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Everything posted by zhelder

  1. Just to let everyone know, Siam Ruby has reopened under new ownership (again). The previous owner closed in June, and I was crestfallen, as the food was great and he was such an unbelievably nice guy. Fortunately, the food under the new owners is still very good, and prices are comparable to what they were under the previous owner. The menu is scaled back quite a bit from the previous owner's, but all of the main dishes are available (the new owners do not offer pork as a meat choice, however, unlike the previous owners). This is the third-and-a-half incarnation of this place. The first owner struggled, closed the place for a few months, reopened, and still couldn't make it, despite the good food and prices. The second owner lasted a little less than a year and despite the fact that he offered great food at great prices and a fairly varied menu, he couldn't make it either. Please do not let this place close again! It's so nice to have a Thai restaurant in a convenient location offering good food at good prices. The Hackensack places have the good food and prices, but the locations aren't really convenient, with the traffic and limited parking around Main Street. The Ridgewood places charge around double the prices for food of comparable quality, and again, the parking is a nightmare. This place is the best of everything. Please give them a chance. Siam Ruby 184 W Passaic Street Rochelle Park, NJ 201-226-0031
  2. zhelder

    Mikado 23

    I went back for lunch today (Saturday) to see whether it was worth ponying up the extra $$$ for dinner. Lunch on the weekends is $15.95. During the week, it's $11.95 (I'll make a weekday trip very soon)! I was BLOWN AWAY by how much great stuff they had available for lunch! They had almost all of the sushi varieties that they have for dinner, including eel and eel avocado (my favorite), shrimp tempura, and a whole bunch of other stuff! The hot foods were tamed down a bit (Singapore rice noodles instead of udon noodles, and definitely no bacon wrapped scallops for lunch!), but they had the usual teriyakis, and they still had the great chicken, shrimp, and banana tempuras! But the sushi! They had about 90% of what I've seen at the dinner buffet. At Minado, the lunch is good, but they scale back a lot of the sushi offerings. Sometimes they have an oval roll with what looks like chopped eel, but that's the only eel dish that they (occasionally) offer for their lunch. And Minado doesn't offer many sushi varieties with avocado, which I love. Mikado's lunch blows Minado's out of the water. And it's a bit cheaper! Dessert selection has been improved too. The cakes are similar to what you get at Minado. They still don't have quite the variety of Minado, but they're getting there! Now, they need an udon soup station! Crowds are building at this place too. If they can keep up the quality and maintain the prices, they will have a Minado-like following within a year or so. I can't wait to try the weekday lunch for $11.95! Hopefully almost all of the same stuff will be available! If you like sushi, check this place out. It really is a great place and it's gotten better each time I went!
  3. zhelder

    Mikado 23

    I enjoyed the place so much last week, I went back a second time last Saturday. It was even better than the first week! They had a lot of the same stuff, but a few new things too, including some great bacon wrapped scallops. It was about five times busier than it was the week before. The word is spreading! It would take quite a feat for this place to develop a Minado-like following, but maybe they will! No more free Aloha Juice though. I also found out they have a sit down hibachi dinner option available as an alternative to the buffet. (I think you get to pick two meats/seafoods for your dinner.) Prices are pretty close to the buffet prices. The website right now looks like just a place holder, but I'm sure they'll get it updated in the next few weeks.
