Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by chefdavidrusso

  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......
  14. So I think I'm going to schedule my Tuesday around the fact that I want to be in Morristown for lunch. That looks too freakin' good!! On a realted topic, has anyone eaten at the little Columbian joint on the main street in Chatham, about 1/3 mile from Serenade? I've driven past it a couple of times, but I've never had the time to stop. If no one has, I'm happy to be the guinnea pig....
  15. Jalapeno bagels, huh? To me, bagels ought to come with seeds or salt (or a judicious combination of the two)....nothing else. The OCCASIONAL cinnamon-raisin bagel has been known to be acceptable, but ceratinly none of these new-agey things like blueberries or strawaberries or other strange stuff..... But anyway....my traditionalist feelings aside....no, I have never seen a Jalapeno bagel anywhere, Bergen County or otherwise. I'm a little surprised by that, now that I think about it. I mean, everything else has found it's way into a bagel, and given the countries general love of all foods southwestern. Maybe you've hit on your very own Million-Dollar marketting idea......
  16. What's wrong with that? Why should they be allowed to smoke on company time?
  17. So here's a question to ponder.....could the ban on smoking be at all compared to the ban on foie gras (or vice versa)? Both are instances where personal consumption of an item is regulated by the government. The consumtion of that item gives great pleasure to the consumer, but has a negative health impact on someone else (for smoking it's the other people, for foie gras it's the ducks), and it is for that negative impact that the ban has been enacted. There are strong arguments for and against in each case, pitting personal freedoms vs. the greater good. Yet my highly unofficial, thouroughly unscientific poll results indicate that alot of the same people who are FOR the smoking ban are AGAINST the foie gras ban. Any thoughts? (For the record....I'm for the smoking ban, against the foie gras ban)
  18. I don't know about you all, but I certainly don't want to eat fries in week-old oil...all burnt and smelly. If their doing a good fry business, then the oil is going to be shot in a few days. BUT..... There is a long-standing practice in alot of burger-and-fry joints to "seed"the new oil with a little of the old oil to help the flavor. So I understand your sentiment....
  19. The BBW extravaganza from Silver Oak Bistro is far superior, but it's a boat-load of food. So have lots of hungry people on hand. I have also heard (directly from the Silver Oak Folks) that they are taking over the old Clixes spot on Goffle Road and opening a true BBQ Joint. That would be a great thing.
  20. Hi David, Was that you in back the corner with your little boys? I think we exited just as you were walking them up front to what I was guessing was the 'little boys' room - quite the juggling act with baby carrier, backpack and hand holding of the 3 yo! Very impressive. It must have been as when we were passing by the windows outside, we noticed the A Mano appetizer being placed on your empty table awaiting your return. And yes, we certainly had different experiences. Then again, if we all had the same experiences everywhere we went, there would be no need for eg. Funny you mention the smokiness of the crust and a the crispness. We really got none of that at all. One of my comments while eating was that it seemed like the dough had been handled too much, making it tough to chew. When we got there about 5:30, we were the only table in the place. Maybe the oven wasn't hot enough, maybe the pizza gods just didn't smile down on the pizza at that moment. Whatever the reason, different experiences. I agree that Brooklyn is definitely different, but to call it a 'Jersey-style' makes it sound like its a typical Cousin Vinny's pizza parlor that happen's to be cooked in a brick-oven. The house-made mozz, the fresh basil and made from scratch sauce (never mind the crust that manages to be both crispy and chewy at the same time) is, to me, what differentiates it from the type of Jersey-style place I'd have delivered on a Friday night for a bunch of teens. ← Yes that was me in the corner with the kids. And I remember seeing the two of you sitting at your table. Perhaps my description of BKLN pizza as "Jersey" pizza is a little inacurate (or mis-phrased, or something). I would agree, it is nothing at all like "Cousin Vinny's Slice Shack". What I was trying to describe was the use of very Americanized toppings, which I suppose is geographically non-specific. Don't get me wrong....like I said, I enjoy BKLN, and I even enjoy a slice or four of Cousin Vinny's. But I still think that A Mano and BKLN make radically different styles of pizza.
  21. First of all, the phone number seems to be (973)542-8080. Haven't tried calling yet, but that's what the hostess wrote down for me on my take-out menu. Anyway.....I had dinner there last night as well, and my impression couldn't be more opposite of WTC's (were we there at the same time? I was in the back corner with my 3 year old and my 7 month old.) I had the A Mano appetizer also, and I thought it was very good. I actually didn't care so much for the tuna/artichoke spread, but pretty much universally enjoyed the rest of the items. I would have to say that my favorite of them was a roasted pepper and almond "salad". It had a nice sweet/acidic balance of flavors, and the almonds gave a nice textural contrast to the softness of the peppers. Then we had the Prosciutto & Arugala pizza. I had never had that combination before, but based on Tommy's comments, and the fact that it seemed to "work" in my head, I tried it. That, and we could easily remove the toppings so my son could eat the plain pizza he was craving (more prociutto for me.....damn) Anyway, I thought the crust has a very pleaisng smokiness to it. Mine was not at all undercooked, and I thought that it was just the right level of crispiness....enough to have a pleasing chew, but not so crisp that it was going to shatter. And the combination of the prosciutto and arugala played out exactly as I hoped in my mind. The bitterness of the greens undercut the richness of the prosciutto and the creaminess of the frexh mozzarella.. The whole thing came together beautifully. And even without the toppings, my son wolfed through half the pizza and fought me for half of my last piece. And of course we had to finish with some gelato. I has the zupp'anglaise, and my son had chocolate. They were good, but will definitely require further tastings All in all, I would have to say that in my opinion he gets everything right. And while I certainly enjoy BKLN pizza quite a bit, for me it is ultimately a "Jersey-Style" pizza (albeit a good one) that happens to be brick-oven cooked. A Mano is much more of a true Neopolitan style I think their both good, but more apples-to-oranges that apples-to-apples.
  22. Where exactly is this place.....what part of Bergen County are you in?
  23. Hoagie Haven in Princeton. A #16 - cheesesteak with bacon, salt pepper ketchup.
  • Create New...