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Rachel Perlow

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Everything posted by Rachel Perlow

  1. We also had the steamed roast pork bun. The shrimp and pea shoot pan fried dumplings were excellent. We both really loved the chicken/garlic roll, very garlicky, served with a sweet chili sauce. I thought they had a menu online, but the webpage, http://www.chinatownbrasserie.com/ just seems to be the one page. Maybe it'll be updated now that they're open.
  2. Actually, it isn't "Pork Loin" but tenderloin, which is very lean, and therefore has a tendancy to become dry. Like Jason said, all the dim sum items were excellent. I, unfortunately, found an issue with each of the entree dishes. The chow mein (we didn't order it, and it was comped) was made with all white meat, the chicken was dry. But serving it in the large fried noodle shell and topping it with fried onions was fun. Overall, the dish tasted like chow mein. The beef & broccoli was probably one of the best versions I've ever had. However, the flatiron steak was cut too large. If you pick up a piece of it individually, you could not easily bite through it (some sinewy bits or something), if it were cut bite size, like the broccoli was, that would be an improvement. I loved the fresh water chestnuts (surprisingly sweet), shitake mushrooms, and the potent hits of garlic, ginger, and cilantro. The seafood pan fried noodles, seemed a little too sparing with the seafood. Two large shrimp, two large sea scallops (cut in half, so four discs), and a scattering of muscles. The mains just seemed like a high quality Americanized Chinese joint. I don't know if that impression is just because we ordered unadventurous dishes, but I wanted to see how much better these traditional dishes could be (we had spoken with Eddie Schoenfeld earlier in the day and he waxed poetic on how much better they are when prepared with high quality ingredients). I agree with Jason and would like to go back to try more of their pristine dim sum, the full expected menu of which is not available yet. I hope if some of you go, you try the more adventurous, and/or fish dishes (which also sounded good), and let us know what you think. It is definitely a cool place to get a drink, check out the Koi Pond lounge downstairs. Although, $9-12 for a cocktail seemed excessive to me, or am I just out of touch w/NYC drink prices?
  3. Last night was our first visit to Front St. Smokehouse, and I'm sure it won't be our last. We had a great time and enjoyed almost everything. I really appreciated the unsweetened fresh brewed iced tea, it was an excellent accompaniment to the 'que, if you don't drink beer, which I don't. I too want to encourage Phil and Bruce to add greens to the menu, and to make some homemade desserts.
  4. Tell us about their dim sum offerings, larry. That would be good for all subsequent posts as well, let us know when they offer dim sum (some places it's just Sunday and/or Saturday, others it is everyday), and what do they offer. Hong Kong style? otherwise?
  5. Whoa, calm down, jpr, nothing personal, I was just reminded of that other thread by your post.
  6. I guess it's not just Asian markets that don't seem as aseptic as mega-chain supermarkets, check out this thread: Dirty Ethnic Markets, Am I culturally prejudiced?.
  7. Even though the veg dish said "sweet peas" they were definitely edamame, good, but not what the menu indicated. The seafood stuffed eggplant was very good. The eggplant was cut thinner than the dim sum version of stuffed eggplant with black bean sauce, and they were fried, so crispier, under the sauce. The noodles were great.
  8. That's it, exactly. Thanks for finding the words I couldn't. This is the dish I think gets (the seafood) overcooked. I prefer the "specials" version. I like the pouch presentation, it is lovely getting that first steamy whiff of the dish.
  9. There are too many posts above that basically say that butter tarts "must have raisins" to quote. So, if it must have raisins, shouldn't it be called a raisin tart? I remember being confused the first time I was offered a butter tart (at Varmint's 2nd pig pickin) and not realizing there were raisins in it until I bit into it. Totally tastes like a raisin tart to me.
  10. While in the shower just now, I was thinking about how to order "right" at Roberto's. Here's my suggestions: 1) Each order an appetizer and a secondi, either pasta or anything else that sounds good to you. Don't blame me if you don't like what you ordered if it is not something I recommended above. 2) Order one app to share (or two), one pasta to split, and one secondi, but be sure to choose a secondi that is sharable, like the osso buco or whole fish. You might have room for dessert that way. We tend to order one app, one pasta to share and two entrees, but that is because Jason usually doesn't want to share what I want to order, so I usually end up with lunch the next day. No problem with that. Oh, and try not to go as more than a party of 4 and go early, much easier to get a table that way.
  11. I'm not the one who said he ordered wrong. I was just responding to Pan's request for things to order at Roberto's. I've never found anything distastefull about the scallopini, I just prefer not to order it. The only dish that I've ever been truly disappointed with, and it was recommended to me by someone else to order it, was the seafood in cartocio, and you've now been warned by me that the seafood tends to get overcooked. Next time we're there we'll take a pic of the specials board and go over it in more detail. If someone else is there first, either take a pic or transcribe it and we'll do the same. Or, tell me when you're going and we can talk you through the menu, seriously.
  12. You are always presented with a long list of specials. I would get the whole fresh fish, possibly served marichera, the pasta in cartochio with eggplant, any grilled or braised chop. Actually, I usually order off the specials list, the regular menu is full of typical Italian menu dishes, the specials board is more interesting and it's what they are featuring that night as fresh. As for their no reservations policy, we only make Roberto's a destination if we can get there before 6 PM (I think they open at 5 or 5:30 for dinner). I didn't even know they were open for lunch. Other times, when it's been spur of the moment and we end up there at prime time (6:30-9 PM), one of us goes in and checks the wait before the other even parks the car. If they wait is too long, we've recently been going to Umberto's, where we've never had a wait. We tried Dominick's again recently (after vowing not to go back after they way overcharged us a few years ago), and it was OK, but not fabulous. Dominick's is another place where you should go with what the waiter is pushing. If, when you are confronted with no menu, you fall back on veal or chicken parm, don't bother with that there. The stuffed peppers were good if I remember correctly, and the steak pizzeola.
  13. Did you read everything I posted above? I gave you things to order and to not order, and why. I don't know specifically what they don't do well. Somehow I tend to order well, I guess, and when I haven't I don't order it again (the Seafood Pasta in Cartochio, teensy Veal Scallopini, for example). I doubt I would have ordered the soft shell crab, so I wouldn't know to tell you not to order it, you know what I mean? Tell you what, next time you're going to Roberto's, drop me a PM or email and I'll tell you my cell phone number. If you can't decide what to order, call me and I'll talk you through the menu!
  14. Just in case you've noticed, yes, we keep trying new Ironbound places and keep preferring Casa Vasca. In fact, last night we attempted to try Galicia of Spain (about one block into Lafayette on the right), but I was spooked by a really bad vibe about the place: at 6:45 on a Sunday night, the dining room was empty save for one other table, and the restroom was poorly maintained. So we plead "paged" and left to give Spanish Sangria another try. The bar and dining room were busy, plus a party going on in the back. The apps were great, I was really in the mood for those mushrooms, but that scallop thing was poor, and the paella was lacking. Where should we go next?
  15. That sounds excellent for the next time we go to Mitsuwa. Is it the Ramen shop with the menu pictured above (Santoko? to the left of the TV overlooking the tables) or the one all the way to the right?
  16. Things I like at Roberto's: Osso Bucco Wild Boar Chop (occasional special) or Pork Chops In general, things that are braised are really good. I think I've even had rabbit, mmm bunny. Fish, espcially whole fish and marichara (scant tomato sauce, clams) We like to order a pasta to split as an appetizer, espcially the bowties with cauliflower, or a risotto. While the pastas are really good here, if you want a secondi that is not a pasta, then you really can't order a pasta as a primi without sharing it or just planning on not eating the whole thing. I like the eggplant napolean appetizer. Oh, and get the broccoli rabe with sausage and white beans, even if you think you don't like broccoli rabe. Roberto's is the only place in the universe where I've ever had broccoli rabe and liked it. He works some kind of magic over it and all the bitterness is gone. He says that it's because he blanches it first, but I've tried that, and have been to other restaurans that claim the same, and it is just better at Roberto's. The grilled sardines over salad appetizer, but only if you like sardines. Don't order it then complain that they tasted like sardines! There is usually a Pasta in Cartochio (sp?) special that is not the regular Seafood Pasta in Cartochio, order that. The Seafood Pasta in Cartochio is good, in theory, but I usually find the seafood is overcooked (from being sealed in the foil). The "other" Cartochio pasta special is frequently vegetarian. One I particularly like has eggplant, cherry tomatoes and boccacini mozz. The veg can stand the pressure of being sealed and therefore pressure steamed, better than delicate seafood. Frankly, most of these dishes are rather large portions, and are easy to share, which if you want to order three courses is easy to do at Roberto's (they are happy to portion out shared orders). What I don't like is that some of the more delicate dishes seem to be served in much smaller portions, which I suspect is to keep them in line with price points. The veal scallopini dishes come to mind. I order osso buco and get a honking veal shank with risotto or polenta (can't remember, probably both at different times). Jason orders the scallopini and gets this delicate dish with three little scallops of veal. I guess that's fine if you expect it. Now you know. Now, no excuses for not knowing what to order! PS - we've never had dessert at Roberto's. Usually, we walk back to Arthur Ave for something at the Arthur Avenue Cafe.
  17. The last time previous to last night we were there, we had to wait about 30 minutes at the bar, and the old guy sitting next to Jason was basically a chimney, non-stop chain smoker. We asked the bartender and the waitress how the smoking ban has effected business, both say it is as good or better. The smoking drinkers have been replaced by more after softball or other sport players and families who stayed away because of its previous smokiness.
  18. You can get your order custom sliced, and they have other smoked fish besides salmon. I don't really like any smoked fish, I like to get the herring in vinegar or cream sauce, personally. For late night dining, that isn't a diner, go to Fort Lee. Late at night, there's no traffic and easy parking. There are several Korean joints that are open 24 hours.
  19. You don't have to ask for the Chinese menu at China 46, that's Hunan Cottage in Fairfield. As for smoked fish, there's got to be something closer, but if you are ever down in Millburn, check out the Tabatchnick's in the strip mall, just down from Syd's, another great experience.
  20. We didn't get to try the crawfish, he was making them for someone else as we were on our way out the door. But they sure were wiggling before they went into the pan!
  21. Everything was good, but I loved those pan fried dumplings. They were a superior and different version of most any other pan fried dumpling I'd had before ($6). I think they've raised their prices since the original postings saying how inexpensive the place is. For example, the pork buns are $9 for those two small sandwiches. For the quality and size, the price of the somen and ramen seem reasonable, but it adds up quickly if you order more than your bowl of soup.
  22. Since I recently asked about Chez Cheeze and a co-worker wanted to get lunch from there, I checked it out again a couple days ago. I ordered the #7 (Brie & Ham are the main ingredients), I received a completely different sandwich (caprese (mozz, tomato, basil, balsamic vinaigrette). I went back and they remade the sandwich and insisted I keep the wrong one too. So I ate half of each. The ham had no flavor; ditto the brie (under ripe); the mozz, I think was the brick variety, sliced on a machine; both sandwiches had too much condiment, too much vinaigrette on the caprese, too much sweet-course mustard on the ham & cheese. Both were on multi-grain bread, which was tasty. But both sandwiches were just not as good as I'd expect from a hi-end specialtly deli ($6 per sandwich on average). The only thing going for it is it is around the corner from my office. Better to walk the extra two blocks to the Stop & Shop next time I want a ham & cheese for lunch. I suppose if you just wanted to get good cheese, maybe I'd go back, but Tenafly Gourmet Farm has good cheese too. Of course, if I had the time to drive elsewhere for lunch, there are so many other places, but sometimes you only have the time to walk around the corner. Oh well.
  23. ... Like the Trader Joes house brand.
  24. Are you just talking about food for a Realtor open house during the week? The whole point to serving food is that they are held at lunchtime and you'll get more of us to come if there's some food. But, there's definitely no need to set up hot chafing dishes. Most just serve deli sandwich wraps from Costo or the supermarket, so anything better than that is most appreciated. A lot of the Asian realtors serve sushi (usually just at 3:1 ratio of california rolls and tuna rolls). Once, I made a quiche in a rectangular pan and cut it in small pieces, that was scarfed up. Fruit salad is nice too. But, like I said, the whole point is to be able to say "lunch" on the MLS tour list. It's better not to serve anything messy on a Sunday public open house, kids will leave sticky or crumbly messes. But, having some water or lemonade out on a hot day is good.
  25. I believe you mean Old Hook Farm (on Old Hook Rd) in Emerson.Anyone else like Chez Cheeze in Tenafly? Great spot to pick up lunch too.
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