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Tom D

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  1. Dinner at Drew’s is always special and last night was no exception. In fact it was very special. While looking over the menu we munched on a couple of warm rolls with olive oil, butter is also available. Decided on going the salad route for starters. A special Autumn salad was a treat. Mixed greens, red and yellow beets, roasted pumpkin, toasted pumpkin seeds, goat cheese, all brought together with a maple apple cider vinaigrette. Also had a Southwestern Caesar Salad, grilled heart of romaine, roast poblano & tomato salsa, bbq croutons, queso blanco, red chili Caesar dressing. A signature salad that always pleases. We were very fortunate to also taste a couple of additional items and they were sensational. A hunk of Foie Gras was sweet, tender melt in your mouth goodness and came with a sweet fruit relish flecked with chili’s to add additional complexity with some heat. Just sublime. Also sampled the St Louis style wild boar ribs that came with a pomegranate chili glaze and cheese cous cous. This also was delicious. Entrees were Braised Beef Ribs Bourguignon with mushrooms, roast shallots, applewood smoked bacon, natural jus, smashed potatoes and mixed vegetables. Great mix of flavors and perfect with the cool weather. DW had the NY Strip Steak which was a perfect medium rare, with a flavorful crust of spices and topped with horseradish infused butter. Also came with a rich potato gratin. Wife commented this was one of the best steaks she has had in some time and will make a great lunch today. Very full but always room to taste dessert, we split a Pear and Cranberry Crisp with a large scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream. Great way to end a feast. Service from Tara and staff was great on this busy Saturday night. A 2004 Di Lisio Shiraz was a perfect match for the hearty food. If you have not been, give Drew’s a try. You will not be disappointed. http://bayshorebistro.com/index.html
  2. Tom D


    Being from Central NJ I normally post on the Mid-Atlantic Board but we often go into Philly for dinner, usually at BYO's. As some background we like places like Matyson, Radicchio, Chloe etc. Had 8:00 reservations at Cochon after walking around First Friday for an hour or so. Parking is at a premium in the area around the restaurant, leave yourself enough time. Arriving at 8:00 we were promptly seated. Getting the bad news out first, the air conditioning was barely keeping up, the restaurant was packed and noisy and the service was spotty although we were warned by our server that the kitchen was "well behind". The good news is that the food was excellent and more than made up for the other problems. We started with the Crispy Chicken Livers and Fried Oysters which were both delicious and polar opposite in flavor. Entrees were the Pork Shoulder over Lentils and Seared Scallops over Green Pea Risotto. Both dishes were great, the chef shows great touch with meat and seafood. Too full for dessert but finished up with coffee. My advice to others would be: Try not to go on a 95+ degree day or if possible sit outside where the breeze is likely to be blowing. If you have to go on Friday or Saturday, get an early reservation when the service (kitchen) will be on top of things and the noise level will be lower. Great dining experience and highly recommend to others looking for hearty delicious food.
  3. After visiting Drew's at least a dozen times or so I thought it might be a good idea to write up a review of our meal there last night. At 8:00 it was packed as usual anthough our server did say the Holiday had cut back the reservation list a bit. Some nice crusty rolls with butter started things off. There were some specials including an entree of Seafood Gumbo which sounded especially but we finally decided on: Southwestern Caesar Salad grilled heart of romaine, roast poblano & tomato salsa bbq croutons, queso blanco, red chile caesar dressing We both started with the salad. I especially like the flavors of the dressing combining with the grilled notes of the romaine. Add a little heat in the dressing and you have a mouthful of goodness in every bite. We moved on to the entrees, we had: Sautéed Tilapia pecan & lump crab muneire sauce, smashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables Shrimp & Grits gulf shrimp, applewood smoked bacon, mushrooms, tomato, scallions green chile cheese grits In all my visits I had never had the Tilapia. It was good, a nice sized piece but the overall dish was a touch bland, which was surprising given the ingredient mix. Having said that it was enjoyable. The wife's entree of Shrimp and Grits was just great. The smokiness of the dish fit perfectly with the grilled shrimp and grits. A real winner which has only been on the menu for a few weeks. We also split a side order of Garlic Broccoli Rabe with dinner which was perfect with the fish and seafood. Our breath can vouch for it this morning ) With all of the above we slurped down a very nice 2004 Kosta Browne Pinot Noir. Too full to consider dessert, we finished off the evening with coffee. Drews has built up a nice well deserved following. His passion and good nature shows right through to the food he serves. We always enjoy our visits here and look forward to going back soon.
