Chef Ehren Ryan and staff

Millburn’s Common Lot Gets Raves from NY Times, NJ Monthly

Originally Posted In The Village Green

Millburn’s new contemporary restaurant, Common Lot, has received glowing reviews recently from The New York Times and New Jersey Monthly. The Times’ food critic Fran Schumer praised every aspect of the restaurant in a July 15 review, saying its appeal was “irresistible” and giving Common Lot the paper’s highest rating, “Excellent.”

NJ Monthly’s food writer Eric Levin wrote in the July issue that the globally inspired food was a “marriage of old and new [that] works.”

Both reviewers spoke highly of their experiences meeting owners Ehren and Nadine Ryan and learning how they landed in Millburn.  The Australian and Austrian natives moved to New Jersey to stay close to family and pursue their dream of opening up a restaurant of their own… READ MORE

Ehren and Nadine Ryan (he from Australia, she from Austria) bring uncommonly good food to Millburn. Why : Family. By Eric Levin EDITED BY ERIC LEVIN Pc2280200 FOOD New American AMBIENCE Casual, comfy, quietly hip SERVICE Informed, responsive and enthused DRINKS BYO PRICES Small plates, $5-$18; big plates, $22-$32; mains for two $75-$80; desserts, $10 OPEN Lunch, Wednesday-Saturday; dinner, Tuesday-Saturday 27 Main Street 973-467-0494 commonlot.com Pc2280100 Servers appeared to be shaking cocktails tableside as we entered Common Lot in Millburn for our first visit. I admired their technique: arms high, hands a blur. But what they were shaking turned out to be… brown paper bags. And, Common Lot being a BYO, what each server poured out was a glistening mound of potato chips. This $5 Bag of Egg and Crisps—the first item in the Smalls to Share column—comes with a bit of theater, which is one reason many tables order it. The server brings over a plastic-lined paper bag and a white bowl containing a slow-cooked, soft egg. The jiggly white blob is ceremoniously dumped into the bag, which holds a heap of crispy, house-made potato chips. “Don’t try this at home,” quipped our server, sealing the bag and hitting max-shake mode. The chips tumbled out, lightly yolk sheened and flecked with white. On another visit, slightly fewer chips in the bag made for a richer, more sybaritic glazing. Both times, we got more than $5 worth of fun and flavor. This funky starter contains a clue. Crisps, of course, is what Brits call potato chips. Common Lot’s chef, Ehren Ryan, a native Aussie, earned his spurs cooking at Michelin-starred restaurants in London. He and his wife, Nadine, an Austrian, met in 2010, when they worked at the luxury Atlantic Hotel on the British isle of Jersey in the English Channel. The starter is a conversation starter, too, intended to kick off the convivial sampling for which Common Lot’s menu is designed. Conviviality is built into the restaurant’s design as well, with natural materials, wide aisles, larger-than-usual tabletops, a bit more elbow room between them, a common table, plus an open kitchen with four plush armchairs along the counter. The name of the 4-month-old restaurant, the Ryans’ first, is a Brit-speak mashup, combining the idea of “common” (public) “lots” (areas) with the slang of “you lot,” the equivalent of “you guys.” Pc2280300 NEW ARRIVALS Opposite page, co-owners Ehren and Nadine Ryan in front of the communal table. Center, beef tartare with grilled, house-made sourdough bread. The Ryans, who wed in 2014, draw inspiration from all the places they’ve worked or visited, from their native lands to Canada, Japan, France, Portugal, Spain, Thailand and Indonesia. “We are not fusion,” Ehren says. “We use flavors that people are getting to know and like. We strive to do interesting and fun things and cook what Nadine and I like to eat.” That last part—its frankness and simplicity—is almost a badge of honor for their peripatetic generation of cooks and restaurateurs. Fortunately, Ehren, 31, and Nadine, 27, have adventurous palates. Ehren’s best dishes are intensely flavorful, complex and detailed. Yet their balance and focus make them seem less exotic, more like stuff you’d gladly eat every day. Pc2280400 This page, the counter, with four plush armchairs facing the open kitchen, where light pours in from wrap-around windows. One such treat, for which you can thank Nadine, is Ehren’s particularly toothsome beef tartare. (“Nadine loves beef tartare,” he says. “She’s always nagging me to put one on.”) He hand-chops filet mignon from DeBragga, spikes it with pickled shallots, garlic oil and gratifying dollops of caramelized black-garlic aioli, and adds sesame seeds for textural contrast. Pc2280700 A deeper downshift from exotic to everyday was created by sous chef Nick Greiss, 28, a Nutley native and CIA grad, whose Buffalo sweetbreads are to Buffalo wings as pianos are to piccolos, even though both use Frank’s Hot Sauce. Greiss’s tender, spicy, crunchy sweetbreads come with avocado mousse (a riff on ranch dressing) and are showered with crispy leeks. Common Lot’s poached chicken roulade reverses the trick, making the everyday exotic. My eyes rolled when our waiter promised it would be “like the best chicken salad you ever tasted.” He was wrong. The discs of creamy, flavorful meat served with salsa verde, lemon pepper and crackly bits of chicken skin, were even better than the best chicken salad I’ve ever tasted. These dishes and others (like roasted heirloom carrots with yogurt and pumpkin seeds, and charred broccolini with chili and charred lemon) turn the Smalls to Share column of the menu into a hit parade. The next column, called Bigs, delivers flavor and satisfaction worthy of its name. Earthy morels and chanterelles keep ethereal butter-poached halibut from drifting away like an untethered balloon. But if I had just one Common Lot dish to eat every day, it would be the intensely luscious duck leg ragù with gnocchi and shiitakes. The ragù slow-simmers onions, garlic and crushed tomatoes, per tradition. But, says Ehren with a chuckle, “if an Italian saw the recipe, they’d freak, because we reduce two or three cans of Guinness for the ragù instead of wine.” This kind of globalization is a good thing. Pc2280500 Below, simmering, charring, broccolini on the grill. Bottom, a waiter plops a soft-cooked egg from a small bowl into a plastic-lined bag of house-made potato crisps. Pc2280600 He’ll shake it up, comes eggycrunchy crisps, fun for all, even the waiter. Speaking of global, you might be wondering how this well-traveled couple wound up in New Jersey, specifically Millburn. The short answer is that in 2006 Ehren’s parents moved from Sydney to Harding Township when his father, a partner in an international law firm, took a position in the firm’s New York office. Harding is about 12 miles west of Millburn, and Ehren’s parents have many friends in the area. Ehren and Nadine, wanting their own restaurant, had priced the project in Australia, Austria and New York. But the only place that seemed affordable—and near family—was suburban Essex. “My parents have friends in Millburn, and we walked around with them,” Ehren says. “They said they desperately need a restaurant there; they’re tired of going to New York for food.” Pc2300000 NO CUTTING CORNERS Inside the renovated building are delights like chicken roulade and, bottom, braised lamb shoulder with rice, cashews, lettuce and soy caramel. Pc2300200 Pc2300300 Friends of Ehren’s parents own what was a decrepit old building at Main and Essex Streets. “They were going to demolish it and put in apartments. We put our concept forward. It was very businesslike.” The owners renovated the exterior, while Ehren and Nadine sank everything they had into redoing the interior. Guess which Common Lot dessert is a nod to Aussie and British tastes. Not the lemon semi-freddo, not the chocolate mousse. It’s the rice pudding. “It’s my mom’s favorite dessert, and a childhood memory for me,” Ehren says. He serves it warm, which is traditional, but with pistachio gelato, which is not. As with so much of Common Lot’s menu, the marriage of old and new works.

New Jersey Monthly Full Feature Article On Common Lot

Ehren and Nadine Ryan (he from Australia, she from Austria) bring uncommonly good food to Millburn. Why : Family.

Pc2280200

FOOD New American

AMBIENCE Casual, comfy, quietly hip

SERVICE Informed, responsive and enthused

DRINKS BYO

PRICES Small plates, $5-$18; big plates, $22-$32; mains for two $75-$80; desserts, $10

OPEN Lunch, Wednesday-Saturday; dinner, Tuesday-Saturday

27 Main Street 973-467-0494 commonlot.com

Pc2280100

Servers appeared to be shaking cocktails tableside as we entered Common Lot in Millburn for our first visit. I admired their technique: arms high, hands a blur. But what they were shaking turned out to be… brown paper bags. And, Common Lot being a BYO, what each server poured out was a glistening mound of potato chips.

This $5 Bag of Egg and Crisps—the first item in the Smalls to Share column—comes with a bit of theater, which is one reason many tables order it. The server brings over a plastic-lined paper bag and a white bowl containing a slow-cooked, soft egg. The jiggly white blob is ceremoniously dumped into the bag, which holds a heap of crispy, house-made potato chips.

“Don’t try this at home,” quipped our server, sealing the bag and hitting max-shake mode. The chips tumbled out, lightly yolk sheened and flecked with white. On another visit, slightly fewer chips in the bag made for a richer, more sybaritic glazing. Both times, we got more than $5 worth of fun and flavor.

This funky starter contains a clue. Crisps, of course, is what Brits call potato chips. Common Lot’s chef, Ehren Ryan, a native Aussie, earned his spurs cooking at Michelin-starred restaurants in London. He and his wife, Nadine, an Austrian, met in 2010, when they worked at the luxury Atlantic Hotel on the British isle of Jersey in the English Channel.

The starter is a conversation starter, too, intended to kick off the convivial sampling for which Common Lot’s menu is designed. Conviviality is built into the restaurant’s design as well, with natural materials, wide aisles, larger-than-usual tabletops, a bit more elbow room between them, a common table, plus an open kitchen with four plush armchairs along the counter. The name of the 4-month-old restaurant, the Ryans’ first, is a Brit-speak mashup, combining the idea of “common” (public) “lots” (areas) with the slang of “you lot,” the equivalent of “you guys.”

Pc2280300

NEW ARRIVALS Opposite page, co-owners Ehren and Nadine Ryan in front of the communal table. Center, beef tartare with grilled, house-made sourdough bread.


The Ryans, who wed in 2014, draw inspiration from all the places they’ve worked or visited, from their native lands to Canada, Japan, France, Portugal, Spain, Thailand and Indonesia.

“We are not fusion,” Ehren says. “We use flavors that people are getting to know and like. We strive to do interesting and fun things and cook what Nadine and I like to eat.”

That last part—its frankness and simplicity—is almost a badge of honor for their peripatetic generation of cooks and restaurateurs. Fortunately, Ehren, 31, and Nadine, 27, have adventurous palates. Ehren’s best dishes are intensely flavorful, complex and detailed. Yet their balance and focus make them seem less exotic, more like stuff you’d gladly eat every day.

Pc2280400

This page, the counter, with four plush armchairs facing the open kitchen, where light pours in from wrap-around windows.


One such treat, for which you can thank Nadine, is Ehren’s particularly toothsome beef tartare. (“Nadine loves beef tartare,” he says. “She’s always nagging me to put one on.”) He hand-chops filet mignon from DeBragga, spikes it with pickled shallots, garlic oil and gratifying dollops of caramelized black-garlic aioli, and adds sesame seeds for textural contrast.

Pc2280700

A deeper downshift from exotic to everyday was created by sous chef Nick Greiss, 28, a Nutley native and CIA grad, whose Buffalo sweetbreads are to Buffalo wings as pianos are to piccolos, even though both use Frank’s Hot Sauce. Greiss’s tender, spicy, crunchy sweetbreads come with avocado mousse (a riff on ranch dressing) and are showered with crispy leeks.

Common Lot’s poached chicken roulade reverses the trick, making the everyday exotic. My eyes rolled when our waiter promised it would be “like the best chicken salad you ever tasted.” He was wrong. The discs of creamy, flavorful meat served with salsa verde, lemon pepper and crackly bits of chicken skin, were even better than the best chicken salad I’ve ever tasted.

These dishes and others (like roasted heirloom carrots with yogurt and pumpkin seeds, and charred broccolini with chili and charred lemon) turn the Smalls to Share column of the menu into a hit parade.

The next column, called Bigs, delivers flavor and satisfaction worthy of its name. Earthy morels and chanterelles keep ethereal butter-poached halibut from drifting away like an untethered balloon. But if I had just one Common Lot dish to eat every day, it would be the intensely luscious duck leg ragù with gnocchi and shiitakes. The ragù slow-simmers onions, garlic and crushed tomatoes, per tradition. But, says Ehren with a chuckle, “if an Italian saw the recipe, they’d freak, because we reduce two or three cans of Guinness for the ragù instead of wine.” This kind of globalization is a good thing.

Pc2280500

Below, simmering, charring, broccolini on the grill. Bottom, a waiter plops a soft-cooked egg from a small bowl into a plastic-lined bag of house-made potato crisps.


Pc2280600

He’ll shake it up, comes eggycrunchy crisps, fun for all, even the waiter.


Speaking of global, you might be wondering how this well-traveled couple wound up in New Jersey, specifically Millburn. The short answer is that in 2006 Ehren’s parents moved from Sydney to Harding Township when his father, a partner in an international law firm, took a position in the firm’s New York office. Harding is about 12 miles west of Millburn, and Ehren’s parents have many friends in the area.

Ehren and Nadine, wanting their own restaurant, had priced the project in Australia, Austria and New York. But the only place that seemed affordable—and near family—was suburban Essex.

“My parents have friends in Millburn, and we walked around with them,” Ehren says. “They said they desperately need a restaurant there; they’re tired of going to New York for food.”

Pc2300000

NO CUTTING CORNERS Inside the renovated building are delights like chicken roulade and, bottom, braised lamb shoulder with rice, cashews, lettuce and soy caramel.


Pc2300200
Pc2300300

Friends of Ehren’s parents own what was a decrepit old building at Main and Essex Streets. “They were going to demolish it and put in apartments. We put our concept forward. It was very businesslike.” The owners renovated the exterior, while Ehren and Nadine sank everything they had into redoing the interior.

Guess which Common Lot dessert is a nod to Aussie and British tastes. Not the lemon semi-freddo, not the chocolate mousse. It’s the rice pudding. “It’s my mom’s favorite dessert, and a childhood memory for me,” Ehren says. He serves it warm, which is traditional, but with pistachio gelato, which is not. As with so much of Common Lot’s menu, the marriage of old and new works.

There’s nothing common about Common Lot

Chef Ehren Ryan Opens Common Lot in Millburn
By Rosie Saferstein | June 6, 2016

There is nothing common about Common Lot. From the handmade ceramic dishes, jugs and French press pots to the gunmetal silverware and fresh flowers, this exciting new restaurant is uncommon. The space designed by Studio 1200 in Millburn has an open kitchen, long communal table, dramatic lighting and orange shelves (upstairs) that display some of executive chef/owner Ehren Ryan’s cookbooks. The décor is as luscious as the food.

Australian-born chef Ehren and his partner and wife Austrian born Nadine have impressive bios. He has worked at Michelin star restaurants in Sydney, London, the Channel Islands and Austria, including Heston Blumenthal’s London restaurant. Nadine who runs the front of house, worked at the luxury Kristiania Hotel in Lech, Austria.

Check out the full article here: http://bit.ly/common-lot-nj-monthly

The Millburn-Short Hills Magazine May issue featuring Common Lot

The Millburn-Short Hills Magazine May issue featuring Common Lot

Thanks Joanne Fisher for this great write up in the Millburn Shorthills Magazine May edition!

The Millburn-Short Hills Magazine May issue featuring Common Lot

Chef Ehren Ryan and staff

One of N.J.’s most anticipated new restaurants is here, and it’s excellent

By Cody Kendall | For NJ Advance Media
Original Article: http://www.nj.com/food/index.ssf/2016/05/tables_at_common_lot_are_a_hot_commodity.html

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It seemed as if everyone was waiting breathlessly for Common Lot to open during the long months that the restaurant took shape at the corner of Main and Essex streets in Millburn.

The work on the brick-sided building with the big glass windows originally was scheduled to be finished in December, but you know how that goes. Finally, following a soft opening in March, the restaurant proved its buzz-worthiness by booking up fast.

The space has a studied casual flair, the perfect setting for “globally inspired modern American” food that is thought-provoking. Often so pretty they seem suitable for framing, each dish demands appreciation before one digs into such colorful compilations as delicately handled roasted heirloom carrots ($10) artfully balanced against each other with a backdrop of honey, cumin, pumpkin seeds and yogurt, or lissome butter-poached halibut ($32) flattered by a morel cream sauce.

“Interesting” ingredients — for example, the soy caramel in the $75 braised lamb for two or pickled kohlrabi and crispy garlic with the salmon sashimi ($18) — are an attraction. “We took a risk and it’s paying off. I think people like the change,” said chef/owner Ehren Ryan, a native of Australia and veteran of cooking everywhere from India and the Philippines to the Channel Islands and England.

