Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | October 23, 2011

The Kaplans take Rahway

It’s always exciting when Mark and I get a date night. Especially when we go to a hip and trendy restaurant – something that’s not usually in the same sentence as “Kaplan.” Last night we actually had a double date, meaning with other adults, not our kids. Fortunately these adults expressed availability for that night on the morning of the date, because we plan so far ahead. They’re spontaneous folks too and like us, have no life.

I heard about this new hip and trendy restaurant, Patria, through my tennis instructor who is expert in all things New Jersey. Check out the link and you won’t believe this kind of hipness exists in Rahway, let alone New Jersey. Last time we ate in Rahway it was at David Drake’s old restaurant, which I believe had the unusual name of David Drake. The New Jersey chef is talked about in the media as being not only a great chef in New Jersey, but also recognized OUTSIDE NEW JERSEY. That was a delicious, expensive foodie meal, and we couldn’t believe that kind of restaurant existed in Rahway. It closed a week after we ate there.

Rahway has a sleepy downtown (another way of saying you worry you’ll get mugged at night) and up-and-coming potential. Because Patria had such a hip and trendy vibe, we risked our lives and parked the minivan block away so we wouldn’t harm the restaurant’s reputation.

We made early bird reservations, 6:30, because we know our kids won’t go to bed until we get home. We thought we’d be the only ones there, but we weren’t – the restaurant was almost full (but the bar was almost empty).

the mixology bar

We had a delicious meal of tapas, plus cocktails from the “mixology bar.” This sounds a little pretentious to me, but the Dark and Stormy Night (with dark rum and ginger beer), was the favorite at our table, and my Pineapple Express (with pineapple and some other stuff) came in a close second. The strawberry cilantro margarita was heavy on the cilantro (I liked it but our friend who ordered it didn’t), and the recommended watermelon something was the least favorite. The house sangria was good (not great).

The room was very dark, rendering my careful application of makeup moot. And it meant our friends had to drag out their old-people reading glasses so they could see the menu.

the Patria dining room - only it was "green" night when we were there - and much darker

Apparently there’s live music and an actual club/dancing scene at times later than 6:30 (and even later than when we left, at the yawn-inducing hours of 9:30). We could see the hip and trendy lounge and dancing area downstairs, plus the private VIP room with “Patria” spelled out in mystical lighting in the next room.

ooh - aah

The downstairs was empty, save for the restroom lady, who jumped up after I stumbled down the stairs (not literally) to use the ladies’ lounge. You see, I did a few too many knee bends in Friday morning exercise class and my thighs are now cramped up in pain, making it difficult to walk downstairs. Thank god for the restroom lady, though. She had a flat iron heated and ready after I used the facilities and washed my hands. I really needed that flat iron to make my hair look even flatter than usual. And she had a big bin of necessary supplies should my hair need spraying, my mouth need freshening, or my hoo-hoo need stuffing. The sign “THESE THINGS ARE NOT FREE” said it all. Too bad for the restroom lady that I left my “pocketbook” (New Jersey speak for purse/handbag) at the table. No tip for her for handing me that paper towel. I know she accepted tips because the big glass jar with several single dollars and some change rested just next to the soap pump (which I pumped myself, thank you very much) at the sink.

the restroom lady and her supplies were not available the day of photo shoot

The bill came, and we handed over our “15% off food only” coupon, scavenged from the (not) hip and trendy free Suburban News that comes on Thursdays with supermaket ads. As we left, we could see that the bar was full and there was a wait for tables.

In that wait, were two Jersey women, deserving of a spot on one of our famed reality shows Jerselicious or Real Housewives of New Jersey. One wore a tight animal print top with her ample boobs popping out. No one got an actual look at her face (though I’m sure she’d benefit from that flat iron in the restroom), because all eyes were on the boobage. The other woman had a similar top, though it was white, and had it all spilling out as well.

unfortunately I forgot my camera and was unable to capture the actual woman in the restaurant, so this will have to suffice

As we stepped outside, there were the Juicy Joe Guidice look-alikes. Perhaps his cousins. And parked right outside the restaurant was a white Rolls Royce with New York plates. Wow! Someone came from New York to this hip and trendy restauant/mixology lounge! We weren’t sure whether the car was rented to up the hipness factor, or people in Staten Island really do like to come to Rahway when their favorite Linden, NJ restaurant is closed for the night. We were glad our minivan was a block away (and that we didn’t get mugged on our way back to it).

By the time we got home at 10, the kids were still up (surprise!) and they were patiently waiting for us to tell them what they could eat for dessert. Apparently when we served them (pizza) dinner before we left, we didn’t specify the reward for eating that and watermelon. They’ve not yet learned to scarf down as much ice cream and candy as they can when we’re gone. I’m sure that day will come.




  1. Good stuff.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: