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chefdavidrusso

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    Northern NJ
  1. It's not pumpkin ravioli...it's sweet potato, but the best of either that I've ever had is at Bernards Inn in Bernardsville. Brown Butter-Sage sauce with toasted pumpkin seeds. Awesome!
  2. Thanks for all the rec's.....we ended up at Pimaan Thai on Kiderkamack in Emerson. The food was good enough...nothing outstanding, but it was the perfect social lubricant over which to catch up with an old friend.
  3. I'm meeting a friend for lunch in Westwood on Thursday...any recomendations for a place to eat? No real restrictions other than that it's lunch, so we don't want to spend an arm and a leg. Thanks
  4. I for one am not particularly sad that the Wild Noodles has left Ridgewood. I treid it once or twice when we first moved here and found the food to be acceptable at best. The noodles themsleves were gummy and overcooked, and the sauces tasted very processed to me. Maybe it was just that particular location, but it didn't do much for me. As for kid friendly restaurants, I feel very particular about the fact that if you have taken the time and effort to teach your children appropriate behavior and take them out at appropriate times, that just about any restaurant can be kid friendly. Gazelle in Ridgewood is my 3-year-old's favorite restaurant, and as long as we go by about 6 o'clock when the place is relatively empty we have a great experience. As for food, any restaurant can easily cook pasta (either with or without sauce). Or if he wants something that doesn't come in a kids portion I just tell the server to box half of it up to take home.
  5. I don't think so....seems fairly on par with alot of other places. But I suppose that "pricey" is a pretty subjective assesment.
  6. No opening date yet, but there is conctruction going on at the site.
  7. From the website of Silver Oak Bistro in Ridgewood...... "4.20.07 COMING SOON!!! Be on a lookout for Bourbon County BBQ Smokehouse opening early Summer at 529 Goffle Road in Wyckoff (old Clixies). Chef Gary is bringing his Kentucky BBQ from Bourbon County to Bergen County. This will be a Family - Self Service Restaurant with the Best Food and at an affordable price. We are installing a hardwood smoker and redooing the entire kitchen from scratch. We will keep you posted on the progress." I had heard the rumor a couple of months ago, but obviously now it can be confirmed. Oh Happy Day!!!
  8. (Disclaimer - they're a customer of mine) I've eaten there once....end of February I think it was. The night we were there was among the first that the upstairs are was open....they were jam-packed until we left at 10-ish, and showed no signs of slowing. The food is a nice combination of straight forward technique, David Burke whimsy, and NYC vibe. All three folks in charge (Exec Chef Steve, Sous Chef Wade, and Pastry Chef Anina) put out excellent food that is approachable yet has enough twists to it that it keeps the diner interested throughout the meal. And the cocktails are goooooood! It's definately a valuable addition to the dining scene in Millburn/Maplewood/Summit. I think it will find great success, as there is no other restaurant that does what it does as well as it does it anywhere in the area.
  9. Oh Man!!! Raul's would be the PERFECT late night food for post-indulgence dining. It kinda makes me want to party in Morristown just so I can stop off.
  10. Hank, please be certain that you differentiate between your inferences and what I actually said. Never did I say, imply, or otherwise indicate that the "other problems" were necessarily dirty. There are many, many things that can contribute to a restaurant closing - all of which fall under that umbrella of "other problems." Yes, some of those reasons may be less than savory, but there are alot of them that are perfectly innocent. I simply chose not to elaborate. You ask, "how in God's name can we not infer that there is something drastically wrong with either Shelton personally or his Inn." What you choose to infer is your own domaine and no one elses. Please do not attempt to shift that responsibility to me. At this point, several things are obvious to me. First - you will not be satisfied with what I have said so far. Second - I am not going to say any more. So I would like to suggest that this particular portion of the discussion come to a gentle close. I stand by my post, along with everything that was and was not said in it. If not everyone agrees, I can certainly respect that. But a protracted volley of "you said, I said" will benefit no one.
  11. Hank, I'm sorry that you feel I have done a diservice to the Ryland Inn and to Chef Shelton; you are ceratinly entitled to your opinion. You ask in your first post "Am I wrong? I certainly hope so." I believe that you are. Nothing I have said (or not said, as the case may be) in any way guides the reader to one specific conclusion or another about the situation at the Inn. And while I appreciate your confidence in my ability to sway public opinion, I think you've grossly overstated my influence. People will draw myriad conclusions from my information; some will take it very seriously, some will ignore it, some will think I'm a lying SOB. Those conclusions will have myriad effects; it will lead some to flock to the Ryland Inn, it will lead some to conciously stear clear, and it will lead some to remain blissfully appathetic. I'm pretty certain that the relative percentages of each group will stay fairly consistent to the pre-closing level. Here are a couple of pieces of information about the restaurant industry that may not be widely known: (I mention these points not in specific relation to the Ryland Inn, but simply for general knowledge purposes) #1 - That a restaurant is always full and has a high check average can have very little relation to it's ability to survive. Success has alot more to do with food and labor percentages as compared to that check average than the civilian public thinks. People assume that because a restaurant is doing well that they must be making money hand-over-fist. Unfortunately that's not always the case. There are alot of other costs involved that can eat away at the profits #2 - "Water Main Break" is a long standing euphamism in the restaurant industry that is used to cover a variety of other causes for closing. ("Closed for Renovation" is another favorite) If every restaurant that claims water main problems actually had them, I'd be more concerned about the failures of our public infrastructure than of our restaurant community. That being said, there are restaurants to whom this really does occur - case in point is a well known, long famous restaurant in Manhattan that is struggling with this. A delivery driver from my company walked in one day and saw water pouring from the ceiling. So it does happen, just not as often as claimed. Let me also make clear that I did not in any way claim in the intial post that there wasn't a water main break, and I apologize if that was the implication. Rather, there are/were other problems that (when taken in combination with any infrastructure issues) led to the closing. I truly hope the Ryland Inn reopens, and I wish them all the luck and success that I can. If it doesn't, then I hope that Chef Shelton re-emerges with bigger and better projects. He has earned every well-desreved accolade that comes his way, and he is a great asset to the New Jersey dining scene.
  12. So it turns out that my Tuesday schedule became my Monday schedule, so I just HAD to eat lunch at Raul's today. Here is my concise, 5-word review (yes, I counted): Go now, and eat alot. My 3-word follow up review: It's freakin' cheap!! So I, like Curlz, started with soem chicken soup....very very good, freshly made from begining to end. No canned broth here, that's for sure. A nice mix of white and dark meat (pulled directly from the broth-making chicken) in a good variety of large chunks and shreds. Nice big pieces of potato, too. Talk about "Mmm, mmm, good!!" I tried three different empanadas. The first two came on recomendation - the 5-sausage and the beef. Both were excellent - crispy and light, with just the right amount of moisture inside. THey were neither too soggy/runny nor too dry. I'm pretty sure (though in my revelry I forgot to ask) that they were of different crusts....the 5-sausage was a cornmeal crust, and the beef seemed flour-based. I managed to find room for one more, and told Sandra the manager to surprise me. What she brought me was something called "First Heaven", and by all accounts I would say that it's a fairly accurate description. First Heaven is a combination empanada of beef and chcken, HOWEVER....she made one change (which I highly suggest to anyone who follows): she added rice to the mixture, which did a great thing. It added just enough x-factor to round out the flavors, to give them a certain harmonious interaction, which raised the experience nearly to sublime. Hyperbole aside, it rocked - try it. The best part about the whole experience (and a reflection of Raul's culinary background) is how perfectly the empanads were fried. Not greasy at all, the dought crisp on the very outer layer and tender/moist on the inside. I'm sure it also has alot to do with the dough itself, but it makes like I should bone up on my deep-frying skills, that's for sure. So again.....go, do it quickly, do it frequently, and be amazed. Oh yeah.....one more thing.....clearly the are not only cooking the empanadas to order, but filling them to order as well. Which is the only way to do it.
  13. I'm surprised that no one has commented on the closing of two of New Jersey's most venerated dining destinations....The Ryland Inn, and the Dining Room at the Hilton Short Hills. As far as I know right now, the Dining Room is only closed temporarily (albeit a long temporary) while they do some renovation to the space and possibly rethink the concept. After Chef Dennis left, I think "they" decided to sieze the opportunity that was presented to them and take some of the perceived stuffiness out of the restaurant. The Ryland Inn is closed more permanently....they claim the cause was a "water-main break", but my sources (one former employee, a reliable pastry chef close to the restaurant, and a long-time NJ chef who knows Chef Shelton) tell me that there were other problems afoot. Out of respect for (and to help preserve) the good name and reputation of both the chef and the inn, I won't eloborate. Obviously, any other confirmations or refutations (is that a word?) would be welcome - Rosie, have you heard anything? I am, after all, but one man......
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