  4. A new upscale sushi buffet called Mikado 23 has opened in Wayne. They are located right off of Route 23 on the site that was Majestic Buffet formerly, and before that, the most sinister electronics chain to ever make its way into New Jersey, Nationwide Electronics. (I used to love going in there and seeing $400 TVs priced at $1800.) I liked Majestic Buffet. I thought it was a little fancier than the typical Chinese buffet and I liked the decor and ample space inside. Then I discovered Minado and it completely changed my idea of what a buffet should be. Yeah, it was more expensive, but it was so much better than the typical Chinese buffet that I've pretty much stopped going to all other buffets. I was very skeptical of trying this place, but being curious, I had to try it once, so I went last night. I got very nervous when I saw that the outside was almost exactly the same as Majestic Buffet, except for the new signage. After all, I was expecting an upscale Japanese buffet, not another Majestic Buffet for an additional $10 per person. The entryway just past the doors was similar too. Oh no. We were seated. OK, now things were looking up. The decor was nicely updated, with new tables and chairs, and some neat semi-private rooms lining the back wall. And then we finally got to see the buffet. And Minado has some competition! The sushi was excellent, and they had some varieties that Minado doesn't have. For example, they had some great shrimp tempura sushi, including one with mango. These were great, comparable to what I've gotten in sit down restaurants. They also had the usual fare: eel (and eel avocado, which Minado often doesn't have), shrimp, tuna, salmon, etc. All were fresh and tasty. They also had a salmon roe sushi, but I didn't try that. Like Minado, they also had some nice Asian salads, like octopus salad. Again, fresh and tasty. Hot foods were good too. They had some pad thai (good for a buffet, but not quite comparable to what you'd get at a sit down Thai restaurant), tom yum soup (again, OK for a buffet) and some wonderful udon noodles in a peanut sauce. These were great. They also had chicken teriyaki. They also had chicken and shrimp tempura. These were fantastic. The shrimp tempura looked to be made with king prawns and the crunchy tempura coating was fantastic. Much better than Minado's prawns, which seem to be filled with creamy mayonnaisey sauce (yeek). Desserts were limited, but good. There were a few cakes, very similar to the ones at Minado. They also had some Asian inspired desserts, like tapioca custard. They kept the old ice cream station from Majestic Buffet: there's a freezer with giant tubs of hard ice cream (Turkey Hill, I think) and scoops kept under running water. You scoop the flavors you want. Good, but no comparison to the incredible soft serve vanilla and green tea ice cream Minado added some time ago. They have a hibachi station, but I didn't see anyone getting anything from there, so I skipped that. Maybe next time. As a grand opening promo, they offered free large pitchers of a drink they called "aloha juice". This was a nice treat. A citrusy juice drink with strong grapefruit and coconut flavors, with mixed fruit throughout. I'm sure a pitcher of this would normally go for at least $10, maybe even $15. The place is huge (much larger than Minado's locations, which are large themselves) and there was plenty of room to sit comfortably and to peruse around the buffet. As much as I love Minado, the place is an absolute zoo at all times, and you really have to learn how to become skilled in avoiding crashing into people while going to the buffet and back to your seat. And at the Little Ferry location in particular, seating is very tight, because there are always so many people there. Weekend dinner was $25.95, $4 cheaper than Minado. Figure $5 less per person after tax and tip. Weekday lunch is a very reasonable $11.95, but I don't know how limited the selection is then. The place doesn't have all of Minado's "amenities": no udon soup station, no crepes, no hand rolls (I don't think). And overall, they don't have quite the variety that Minado has, especially in the hot foods department. But then again, they are a bit cheaper, they do have stuff that Minado doesn't have, the place is more comfortable to dine in, and the food is still excellent. Service was very attentive. I have to wonder though, whether Mikado was started by someone who formerly worked at Minado. The names are almsot identical, the logos are similar, and even the little business cards they had at the front with hours and prices were almost identical in style to the ones they have at Minado. Overall, I was very pleasantly surprised by Mikado 23, and I will definitely return in a few weeks. They did just open, so maybe they'll add some things once they get settled. Minado is still the overall champ (at least right now), but Mikado 23 is a very solid and worthy alternative.
  5. The Fairway/Trader Joe's combination in Paramus is really unbeatable. You can go to Fairway for your deli, meats, and most groceries, and then hit up Trader Joe's for frozen foods and their great and reasonably priced bottled juices. Dried fruits and nuts tend to be a little cheaper at Trader Joe's too. Since Fairway opened, I have spent MUCH less time in the regular supermarkets. (I basically go there to buy soda and maybe butter and yogurt now.) Fairway's sale stuff really is better quality and/or better prices. (Their milk prices are unbeatable!)
  6. Just curious, Cook456. I see your profile says you're from Clifton. Where's there a Wegman's within 25 minutes of Clifton? Woodbridge? That's a bit more than 25 minutes, no? Or is there one closer? I would definitely be willing to drive a bit from Fair Lawn to a Wegman's, but Woodbridge is a bit of a hike. As far as Trader Joe's, there's one on Hamburg Turnpike in Wayne. That should be a bit LESS than 25 minutes, no? And they just opened a new huge Whole Foods in Paramus at the former Bergen Mall. Also probably a bit less than 25 minutes from most parts of Clifton. I can definitely see Wegman's coming to North Jersey very soon!
