By Ashley Kromrey
Recently, the Digest had the opportunity to dine a whole new way at Graze and Braise in Jersey City and got way more than just a meal. We learned first hand a whole new perspective on cooking. When we heard about Graze and Braise being paleo, grass-fed, organic, pasture-raised, GMO free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, antibiotic free, wow what a mouthful, our taste buds didn’t necessarily salivate. But, to our surprise, Chef Ayaz personally demonstrated how to cook nutritious, tasty, and flavorful food, prepared the healthiest way possible. Healthy comfort food? A no-brainer.
Chef Ayaz runs his delivery business out of the Graze and Braise kitchen in downtown Jersey City. This one man show takes the orders, carefully prepares each meal, and the final product is 100% passion based. Graze and Braise opened its doors this past November. Ayaz has been in the food business most of his life, as his family owns a butcher shop. Growing up in Sussex county, he came to Hudson county for a faster-paced life. His business is his pride and joy, which becomes very clear the second you try his food. “You have to appeal to the mass, all my dishes are simple.”
Typically BBQ sauce is known for its sugar, but Chef Ayaz makes his with honey, maple syrup and stevia leaves and then pours it over his savory BBQ Pork dish. His coconut mashed yams, tasted like buttery, creamy Thanksgiving mashed potatoes. Ayaz knows what’s in season and uses it to his advantage. He explained, “I like to serve main dishes, with a side of seasonal veggies like butternut squash.” His spinach, pear, and candied walnut salad with organic homemade dressing was refreshing not only in taste, but the fact that it was organic, sugar free, and actually good for us.
With a customer base of health conscious young professionals, breaking down the menu ingredient by ingredient is a step not to be missed. Ayaz understands the importance of knowing exactly what you’re eating. “People associate healthy food with bland,” Ayaz said. We didn’t find that at all, not in the hearty beef stew, cabbage (rice), date braised chicken leg, sweet potato hash, nope, not even in the vanilla coconut dessert bites (we ate the whole kitchen).
As for delivery, Ayaz prepares your meals the second the order comes in, and they are still hot when served right to your door. “I choose to offer foods that will hold up during travel and stay fresh by the time it gets to my customers.” For those maintaining a lifestyle of clean eating, he offers proportions in quarts to have at home. “You don’t need to order ahead of time, you can have anything customized, with a variety of different sides”. For those living in Hoboken, Jersey City, or Bayonne areas, who are health conscious and craving some comfort food, prepare to have your taste buds explode, and your mind blown by Chef Ayaz’s specialty meals.
Graze and Braise is located at 339 Johnston Ave Jersey City, NJ 07304