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So...where'd you eat this week?


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We had another fine dinner at Corso 98 Saturday night. Besides the usual appetizer of clams casino, we also had a great crab cake appetizer, with a very refreshing salad containing fresh oranges and pineapples. For entrees Mrs. P had her usual filet mignon, and I had an excellent special of veal chop in a marsala sauce with broccoli rabe & mashed potatoes. We took home the java chip gelato.

 

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Wanted to get some activity here...so where'd you eat this week? New, old, good, bad, same as last time?   Just a quick two (more later) -- I grabbed lunch/burger at the Dutch House (Fair Lawn, revi

Had lunch at the Emerson Hotel...nothing new. Same menu, same people, same same. LOL.   If you like their open-sliced steak sandwiches, well, they are the same too. Good service, nice crowd, and cer

Had dinner at Rudy's -- the Cliffside Park mainstay classic...I went to Rudy's for the first time in 1984...and not much has changed...and that's a good thing...a very good thing.   Walk into Rudy's

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Big family party/meal at Axia in Tenafly, food was better than I expected. Excellent plump and tender fried calamari, nice assortment of spreads, pork shank had a nice texture and good flavor, moussaka had a bit bolder spicing (cinnamon nutmeg etc) than most places (this was a good thing).

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​We had another excellent dinner at Corso 98 on Sunday. Besides the usual clams casino appetizer, and filet mignon entree, they had an excellent special appetizer of zucchini blossoms (imported from Israel), stuffed with prosciutto, mozzarella, and a delicious citrus beurre blanc.

 

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I also had a special entree of braised fork tender kobe beef short ribs with sweet potato risotto.

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The zucchini blossoms are known as "flores de calabaza" here in Mexico, and are quite commonly used in soups, quesadillas, omelettes and more.

 

I recently had an "empanada" (really more like an overstuffed quesadilla), at a counter in the Mercado de La Merced, in Oaxaca. It was enriched with gooey, melted quesillo de Oaxaca.

 

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Inside empanada de flor de calabaza.

 

This was eaten at La Güerita Antojitos Regionales. They offer many other empanada fillings.

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So, I've been super busy since the winter -- new tax code, year-end tax planning, estate planning, etc. -- but I put on weight this winter, unfortunately, so I know I ate out a lot. LOL. And, while it's unfortunate I gained weight, I know I enjoyed the food. I was just so busy, I ate out a lot. I still didn't get to many of the places I've had on my list, but I got to a few favorites, and a new spot or two.

 

I was in Englewood a lot, so I frequented Biddy O'Malley's several times -- each time, very good, except for once -- very good food, but poor service. I'll call it a one-off. Several business lunches -- Mantra (Paramus) was a repeat, very good value lunch buffet, food is certainly better than average. I have no problem going back. Oceanos, Brick House, Varka, Saddle River Inn, and Aldo's were all repeat spots. A new place I tried -- Gao -- a Thai restaurant in Ramsey. This BYO, has parking, and is excellent! I enjoyed it a lot, and went back a few times.

 

Most recently, I enjoyed dinner at Stone and Rail (Glen Rock) -- and with Adam Weiss in the kitchen, I expected excellent things...and I was not disappointed. I'll post more details on a separate thread, but simply put -- Adam is once again putting out some excellent food. This brand new gastropub is jammed packed, creating a big buzz, and everything I ate there certainly tells me why!

 

More to follow...

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On Sunday we went back to 100 Steps Supper Club & Raw Bar in Cranford for the first time since JIm & Andrea sold the the place last year. We really miss Jim & Andrea, but heard a few good reviews, and decided to give it a try. The online menu had some intriguing items like head on prawns in a coconut lemongrass broth, whole red snapper, duck meatballs, & apple goat cheese agnolotti with wild boar, Madeira & pistachio pesto. I had my taste buds all set to try out these items, but unfortunately NONE of them were on the current menu. I was so disappointed. They just switched over to a brand new Spring menu this weekend, and it wasn't as interesting as their winter menu. At least it was reassuring to see our favorite server Alivia (from A Toute Heure) working there. The only items remaining from the old 100 Steps were the amazing Parker House Rolls. For those of you that like a raw bar, they have a Happy Hour featuring a nice variety of half price clams & oysters, prior to 6:30 PM during the week, and prior to 5:30 PM on weekends. They also offer 25% off their petite platter & grand tower during their Happy Hour.

