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NYT: 10 Memorable Dishes


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Karla's list

 

Then it’s off to feast on the stellar oyster fritters at Ixora in Whitehouse Station. Wrapped in a crunchy tempura batter sparked with hot Italian peppers and sliced garlic, the inner oyster stars against a backdrop of jalapeño-roasted garlic aioli and thin strips of jalapeño.

 

We move next to the chicken liver mousse pâté at Za in Pennington, sublimely smooth and enveloping in its richness. Moderated with port and cream, and served in supersize portions with toasts, it is enough to feed six, and maybe more.

 

Among the year’s pasta courses, there’s no contest: The potato gnocchi at the Blue Bottle Cafe in Hopewell is the dish by which I judge all others

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Cody Kendall offers her 10 best of the places reviewed in the Ledger during 2006. Vine in Basking Risge led the list, with a caveat that

 

First, it must be one that I reviewed during the past 12 months. That is why so many highly regarded places among my all-time bests -- Ixora in Whitehouse, the Pluckemin Inn in Bedminster, Stage Left in New Brunswick and Serenade in Chatham, to mention a few -- are missing from this lineup, since I didn't write about them in 2006.

 

 

List

 

My other favorites for the year, in alphabetical order, are:

 

Avenue (Pier Village, 23 Ocean Ave., Long Branch. 732-759-2900.)

 

Catherine Lombardi (3 Living ston Ave., New Brunswick. 732-296-9463)

 

David Burke Fromagerie (26 Ridge Rd., Rumson. 732-842-8088)

 

Gladstone Tavern (273 Main St., Gladstone. 908-234-9055)

 

Mama Tucci Ristorante (4245 Town Center, Livingston. 973-597-3700)

 

Piquant Bread Bar & Grill (349A George St., New Brunswick. 732-246-2468)

 

Roots Steakhouse (401 Springfield Ave., Summit. 908-273-0027).

 

Terra (175 Maplewood Ave., Maplewood. 973-763-4005)

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A lot more work, a lot less non-business dinners this year. Local, I've stuck with Deanna's in Lambertville for Pasta, Harvest Moon for a casual bar dinner, and Blue Bottle...good enough to forgive its BYO status.

 

But Ixora (antoher BYO!) is dependably wonderful, and I agree with the oyster fritters rec. I had a memorable lunch at Ryland Inn, he's still on his ccooking game...though the menu was a teeny bit stodgy. But good enough to remind us to come fo dinner.

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I have been to Witherspoon Grill twice and was not overwhelmed either time.. I felt the menu choices were above the abilities of the kitchen.. I am glad to see the shortribs worked.. I just cant see how that kitchen bangs out something memorable..

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I have been to Witherspoon Grill twice and was not overwhelmed either time.. I felt the menu choices were above the abilities of the kitchen.. I am glad to see the shortribs worked.. I just cant see how that kitchen bangs out something memorable..

 

 

the Grill's reservation/wait list policy has to change. I was w/ a party of 8, gratefully from a group of local private school parents, not business. Called and "got on the list" for 8p...seated at....( this is PRINCETON, people!) 9:45. Horrific shellfish hd, followed by mediocre everything. not just diappointed but FRUSTRATED and disappointed.

 

Went three months later, party of 4, signed in at 5:45 ( was told that some folks were able to call in...'regulars", they said. When I inquired w//the mgr, he assured me that I was misinformed, you have to be here to put your name on the list. whatever. At the end, a mediocre meal. at best. Give me BigFish or Tiger's Tale, at least the 45 min wait resulst in a good meal, or in the case of the TT, great beers on tap.

 

Never actually got to the point of analyzing the real food...simply never had the service experience that was even acceptable enough to consider a return visit.

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