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The Forgotten Northeastern Bergen County


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#31 paryzer

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 01:47 AM

We went to Central + Main for the first time Sunday night. Meredith380 thanks for mentioning this restaurant. This is a good neighborhood restaurant if you live within a 20 minute / half hour radius, but it would not be considered a destination restaurant.

We started off with a nice and creamy spaghetti squash with local mushrooms, asparagus pesto, and a poached farm egg. Below is a split portion.

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We also had spicy Lamb meatballs with Greek yogurt and cucumbers.

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For entrees Mrs. P had the excellent crunchy fried chicken with crispy sweet potato waffles and harissa honey. This was worth the trip alone.

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I had the St. Louis ribs with charred shishito cornbread in a miso and honey BBQ glaze.

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#32 joechartreuse

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 06:11 AM

Um I just mentioned a place in Westwood and have also mentioned restaurants in englewood Tenafly and cresskill. Moonachie and little ferry aren't northeast Bergen and Rochelle park maaaybe you could include, but I wouldn't. Part of the issue is half of the restaurants in this area are some combination of mediocre nj Italian (ie red sauce plus marsala) and steak house.

 

 

   Nice generalization.  Not having tried the places that I've mentioned, your sauce critiques do not apply- at least until you try each individual place.  Lumping restaurants together based on location does not seem to have anything to do with the testing and tasting of food, but rather only statements based on geographical bias- and a waste of time for anyone looking for information and recommendations.  If you're a foodie or chef you SHOULD know better.


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#33 paryzer

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 12:38 AM

We went to Mezza in Livingston for the first time tonight. This restaurant is owned by the same owners as the one in Westwood. Thanks for the recommendation, Tubbs. They have only been opened for a short period of time. The restaurant itself is beautiful, and the food was pretty good, but the service was very slow and amateurish. I was going to name my waitress Mrs. Houdini because she would disappear for 20 minutes at a time. I would guess the more established Mezza in Westwood has more professional service.

We started off with 3 appetizers. We had ‘crispy’ cauliflower with raisins, toasted pine nuts, scallions, and an herb infused tahini. It was pretty good, but I like the crunchy cauliflower at Mishmish better, although I did enjoy this presentation. This was more roasted than fried and crunchy.

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We also had Israeli Fish tacos, with marinated branzino, Israeli salad, Jerusalem spiced yogurt, & dukkah, served on a crispy toasted pita. This was very good and was almost like a tostada. I like this taco version better than Mishmish, which is softer and harder to pick up.

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Our last appetizer was the best one. We had Persian shrimp, with lime, zaatar, aromatic herbs, yogurt, turnips, and pomegranate. The sauce really complimented the shrimp very well.

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For entrees, Mrs. P had the excellent sauteed crispy skin branzino with fingerling tomatoes, spinach, capers, olives, sherry wine, & lemon.

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I had the braised Colorado Lamb shank with an excellent creamy orzo, garlicky spinach, and lamb jus. The creamy orzo was the hit of this dish.

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#34 Tubbs

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 08:20 PM

Glad you enjoyed. I found the cauliflower at the Westwood one to be crunchy so maybe they need some pointers from home base. We were the only table in the outdoor area in Westwood so service was predictably a little slow, but good enough.

#35 E.L.A.

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 02:45 AM

E.L.A, why wouldn't you want to at least try Bibi'Z or Zozo's?   You would "never go to Bibi'Z" implies some sort of problem not related to it's quality.  Please understand that I am not endorsing or knocking these places, but wonder why no one has mentioned them.

    Cinar is the Turkish place now at the location of was last known as Ranchero Cantina, and originally Casa Hofbrau  ( where I once tended bar with my friend Roy)..

    Again, these places mentioned are not necessarily recommendations, but rather just places that have been skipped as so many others have here.   If I see one more post regarding places like Blu in Montclair I swear I'll snap....   Same places post after post.  They're fine. but no need to pray to them...

   There are SO many local places that seem to be completely ignored... How about Valley Stables Restaurant  in Oakland.  Heck, if you HAVE to ignore my area for whatever reason, try heading west.   Casa Riviera in Branchville is fairly non-descript on the outside, but eclectically decorated, terrific service, and may well be the best "unknown" Mexican Restaurant in the whole state  ( Yup, that IS a recommendation).  

    How is The Farmhouse in Cresskill? Locale in Closter?    Sear in Closter?  Anyone know who is moving in to the old Parmesano's/ Bensi/ Old Tappan Grill  location?

     In other words, this forum has been pretty much ignoring about 20% of the state and concentrating on Manhatten wannabes elsewhere.