  4. We have been looking forward to a visit to this restaurant. We had to cancel a reservation several weeks ago due to a flooding rainstorm. The restaurant is located in the heart of downtown Medford, a cute little town with antique and craft stores. A much smaller version of lambertville. Ted's On Main is a small restaurant but is remarkable in that all the tables have a distinct private feel to them, especially the tables for two. Very attractive interior. Our server Danielle was efficient, informative and very pleasant. The menu is refined New Orleans with some Caribbean influence. Now for the good part. Everything was delicious. For starters we had: Fried Green Tomatoes Topped with Louisiana Crawfish Remoulade Roasted Organic Beet Salad Baby Lettuces, Cranberry Goat Cheese, Citrus Vinaigrette I had to have the fried green tomatoes, its a bellweather of good Nawlins cooking. These were fantastic. Crisp fried tomatoes with a crawfish remoulade that was a compliment and simply didn't soak everything else. Great flavors and added visual appeal. DW had the beet salad which had several distinct flavors but resulting synergy made the final result better than any one part. We thoroughly enjoyed both starters. The entrees on the menu all sound wonderful, had a hard time deciding but decided upon: Citrus Grilled Hawaiian Butterfish Coconut infused jasmin rice, Mango-crab salsa, guava butter sauce Grilled Prime Pork NY Strip Creole Andouille stuffing, caramelized local apples The entrees were delicious, again as with the appetizers very refined, not messy or drenched in sauces as in some restaurants with this style of cuisine. The entrees are good sized portions, especially the Pork NY Strip which was a sizable piece of loin. We split a dessert of: Chocolate Chip Cookie Meltdown with homemade caramel and chocolate sauces Which was indulgent, rich and very, very good. Reminded me a little of a "deconstructed" Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (muffin) Sundae. A regular coffee finished off the meal. Had a wonderful wine with the meal, a 2004 August West Graham Family Pinot Noir. Went very well with all the dishes. We look forward to going back there soon. The wbsite is: http://www.tedsonmain.net/index.html One last thought. The food is well seasoned for flavor but is not at all hot as some Bayou cuisine. Two appetizers, two entrees, one dessert and coffee came to $71.00 before tax and tip. In our opinion excellent value!!
  5. Wife and I had been looking forward to trying this new place open only since the end of January. Let me start by saying it did not disappoint. In fact it was one of the better dinners we have had recently. The restaurant is tucked away in Belford, between Rt 35 and Rt 36. The place is attractive is its simplicity, very clean and inviting. Very "bistro" like which is what we enjoy. Our server was young, enthusiastic and tried to be helpful throughout the meal. Water glasses filled constantly. Some nice tasty rolls with whipped butter started the meal while we looked at the menu. For starters we decided on: Market Salad warm herbed goat cheese, roasted beets, apple, toasted hazel nuts, mixed greens, and champagne vinaigrette Boston Bibb Salad smoked applewood bacon, gorgonzola cheese, avocado, roasted cipollini onions, cucumber, bibb lettuce, chopped egg, and dijon vinaigrette Both salads were very good and lightly dressed but here was the only small problem of the evening. The bibb salad was actually romaine, not that big a deal but my wife loves bibb. Entrees were a tough decision as everything sounded great and what was coming out from the kitchen looked great. We decided on Roasted New Zealand Rack of Lamb butternut squash, sautéed baby spinach, caramelized shallots and port wine sauce Grilled Double Cut Pork Chop broccoli rabe, gorgonzola cheese, yukon potatoes and zinfandel sauce Both entrees were outstanding, the lamb was delicious and consisted of an ENTIRE RACK. Excellent value. The pork chop was equally good, a two inch thick, perfectly done chop. That with the cheese and potatoes were very indulgent and very good. We knew that most desserts were from The Flaky Tart and were told that by our server. We split a Key Lime tart that was excellent and had some coffee along with it. Total bill of two apps. two entrees, one desert and coffee was $72.00 before tax and tip and worth every penny. Also brought a nice California Rhone blend to enjoy with the meal. The place is BYO. For all the people in NJ, especially central NJ, The Belford Bistro is a welcome addition. Based on last night it is easily one of the best restaurant in the area and that includes Drew's (which we love) and Old Bay Trattoria in the Highlands. When we arrived last night at 7:30 the place was filled but not very busy after that. We will certainly continue to support this great new place until its gets better known a la Drew's. Wish we lived closer. Here is the website www.belfordbistro.com Tom PS The husband and wife chef owners were in the open kitchen, cooking away the entire evening.