  7. Both filets, the salmon and the beef, were fantastic. I'm not an expert on either, but I know what I like. And I liked both of these better than what I usually get at the supermarket. (Especially the beef.) While on the crazy line to get the beef, I started talking to a guy next to me. He helped me pick out a nice piece and told me to get it cut in half and tied, as roasts. He said to salt, pepper, and butter it, and cook it in the oven for 30 min. at 500, without opening the oven. I tried this, and it was fantastic! BTW, since my inaugural visit, I've been back two more times. I went on a Saturday night, at 10 pm, thinking the store would be quieter. WRONG! The place and lot were full. I went last Monday, in the middle of the day, in the pouring rain, thinking the store would be quieter. WRONG! The place and lot were full. The way things are going, this place is gonna be a zoo from the crack of dawn to way late in the night for at least the next year. I don't care though. I love the place!
  8. I went to check out this new revolution in supermarket shopping on Saturday 3/28. I got there at 7:45 a.m., and there were a few people mulling about. By opening time at 8 a.m., there must've been 50 or 60 people waiting to get in. By the time I left, the first half of the lot was pretty much full. Initial thoughts of the place? I like it. A lot. Their non-sale prices aren't going to put Maywood Market or Corrados out of business anytime soon, but they have some terrific stuff, and the sale prices were amazing. Everything I've tried so far has been absolutely terrific (with one exception) and prices on most items, given the quality, were fair. Some highlights: Their smoked salmon is amazing. It's a lot less salty than most other places, but the quality was stellar. They actually had a guy with a knife slicing razor thin pieces off the fish. Got the fruit cheesecake on sale for $7.99. Probably sells for double that regularly. Outstanding. Lots of fruit, and great creamy flavor. The deli counter is huge. They had some incredible, novel prepared foods. I got some mediterranean chicken salad, with nice pieces of chicken and goat cheese. I got another Indian style chicken dish, chicken breasts made with yogurt and spices. And perhaps the best noodle kugel I've ever had. Nice and creamy, not as tangy as the typical noodle kugel, with lots of raisins and I think red currants. Wonderful. Most of the meat-based prepared foods were around $6.99 per pound. A hair high, but not too bad, especially considering the quality. I think the kugel was $4.99 per pound. Captain Tony was at the fish counter, slicing fish with his crew. I got some beautiful salmon for $5.99 a pound. It was cool to meet him in person. Of course I had to get the filet of beef for $4.99 a pound. The line to get the meat and get it cut was insane. But it was worth the wait. Very good quality, U.S. beef. I had to get some of that fresh mozzarella for $3.99 per lb. Very good. Very smooth and creamy. Perhaps just a pinch too salty (and I like my mozzarella salty) but still very good. I didn't get a chance to check out the cheese counter in detail, but it looked great in passing. I did get some of that parmigiano reggiano for $8.99 per lb. though. They have some fresh pasta as well, including all kinds of filled raviolis. The fancy stuff is very expensive ($7.99 or $8.99 per package), but the plain pastas at $3.29 for 12 oz. isn't too bad. It was very good too! The coffee section is awesome. I was kind of looking forward to jumping into a barrel of that freshly-roasted coffee, but alas, they have coffee mongers to scoop the coffee for you. I got some of the sale $3.99 per lb. hazelnut. The coffee is very good, but I wouldn't say it's leaps and bounds above what I get at Maywood Market. Maybe a pinch better. It is cool seeing the coffee roaster in action though! Dairy prices are incredible. Gallons of Farmland milk (including whole milk) for $1.75. Quarts of Farmland heavy cream were an astonishing $2.49. (I usually get quarts of heavy cream at Food Basics, for $3.68 for the A&P brand. It's about $4.99 or $5.49 at the regular A&P.) $2.49 is an astonishing price. I don't know if this is a sale price, so get it while you can! They also had Breakstone's pints of sour cream for $.75. In the produce department, I got some beautiful vine-ripened tomatoes for $1.49 per pound. These were the nicest tomatoes I've seen in a supermarket in a long time. They also had garlic 3 for $1.00, and it was nice and fresh. They also had a big vat where you could pick your own mesculen salad for $5.99 per pound. This was cheaper than buying the prepackaged salads, so I got some from the bin. The lettuce looked nice and fresh. The only dud I bought was a bunch of basil. It was a nice sized bunch, but at $2.89, a bit expensive, and after one day, it's wilted already! I can usually get a comparable bunch at Maywood Market for around $1.49 and it usually lasts about a week before it wilts significantly. I also got some Kosher for Passover Coke in the grocery aisle. 