He works with his wife, Nadine, who comes from Austria. An expert on cheese and tea who studied hotel management, she runs the front of the house, supervising expertly trained, well-informed staffers. They embody the right degree of solicitousness to make the smooth-flowing evening a pleasure.

Although Ryan patronizes a farmers’ market in town, he isn’t wedded to strictly local ingredients, instead preferring to obtain what he needs for his seasonal menus at whatever purveyor offers the best quality of the items he seeks.

The Ryans at first looked for a place to set up shop in New York, including the East Village and Brooklyn, then switched their attention to New Jersey, where the chef’s family lives. Morristown and Summit were on their radar, but he and his wife decided that “Millburn had the right vibe and needed something new.” The location was perfect, “Just down the road from train station, a five-minute walk from the Paper Mill Playhouse.”

Great care has been taken with the furnishings, featuring hand-forged metal to go with reclaimed factory wood boards. An upstairs dining area featuring a cookbook collection accommodates 28.

The layout in the downstairs dining room that seats 34 is interesting, with a community table in the center, a banquette along one wall and very comfortable semi-circular booths on either side near the entrance at the lower level.

Space for four at a counter looking into the open kitchen comprises the “kitchen pass” area, where spots go for $95. The concept offers a chance to interact with the chef and explore a multi-course menu that is billed as a surprise.

Bread isn’t served, so we went with the highly touted bag of egg and crisps ($5) to get our meal under way. The house-made potato chips are shaken in a bag to mix with a soft 64-degree egg. Sorry, but it left me cold, and was rather messy to eat.

Every dish shows thought. Sirloin ($32) dry-aged in-house gets its mojo from a Reform sauce featuring bits of beef tongue. Sweet little smooches of house-made gnocchi combine with a duck leg ragu ($29), shiitake mushrooms and Pecorino.

Vegetarians are not forgotten. Roasted cauliflower ($22) and cauliflower puree (with purple cauliflower for color) are lifted with a relish of sultana raisins and capers.

Desserts by Alexa Clark (formerly of Local Seasonal Kitchen in Ramsey) are fascinating. You can’t go wrong with the Pavlova, the incredible lightness of meringue ($10) matched with the slick velvet of citrus mascarpone and a dusting of dark chocolate. For the kid in you, there’s the chocolate mousse/peanut butter mousse combo ($10) elevated by dulce de leche and cocoa nibs.

Plum brandy sorbet gives a tingle to vanilla rice pudding ($10). The pudding is served in a covered dish, with the sorbet on the lid so it stays cold. Just lift the lid, put it on the side, and partake of both components.

About the restaurant’s name: you know what “common” means. Think one step ahead to communal, and “lot” in this instance stands for a crowd of people, as well as plentiful and abundance. Common Lot is about a place to meet and share unusual food, an experience with an ambiance on the table and in the room that makes for a unique evening.

IF YOU GO

Common Lot

27 Main St., Millburn. 973-467-0494. commonlot.com.

Hours: 5-10 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 5-10:30 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays. Closed Sundays-Mondays. BYOW. ★★★½ (three and one-half stars) out of 4!

Chef Ehren Ryan Helps 5 NJ Teens Reach National Cooking Finals

Featured on NJ Monthly: http://njmonthly.com/articles/eat-drink/five-nj-teens-reach-national-cooking-finals/

Representing their home state, the five culinary students from Passaic County Technical Institute will take on teams from the other 49 in the ProStart Invitational Competition in Dallas.

Practicing at Common Lot in Millburn: New Jersey's winning team of (from left) Frankie Flores (Totowa), Jasmine Garcia (Haledon), Kathleen Ortiz (Hawthorne), Ashley Gulliksen (Haskell) and Katherine Yakovlev (Wayne). Photo: Michele De Vincentis, Passaic County Technical Institute

Practicing at Common Lot in Millburn: New Jersey’s winning team of (from left) Frankie Flores (Totowa), Jasmine Garcia (Haledon), Kathleen Ortiz (Hawthorne), Ashley Gulliksen (Haskell) and Katherine Yakovlev (Wayne). Photo: Michele De Vincentis, Passaic County Technical Institute

With help from chef Ehren Ryan, co-owner of Milburn’s newly-opened Common Lot restaurant, five teens from the School of Culinary Arts at Passaic County Technical Institute are about to compete in the finals of the National Restaurant Association’s 2016 National ProStart Invitational competition in Dallas, Texas.

