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CLASSIFIED Brunch

October 15, 2018 Leave a comment Go to comments

 

United CLASSIFIEDHow many emails do you get per day? I would safely bet that we all get at least 50 emails per day (don’t laugh too hard out there, please – of course, it is on a slow, really slow day).

The real question is – how many of those emails do you open? Speaking for myself, I delete at least 90% of all the emails after just glancing at the subject line and the source. For the rest, I would open them to read at least the first couple of lines and then decide what to do with it. Okay, bear with me, please – it all will make sense in a second.

I’m a frequent flyer with United, so of course, I get emails from them. Most of those emails are deleted right after reading the subject line (sorry, United). When I received the email from United with the subject line “Your invitation to CLASSIFIED”, the mouse pointer quickly advanced toward the “delete” symbol. However, something prompted me to open the email and read through at least a few lines.

The email was inviting me to experience the new secret (!) restaurant in the Newark airport, called CLASSIFIED. Secret restaurant? In Newark? I fly from that airport all the time, and I know of all the restaurants there, I never saw anything called “CLASSIFIED”. “It must be a scam” my thought continued as my hand was directing the pointer towards the big X. Again, something prompted me to stop and do a bit of a research on the internet – and it appeared that yes, there is a secret (semi-secret) restaurant in the Newark airport, which a number of people already visited and wrote about.

I was still puzzled as to what was the criteria for United to send me this invitation – I don’t have such a high status with them – I struggle to make to the “gold” every year, I’m not a million miles flyer, it was really a puzzle. But hey, I’m a foodie, so if you tell me “new restaurant”, “unusual experience” – you definitely got my ear.

So once you are invited, you need to make a reservation. I had to wait a bit to find a good occasion to make a reservation, as I wouldn’t want to come much earlier to the airport if I don’t have to, and if we are talking about the “experience”, I need to allow the sufficient time for a restaurant visit. The opportunity presented itself as I was connecting in Newark and had 5 hours to kill between my flights this past Saturday. I logged into United with my invitation, got to the restaurant website, and after browsing the menus, made the reservation for Saturday brunch. I got the confirmation email which stated the following:

When you arrive at the airport, please make your way to Saison, a restaurant located in Terminal C near Gate C120. After you let the host know that you’re dining at CLASSIFIED, you’ll be escorted to a private entrance and seated at your table. 

After arriving at the Newark airport on a beautiful day

Newark Airport

I did exactly as I was told, and was quickly escorted to an indiscreet section of the wall in the far back corner of the Saison restaurant, which simply happened to be a door. After a short walk in the dimly lit corridor, I entered the small dining room – the CLASSIFIED restaurant.

As I got situated at my table, my excitement started dissipating as soon as I saw the familiar iPad screens, used for food ordering everywhere throughout Terminal C. The waiter confirmed my suspicion when he asked if I know how to use those iPads, which I confirmed with the sigh. Considering that food at CLASSIFIED is priced at the level of New York’s fine dining establishments, I was expecting the real menu. Oh well, the iPad ordering it is.

Just to set your expectations right, this was the last “low-down” I experienced during the brunch.

First, the Rosé arrived – the Juliette Rosé from Provence, which was delicious, perfect acidity, slightly bigger body than a typical Provence Rosé with a touch of residual sugar – very enjoyable, and a great value at $11. It even arrived with a little extra, courtesy of the restaurant.

The next surprise was the appearance of the Amuse Bouche – a White Bean and Tomato Bisque, which was superb – good texture, nice and warming, good seasoning – really a great start.

Then my main brunch dish arrived – Salmon Eggs Benedict with Home Fried Potatoes and  the side of Chanterelle Mushrooms:

CLASSIFIED Eggs Benedict

The eggs Benedict were cooked perfectly – runny yolk, delicious hollandaise with just the right amount of acidity, generous amount of smoked salmon – one of the very best I ever had. Home fried potatoes with some fried onions were outstanding. And chanterelles… I really have no comments – simply outstanding, just the right amount of seasoning, just the right crunch, a mushroom orgasm on the plate (hope you can relate). CLASSIFIED Nice Touch

I was too full to have any dessert, but still, the little box appeared on the table, containing a set of chocolates. Yet another nice touch, which all together, one little detail after another, adds up to what we call “the experience”. A fine dining experience at the Newark airport. Thank you, United, for making flying something you can look forward to.

Note to self – sometimes, it makes sense to read the emails. Cheers!

  1. October 15, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    I’ve gotten those emails also. And I delete them. :op I guess I feel if I’m being invited they should be paying. I’m not thinking of having a “special elaborate” meal at the airport. I usually am on a mission to get to my gate on time to then only be told we are delayed. (can you tell I’ am not the happiest with United right now?)

    • October 16, 2018 at 2:34 am

      I hear you, Lori. Not that I’m thrilled with United all the time. But I appreciate that they are trying to be better, at least in my little world. I rely a lot on their mobile app, which they are constantly improving. They let you see the status of the incoming plane, so in a lot of cases I know when to anticipate the delay even before it is announced.
      Anyway, if you are ever in a mood for a nice meal at the airport, CLASSIFIED is something to consider. We just need to do a press trip together to we can meet there before the flight 🙂

  2. October 16, 2018 at 8:32 am

    Wow! What a great find. Love the name of the restaurant!

  3. October 16, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    Your review was well written and the food and wine pairing sounded sublime! Congrats on an email worth reading! #MeemawApproved #MeemawEats #MeemawSips

  4. October 16, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    I flew out of Newark to go to Barcelona last month for the first time in a decade because the tickets there were $1k cheaper than flying out of Dulles (and it’s only arguably more difficult to get to Newark versus Dulles from Baltimore–at least with Newark you have the option of a train). I’m with you on not loving the iPad ordering, but I was impressed with the food and drink we had there this time around and it did make for a nice, relaxing meal before boarding a trans-Atlantic flight. The next time I find myself with a decent wait there, I’ll have to look into this place because the food does look really good.

    • October 16, 2018 at 2:35 pm

      The iPad ordering really came around lately, but most importantly, the food quality substantially improved over the last 2-3 years. Newark today might be well ahead of many other airports of comparable size when it comes to the food quality.

      • October 17, 2018 at 9:22 am

        I tend to fly mostly Southwest because BWI is a hub city of theirs, so I don’t often go to the big airports, but I can absolutely believe that Newark has upped its game that much versus comparable airports in terms of quality.

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