 

I apologize for not replying as I simply "lost" this thread, more the specific comments where I was referenced. That, and it's been a long time since I've checked in and contributed here (more on that later). That said, I had an experience at BiBi'z that was unlike any experience I've ever had in any restaurant anywhere. I could have sworn I posted about it -- but in short -- we waited for food, appetizers, for almost an hour, we were told 5 times during the hour, that the food was "coming right out" and "would be out momentarily" and twice told "it was being plated, and would be out in just a few minutes" and while this is frustrating, we blamed nothing on the waitress. She was sincere, genuine, embarrassed, and was left being the scapegoat. She was given wrong information, misrepresented information, etc.

 

Even more frustrating was after an hour, our party being polite, patient, and understanding, is when asking to speak with a manager -- we had the manager "duck" us and we were told by the waitress that she was "not on the floor" and "in a meeting" (on a Saturday night with a full restaurant) and was "overseeing the kitchen" and so on. Ironically, one person in our party, knew who the manager was. She was there, accessible, on the floor, and simply refused to come to our table. We watched the waitress approach her, explain that we requested to speak to her -- and the manager looked at our table, looked at us, and seemed annoyed when speaking to the waitress, who then returned and told us the manager "was not very busy and would not be able to come speak with us" and she went on to say how she was personally embarrassed and just didn't know what to say. After one hour and 15 minutes, we told the waitress to cancel our order, and bring us the check (which was for our drinks). She apologized again and so sincere. She then returned -- with our bill -- and said the manager wanted to buy is a drink if we would stay. We said thank you but no thank you. We said we wanted to pay the bill. The waitress went back to the manager, and again, the manager seemed annoyed. The waitress returned with our bill. The manager did not remove one drink/one round from our bill, but of course she wanted to buy us an additional round! LOL. I don't remember the bill for the drinks, but we left a very generous tip for the waitress and thanked her for her sincerity and professionalism.

 

As we were leaving, the manager gave us a nasty look. She then said "thank you" in a dismissive, very offensive way. I laughed. My friend, who is a chef/owner, said "Pardon me" -- and the manager went into a tirade about how it is inappropriate to order numerous appetizers, be impatient, and then "walk out" on the bill. I then clarified everything -- how long we waited, what we were told 5 times, our request to speak with the manager, that we paid our "bill" and I was then interrupted and ridiculed for being impatient and having no class. It was a very interesting, offensive, and shocking incident to say the least.

 

A friend, begged me to give it another chance. Against my principles, and upon others begging me we did. I was absolutely open-minded, wanted to like it, etc. -- and I wasn't impressed. Food was bland, one dish was extremely salty, meat was "gamey" and massively undercooked, bordering on raw, and service was very spotty. Water glasses sat empty, after asking, we had to ask twice, drinks were sitting empty, we had to ask twice, dirty dishes remained on the table when the entrees were brought out, and so on and so on and so on. If it's got a great following, excellent reviews, etc., so be it. If they are an excellent restaurant, so be it. I've just had friends tell me it's so-so, and yes, I share my experience with them. I am a business owner and that's part of being in business.

 

 

Why, why?! Do people post about restaurants in NY state in the NJ thread?
I live in convent Station. Theres a ton of places doing interesting things and new openings and the entire county is blatantly ignored by the author of table hopping. Its embarrasingly ridiculous. The targeted audience doesnt care about Cape May; its a 3 plus hour drive for the bulk of the population in NJ. Ive never been to Cape May and Im 38 years old, born and raised here.

Why not mention South and Pines new sister restaurant, Central and Main in Madison? My favorites in my area are long standing establishments Rods, The Grand Cafe, Is Mondo Vecchio

 

I think this is a dynamic here in "Northern" NJ and because it is a NJ board/room. I am sure the same thing happens elsewhere. We don't live elsewhere, I never used to post as much elsewhere, and dining is a close to home so to speak dynamic, unless we are talking about the night out, destination restaurant, experience, etc.

 

The reason that I hear almost all the time is simply because it's a geographic-driven dynamic and and "personality" so to speak. People who live in Northern NJ, specifically in areas that border or are near the border of Rockland County look at various areas of Rockland County, two ways -- they look geographically and they look destination-wise. The former, the geographic element speaks for itself. The latter, for those people living in "Northern" NJ, at least from the people I talk to, look at areas like Nyack and Piermont, and some of those restaurants as being destination restaurants. I wouldn't drive to Nyack, just for a simple, plain slice of pizza. But, I have driven far for ice cream, sushi, a burger, pastrami, etc. That leads to a discussion for another time/thread, however, I view O Lar as very much a destination restaurant, even though it's Piermont, I live in Northern NJ, and it takes me around 30 minutes to get there. I view Velo as the same. I can't say there are others in Rockland that I feel the same way about, but I can drive 10 minutes, be in Suffern, and enjoy excellent Mexican food, or an excellent "cheesesteak" or something else. 