3 2L bottles for $4.00. And they had plenty. The store was insanely busy, but surprisingly, there were no lines at the checkouts. The layout of the store is unusual with the produce in one compartment of the store, the groceries, frozen foods, and checkouts in another part, and a long narrow pathway with the deli, seafood, meat, cheese, and coffee departments. If you forget something in produce and you're in the grocery section, you have to track all the way back through the store. No shortcuts! Danny and Howie were all over the store. Howie doesn't talk much. Danny is the PR man who talked with all the customers and tried to help everyone out. He saw me looking around puzzled and asked me if I needed help. I said no, I was just taking it all in, and complimented him and Howie on the great store. I was kind of star struck, after seeing Howie, Danny, and Captain Tony in person! Overall, I enjoyed my trip. I'm $200 poorer now, but boy have I been enjoying the food! This is a great addition to the area. Be prepared to go first thing in the morning for at least the next six months, or be prepared for big crowds. Welcome to Paramus, Fairway!
  9. Backwoods recently started a Wednesday night $20 AYCE rib special. And this was just the thing to get me in there to try them. Overall, it was quite good. The dry ribs were very good, but they have a VERY strong sage/cinnamon/clove flavor. The hostess recommened trying the ribs with a bit of honey, and that, along with some of the vinegar-based sauce on the table, made the flavor a bit more mild. The wet ribs are basically the dry ribs with the tomato barbecue sauce. Also very good, but I think these ribs go better with the vinegar sauce. My favorite ribs were the baby back, which is apparently a new addition to the menu. They were delicious. Very tender, and a nice sweet, mild flavor. They also served these with a little pitcher of extra sauce, which was very tasty. It almost reminded me of a high quality beef gravy. The ribs came with beans and coleslaw for sides, and they brought out new sides with each round of ribs. I'm not a coleslaw fan, but the beans were very good. Tons of meat, and a bit of peppery spice. Being a macaroni & cheese fan, I ordered a small mac & cheese too. It was quite good, but a bit too much on the "wet" side for me. The portion was generous, but at $8, overpriced. Chris Rogge's dry baked mac & cheese masterpiece from CC's Barbecue Pit is still the champ. (Please open a new place soon, Chris! We miss you!) The place is quite large, with three separate dining areas, and there is plenty of room for everyone. Unfortunately, there weren't too many people in the place. (Maybe five or six other groups.) The staff consisted of a lot of young high school/college kids, and they were friendly and enthusiastic. Service was good, and the server was even nice enough to wrap up the leftovers. The head hostess (manager?) was also extremely friendly and came over to chat with us. Overall, I enjoyed the place quite a bit, and $20 for AYCE ribs is a fair price. If they could lower their other prices, I would definitely visit this place more often. For now though, I'll enjoy the occasional junket out there for ribs!
  10. The owner was hoping for a soft opening at the end of the month, permits pending. ← I just heard about this place today. Is it really going to be a rodizio? If it's going to be a rodizio, is it going to be an all you can eat place? Given the area, it wouldn't surprise me to be charged by the piece. It would be absolutely fantastic to have a full AYCE rodizio in Ridgewood, but I think the price would terrify me. Information on the place is very sparse. Does anyone know the deal?
  11. Haven't tasted the bracciole yet, but I bought two pieces each of pork and beef, along with some chop meat and sausage. I'm going to make a pot of "Wednesday Gravy" this week!