The contest pits teams from high schools in 50 states.  Team New Jersey is Frankie Flores of Totowa,Jasmine Garcia of Haledon, Kathleen Ortiz of Hawthorne, Ashley Gulliksen of Haskell and Katherine Yakovlev of Wayne. They will compete against more than 300 other finalists for prizes that include full scholarships to post-secondary schools including the Culinary Institute of America.

Team New Jersey (in white) with chef Ehren Ryan (far left) and his Common Lot kitchen team. Photo: Michele De Vincentis, Passaic County Technical Institute

Team New Jersey (in white) with chef Ehren Ryan (far left) and his Common Lot kitchen team. Photo: Michele De Vincentis, Passaic County Technical Institute

Last fall, chef Ryan volunteered to mentor the group while he and his wife were riding out construction delays on Common Lot, the restaurant they were opening together.

With his help and lots of practice, they developed a three-course menu for the rounds of competition that would determine the New Jersey state representative to the ProStart finals.

The menu includes two portions each of a pan-seared scallop and pumpkin appetizer; an entree ofwhole roasted quail with faro risotto and Swiss chard; and a chocolate-peanut butter-caramelized banana torte, served with vanilla crème anglaise sauce.

The hitch is that everything must be made at top speed using the absolute simplest tools and equipment.

Chef Ehren Ryan watching Frankie Flores plate a dish. Photo: Michele De Vincentis, Passaic County Technical Institute

Chef Ehren Ryan watching Frankie Flores plate a dish. Photo: Michele De Vincentis, Passaic County Technical Institute

“What they produce in one hour is phenomenal,” says Ryan. “There’s basically no electricity. The kids have two gas burners to cook off of, and that’s it.”

Recommended Reading:   Taste of Tuscany Dinner at James Beard House

Ryan’s own staff has called the conditions “barbaric.”

Nevertheless, back in January the group weathered the rigorous statewide competition, advancing to take their menu to Dallas on April 29th.

To help keep them focused, Ryan recently staged a mock contest at Common Lot, pitting his kitchen crew against the kids. In order to level the playing field, he handicapped his professionals with a mystery box of ingredients and no extra planning time.

At the state level, Ryan had seen many competitors get distracted by what other teams were doing,

“This pressure test,” he says, “was all about focusing and drowning out the exterior sounds and just doing your job as you would in a normal kitchen.”

The kids finished before the pros even got their dishes plated.

“They seem to thrive on pressure,” Ryan says.

“I’ve always wanted to give back and mentor kids,” says the chef. “There’s such a shortage of good chefs in the world. We have to inspire the next generation.”

the mind of a chef ehren ryan

Jersey Bites Buzz Features Common Lot’s Opening

Original article: http://www.jerseybites.com/2016/04/jersey-bites-buzz-4/

“Officially opened on March 29 by Australian-born chef/owner Ehren Ryan and his wife, Nadine, Ryan describes the locally and seasonally-inspired menu at Common Lot as “modern American with global influences.” Among the Millburn NJ restaurants signature appetizers are salmon sashimi with a pickled daikon and ponzu dressing and slow-cooked duck egg with duck prosciutto and spaetzle infused with hazelnuts. Popular spring entrées include butter-poached halibut with peas, morels, and fava beans as well as duck ragout with house-made gnocchi and beer-infused tomato sauce. At the quaint 64-seat eatery, “we have a rustic casual décor in gray shades with a lot of metal and reclaimed wood,” said Ryan, who hopes to appeal to a local clientele that’s used to traveling to New York City to enjoy this level of dining. “We offer fine dining without pretention and a fun, relaxed, yet elegant dining experience,” he said.”

Chef Ehren and Nadine Ryan Opening Common Lot in Millburn

Article Featured in NJ Monthly

This casual, fine-dining BYO restaurant takes the open-kitchen concept to a new level, providing views of the action from inside as well as out.
By Rosie Saferstein | March 28, 2016

rosie1-3One of the most anticipated restaurant openings this year is Common Lot, at 27 Main Street, Millburn (973-467-0494), which will be opening tomorrow, March 29, by Australian-born chef Ehren Ryan and his Austrian wife, Nadine.

