling, who had parted company with his Maplewood partners, seized an opportunity to return.
Indigo Kitchen has been open about three weeks and fans of the previous restaurant will feel deja vu. Indigo’s new space, painted a rich blue and paired with exposed brick and bluesy art on the walls, evokes the vibe of the old Indigo, just slightly more upscale.
Indigo Kitchen’s dinner menu offers many of the memorable dishes Knowling was famous for, including Kansas City Q — baby back ribs, chicken, sliced beef brisket and house-made lamb sausage — and company fried chicken, $14 (think crispy, buttermilk marinated pieces of tender dark and white meat, served with herbed mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus and gravy) There’s also the three cheese mac, $6, (cheddar, jack and asiago) that our kid testers happily scarfed down. (When my kids were little, Indigo take-out was in our regular rotation and the family-friendly menu makes it a great choice for adults and kids). Classic sides like Knowling’s killer sweet potatoes and smokey collard greens are joined by new menu items –jumbo shrimp and grits, ($11) pot-roasted short ribs ($19) and wood-grilled salmon and skirt steak ($17 & $22).
For dessert, a new valrhona chocolate devil’s food cake teamed with a side of vanilla ice cream drenched in chocolate sauce was the table favorite.
After settling our check (done seamlessly on an iPad, where we tapped and signed by finger), we learned from our server that Sunday brunch is back, too (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) with egg dishes, chicken and waffles, red velvet pancakes, or ribs and burgers (with Indigo’s addictive, perfectly salty-crisp steak fries,) if you prefer.
Indigo Kitchen, 615 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair, 973-707-2950. Lunch, Monday-Saturday, 11:30-2:30; Dinner, Monday-Thursday, 5:30-10/Friday-Saturday, 5:30-11; Sunday Brunch, 11-3, Sunday Supper, 5-9. Closed Tuesdays.
Photos: (the incomparable) Holly Korus