 

Each person's tastes, wants, desires, cravings, moods, and so on drive us differently. I study some of this and lecture on some of this in my industry, and I've always found the "human behavior" aspect of it very interesting. Some of it makes a great deal of sense...and some of it makes no sense at all, LOL.

 

 

When I was moderating, I agonized over whether to leave Piermont posts on the Jersey board.
 
But when you think about it, it's more part of the Northern Jersey orbit than the New York orbit, no matter the side of the border it happens to be on.


I disagree. Ive never been to any restaurants mentioned here in NY state its not even on my radar. Manhattan is closer and more accessible to me than NY state. Should people who live in Western NJ start posting here about restaurants in Easton or Bethlehem PA?

 

 

I have always found it interesting when a board has a NY room, and/or a NYC room and everything else is simply NY. I can see not enough and I can certainly see overkill. I certainly see people in certain areas of South Jersey being interested in Philly. I see the same, as I mentioned above, in people being interested -- geographically, and destination-wise. If there was a densely populated area in Western NJ, very close to the PA border, I could certainly understand people starting to post about restaurants "over the border" -- both nearby, over the border, etc., and destination-wise.

 

 

 

Look at a map, find Bergen county, look at the area north of 80 and east of 17. I live 20 minutes from piermont and 40 minutes (if no traffic...glwt) from the epicenter of nj dining (Montclair, as far as I can tell). For the most part the NJ board is (I think) for the benefit of people who live in NJ. For many of those people restaurants just over the border in NY are in their backyard, and of zero interest to people who read the NY(really just NYC) board.

Well, then one would would think that you are in range of the many places that I have mentioned, yet....nothing.   The posts here are getting stale and repetitious ( the same five or six places- like Laurel and Sage and Blu.    Great chefs and good foodies need to experience new things.  One of the posts on the thread said that they would simply never go to a particular new restaurant ( I think it was from E.L.A.) yet would give no reason. 

   MANY others commented on my posts regarding Fink's which is across the street from La Taberna, and a few miles from others that I have mentioned- yet then state how they never get to my area.  How does that work?


I'm thinking rut.....I'm thinking stale.....

 

Well, Blu has been closed for several years, so I don't think anybody has been writing about it recently :) I would love to hear full details of other dining experiences that you, Tubbs, Meredith380, and other New Jersey residents have experienced. I can only write about what I know.  I plead guilty about Laurel & Sage, but I am trying to only post new interesting specials that I have had there like quail, Elk, Bison. I will refrain from posting about this in the future, since nobody seems to care. I am only trying to keep the NJ section alive. The more people that post about their dining experiences in NJ, the better. Unfortunately Rail Paul moved away from NJ (and the MFF forum altogether). He was a huge NJ contributor. Also, E.L.A. was another huge NJ contributor, who apparently is very busy, and doesn't have time to post as much as he used to. I tried asking Meredith380 about Central & Main but she totally ignored me. However, the menu looked intriguing, so I booked a reservation there for this Sunday, & will report my findings. Tubbs had reported on Mezza in Westwood, and that sounded interesting. Just the other day, Rosie reported on Mezza in Livingston (which I think is owned by the same owners). I am thinking of giving that a try next week. I am always looking for new great BYO restaurants to try, & will travel a reasonable amount of time to get there (assuming there is ample parking, and traffic isn't too horrendous). I have traveled from Ramsey (Cafe Panache) to Keyport (Drew's). The only problem is that once I find a restaurant I like (that treats us like family & has great food), I usually add it to my regular monthly dining rotation, and I don't have too many open slots left :)

 

 

Well, I will only speak to me, LOL. The last two years have been very busy for me, the last more than the previous. The managing partner of my firm died, I was the succession plan, and took over his clientele/practice. Also, life, LOL -- I moved (only a mile and a half away), and a few other things, and life just got in the way. I did reach out for Rail Paul, and we played telephone tag exchanging voicemail messages. 

