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Everything posted by Soda

  1. Went to "Janice, a Bistro" in Ho-Hokus for the first time last night. It's a BYO with a delicious menu, attentive service, and waaaaaaaaaaay too much noise (due to limited space, no sound-dampening in effect, and a cacaphonous kitchen merely partitoned off from the room of booths), but you should go there and ask the patrons directly. You'll have a fun time, andmaybe learn what you'd like to know. JMHO. -s.
  2. Curls, I agree with some of your assessment... It's certainly not the best restaurant in the area (Lorena's, Luke's Kitchen, and Verjus -- all in Maplewood -- rate higher with me), but I live in South Orange, and the EG people have put a LOT of money into the place, so, from my own admittedly boosterish perspective, I want to see it do well... The service isn't yet as consistently professional as I'd hope for, but I do very much enjoy some of Chef Lustbader's dishes, a few of which he featured at Centanni (also in Maplewood) before signing on with "ABOVE". While I'd hardly put it on my Top Ten NJ Eateries List yet, there's enormous potential there. I encourage you to give it another try, perhaps before attending a performnce at SOPAC. -s.
  3. Yes, GO, by all means! If you come by train, it's just steps from the South Orange NJ Transit train station, and if you're driving, park free in the garage behind EG (Eden Gourmet to those of you not from the area), just off Vose Avenue... BTW, don't miss the oppty to SHOP at EG, either before or after your meal at ABOVE. -s.
  4. Chef Jesse Rocks. We here in South Orange/Maplewood love him! http://www.heartandsoulcateringinc.com/ -s.
  5. I may wind up cross-posting this to the dining blog, but not yet: approvals are pending... http://www.gourmetretailer.com/gourmetreta...bafea7e22?imw=Y
  6. I won't go any further than saying this: Foodies around here aren't going to Whole Foods any more... http://www.edengourmet.com/ Anybody else been there yet? -s.
  7. Irving's on Rte 10 in Livingston IS the new Katz's, hot dogs & all!
  8. I love it that Zod's dad runs the kitchen. It's a sweet little place, and I hope it finds an appreciative and loyal following. Ya weren't impressed? Wanna swoon? Drop twice the bucks at Blu, but don't complain about Next Door. It is what it is. -s.
  9. Stopped by early this morning to check out the breakfast offerings, and ordered Irving's $7.95(!!!) Pastrami Hash/2 Scrambled Eggs/Well-done Home Fries/Rye Toast Combo, plus a bottomless Coffee Cup. Huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge breakfast portions! The hash, eggs, and fries, each served on separate plates, were each 2 1/2" X 5". The hash was entirely pastrami--no potato at all (although Mark swears that "it's in there"), which I found to be delightfuly decadent, but also (for some reason) mildly alarming. The eggs were light, creamy, and firm. The home fries were spiked with peppers, but a bit underdone & a tad greasy (I can't believe that I just complained of greasy fries after downing all that pastrami!) The toast & coffee were both fine, and refills were offered without my asking. I was somewhat time-pressed today, but can't wait to return for breakfast with some hungry pals, and savor a more leisurely gut-buster breakfast. I think I'll skip lunch & dinner today... --S.
  10. I stopped by for a late lunch a few days ago, and the front door (which for some reason was locked) was opened for me by one of the waiters, a young fellow named Larry. He looked slightly amazed when I immediately asked for a ticket and proceded to the pastrami counter to order my Full Pastrami-Rye. The kid behind the counter was clearly not used to either carving pastrami or building Katz's-worthy sammiches, but, to his credit, he didn't skimp, and put whatever wouldn't fit between the bread on the side of my plate, on which I also received two pickels (I dislike pickled tomatos also). Larry reappeared behind the drink counter when I ordered my free-refillable fountain drink (Boylan's Cream Soda). Eddie a more senior staffer, came over to see how I liked my lunch, and chatted about the progress made in the three weeks they've been open. The pastrami could've been sliced thinner, but was great. I'll be back. -s.
  11. Soda

    Cafe Matisse

    The kitchen at Cafe Matisse is open to the view of diners, and at any moment you can look in the open window and see who's cooking. Happily, every time I've eaten there, it's been Peter ("The Chef").
  12. Soda

    Cafe Matisse

    Just back from Cafe Matisse. Waaaaaaaaaaay too much vino, but the food & service were top-notch, as usual. Peter & Larry ROCK! -s.
  13. Soda

