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Posts posted by Hikeleader

  1. I went very recently. Not impressed.

    My wife and I went for our anniversary. We called and let them know it was a special occasion.

    On previous occasions we have gone to Panache we have felt the service was rushed. I wrote it off to some extent that the restaurant, before the remodel, was smallish and I can understand the need to turn tables on the weekend.

    We went on a Tuesday night. The restaurant was recently expanded.

    When we arrived we were immediately escorted to the worst table in the house.

    I should have said something, I usually do, but did not want to fuss.

    The table was positioned by the entry and by the kitchen at a narrow turn. Waiters going to and from the kitchen and patrons going to and from the restrooms knocked into the back of my chair 6 or 7 times. There were plenty of other, much nicer, tables available.

    While my wife and I conversed the waiter abruptly stepped up and started to read off the specials. No "Good evening my name is Joe, may I read the specials to you tonight?" Obnoxious!

    My wife had the endive/gorgonzola/apple salad. I had the filet mignon ravioli.

    The salad was glopped in some kind of french dressing. The ravioli were good but one dimensional....just very rich but no distinguishing flavors. Both appy's lacked any attempt at presentation.

    Did I mention I hate to be rushed? The appy's were brought out to us within 3-4 minutes of ordering.

    My wife purposely dawdled while eating her appy. But sure enough within 2 minutes of her finishing out came the entrees as though they were just begging to be freed from a heat lamp.

    The mains were:

    She had halibut, I had duck. The duck was good but the sauce was overly sweet and again one dimensional. The bok choy was very good. The presentation was better but still not inspired. The halibut crust was a bit chewy but otherwise a nice dish from what I could tell. It clearly sat under the heat lamp. As my better half also posts on this forum perhaps she will chime in.

    We (ok I) decided to order a desert and we split a caramel pecan sponge cake.

    The flavor of caramel and pecans was good but again..no presentation...just a "piece o cake" on a a plate.

    The sponge cake was dry, the caramel icing very very sweet.

    We had a $150 gift certificate I gave my wife for Christmas. The bill was $107 before tip. They gave us a new GC for $43 rather than change. I thought that was cheesy. Is this normal?

    We were in and out of the restaurant in less than 2 hours. Maybe they should put in a drive through?

    I'll go back again...I have to spend that $43!! But I will make sure I only order my appy and will make them wait b4 giving my entree order.

    Other notes: No one offered to take my wife's coat although we saw several others (regulars I presume) be offered this service. My wife sat with her coat squished up against her in her booth. A table next to us was offered a tasting menu..we were not. Again, they were regulars.

  2. Here are pics:

    Puree of White Bean Soup with Shelled Mussells and Paprika Oil


    Marinated Sashimi Tuna with Avocado, Red Radish, Ginger Dressing


    Hanger Steak w/ Peppercorn and Golden Raisin Reduction, Celery Root Vegetables, Portobello Mushroom (I ate this..it was soo yummy!)


    Sake Marinated Salmon with Tapioca, Cucumbers and Wasabi


    Poached Pear with Yogurt Panna Cotta, Walnuts and Dried Cranberries


    As Curlz said: The second amuse was a generous piece of monkfish, which sat in the lower corner of the plate, along with a stunning orange-almond sauce that was run diagonally up the middle, and one piece of roasted (or grilled?) asparagus on the opposite corner. Gorgeous presentation, fantastic dish. That sauce made me blissfully happy.


    Herb roasted lamb sirloin with zucchini, black olives and white beans


    Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee with Fresh Strawberry's


    Chocolate Bread Pudding w/ Mocha-Hazelnut Parfait


    Chocolate Truffle Terrine with Banana Ice Cream ( I had this...I'm still thinking about it!


    Roasted Red Beets with Marinated Goat Cheese and Balsamic Herb Oil


    Almond-Basil-Riccotta Cake with Fresh Berries and Balsamic Caramel Drizzle


    Banana Eclair (dessert special Lowell had...perhaps he can tell us more!)


    The Treana we brought along....quite a nice White that held up to the Peppercorn Hanger Steak nicely


  3. "edit: ramapo valley brewery, if i'm thinking it's where it was, is no more.

    also, i saw a place called "ole ole", but then right above it about a block was a more interesting looking mexican place. anyone know the name? and then ireland's was at the end of the block if i'm putting 2 and 2 together correctly. nice area right there. i like it."

    Yes, you are correct about the brewery being no more. And Ole Ole please don't waste your time on. Bad food and more importantly, cannot make a margarita right :blink:

    And Ireland's has some decent food. They used to have 15 cent wings on Wednesday nights. Not sure if they still do....

  4. According to the latest issue of 201 Magazine (Feb 2006) the Village Green has changed hands, same chef, just new owner.

