Welcome to EAT THIS CITY, your tour of the best restaurants in one of our favorite cities, as chosen by a world-class chef, celebrity, or local hero.
This week, we’re heading for the oldest town in New Jersey and home to the largest IMAX dome theater in the nation. It’s the intersection of modern entertainment and classic Victorian architecture. It’s also the home of some damn good eats. And if there is a person who knows the local dining scene, it’s George Kuan, the owner of Jersey City’s own Bang Cookies.
Though he graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in finance and slid smoothly into the corporate world, Kuan had a passion for food that wasn’t being appropriately celebrated in his day-to-day life. He needed more, so he left his job and launched a self-discovery journey, working with start-ups in the world of food. Soon, he decided to use his spare time to “stage” — pronounced with a soft “a” and meaning to work the line (for free) — in any New York City kitchen that would have him. In some cases it meant cooking in casual eateries, but he was also working the critically acclaimed fine dining hustle.
During this time, Kuan learned all about prep, technique, and ingredients. Plus, he had the chance to dive deep on his favorite sweet treat: cookies.
Now, Kuan runs the premiere cookie bakery in Jersey City — baking dreamy treats with fresh, organic ingredients. Check them out and tell us you aren’t craving one immediately.
Now that we’re hungry, let’s get George Kuan to drop knowledge about his favorite dining experiences in Jersey City.
My favorite artisan pizza place. Known for their thin, perfectly cooked crust with no patches of undercooked sections and using local ingredients from New Jersey farms, they are a rare breed in understanding how to make a great dough, how to bake it properly in a wood-burning oven, and how to pair the pizza with ingredients that complement each other.
My favorite is the burrata pizza, which is topped with basil, tomato sauce, and garlic.
Mexican tacos always hit the spot, and Orale serves up a really mean one that I always order. They have a unique take on tacos that is nontraditional, such as tuna, bone marrow, lamb… the list goes on. The carnitas taco (my favorite), aka braised pork belly with red onions, cilantro, and salsa verde is soooo good. The owners of the place are always at the restaurant making sure service and food are up to snuff.
This place is money well spent for a good evening out when tacos are needed.