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    North NJ/NY
  1. ELA

    Orlando Gems?

    Anything going on Orlando? In this forum? With the convention center, conferences, etc. -- people have to eat. Come on Orlando . . . where do you like to eat? Thanks in advance.
  2. Let's get some activity started here . . . Tonight -- Smyrna, a Mediterranean café in Ramsey. A few Greek dishes as well. Their version of spinach pie, gyros, as well as babaganoush , hummus, and more. Good food.
  3. Not sure if you are looking for this kind of place -- but there is a Bahama Breeze next to the Willowbrook Mall. I discovered this place in Orlando and they finally opened up one in Northern NJ. Nice place, nice environment, good food and drinks, and good service. I've been there several times in the past two months. I sat inside for dinner and outside for appetizers and drinks. Last time I sat outside they had live music.
  4. Had lunch here this weeek. As always, very good. I've been to this place several dozen times, so obviously I like it. This time I had the NE clam chowder and the shrimp parmigiana sandwich. I am not a fan of the soup. It's a little light, not creamy and a bit watery for my tastes. However, the shrimp parmigiana -- every single time, always good. Other times, I've had the shrimp salad (sandwich). I've had other dishes as well, all of which I tend to like. This is a quality fish market and had expanded to a restaurant. If you are ever in Maywood, try it.
  5. I've gone back there since my initial visit. Yes, it is one of the very few places I can enjoy a cigar, a drink, food, etc. During the spring/summer, maybe even into the fall, there's a few places where you can "smoke outside" -- patio, outdoor seating, etc. However, for the most part, unless I want to go to my cigar club (private, member-only) and while alcohol is certainly allowed, they do not have a full-service bar. Nor do they have a restaurant. So, I might clutch onto a place where I can enjoy a cigar. The Porter House in Montvale is one, and now Jamie's is another. I can sit at the table, eat, drink and smoke. So, my second visit was as good as the first. Again, we just had appetizers -- and they were good. Interesting menu -- from chicken fingers, to calamari, to fried ravioli, to the entrees of veal saltimboca, different cuts of steak, pasta, fish, etc. The place was more crowded this time, and yet the service was still very good. The staff is attentive, they clear dirty dishes, empty glasses, etc., and they want you to enjoy yourself. I'll head back again . . . and again.
  6. Doesn't seem to be as much activity as usual, so I wanted to try and spark a little interest here. I had made somewhat impromptu plans a few weeks ago, and was really in the mood for a cigar, so I ended up at Jamie's. On my first visit, there was a nice crowd for the Yankees game. Nobody was happy with the outcome, but that's a different topic. LOL. Seems to be a decent amount of regulars, which isn't a surprise as there are only a couple of places in all of Northern NJ -- yet alone the entire state of NJ -- where you can smoke. When you enter, the bar/room/space to the right wasn't being used. Nice space though. To the left is a small, nice dining area, space for about 10 tables or so. My initial thinking was that this was the non-smoking area, but I wasn't sure. However, later on, there were people sitting at these tables, eating and smoking. Perhaps at a certain point they allow people to smoke in this room. I also thought that if this room was smoking, then the room to the right was non-smoking, but again, I am not sure. After you walk through this space, you enter a very large, nice bar area with a nice, long bar. This is a very nice, large space. Plenty of seats at the bar, high-top bar tables, and a casual area with a couch/sofa, chairs, etc. This was a large room, almost with a feel of different spaces or areas -- near the bar, away from the bar, couch/sofa, etc. There were plenty of flat-screen TV's of different sizes -- every single one showing the Yankee game! This room is for smoking -- and there was plenty of it. A real cigar-smoker's haven. There is some sort of ventilation system, so while you get a nice aroma from the cigar(s), you don't get bad clouds of smoke or a massive amount of lingering smoke. Nice, attentive staff, although the bartender -- an excellent bartender -- also seemed to be waiting on (at least some of) the people who were seated at the tables (along with other staff), so he was running around quite a bit. Regardless, service was very good. They were attentive, clearing the table of dirty plates, napkins, etc. We had a couple of appetizers and a sandwich. The fried ravioli was good, nice taste -- stuffed with sausage, broccoli rabe and cheese. The fried calamari was good too -- not overly or heavily fried, and not "chewy" so to speak. I also had the steak sandwich, which was excellent. It was nice, thinly sliced steak -- good flavor, not stringy, chewy or fatty, and instead of melted fontina cheese, I got it with mozzarella. Excellent sandwich. We didn't have any entrees and many of the people/tables seemed to be having (multiple) appetizers. As mentioned before, service was very good. Overall, I liked this place. I will certainly go back.
  7. ELA

    Orlando Gems?