  6. A great place to stop and only a couple of miles from Sandy Hook is BAY AVENUE TRATTORIA. Casual but the food is fabulous and it is BYO to boot. Bring your favorite wine and enjoy. You can look at the menu at www.bayavetrattoria.com Tom
  7. Tom D


    Back home tonight after wife and I had a great dinner at Mandoline. Had heard that the tables are close but the table for two under the window that we had was perfect. Wife stared with the mixed green salad which she pronounced a winner and I had the goat cheese pistachio cake which was one of the best starters I've had in quite some time. Tasty and decadent. Entree's were slow cooked beef short ribs for Denise which was fork tender and great tasting with celery root puree and shallots. I had the bbq glazed pork chop with applewood smoked bacon, sauerkraut and frites. The rich and smoky taste of the pork was cut nicely with the sauerkraut. Another great entree. Finished sharing a rich chocolate cherry gelato and dw had a coffee. Service was teriffic and friendly, water glass never were half empty. This is one very, very good restaurant and a bargain to boot. $73.00 before tax and tip. I highly recommend going there, I know we will be back. Wish we lived closer. If the dining club goes here please let us know. If the date is free, would love to attend. Tom
  8. Manon is a good choice but our favorite is # 9 in Lambertville. Tom
  9. Wife and I had dinner at the Island Palm Grill on Saturday and the food was very good. Worth the initial good reviews. The trick will be to maintain the consistency over time. Toni Froio has not been at Raspberry Cafe for many months. She has been the chef at I Cavallini in Aberdeen since last year. Tom
  10. Matyson and or Chloe are my choices. Wife and I have been to both many times and have never been disappointed. Enjoy wherever you go! Tom
  11. Went to Chucharama yesterday after helping darling daughter move to Hoboken (hooray) Been before and was expecting very good and got great. Small plates of Mussels, Duck Tamele and Beef Empanadas. Entres of Beef Short Ribs (unreal good!) and oven roasted free range chicken. A couple of different glasses of wine and a SA beer finished off the 3 of us. This is one of the best restaurants anywhere for the variety of flavors of all their dishes. Could go there every night for about 6 months to sample everything. Tom
  12. Randi Both The Black Swan and Misto are BYO, don't think that will fit with your group but here are the answers to your question. The Black Swan is a modern eclectic menu with meat, seafood, fish all done with some "flair". No private room but there are two dining rooms, one off to the side and I'm sure you could reserve that room for a group. Misto is Italian-Mediterranean two seperate dining rooms and a "special occasion" room that fits maybe 15. It would be used more for a small birthday party or maybe a wine group dinner. Hope that helps Tom
  13. Highly recommend THE BLACK SWAN in the Larchmont shopping center off Rt 38 west in Mount Laurel. A couple of miles south of The Black Swan is MISTO in The Village Walk center in Cherry Hill, off of Rt 70 West. Our favorite in the area and one of the best in NJ. Both are BYO Tom
  14. SJE A shame about Le Me Toujours, it was also a favorite of ours. Did not see Misto (Village Walk center Cherry Hill) on your list. Give it a try, awesome food and a nice atmosphere. Good to see The Black Swan is still good. Have not been there in about a year. Seeing your note will remind me to get back there. Tom
  15. Last night Leg of lamb with herbs and all the fixins. Drank a big jammy Elyse zinfandel. Tonight lasagna with sides of meatballs and sausage. Opening up a nice sangiovese. Denise is cooking up a storm the past two days. Tom PS A bunch of Advil for dessert for the 4+hours of shoveling today
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