  12. Nobody's been here yet? Boy, you all don't know what you're missing. Since my first post, I've been back three more times, and had a chance to try a few more things. In addition to the amazing tom yum soup, I also tried the tom khaa kai soup. Also delicious. Very similar to the tom yum, but with coconut milk. Both are great, but I think I like the tom yum better. Also tried another appetizer which was shrimp wrapped in dough and deep fried, served with a spicy plum sauce (think a thin spicy duck sauce made with plums instead of peaches or apricots). The portion was small (4 shrimp), but they were very good, and the sauce was fantastic! The pad see ew was a true winner. Delicious pork (beef, chicken, and shrimp are available too) with flat rice noodles in a great sweet dark soy sauce and broccoli (regular broccoli, not Chinese broccoli). The portion's smaller than the pad thai, but still decent and it's unbelievably good! Speaking of the pad thai, the last time I went, the owner, Lui (pronounced "Louie", but I have no idea of the spelling) asked me how spicy I wanted it. this surprised me, as I've never had spicy pad thai before, but I stuck with the old "7" standby. Boy, it was great. It had a nice kick, without being overpowering, and was a nice twist on the dish. Lui is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. He is very friendly and gracious. One time when I went, several people were dining in, and I had to wait about 30 minutes for my takeout order. Lui appologized profusely and insisted on charging me only $10 for about $22 worth of food. I told him don't worry about it, but he insisted. That's a true gesture of gratitude. Lui told me that his business is slowly picking up and getting better, but it's still slow, especially on Fridays. So please, please, please, check Lui and his wonderful reasonably priced Thai food out. You won't be sorry, and we need to keep this place in business for many years to come. Oh, and I think I goofed in my first post about the name. I believe they are still called "Siam Ruby", although the menus say "Ruby Siam". The big neon sign inside the place is unchanged from the old place and still says "Siam Ruby".
  13. I just made my way to the new Corrado's in Wayne, and I'm impressed. This store is kind of a smaller, more efficient Cliff Notes version of the Clifton fortress. The store is maybe 1/3 the size of the Clifton store, which means it's still the size of a mid-size supermarket. Corrado's website claims that the Wayne store has the same prices as the Clifton store. And after traveling the store, I'd say this statement is about 80% true, which amazed me. My jaw dropped when I saw that sundried tomatoes were $4.99 per lb. and grape leaves were $2.99 per lb., just like in Clifton. I say the statement is about 80% true because the Wayne store does offer quite a few items that you probably couldn't get in the Clifton store, and these items tend to be more expensive than the Clifton staples. Obviously there's a pretty big difference between the clientele at the Wayne store and the clientele at the Clifton store, and the items available at the Wayne store show that Corrado's taking these differences into consideration. Some of the prepared foods at the Wayne store included fancy salads with gorgonzola and walnuts, and they even have a sushi station! The deli at the Wayne store appears to focus on Boar's Head meats, and therefore, the meats are quite a bit more expensive than the no-name brands at the Clifton store. However, they did have one amazing special: proscuitto di parma for $11.99 per lb! The prepared foods at the deli are a bit fancier than the ones at Clifton, and more expensive. For example, they had some seafood salad for $9.99 per lb. The butcher at the Wayne store is awesome. They have dry aged beef. And they had tons of ready made beef and pork bracciole! (I have had a hard time finding ready made bracciole lately!) The produce department was nowhere near the size of Clifton's but all the staples were there, and prices seemed to be pretty close to what would be charged in Clifton. Tomatoes were $.99 per lb., bananas $.49 per lb. The bakery department is smaller than the one in Clifton, but the offerings are similar. Cakes, pastries and butter cookies are all available for reasonable prices. Most cakes were $10 - $12, cookies were $5.99 per lb., like in Clifton. The place was quite crowded, but nothing like the zoo that the Clifton store typically is. Waits at the register were extremely short, and there was plenty of help. The store is clean and well laid out. Overall, because the store is so much smaller than the Clifton store, the overall selection of food is not quite as vast. And many of the Middle Eastern foods available at the Clifton store do not seem to be available at the Wayne store. As I said before, however, the Wayne store does have some items that you couldn't find in Clifton as well. The Clifton Corrado's is in a league of its own. If all of the gourmet shops in NJ got into a fight, the Clifton Corrado's would destory all of the others without a scratch. The Wayne Corrado's is a wonderful addition to the legacy, but it has a lot more in common with some of the other suburban gourmet shops in the area, like Maywood Market, Market Basket, and Zeytinia. It's a kinder, gentler, more refined version of its rough & tumble but still exciting and lovable big brother. I will definitely be back to both locations!