    Almost one year later . . . anything new in Orlando? Any new favorites? Unfortunately, Ran-Getsu has closed. What else?
  8. I agree -- fine dining is about the food, the service, ambiance, environment, tone, etc. You can find excellent food in a "dump" of a restaurant, and you can find poor food in castle. That said, I think The Manor, Highlawn Pavillion, The Saddle River Inn, and others, fill the order for fine dining. Sure, this could certainly be subjective, but for example, when I am looking for "fine dining" and I want steak, to me, The Assembly (Englewood Cliffs) was always fine dining. Excellent food, service, ambiance, etc. To others that place might not be, or might be lacking in certain areas. Some might say the same thing about The River Palm. Regardless, thanks for the comments, good thread.
  9. I haven't heard anything about this. Will ask around and keep my ears open though.
  10. ELA


    UPDATE --- Debate aside, now they are closed. About 5 days ago, the owner(s) called it quits. Told the neighbor he wasn't making any money and lost a great deal in the past 9 months. It's a shame as the place was a nice little place. I had stopped in once and taken food home. Good dog, a couple of nice sandwiches. The location, this strip mall is like a wasteland, oddly designed. The Japanese restaurant that was there before, Sono, was very good -- it's just the location!
  11. Has anyone been since the "grand" reopening? I've heard some not so hot things but I wanted to check here. Thanks in advance. Eric
  12. I was in the area, meeting up with friends, etc. -- so I got the entire group to go over to Irving's. It was super. I had been there many times and always enjoyed it very much -- both stay there and take out. The best part is that I've been in the city a lot and recently have gone to my "big three" -- Katz's, Carnegie, and Stage (yes, I know there are others), so I had a recent and "fresh" comparison. This is very much like a "best steak" discussion. I think it's no different than ice cream -- some like chocolate, some vanilla, and so on. That's what Baskin Robbins has "31 flavors" so to speak. I also think much of it is the experience. There is nothing like walking down the street and walking into Katz's, Carnegie or the Stage Deli in NY, waiting for a table, the ambiance (or lack thereof, LOL), the aroma, and everything that goes along with the experience. It's conditioning and enticing to the senses, at least for some of us, LOL. NY deli's are very much about the experience. NY is NY and that says it all. If you only like NY deli's, because of the experience, you will probably not find a deli outside of NY that can duplicate that. Anyway, Irving's was super. Everybody got everything -- pastrami, fatty, lean, brisket, corned beef, a combo, knishes, hot dogs, you name it -- we got it. I tried a little of everyone's, OK, a lot of everyones. Everything was excellent. In my opinion, this is a great deli for NJ. I am not saying it's better than the "big three" or worse for that matter. It's different. But in my opinion, it's an excellent deli. The pastrami I had, my own and others, was super. Flavorful, tasty, a full bodied meat that hit every tastebud. The fatty serving was just the right amount of fat to add the flavor you were looking for. The leaner version was cut so well that you felt you were getting more flavor even though there wasn't a lot of fat. Sure, it's in your head to an extent, but that's part of the experience. The corned beef was excellent too -- it was cut well, wasn't overpowering, but full of flavor. Of course there are other deli's, some very good deli's, a very few excellent deli's. It's about what you like, don't like and so on. If we are using the best NY deli's as a comparison, some will think Irving's and perhaps a couple of others in NJ are "as good" comparitively speaking. Others might not think so. To me, Irving's is an excellent deli, period. Food -- yes, the food is excellent. I like it. Some people like Luger's and some people like S&W. Steak and experience. Irving's is a NJ deli so it's different than the big three, primarily from an experience perspective. Food though, to me, it's in that category. Not better and not so much worse that you think it's second tier. Just different. Bottom line, Irving's is an excellent, top category, highly ranked, have a great time deli. Go there, try it. Enjoy. Eric
  13. Can't help you with anything in Piscataway, but, just over the bridge into New Brunswick is SoHo On George. Been there several times, not in the last 6 months or so, but each time I have enjoyed it a great deal.
  14. ELA

    Orlando Gems?

    Anything new and exciting in Orlando? I am getting ready to head down there, twice in the next 8 weeks or so. What about Norman's (Ritz Carton)? I've wanted to go but haven't. How about Roy's? Thanks.
  15. ELA

    Orlando Gems?

    I've been there numerous times -- pretty much each and every time I visit Orlando. It was rated (perhaps by Zagat's) as one of the top sushi places in the US. I don't remember where I read it but I do think it's on their website.
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