    The new owner is Franco Lofaro

    Former proprietor of Mediterraneo in Harrington Park (ever heard???)

    Plans on re-introducing lunch....hopefully that will be the only change!

    Love that tasting menu concept!


  5. Hello all, been a while!

    To Tommy's point, there are NO great burger and martini joints in Northern Bergen.

    So, yes, we need to think outside the bun, box or whatever....

    May I offer Vertigo in Nyack as a possibilty?


    Great Burger, but BYOB.....

    Cafe Amici in Wyckoff

    Mahwah Bar & Grill?? It's been a while.....(same family as AB&G)

    now that I think of it....

    try "Brady's at the Station" (Formerly The Trackside for a loooonnnng time)

    in Ramsey....very good burgers, two good bars, very clean, very nice atmosphere and usually pretty decent bartenders.


    Finally....if it's Martini and wings try Ireland's in Suffern (burgers might be good there too but can't say I have tried!)

    or Bishop's in Northvale. (is it still around?)

    Hope that helps!


  6. Hubby was trying to be real nice this weekend ...we almost went here Saturday night...he didnt like it the first time.... but I really miss the coconut lemongrass dessert

    hmmm maybe I can spring for a lunch before I have to go back to work


    Lunch is a steal there. I think they are also having a takeout special ....25% off.

    I eat lunch there from time to time. A nice break from the ordinary and not a whole lot more than $$$ Micky D's!

    I will say that the quality has suffered, although only slightly, since their Exec Chef left. I think the food at Ginger & Spice is still very good and very original and they do change the menu frequently.

    G&S walks a line between being "reasonably priced and family friendly" and "original, fresh and high end". That's a tough act.... and when your business is tripled overnight you can see how easy it is to fall off the high wire.

    I think people overlook the interesting teas they have as well.

    Regarding Tommy's minor issue with the TV's.....I suppose you could always have it turned off. (No shot at Tommy intended but in case someone that had never been there was wondering....)

    I kind of liked it when they had the silent scene of the grass waving in the wind.

    They no longer do that apparently as they kept burning out DVD players!

  7. Restarting the thread (ramsey as a topic name is too vague)

    QUOTE(fatcatbrew @ Mar 25 2005, 09:00 PM)

    How can I change the name of this topic to Varka?

    Went to Varka last night in Ramsey. Unfortunately, the food wasn't very good. It was their second night open and they had already run out of some of their varieties of fish, which they are supposed to specialize in. The decor is nice and quite an improvement over the previous tenant. Seafood was not cooked correctly and overly seasoned with sea salt and butter. No one in our party really enjoyed their food. The owners also own Roxanne's in Mahwah located in the old Nobody's Inn location.

    As I joined Fatcatbrew last night I agree.

    High Points: Bartender, Head Waiter (Spiro), Wine list, Varka Chips, Bread & Olive Oil, Decor

    Low Points: Rest of staff is eager but untrained (think diner staff), my fish was "ok" but nothing remarkable, Greens were uninspired.

    I will also say that I went to Varka for lunch on Wed, had Petit Filet Mignon that was terrific. French fries on side were a bit oily and parslied to death (Parsley-lemon-salt-butter-olive oil combos are repeated often here). Spiro waited on me - good guy, right customer first attitude etc. The spinach pie was nice too.

    All in all I hope it improves. I can see a place like Varka fitting in well. But the food simply needs to be fresher, lighter-brighter with more interest.

    Right now Varka is just a nice looking diner. I am hopeful as it will be one of the few local places to have outdoor seating. I will also say it is an improvement over Spruce Street Grill. But then again so would a Wendy's......

    Slainte' !


  8. I don't think you would go wrong in Cambridge. That area has to be one of the most beautiful on the east coast. There are also plenty of high quality, artisanal farms in the area. The Inn is a very good value.

    Another great value at the moment is The Inn at Erlowest on Lake George. It is an area with great hiking. The food is wonderful and the rooms spectacular and dirt cheap right now.


    Thanks for the input.

    We have gone with the Cambridge Inn weekend of 10-7 to 10-9.

    We are taking it over basically and will use the Rice Mansion as "overflow".

    Maybe we'll see you around then!

    BTW, I agree with your thoughts on Inn at Erlowest.

    The carrot soup that FatCatBrew so much enjoyed was mine!

    I'm her husband.


  9. It has been awhile since I've been, but it was pretty good and a good value. Cambridge, N.Y. is a beautiful area. What are your other options?

    The Sterling Inn in South Sterling, PA

    The trip needs to be affordable ...its a hiking club so not really necessary to be a "foodie" event, however I sure would rather have better food all things being equal!

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