  14. In a tiny little strip next to the Rochelle Park Shop-Rite was a great little Thai restaurant called Siam Ruby Cafe. It was an unusual place, basically looking like the tiny luncheonette it was in a past life. But the food was great and so were the prices. Well, I am VERY happy to let everyone know that Siamy Ruby has reopened as Ruby Siam - New owner, new menu, still great prices. In fact, as good as the old Siam Ruby was, I think that this new incarnation may be even better. The place still looks like a micro diner inside, but everything else is different. The menu, while still not nearly as extensive as a place like Wondee's, does seem to have a bit more variety and sense of adventure than the old menu. I tried an awesome appetizer called Bua Thai Beef. It was tiny strips of beef fried in chili flakes (or something like that) served with chili sauce. It wasn't a lot for $5.95, but it was absolutely delicious. I also tried some chicken Tom Yum soup. This may have been the best version of the soup I ever had. (But I'm no Thai food expert.) The owner asked me how hot I wanted it. I said make it hot, but don't kill me. He said, on a scale of 1 to 10, about a 7? I said that sounds good. (I told the owner I would have said 9, but that I figured the Thai tongue was a bit stronger than my American tongue. He laughed and agreed.) Boy, 7 was the bullseye. Spicy and hot (for weak Americans), but not enough to induce tears or set your tongue on fire. The soup had a great red color and loads of flavor. And at $3.95 for a pint, very reasonable. I also got some chicken Pad Thai. It was great, but seemed to be a pinch more "sour" than other versions of the dish I've had (maybe some extra tamarind or lime?). It was still great, and at $8, a bargain. (Beef and pork are available for $8 too, shrimp is $2 more.) The pad thai also had some thin red pepper strips in it, which I haven't seen before. The owner was incredibly friendly and gracious, even offering me a soda while I waited for the food (I politely declined) and giving me a slight discount for paying in cash. We chatted a bit about Thai food and other things. Total for two orders of chicken pad thai, tom yum soup, and the bua thai beef, about $25. The only strange thing about this place is that they seem to close from 3 PM - 5PM every day. I asked the owner about this, and he said if I wanted to get something during that time, to just knock on the door. (I would feel very funny doing that though.) Hopefully if business is good enough they'll expand their hours. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE give this place a chance. They are very conveniently located, the food is delicious, and the prices are great on most items. The owner is a great guy too. I was crestfallen when the old Siam Ruby closed, but I'm glad that a new incarnation is back and better than before! Please keep them in business! We can't afford to lose this place again! Ruby Siam Cafe 184 W. Passaic Street Rochelle Park
  15. South City Grill on Route 17 south in Rochelle Park just started one for $20, both for the buffet and a la carte and include unlimited mimosas and the like. ← According to the website, it's $24.95. But let me get this straight: that price includes both the buffet and the a la carte offerings? So you can go to the buffet as much as you want and then order the a la carte items as you desire as well? $24.95 is a little more than I would typically spend on a brunch, but considering all of the items they're offering, for the buffet alone, it seems like a good deal. Adding the a la carte menu and the unlimited mimosas, etc. would make it a bargain. Has anyone tried it? If so, how was it? I'm seriously considering going next week! Menus available here.
  16. Well, it's getting pretty close to October! I haven't hear anything in quite a while. Any updates on the grand opening? I hope they're open before Thanksgiving!
  17. I've been there twice since Chris joined, and I think Dave joined a bit before Chris, because on my first visit, Chris mentioned a new "kitchen manager". So what's different? From what I could tell, not a whole lot, yet, but the few subtle changes so far are good. Bourbon's great meats are unchanged. Chris has changed the macaroni and cheese, but unfortunately it's still not the baked masterpiece he served at CC's. It's better than what Bourbon had, but not nearly as good as CC's. It's relatively dry, but not baked. I'm hopeful that Chris will eventually be able to put his great CC's mac & cheese on the menu. But what they have will do for now. They have also (finally!) added some excellent mashed potatoes. Nice white potatoes (russet?) with bits of skin mixed in for flavor. The first time I went, they mixed the gravy into the potatoes. The last time, they gave me a separate cup of gravy, which is the way to go, IMHO. The potatoes are different from CC's (CC's potatoes didn't have skin, if I remember correctly, and were slightly smoother) but these potatoes are still great. I think the barbecue sauce is also changed slightly. The new sauce seems to be a bit thinner, but I think the flavor is actually better. I can't put my finger on what exactly I like better, but the flavors seem to have a better balance than before. I am so glad that this "merger" seems to be working, and hopefully with Chris and Dave on board, Bourbon will eventually go from being a good BBQ restaurant to a great restaurant. They're on their way!
