The best kept secret in not just New Jersey, but all of the tri-state area, is about to become public knowledge, and when everyone you know starts talking about it, you can say that you heard it here first.
I’m talking about Great Falls Bistro at Factory 220 in Passaic, a one-of-a-kind restaurant that is a destination unto itself. Situated in an industrial section of town on the top floor of a factory that once manufactured electrical wire and cable, Great Falls Bistro has a vibe all its own, where fine dining and rustic chic blend seamlessly, setting a contemporary backdrop for a menu that wows.
From the moment diners pull into its Passaic Street location where ample parking is available, the restaurant exudes an aura of relaxed dignity. With its exposed-brick walls, antique lighting and vintage flooring, Great Falls Bistro’s spacious dining room takes you back in time several decades, its tables spaced far enough apart so that everyone feels comfortable and customers often linger over their meal to prolong their experience.
“We are not that tight and stiff New York City restaurant where people are on top of each other,” owner Shamir Einhorn told The Jewish Link. “Our tables are a little larger than at most places and were designed so that someone can order an extra appetizer if they want to. People just relax when they come here and no one feels like they are being squeezed.”
Located approximately 11 miles from Manhattan, Great Falls Bistro has been quietly thrilling diners since the summer of 2016. Einhorn has been contentedly flying under the radar as he fine-tunes his product, with satisfied customers spreading word of the unique eatery tucked inside a historic building dating back to the 1920s. With three years of solid experience under his belt and a full menu offering inspired cuisine, including the exquisite short rib topped arborio rice balls and rib eye steaks so tender they practically cut themselves, Einhorn is finally ready to share his vision with the public in a very big way. And while Great Falls Bistro is under the rabbinical supervision of the Orthodox Union, Einhorn doesn’t think of the establishment as a typical kosher restaurant.
“We are filling that niche of being like the high-end non-kosher restaurant with 100 years of experience behind them,” Einhorn said. “We are an amazing restaurant that happens to be kosher.”
Featuring two dozen intriguing cocktails, the drinks menu is several pages long, and whether you prefer single-malt scotch, Irish whiskey, bourbon, gin, vodka, tequila or rum, Great Falls Bistro has your fave. Just about everything you can think of is made in-house, from the organic blueberry merlot tea to the amazing breads and the death-to-your-diet desserts, including the ridiculously creamy gelato. Einhorn credits the growing vegan community with expanding the kosher community’s culinary horizons, with non-dairy mozzarella and cheddar enhancing several dishes.
The menu at Great Falls Bistro is inspired, further elevated by an astonishing attention to detail. The cobb salad with seared salmon and roasted corn is enhanced by perfect lemony-yellow hard-boiled eggs, while the impressive house burger’s bun is toasted so that it can stand up to the non-dairy cheese, egg, mushrooms, caramelized onions, mushrooms and homemade dill pickles that make this dish a star. Eggs are featured in one of the restaurant’s most beautiful entrees, the short rib-topped gnocchi adorned with a picture-perfect halved Scotch egg, an element that Einhorn readily admits took days to get exactly right.
That same passion for excellence is evident in every dish that leaves the Great Falls Bistro kitchen. Although he has no formal training, Einhorn, in his capacity as executive chef, has an uncanny ability to marry complex flavors, pairing tastes and textures with spectacular results. The restaurant aims high, with its dry-aged, hand-crafted prime meats butchered in-house. Einhorn and his culinary team don’t just think outside the box, they spend their days and nights dreaming up new ways to completely reinvent it. Tapas, one of many specialties at Great Falls Bistro, are delicious expressions of creativity, with items like short ribs prepared multiple ways.
“We can make it in a taco,” said Einhorn. “We can make it in a pizza. We are doing flatbreads that are on the edge, creating beautiful bites that are well conceived but also substantial.”
Einhorn is a big believer in keeping things fresh, with new additions making their way onto the menu all the time.
“We like to change things up, adding and updating and offering specials,” said Einhorn. “We are constantly doing things that are not average.”
Further expanding its offerings, Great Falls Bistro is now offering a full bar menu including drinks, beer, wine, signature cocktails and a creative dishes including blistered shishito peppers with chipotle mayonnaise and beyond-delicious short rib tacos. A special three-course $32.99 prix fixe dinner is available from 4 to 6 p.m., with a fast casual lunch menu and a full lounge both on the horizon. Currently, Great Falls Bistro can easily seat 100 diners while a separate private area can accommodate 250 guests, with potential future plans calling for additional expansions.
Einhorn clearly has the Midas touch when it comes to food and his three years of diligent effort are evident here—we sampled nearly half the menu at Great Falls Bistro and found every single dish flawlessly executed. Destination dining at its best, Great Falls Bistro is an authentic culinary gem and a one-of-a-kind experience. Run, don’t walk, to 220 Passaic Street and get ready to enjoy the best-kept secret in town.
Great Falls Bistro is open Sundays through Thursdasy from 4 to 10 p.m., with the last seating at 9:30 p.m. For more information, visit them online at greatfallsbistro.com or call 973-473-1007.
By Sandy Eller