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  1. Never been... Little Saigon is what draws me to Nutley.
  2. 201


    And it's already good as it is. It was certainly an enjoyable experience, but reviews of most new places tend to nit-pick a bit and create that "this would be perfect IF" sort of fantasy. I hope they break the curse of the location and continue to do well.
  3. 201


    I wasn't really bothered by the softness of the noodles, but agree they could've been a bit firmer. In any case, I enjoyed the drunken noodles quite a bit and they were suitably spicy per our request. Beef krapow was also very spicy, but the flavors were muddled together more, making it a little one-dimensional. I'm not sure how much that had to do with the spice level, but I know that Wondee will often hold back on the spiciness of my beef kraprow and tell me to use chili paste to complete it for my tastes. Perhaps she's worried that it will unbalance the flavors which seems like it may have been the case here. The char-grilled chicken was tender and moist... I'd say it's a great dish to pair with very spicy ones for a little relief (or as a "safe dish" to order for those not yet familiar with Thai food). The duck dish could've used more curry and some more cooking to tenderize the duck a bit more. I really wish Wondee's had this dish, because I really enjoy Malee's (in Ridgewood) version of it. Pimaan's dish seemed to use the curry more as a dressing than a base. I think it's definitely worth mentioning that service was very good. Our waiter was patient and helpful with suggestions. Water was refilled regularly, which was funny for me because I was sitting next to a small wall and would frequently see simply a hand with a pitcher of water pop out in front of me and fill my glass! It's also worth noting that the presentation of this place seems as though they're shooting for somewhat upscale tastes, but the space doesn't quite get there in my opinion (too bright for one). However, portion sizes are a bit smaller (a couple of appetizers came in threes) and my Thai iced tea was served in a very tall glass with elaborate straw wrapper decoration. They're closed on Mondays and they offer lunch specials during the week. I'll probably be by sometime this week to check those out. I believe our waiter mentioned something along the lines of soup and salad which sounds pretty damn good for a Thai place in the summer!
  4. The propsect of China 46 going under because of unwarranted SARS paranoia pisses me off so much that I'm publicly RSVPing for this event right now. Put 201 down... any date, any time.
  5. Is the rice really just for tourists? Or is that only the practice in Japan? Lei hou ma to your friends in China... and I like the lawyer sentiment as well.
  6. We need for you to find a mode other than attack/defend. How about something constructive like saying what you look for in a restaurant as far as price, cuisine, atmosphere, etc.? Telling us what you like about some place like Lotus Cafe and whichever Thai restaurant in Hackensack you frequent would be more helpful than telling us that you think Paramus is a gastronomical wasteland and Ridgewood is expensive and Montclair has a bad school system.
  7. Okay, so I got the sarcasm and yet thought there was a legitimate point buried under it. Which clearly there wasn't. Maybe if I'd typed it in all CAPS it would have restored some humor. Well, of course there was a point. Sarcasm is nothing if not pointed! I'm finding toddevan a bit hard to supply with recommendations since we still don't know what it is he/she likes about any of the few places he/she claims to enjoy on some level. I was trying to reach a definition which would be the opposite of the criticisms he/she's used against the places he/she doesn't enjoy. edit: I've got to remember to be more consistent with my gender ambiguity
  8. Well, to be fair, if you take out the very debatable part about California Pizza Kitchen, that describes some of the better ethnic restaurants we frequent around here... You can't take the punchline out of the joke though... you just CAN'T!!
  9. So basically you're looking for inspired, imaginative yet inexpensive, clearly-above-average restaurants which are as worthy of a visit as California Pizza Kitchen?
  10. No, I thought it was a "hurl the biggest stone you can find" sort of thread. I for one have been utterly convinced and will never again make the horrid mistake of stepping into Montclair/Bloomfield/Nutley and eating at a restaurant I enjoy. Now where is it that I'm going from now on? I got confused. I mean, Little Saigon's pho is awesome. They have avocado shakes, soy milk, and da chanh to drink. Their goi ga is the perfect addition to a light lunch on a summer day. They have the cutest little sup bo vien and such for when you only want a taste of that delicious broth. Saigon Republic has great lemongrass chicken and pork chops and... wait, I couldn't possibly frequent BOTH of these restaurants, could I? Apologies, I'm clearly insane.
  11. You might want to try El Cid on Paramus Road. Probably nothing that's going to knock your socks off, but at least it's shielded from the malls and the employees don't wear flair. Also Kuma on the corner of Midland Ave and Forest Ave used to be decent Chinese in its previous incarnation (Panda Forest), but I haven't been there in years and there have been a couple of complaints on this board if I recall correctly. Now it's Japanese (read, sushi) and Chinese cuisine. Also away from the highways is a little pizzeria that someone on here once mentioned a long time ago as having the best chicken parm hero they'd ever had. I went there, I ate it, I found it average and promptly forgot the name of the place. Namaskaar for Indian on Route 4 near the Jewelry Exchange has gotten some good word, but I haven't been there myself. There are actually a bunch of "towny" type places in Paramus, but unsurprisingly, they aren't on the highways. Are they any good? I have no idea, but I know the backroads to Hackensack so I'm not too concerned about it.