 

When life gets busy, at least for me, I fall into a "regular" routine of eating out. I don't get the time to think about, plan, speak with and arrange with friends, everything around going to a new place. I tend to stick with my usual suspects, my usual favorites, etc. -- and they fall into both categories -- geographic spots and destination spots. So, unfortunately, for me, the local places -- and I'll just rattle off a few off the top of my head -- Jack's (Westwood), Varka (Ramsey), Oceanos (Fair Lawn), Savini (Allendale), Brick House (Wyckoff), Masago (Ridgewood), Taste of Greece (River Edge), Hacienda (Suffern), Velo (Nyack), O Lar (Piermont), Hiram's (Fort Lee), Callahan's (Norwood), Baumgart's (Ridgewood), Farmhouse (Closter and Westwood), Hanami (Westwood), Bamboo House (Ridgewood, take-out sometimes), Cafe Panache (Ramsey), Saddle River Inn (Saddle River), St. Eve's (Ho-Ho-Kus), now Stone and Rail (Glen Rock) and yes, White Manna (Hackensack)...I just find myself doing the "let's go" and it's the usual suspects kind of thing. For me, it's also being single -- so I am going with friends, and then it becomes a convenience factor, geographic, etc., kind of thing.

 

Lastly, while I respect many of the people here, and I've socialized with a few of them, there is also dynamic that seems to be prevalent at many BB, chat rooms, list-servs, etc., and that's the appearance of -- the semantics police, the holier than thou, the my opinion is fact, the I am right and you are wrong, the you are wrong and your opinion is wrong, and so on and so on and so on. That said, it's a bulletin board. If that's the kind of person you need to be, I don't want to be around that. It brings down the entire tone, era of good feeling, and more, of a bulletin board. I am going to do my best to return...and thanks for posting everyone.



#36 Sneakeater

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 04:13 AM

E.L.A. A personal plea: PLEASE return (or stay, or whatever).
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#37 joechartreuse

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 08:34 AM

I wish to wholeheartedly thank E.L.A. for taking the time to reply to my original rant, and especially for explaining the Bibi'z statement that left me hanging. Your reply was educational in other areas as well.

   However, while E.L.A. has explained a lot, I am still at a loss as to why this area is pretty much left out of most posts and critiques.  Nick in particular should have plenty of local experiences to share.


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#38 E.L.A.

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 12:10 PM

Thank you Sneakeater. I greatly appreciate it.

 

Joe, to be more specific, I think it's just hit or miss. If someone lived there, they'd be talking about the local, go-to places, etc., places that they enjoy, frequent, and so forth. If someone worked there, it would be the lunches, business dinners, etc. I work near Westwood/Emerson -- and the places on my list I haven't had a chance to get to in a long time -- Baci, Granita Grill, and a few others.

 

However, I go to Jack's -- and while I have posted about it in the past, I just haven't had the chance to post about it recently. For me, while it might not be a true destination place, it is a "foodie" place, and if I am home, I drive the 20 plus minutes to get there. I have not tried the Turkish place in Emerson (formerly known as Rancho Cantina), and I don't know that many other places there. I don't go to Dimora often enough and the last two times I went, I didn't get a chance to post. Same with Andiamo. Closter is a bit out of the way for me, and while I have a close friend who lives there -- I either go to his house, hang out, etc., or we meet somewhere else to eat (last time, we met at Bacari Grill, and again, I did not get a chance to post).

 

For me, I just haven't had time to try any new places or post about repeat/favorites.



#39 joechartreuse

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Posted 20 June 2018 - 08:53 AM

Well E.L.A., now's your chance.  How was Andiamo?  How was the Bacari Grill?  Why not let us know now?


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#40 paryzer

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Posted 26 June 2018 - 07:00 PM

 

Below are some upcoming openings, according to Boozy Burbs, in the Bergen County area.

 

Let’s Meat Steak House, a steakhouse and “local Italian eatery”, are coming to Harrington Park.

According to details we’ve been able to scrape together so far, there will be a VIP membership limited to only 50 people. You will “own” your table for up to 4 reservations per month and the BYOB restaurant will offer wine & cigar lockers, outdoor cigar lounge, and a multitude of VIP “events” like pairings, brunch and more. VIP members will also receive free Uber pickup and drop off (3 mile radius).

Menu items include dry aged steaks, meatballs, burgers, grilled octopus, pizza and more. An opening date is projected sometime in May.

Let’s Meat Steak House
90 La Roche Avenue
Harrington Park, NJ

*******************************

Let’s Meat Steakhouse, an Italian restaurant and steakhouse, has opened in Harrington Park from owner Bob Hay and John Centrella (former Presto’s owner).

The restaurant operates two sides – a takeout counter (View Menu) with booth seating and a dining room (View Menu) – offering pizza from their brick oven (gas), prime cuts of meat that will be dry-aged, Italian dishes, burgers and more.

They offer memberships in the dining room that will give subscribers a “VIP dining experience” with guaranteed reservations, invites to events and tastings, private wine/cigar lockers, and other benefits. They made it clear that there will still be availability for those who are not members to dine as well.

