I have been in the food service business for over forty years and am still somewhat sane!
I grew up just outside New York City in Bergen County and have lived in Florida, Maine, Cape Cod, California, Montana and Wyoming, and, for the last 13 years, in the beautiful Upper Connecticut River Valley. Over the years I have worked in many different restaurant settings, primarily finer dining establishments. I also had the opportunity to be a partner in a specialty food retail venue. This experience exposed me to the availability of very diverse ingredients from all over the world. At this point I began to teach cooking classes; researching many different culinary styles and cultures to expand their focus. While my cooking style has evolved over the years as a result of these many influences, my primary mission has always been to stay true to the ingredients.
When I began learning culinary skills, my first interest, and passion, was classical French. I love sauces, and am all about making stocks and demi-glace. Over the years I have come to enjoy the bright fresh flavors of Asian, Caribbean and Mediterranean cuisines, constantly amazed at these similar yet different cuisines. As a result, our menus reflect this variety of food profiles.
Our main menu, Ariana’s Favorites, represents our most popular dishes from the past years; the ones our regulars come back for again and again. Our Additions Menu changes weekly, and frequently daily. This gives me the opportunity to bring in new ingredients I have not used before, try new dishes for all to enjoy, and share many of the different dishes I have seen and created along the way.
The Additions Menu features both small and large plates, 3 or more of each, highlighting both seafood and meats. I do have a lot of seafood on our menu. Personally, I love seafood. I enjoy being creative with seafood, experimenting with different combinations and cooking styles. Seafood is also very healthy for us. In addition, you will always find beef and chicken available, as well as veal, pork and lamb when they are available from our local farms. My aim is to be true to the food and the theme, and my plates are designed with cultural influences in mind.
When creating a dish, I focus on the main ingredient, and enhance it with sauce, vegetables and some type of starch, potato, rice, grains, legumes, to present food that is approachable, fresh and flavorful, with the main ingredient at center stage. We use high quality ingredients and pay premium dollar for our proteins and vegetables, especially in season. This does come at a cost, but I will not compromise here. Within these parameters, we strive to provide a very fair value in our food, wines, beers and cocktails.
Ariana’s is a warm, friendly restaurant and all are welcome. We are all about a real food experience, and my staff and I care about the food and you, our guest; so come in, relax, and enjoy a fine meal and evening.