  12. Was the chili actually "chili" or was it "all the way sauce"? The difference being that "all the way sauce" is much more liquid than solid and not something I ever fully embraced on my hot dogs. (I know, I know... for shame... I should move to Texas or something.)
  13. I think if you search a little more extensively you'll find Tommy, Nick Gatti, and myself taking various jabs at Baumgart's in all sorts of diverse threads. Personally, I don't think their ice cream or desserts are anything special in and of themselves, but then again, the whole 50's retro style is largely wasted on me (no nostalgia) and I can certainly concede that the desserts are likely better than what most Chinese restaurants offer. I've never had an actual meal there, so maybe the expectation of Baumgart's as being a good destination for dessert was a bit too high on the few occassions I've been there (meaning both locations combined... I think two times at each). Maybe I'll give it a shot for dinner some day, but it's hard to do with Saigon Republic and Benny's both on the same street there.
  14. Well, I ended up at Dalî with a group of six at 9pm on a Saturday night. I had called earlier to ask how long the wait would be at that time and was told "about an hour". When we arrived and put our names in we were told "one hour". Sure enough, one hour later we were seated. That hour was killed at the bar and shouting into companion's ears to catch up on old times. It's definitely a fun sort of place. I was expecting a slightly younger crowd actually, but I've got nothing against thirty-somethings. I believe that we may have broken some sort of record for the amount of tapas that our table ordered. The only entree ordered by the table was paella (not my call and I didn't actually sample any of it) and even that wasn't enough to slow down the ordering process. I'd really like to try this place again with some slightly more adventurous palates as the night I was there we ordered a lot of repeats rather than getting a broader sampling of variety. The croquetas de pollo (chicken croquettes), chuletillas (baby lamb chops), and gambas al ajillo (shrimp in garlic) were the most popular for the whole table. I would pass on the jamón serrano and chorizo as being a bit too pedestrian. Overall, I'd say the food isn't the strongest focus of this place but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's still good on the whole and I would certainly go back (as would all of my dining companions). At the end of our meal, a woman who I think was the owner came by our table and asked if we wanted any dessert. It was clear that our server was overwhelmed by the amount of dishes we ordered and I guess we were going to be comped our desserts. Unfortunately, they were all out of the deep-fried strawberries (which I REALLY wanted to try), so she came over with an interesting pitcher of wine instead. Since I don't drink, I didn't partake in the fun that followed, but it was entertaining to watch. The pitcher had a triangular bottom with a with a wide neck at the top and a thin spout coming out of the body. The idea was to drink the thin stream of wine from this spout without touching one's lips to it and then extend the bottle to full arm's length while still pouring into one's mouth. Needless to say, it resulted in a lot of wine spilled onto shirts and the like! Of course, I still missed those deep-fried strawberries.
  15. I ate here recently and asked about the Teaneck connection. My server said that it was related to those restaurants on Cedar Lane (two out of three of which I am not a fan). Regardless, I had a pretty good meal. There's certainly a lot on the menu that caters to Americanized tastes (as the family of regulars behind me ordered "pork-fried rice, general chow chicken, and more fried noodles with mustard AND sweet sauce"). Meanwhile, I asked my server if he could take the fried noodles away and he brought the pickled cabbage instead. I really do wish there was some sort of secret handshake I could use to not be immediately served "white people" food when I walk into some Asian restaurants (I also had to request chopsticks). Anyway, the pickled cabbage had a fairly strong level of spiciness to it as well and it set the tone for what I ordered. I had the spicy cucumber appetizer which was pretty interesting. Basically long slices of cucumber tossed with some garlic and those dried hot peppers that seem to pop up everywhere. I enjoyed it as served, but I took more than half of it home and tossed it in the food processor. I liked the resulting "relish" much better because the flavors were integrated more. I also had a spicy beef soup with very thin rice noodles. This was a dark and heavy broth with a robust flavor. Definitely not for the Americanized-Chinese food palate, but still found on the same menu as that family of regulars used to order their meal. The beef was basically pot roast and came with some fat on the outside and in a couple of big clumps. In otherwords, pretty damn authentic! It was pretty good. Definitely a lot heavier than I had anticipated (I was shooting for a light, spicy lunch), but also very satisfying. I wouldn't call this place a destination restaurant by any means, but if you're at the Willowbrook mall and don't feel like eating at the food court, it's worth a shot.
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