Let’s Meat is open five days a week (Tuesday thru Saturday) for both lunch and dinner.

Let’s Meat Steak House
90 La Roche Avenue
Harrington Park, NJ
Website


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#41 E.L.A.

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Posted 30 June 2018 - 04:17 PM

Well E.L.A., now's your chance.  How was Andiamo?  How was the Bacari Grill?  Why not let us know now?

 

I used to go Andiamo on a fairly regular basis -- once, twice a month. I've had some very good meals there, and the majority were good. While some people rave about it, others say it's fair at best, overrated, etc. I always viewed Andiamo as very reliable, consistent, and an overall good restaurant. Being that I don't live in the area, I don't know that I would specifically say "Let's go to Andiamo" on a Saturday night, meaning, I don't know that I would see it as a real destination restaurant for me -- but -- if I was meeting my friends who live in that area, or it was a convenient, half-way, location, I would absolutely have no problem going there -- and I like it. Alternatively, maybe I might say hey, I haven't been there in a while, or, hey what about Andiamo, so let's go -- so I could see that. It's good. I like it. However, if I was going to drive, going to a destination spot, looking to have an excellent meal, I would probably think of Dimora first. Now, that being said, I live a lot closer to Savini, so that could end up being the "default" or go to place for a destination restaurant and an excellent meal.

 

Bacari Grill is one of my favorites. I like it there, a lot. The menu has got very good depth, scope, and is relatively wide-ranging. The food is excellent. Service is excellent. I like the ambiance, environment, etc. I've had business lunches and dinners there, and social, friends, dinner there -- and we have always had a very good time and very good meals. Very nice bar area, nice clientele, and I don't feel it's "pretentious" or "snooty" so to speak. Bacari has been there a long time, ownership is always present, very hands on -- and they do an excellent job all around.



#42 paryzer

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 11:52 PM

We had another excellent dinner at Central + Main Sunday night.

 

We shared crispy squash blossoms, with charred corn, goat cheese, & piquillo peppers. It was in an excellent sauce that had a little kick to it, & was one of the better versions of squash blossoms that we have had.

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We also shared crispy soft shell crab tacos with honeydew & cucumber relish, green curry vin, & lime. This was very good but was too big for a taco. You had to eat it with a knife & fork. It would have been fine without the taco. I liked the honeydew & cucumber relish. It was very refreshing.

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For entrees I had an excellent pork chop with red chili rub, roasted corn, & chipotle crema.

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Mrs. P had the crispy fried chicken with a sweet potato waffle, drizzled with harissa honey. This was written up in the Record as one of the best fried chickens in North Jersey.

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#43 joechartreuse

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Posted 25 August 2018 - 07:21 AM

     In the location as the previous Recovery Room, Burke's, etc..   Lolita's Mexican Cantina

     Went for the first time about 2 weeks ago with companions.

    The wait staff was attentive, friendly, and always there when needed.

    The cocktails were absolutely delicious, whether a Mango or strawberry Marguerita, or a simple highball.

    Ok, the food:   We had a huge assortment, so I will skip the dish by dish.   There some dissention in regard to flavor.   Some- who were more used to Tex-Mex- found the food under-seasoned.  However, I and another who are used to actual Mexican food knew that the genuine article gets it's more subtle flavoring from the mix of foods cooked together rather than herbs and spices.  I found the food to be genuine and as gently delicious.

   My only problem  is that all the bare wood included in the decor makes this a pretty loud place.  What was once the back party room has been incorporated into the dining room with naught but a half wall, adding to the din.

   As in many Mexican resaurants, the pricing was very attractive.

    It's not the Casa Riviera in Augusta, but it's certainly a good place to eat, especially in groups.

 

     In the location as the previous Recovery Room, Burke's, etc..

     Went for the first time about 2 weeks ago with companions.

    The wait staff was attentive, friendly, and always there when needed.

    The cocktails were absolutely delicious, whether a Mango or strawberry Marguerita, or a simple highball.

    Ok, the food:   We had a huge assortment, so I will skip the dish by dish.   There some dissention in regard to flavor.   Some- who were more used to Tex-Mex- found the food under-seasoned.  However, I and another who are used to actual Mexican food knew that the genuine article gets it's more subtle flavoring from the mix of foods cooked together rather than herbs and spices.  I found the food to be genuine and as gently delicious.

   My only problem with the place is that all the bare wood included in the decor makes this a pretty loud place.  What was once the back party room has been incorporated into the dining room with naught but a half wall, adding to the din.

   As in many Mexican resaurants, the pricing was very attractive.

    It's not the Casa Riviera in Augusta, but it's certainly a good place to eat, especially in groups.

 


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