This casual, fine-dining BYO restaurant takes the open-kitchen concept to a new level, providing views of the action from inside as well as out—the latter through large plate-glass, street-level windows.

Menu highlights include small plates of egg and crisps in a bag; roasted heirloom carrots with honey, cumin, yogurt and pumpkin seeds; salmon sashimi, pickled kohlrabi, crispy garlic and lime and chili dressing; and hasselback potato cooked in lamb fat with burrata and onion marmalade. Big plates include roasted bass fillet with cauliflower purée, Puy lentils, Madeira and truffle sauce; braised duck leg ragu with house-made gnocchi and preserved lemon ricotta; in house dry-aged rib eye with Brussels sprouts, chunky potato chips and mushroom ketchup and 12-hour braised lamb shoulder ‘san choy bow’ style, with iceberg lettuce, cashews, brown rice and soy caramel (for two).

Chef Ryan’s life and career has taken him from his native Australia to India, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Canada, the Channel Islands, Austria, England and now the U.S. The Common Lot menu reflects these global influences while sourcing the freshest ingredients available from nearby purveyors like Urbana Greens, Mosefund Farm and No. Six Depot Roastery and Cafe. His wife, Nadine, a cheese sommelier and expert in the art of tea-making, is a restaurant manager, who studied front-of-house restaurant management at the Hotel Management School in her native Austria.

Common Lot will seat 34 on the main level w/an additional 28 in the upstairs dining room. The restaurant will initially open for dinner Tuesday-Saturday. The Kitchen Pass is an exclusive four-seat counter directly overlooking the kitchen similar to a Chef’s table, where the diner purchases the seat for the evening and is served dishes of the chef’s choosing.

The Ryans worked closely with Short Hills design collective Studio 1200 on renovating the property to better represent town history. For example, the brick exterior was chosen to reflect the mills that are the origin of the town’s name, while blending in with nearby landmark buildings from the early-20th century.

the mind of a chef ehren ryan

The Mind of a Chef: A Conversation with Chef Ehren Ryan

The Mind of a Chef: A Conversation with Chef Ehren Ryan of Millburn’s Common Lot Restaurant

By JONATHAN SYM
March 13, 2016 at 10:33 PM

MILLBURN, NJ – Opening a new restaurant is no simple task, particularly if it intends to cater to an educated fine dining audience. Though the competition for diners’ dollars in “the biz” is tough everywhere, it’s particularly risky for the fine dining establishment as the relative investment in construction, equipment, staff and ingredients is much higher than opening, say, a similarly sized diner…

Read the full article here: The Mind of a Chef

Bryan Gregg and Ehren Ryan Chefs Collaboration Dinner

Chef Bryan Gregg is being joined by Chef Ehren Ryan of Common Lot, opening in February 2016 in Millburn, for a collaboration dinner being held at Escape on Wednesday January 13, 2016 at 7PM.

1st Course

Hirame / puffed rye / smoked apple – Chef Gregg

2nd Course

Celery root / chicken skin / pickled celery – Chef Ehren

3rd Course

Hapuka / sunchoke / mustard seeds / fish jus – Chef Ehren

4th Course

Venison / ash cooked beets / buttermilk bleu – Chef Gregg

5th Course

Sorghum spiced financier / malted vanilla ice cream / oat streusel crumbs – Chefs collaboration

The cost of the dinner is $59 per person plus tax and gratuity and is BYO to allow guests to bring special bottles. Wine Legend is able to make wine recommendations to complement the food, please call Wine Legend at (973) 992-4441 and reference the Escape Gregg/Ryan dinner.

Seating for this event is very limited.

Note that we have a strict 48-hour cancellation policy for this dinner. If a reservation is cancelled within 48 hours of the dinner or guests don’t attend, the full cost of the event will be charged.

WHEN: Wednesday, January 13, 2016 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM (EST)
WHERE: Escape – 345 Bloomfield Avenue Montclair, NJ 07042
GET TICKETS: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bryan-gregg-and-ehren-ryan-chefs-collaboration-dinner-tickets-20088728929