 

Below is their current Spring menu.

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We started off with the excellent octopus appetizer. This was probably the highlight of the dinner. The potato mille feuille was amazing.

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We also shared the Asparagus appetizer which was boring and disappointing. The Asparagus was very mushy. I would have liked a little more crunch to it. The crispy biscuit was probably the best part. The crab with the 'gumbo' sauce wasn't bad, but the sauce tasted nothing like gumbo.

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For entrees, Mrs. P ordered the scallops, which was also very boring and disappointing. The snap peas had no snap to them, and the spicy coconut broth was very bland. Mrs. P ended up returning it. This sounded so much better on paper. There seems to be a theme here with mushy overcooked vegetables. Sneak might like this place, since I know he likes his vegetables mushy :) We like our vegetables with a little more crunch to them (but not raw).

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Mrs. P ordered the outstanding tuna entree as a replacement. This was the 2nd best dish of the night.

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I had the Long Island duck breast. The best part was the outstanding mushroom terrine. I asked for the skin of the duck to be extra crispy but it was not crispy at all.

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Although the physical restaurant looks the same, it lacks the warmness of Jim, who welcomed everyone like they were coming into his home, and used to very enthusiastically explain everything on the menu. He was the perfect host. The new owner, Jack, did come around once, & seemed nice enough, but he didn't have the warm personality of Jim. I would recommend this place if you like a raw bar, since they have a nice variety of oysters from around the country, and some from outside of the country. Mrs. P & I don't like raw oysters or clams, so we can't talk to the quality, but they seem to do good business during Happy Hour. Hopefully, since the Spring menu just came out, the Chef can make some tweaks to it. The ingredients look great on paper, but the execution wasn't the best (mushy vegetables, bland seasoning, rubbery duck skin). However, I would highly recommend the octopus and tuna. We probably just ordered wrong. I should have tried the pork chop.

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We went to Dough Artisan Pizzeria for the first time Friday night. They supposedly use locally sourced ingredients for their pizza. They use a wood burning oven. They have a very young, but friendly staff. They also have a huge backyard which seems to have more seats than they have indoors. We couldn’t take advantage of the outdoor dining due to the rain.
We started off sharing 3 appetizers. The 1st one was zucchini crisps with a nice spicy smoked chili pepper dipping sauce.

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We also had some nice pillowy soft meatballs

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Our final appetizer was wild caught Gulf shrimp with quinoa, asparagus, crispy kale, & garlic, in a spring herb dressing. It was very good.

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For our main course we had 2 pizzas. Their individual pizzas are pretty huge (6 slices). I’m used to getting a smaller 4 slice pizza. We probably could have shared one. Anyway we had plenty of leftover pizza. I asked for both pizzas to be cooked extra crispy. I had the braised Berkshire BBQ pork (from River Bend Farms) pizza with housemade BBQ, leeks, & mozzarella. This was very tasty. The BBQ pork was very good and the crust had a nice char to it. The middle of both pizzas were a little soft though (probably from all of the ingredients on top of them).

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Mrs. P had the locally sourced mushroom pizza, with fontina, ricotta, and truffle oil. She added additional toppings of sausage and pepperoni. This was also pretty tasty. The truffle oil added a nice touch, but was not overpowering.

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Overall this was pretty good. I would recommend it if you are in the neighborhood, but it is not worth a special trip.

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Up to nyack for some Peruvian food at Maura's. Just had rotisserie chicken and steak sauteed with onion and tomato (forgot the name) but both were excellent. Very intensely flavored, the chicken had definitely been brined for a while. Nothing bland here. Portions were huge, two mains and some empanadas we're enough for the two of us plus 2 little kids with leftovers to spare.

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Nowhere local, LOL. I will give one shout out...Sonny and Tony's Pizza in Mahwah...a friend told me about a special "meatball parmigiana" pie they do. So, I got one.

 

Absolutely incredible! If you go there, tell them you heard about this pie and get ready for an experience. It's time-consuming and labor-intensive, but it's worth it.