    Cafe Matisse

    Going tomorrow night. I don't mind leisurely waits between courses, as long as the wine holds out. -s. BTW: I like to hear what my tablemates are saying during a meal, but (I'm old) I sustained a P.I.T.A. hearing loss back in my Fillmore East days, so now when the Cafe's full, that parabolic ceiling really puts the "din" in our dinner. Tables in the corners or the back garden are our only refuge.
  14. We'll be trying daddy O the first night of our August LBI week... Nice Website: http://www.daddyorestaurant.com/ Here are some of our fave LBI eateries: Mustache Bill's, 18th Street Cafe & Off The Hook -- Barnegat Light The Plantation (Same mgmt as daddy O), Caneel Bay & Harvey Cedars Shellfish --Harvey Cedars Yellow Fin, Blue, Panzone's, Octopuss's Garden, and Boulevard Clams -- Surf City Chicken Or The Egg & Buckalew's -- Beach Haven -s.
  15. http://www.southorangevillage.com/vc/comme...6&page=1#Item_1
  16. The best cheesesteaks I ever ate were from The Hoagie Experience on Roosevelt Blvd in The Great Northeast. A close second were those from Harbison House. Both places are, I fear, just memories now. Please, somebody tell me if either place still exists...
  17. Hey, Eric! Have you guys given any thought to the space where Syd's used to be? The Millburn Mall On Vauxhall Avenue on the Millburn/Union border is in the midst of a major refurbishing (which, lamentably, has caused Tabatchnik's and Sonny Amster's bakery to close, and impelled Syd's to move to their not-so-great location on Morris Avenue in Springfield), and maybe you could capture some of Syd's old (hot-dog deprived) customer base there... Just a thought. -s. BTW: South Orange would luv to see your new place open up here, as well!
  18. Cafe Matisse-Rutherford (the back yard garden only, where the noise level is not a problem) Lorena's-Maplewood
  19. Soda


    Cafe Matisse has wonderful food & service , but whenever the place is full, the noise level is beyond unbearable. When I spend the sort of money required to dine as deliciously as one may at Cafe Matisse (plus whatever nice wines we bring), I have only one more wish: to be able to enjoy conversations with my tablemates. The parabolically arched ceiling at Cafe Matisse, in combination with the the tightly-packed tables, creates a din which makes tabletalk inaudible unless one is prepared to shout -- which is, of course, what everybody else is doing to be heard. Result: pain instead of pleasure. However: While the weather's still decent, try reserving a table in the outside garden in back, and you'll have a much nicer experience. Sadly, I'll pass up on this otherwise splendid restaurant until late next spring, when the great outdoors beckon once again. -s.
  20. I was TAB #32 on Re-Opening Day. Family & friends... You had a very good day. Looking forward to bigger & better times. -s.
  21. How often does a great eatery have a chance to start again from the bare walls, making all the improvements and changes to the physical space and cooking setup that you might have envisioned during your first six weeks? You'll be back -- better than ever! Count on it.
  22. I love hot dogs. Always have. Growing up on Long Island, my faves were always found at Nathan's (either the original on Surf Ave. in Coney Island or the one in Oceanside), along with those peerless fries. Guilty admission: I even became a fan of the ridiculously greasy eggrolls at the Oceanside location. Oooooooh, they were greasy! At home we've always eaten Hebrew National dogs (love their larger Dinner Franks as well!). Last summer I even trekked over to the Best's plant to pick up a couple pkgs of the foot-longs, based on my appreciation of Syd's dogs. I was shown the selection of sizes, and also came away with some of the same chunky little furters AHD sells. Late Saturday afternoon I finally decided to try AHD. It was dark, dreary, foggy, and rainy outside, but the place was warm, bright, and busy. I tried the #1 Classic Combo (mustard & kraut only, thank you), and I'm convinced that frying is definitely the way to go with this size dog. I loved the potato rolls, and those fries as well. Next time (soon!), I may stray into the realm of silly toppings. And thanks for the freebie promo keychain, guys! You've got a winner. -Soda
  23. Went for a celebratory dinner last spring, and wasn't overwhelmed by our meal, but a few tables over was Joe Piscopo! Cool! -Soda
  24. Ate there this past August, one very steamy evening. The place is EXTREMELY popular, and reservations ( made way in advance, of course) must be confirmed the afternoon of your dining. The staff is quite professional about this, and actually make an effort to reach you if you somehow forget. The torrid night we were there, condensate from the wimpy A/C was dripping on the floor near the waiting area, and staff was so busy that they seemed not to notice. We only had to wait a few minutes, though, and the rest of the evening (food & service) was fine. I can't say I'm a big fan of this place, though, because the noise factor really detracted from our enjoyment. It was so loud that we had problems hearing one another without shouting. I'm not sure whether "Blue" has closed for the season yet, but if the place is still open, you'll probably suffer neither the heat nor the noise which we experienced. It's a place many folks simply must try (like "Yellow Fin"), so by all means check it out... --Soda
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