  18. Latest update, gang... and it's VERY GOOD NEWS!!! Chris Rogge started today at Bourbon BBQ. I'm SO glad that Mike and Chris were able to work everything out. I can't wait to try the New & Improved Bourbon BBQ! Story on the Second Helpings Food Blog HIP HIP HOORAY!
  19. Oh no. I just read on the Second Helpings blog that Chris is not going to be joining the Bourbon BBQ staff after all. I'm absolutely crestfallen. I really thought this would have been a great pairing. Mike, if it's not asking too much, could you shed some light on what's going on? Why the change of plans?
  20. ← YAY!!!! You guys have made me very happy (and I'm sure a lot of other people too!) This is the best food-related news I've heard in a long time! I can't wait to get some of Chris's mac & cheese, mashed potatoes, and maybe even some of those BBQ pork nachos! As good as the place is now, Chris will make it even better! Now go create that Northern NJ BBQ Superpower!!!
  21. Backwoods BBQ has updated their website with different music (more country & western, and MUCH less annoying) and full menus. And Holy Freeking Cats... I was right about the pricing. I'm sure the food is good, but is it worth paying so much more for? $8 for a "small" classic mac & cheese?!? A small mac & cheese side at CC's was $2.00, and it was OUTSTANDING. (Bourbon has mac & cheese for about the same price too, but it's not nearly as good as CC's was.) $12.50 for a pulled pork sandwich or plate? $17.25 for a brisket sandwich or plate?!? These would be $6.00 to $8.00 at Bourbon's or CC's for a sandwich, maybe a few dollars more for a plate. I know, this is more of an "upscale" and dine-in restaurant and CC's was a little biddy hole in the wall in Haledon, and rents are a lot higher in Westwood than they are in Haledon, but come on! Can you convince me that it s worth paying a 50% or higher premium for this food? Boy oh boy, I miss CC's terribly already. I like Bourbon's meats, but their sides need a lot of improvement. Maybe they could hire Chris from CC's to improve their sides! Then we'd have a BBQ powerhouse in Bergen County that wouldn't bankrupt everyone!
  22. Apparently a new BBQ place has opened in Westwood called Backwoods BBQ. It looks promising, with some very interesting variations on old classics. They also look expensive. REAL expensive. I'm dying to try them, but I don't want to go down there and end up spending $75 for dinner. Here are three things that have me thinking their prices may be through the roof: 1. Their website has a "Menu" section, but lists only a few of their special items, not a complete menu. No prices are listed anywhere. 2. There was an article in the "Starters" section of the Record today. Many times when mentioning these restaurants, some indication as to the prices of items (or at least a range) are given. Not this time. There is no mention of specific prices or price ranges anywhere in the article. 3. I asked them to fax me a menu, but they said they couldn't. (They said they didn't have a fax machine. What business in this day and age doesn't have a fax machine?) So, has anyone checked them out? If so, how is the food and how are the prices? I know good BBQ ain't cheap, but if the prices are much more than Bourbon or CC then it would not be a place I would go to very often. Thanks for any info! Backwoods BBQ Website Link to Starters Article in the Record
  23. I was going to suggest this too, but figured it might be too far for the OP to travel. But it's just what he/she is looking for. Great food, nice place, yet casual and homey. BTW, a new Indian restaurant opened in Elmwood Park on Rt. 46 called Talk of the Town. I went there for their lunch buffet once after they just opened and enjoyed there as well. The buffet was not as extensive as Bhoj's. but there was a good variety. It's also a bit more upscale than Bhoj, (and, admittedly, nicer decor) but still nice and casual. Food and servicewise though, Bhoj is still the champ! Ganache, it may be worth the 90 minute or so ride when you have some free time to check out Bhoj. I'm sure if you tell Sonny, the owner, that you came all the way from South Jersey, he will treat you like royalty and give you a meal you won't forget (just like he treats everyone)!
