2018,  Best of,  Raves & Faves,  Restaurants,  Reviews,  Romantic Dinners,  Wanderlust

First visit to Andre’s Restaurant, Sparta, NJ

Having grown up in the Riverdale / Kinnelon area we never really ventured much outside of Morris County to dine until we moved to Sussex County and found that we needed to travel in order to find the elegant dining experiences we were looking forward to.  Having worked in the Morristown area for many years, we both have found ourselves over the last several years working and dining in the Sparta area much more frequently.  Our friend Chef Ken Salmon owned and ran Upstream Grille for 3.5 years in Lake Hopatcong and it was our place.  We got married there and we were very loyal to Ken.  He is an amazing chef.

Since 2015, when Andre’s Restaurant moved from Newton to Sparta, we had be anxious to dine there but just always found ourselves much too busy or hanging at Upstream Grille.  Andrea’s has been around for 20 years this year and has been owned and run by Andre deWaal and his wife Tracey. As part of our Sunday Supper Tour in 2018, we are trying all new restaurants.  After a few interactions with Andre on Facebook, he said we should check out their Crab Fest event for our first visit and we are so glad we did.

Andre’s location in Sparta is absolutely beautiful.  With both indoor and lake side seating, the restaurant has a lot of class.  It is also a BYOB which intrigued us even more.  Our favorite French restaurant Lorena’s is also a BYOB and this makes for a great experience because we get to tinker with pairings.  When we pulled into the parking lot, we parked near Andre’s new garden and we were pleasantly surprised to see Chef Andre playing in the garden before the dinner crowd.  As we left our car to walk into the restaurant, Chef Andre greeted us and wished us a great dinner.

View from our table lakeside at Andre’s Restaurant, Sparta, NJ

When we entered the restaurant we loved the quaint but open floor-plan and views.  You immediately said Wow, this is a great restaurant.  We were greeted at the at the door by Andre’s wife Tracey who immediately complimented my wife on her 50’s style vintage dress.  We felt very welcomed right from the start.  As we made our way over to our table, Dave couldn’t help but think he knew Tracey from somewhere but couldn’t exactly place where.  “I’m sure it was from one of the many food event’s we’ve attended”, thought Dave as they proceeded to choose a table nearest the lake side.

After being seated and meeting our server Madison who took excellent care of us all through out the evening, we began to peruse the menu as they informed us of what was in store for our evening.

Here’s some great pictures of what we had the pleasure of enjoying.

Corn Bread and Focaccia bread with Butter and BBQ Sauce infused Butter
Cool Crab & Smoked Trout Salad with SteelHead Roe, Cucumber and Truffle
Spicy Jonah California Roll, Avocado and Pickled Ginger
Tomato Crab Soup with Panzanella and Purple Basil
Soft Shell Crab, Ginger Peanut Noodles and Sesame Shrimp
Panko Crusted Crab Cake, Hot Potato, Cold Slaw, Old Bay Mayo
Crab Frappe (No crab in the Frappe) and Chocolate Truffles

From the location and the view, to the service, to the French and Asian inspired dishes, we have to say this entire experience was excellent and we are so anxious to visit again very soon.  Chef Andre and his wife Tracey truly have a gem in this restaurant and their passion for Andre’s Restaurant shows in every aspect from the decor to the choice of location to their treatment of their guests to the beautifully plated, culinary delights they prepare.  If there is one restaurant in the Sparta, NJ area that you must try this year, please do put Andre’s Restaurant on your list.  We highly recommend it.

Oh, and just a little P.S.:  After Dave driving himself crazy since last night trying to figure our where he knew Tracey (Andre’s Wife) from, while sitting down to write this blog, he realized where, ran to the living room and grab his copy of his Pegasus ’88 Kinnelon High School year book.  After paging through, the mystery was solved.  Both Dave and Cynthia had attended High School with Tracey.  Mystery solved and just another highlight to another amazing Sunday Supper in 2018.

Dave VanderWekke is former Electronic Engineer now Accomplished Software Engineer, former IBMer, amateur chef and amateur BBQ pit-master and definite Foodie. He is also a Paranormal Investigator, Ordained Minister and full time tinkerer into everything from Home Automation to A.I. and Robotics. Dave loves dining and dressing up for the occasion and thinks it's a lost art. "Sunday Supper should be something everyone does", says Dave. [More About Dave...]

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