This is a very special pie here -- go there, tell them you heard about it and order it. I loved it!

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Also, several times over the past few months...Stone and Rail...absolutely excellent!!! Adam Weiss is doing the gastro-pub thing and doing it at the highest level of taste, flavor, and whatever else. LOL. Really top notch food.

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Impromptu dinner at Rudy's (Cliffside Park), a burger and beer at the Brick House (Wyckoff), where I enjoyed a cigar as well, and lunch at Mantra (business lunch, buffet).

 

Rudy's is classic. Always the same and always very good! Classic, old-school Italian, and the best calamari in Northern NJ. The Brick House is the same -- always very good. Excellent food. Before the burger, my friend and I shared the "Asian" calamari, which is sometimes off-the-menu -- a very tasty and flavorful Asian, Thai, sesame sauce. Mantra does a buffet lunch, good Indian food, especially for a buffet; some "Americanized" dishes, but a good and changing selection of Indian dishes.

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Up to nyack for some Peruvian food at Maura's. Just had rotisserie chicken and steak sauteed with onion and tomato (forgot the name) but both were excellent. Very intensely flavored, the chicken had definitely been brined for a while. Nothing bland here. Portions were huge, two mains and some empanadas we're enough for the two of us plus 2 little kids with leftovers to spare.

 

I haven't been to Maura's (the new location) since last fall...but...when I went...it was excellent! Very good food, loads of flavor, tons of taste. I remember I had one of the ceviche dishes, another appetizer, and chicken special...it was a Saturday night, it was crowded, a couple of bumps in the road as far as service, but the food was excellent. One of my favorites is in Nyack (Velo), and another is in Piermont (O Lar), and with family nearby (in Rockland), I tend to be there often, so I used to go out to dinner in Nyack and Piermont. Some good places there.

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We went to Boulevard 572 in Kenilworth for the first time & had an outstanding dinner. We usually only go to BYOs but made an exception this time, since their wine list seemed very reasonable. Afterwards, I found out that we can even bring our own wine for only a $20.00 corkage fee, which is even better. I highly recommend this restaurant. The only negative was that the waitress made us order our appetizers and entrees at the beginning, and she wouldn't even let us put in our appetizer order while I tried to decide on my entree for 5 minutes, which was really pretentious, since there were only two tables dining at the time, including our table. However, she did wait for us to let her know when to fire up the entrees, and was very professional otherwise.

I ordered a nice bottle of 2013 Vidal-Fleury Cotes Du Rhone for a very reasonable $31.00. It retails for about $15.00, so the markup wasn't too egregious. It was very good.

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For appetizers we had the excellent and refreshing grilled octopus & shrimp salad, with artichokes, olives, capers, & roasted red peppers.

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We also shared the mushroom ravioli stuffed with porcini mousse, in a mascarpone froth.

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For entrees Mrs. P had the excellent certified Angus filet mignon with Danish blue cheese, roasted potatoes, baby carrots, & squash, in a red wine reduction. It was perfectly charred on the outside and medium rare on the inside.

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I had the outstanding, and extremely tender roasted Berkshire pork tenderloin, with shrimp & chorizo cassoulet, parsnip puree, in a 'mole sauce.'

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For dessert we shared an amazing dark chocolate and caramel mousse torte, over a chocolate olive oil cake, fleur de sel, and mascarpone gelato. It went perfectly with a 10 year old Taylor Fladgate tawny port.

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Friday night is turning into takeout night. We had excellent takeout at Vital dining in Montclair, a Caribbean restaurant. Everything was bursting with flavor. We ate here a few years ago. The food was excellent, but the service was exruciatingly slow, so we never returned. Takeout is the way to go with this restaurant.
We started off with a very creamy hummus, made out of black eyed peas, instead of chick peas, and crispy plantain chips, instead of pita bread.

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We also had a very refreshing stuffed avocado with almond stuffing, arugula, pico de gallo, and a very nice vinaigrette

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We also shared an excellent peppery jerk portabella mushroom with beets, green beans, and quinoa

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I had braised oxtail with sautéed kale, rice, butter beans, and gravy.

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Mrs. P had escovitched (fried) whole snapper.

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