  24. What a year this has been for me and my favorite casual places to eat. PuPu Inn in Elmwood Park closed earlier in the year, and now, my favorite pizza place ever, Brick's in Wyckoff, is gone. Adding insult to injury is the fact that another pizza place in Franklin Lakes took their phone number, so when I called and someone answered, I assumed it was Brick's. I drove up there on New Year's Day, wanting to get some pizza, but after I called, the place was closed. I figured they went home early. Then tonight, I drove by at around 5:00 p.m., and the place was dark. When I called the number in the window, the other pizza place responded. And sadly, this other place does not do brick oven pizza, so I drove to Aldo's in Glen Rock. OK, we still have Aldo's in Glen Rock. Aldo's used to be a Brick's, and Aldo's pizza used to be almost as good as the Brick's in Wyckoff. But lately, Aldo has been slipping. The pizza is still well above average, but it's not that delicious brick oven masterpiece that it used to be, with the thin crust, the delicious tomato sauce and cheese, and just the right amount of oil. It's been kind of ordinary lately. The las time I got a pizza from them, it was just like a typical average pizza. Tonight, it was better, but still far from their peak. There are still good pizza places here. Nellie's and Kinchley's are great, and as of right now, probably the closest I'm going to get to a Brick's pie from now on. But the pies are small, as delicious as they are. Brooklyn Pizza in Hackensack and Ridgewood is also very good, but I refuse to deal with the parking and traffic nightmares required to get a pizza from either one of those locations. Are there any other decent brick oven places around? Places that are reasonably priced, where I don't have to drive around for 45 minutes to get a parking spot? (This leaves the places in Ridgewood and Montclair out!) Please mourn with me. This was the best pizza place in Bergen County, and maybe the state. I will miss them dearly. It was a decade of great pizza.
  25. I took a few months off from Bourbon BBQ because of all the service issues that plagued them during their first few months in business. I really wasn't sure whether they were going to survive. I got my 'cue fix from CC's Barbecue in Haledon, another very good joint. But I decided to see if Bourbon BBQ got their stuff together recently. And boy, HAVE THEY!!! Bourbon's meats are outstanding. Moist and flavorful. My favorite is the beef brisket, but the pork is outstanding as well. The meat now seems to have more seasoning than when they first opened, when the meats were very good and moist, but a bit bland. Bourbon's beef brisket is probably the best I've had. Another mind blower is the recently added fried chicken. I got the 4 pieces for $4.99. This may be the best fried chicken I ever had. Unbelievably moist, yet thoroughly cooked. The coating was super browned without being burned. I don't know what it is (maybe a mix of flour, bread crumbs, and corn meal?) but it's delicious. The menu states that they get the chicken from the Goffle Poultry Farm down the road. And finally... a decent macaroni and cheese! Gone is the awful stuff from the first few weeks with the gloppy cheese sauce. They now supposedly make it the same way they do at Silver Oak Bistro. (I don't know for sure, because I've never been to SOB.) But it is now VERY good. I think they "fry" it in a pan, but it looks and tastes like baked mac & cheese. It's very good, but not quite as good as CC's true baked mac & cheese. They also have introduced a pork empenada, with pork, barbecue sauce, beans, peppers and some other spices. It was definitely good quality, but the spices/sauce/beans were too overpowering for me. I'm sure others would love it though. When I first posted about Bourbon, I stated that I thought the beans were great, but I've recently had a change of heart. The last time I got them, they were kind of bland without any sweetness. CC's beans blow these away. Overall, however, I'm very happy that this place has worked hard to improve and I now hope they have a long and successful future. With the improvements, they have turned me into a regular customer. We now have two great 'cue joints in North Jersey: Bourbon and CC's. CC's meats are very good... but Bourbon's are better. Bourbon's sides are now very good... but CC's are better. (And Borubon really has to start offering some homemade mashed potatoes and gravy like CC's.) If these guys teamed up, we'd have a barbecue superpower! Check both these place out!
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