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Everything posted by 201

  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.
  16. Continuing my "meals I've had more than a month ago and should've written up then" streak... Nothing to see here, folks... keep moving. (At least that was a quick one! )
  17. I finally got to this place about a month ago, but I've been lazy about writing up meals lately. Anyway, I've been itching to go back, so I thought that maybe if I wrote about it now, I would make myself hungry enough to do so! I was there with two other people and we had two orders of bulgogi, bimbimbap, some sort of dumplings (sorry, language issues), and a tofu/seafood casserole that I didn't sample at all. I love Korean food, but I'm still not as familiar with the cuisine as I'd like to be. Luckily, the night we were there, the host was happy to answer questions. He certainly seems to be a native English speaker, but our server was not. Even though we had some trouble communicating with her, she was always patient and did a very good job. When she brought out the plate of raw bulgogi, I wanted to kiss it. There's just something so beautiful about that vibrant red mountain of goodness that hits me on a gut level. Our server attended the cooking of the meat the whole time, but I would snatch up pieces that were a little rarer from time to time. Rather than a wood-burning grill, this place cooks the bulgogi on the hubcap-looking contraption (told you I'm not as familiar with the cuisine as I'd like to be) which allows the juices from the meat to be collected along the outer rim. This means that as the night goes on, the meat is cooked more in it's own juices and at the end they cook buckwheat noodles (soba, not sure if there's a Korean name for those) in the broth. I don't want to downplay the meat at all, but the phrase "save the best for last" came to mind as I was eating those noodles. If there was a quicker way just to have those noodles during the whole meal, I would certainly take it. Luckily though, there shouldn't be a problem making room for the amount of soba at the end of the meal. I don't know what type of dumplings we had, because I ordered them as an afterthough when the menus were long gone and simply said something like "whatever you recommend" to our server. I think she may have said they were a pork/beef combination, but again I can't be sure. In any case, what we received were very nice steamed dumplings (not in a broth or anything), but nothing that really knocked my socks off. I suspect a little more care in ordering the dumplings would go a long way. I really enjoyed the bimbimbap though. It was my first time having this dish and I have to say that it seems like the perfect breakfast food. Do Koreans eat this for breakfast? Does Jinmyo read the Jersey board? Well, regardless, what impressed me most about this simple dish was really just the flood of thoughts I had about how good it was as well as how good it WOULD be for breakfast, hot days, light lunch, comfort food, late night snack, pick-me-up, etc... Obviously, I can't comment on how this restaurant's bimbimbap compares to others', but let's just say that I really look forward to doing that legwork! I feel a bit like Steve Martin in The Jerk, "If THIS is out there... think how much MORE is out there!" Ok, mission accomplished... I'm definitely hungry for Korean food now.
  18. Paterson's pretty cosmopolitan too. I always see lots of people sitting outside at places like Checkers and Chicken Supreme. Many people in Paterson can even be seen drinking alcohol outdoors and riding bicycles, which is cleary an homage to the European lifestyle! Oh yes, they even have a train station too. It's hard to think of something more European than taking a train into a city and stopping to eat outside of a restaurant while those around you drink alcohol in public and ride bicycles. Ah, Paterson in Spring...
  19. If you get discouraged LOSING weight, there's always this to try (may be of interest to SobaAddict too)! Seriously though, we all know the theories of losing weight. Drink lots of water, exercise, eat smaller meals more often, cut down on fats, etc... It's putting those theories into practice with any sort of real consistency that's the problem. I've managed to do it in the past and I'm certainly at the point where I need to do it again, but to do it while reading eGullet every single day??? Well, let's just say you're a braver man than I am! Good luck. edit:bda tpynng
  20. 201

    China 46

    Sad to say, but people in my extended family have expressed concern over my dining in Asian restaurants lately. Did anyone see South Park last week? It was a very good one in which some Native American casino owners wanted to destroy the town of South Park in order to build a superhighway between their casion and Denver. To do this, they infected South Park with SARS (by rubbing naked Chinese men on blankets then given to the citizens). Stan's father said it best when he told his son, "We've been infected with SARS *cough, cough*... there's only a 98% chance of survival. Soon only 98% of us will be left *cough, cough*... you have to carry on the name of our people" or something to that effect. Anyway, enough about South Park... the point is that it would be a damn shame if China 46 really is suffering a lack of business because of this. I'm realizing right now that I've never actually posted about this restaurant, so let me just go on record saying that China 46 is excellent. I can't get enough of that spicy ox tongue and tripe appetizer, or the crunchy puffy dumplings, or the ruby pork in sesame buns, etc... I had the lion's head meatballs recently too and they were very good, but I think the version I've had at King's Chef down on Route 1 in Woodbridge was a bit tastier (I'll have to verify that sometime). China 46 deserves to be a very succesful restaurant because there really aren't that many of its kind in the area. I know I don't get there as often as I'd like to because unfortunately most of my friends aren't interested in anything more than Americanized Chinese food and it sort of defeats the purpose to bring them there.
  21. I've only been to El Cid one time a few years ago, but I've been meaning to go back (though obviously not with a high level of priority). I wouldn't consider it a very sophisticated type of place and as Tommy suggested it's probably best if your dining crowd doesn't mind (or better yet, produces) high amounts of noise. It's the sort of place where house salads come in a little wooden bowl. When I was there, I had the prime rib ($30 at the time) which was a gigantic portion, very succulent and aggressively seasoned over Spanish rice. I really did enjoy it, but I would recommend ordering it for two people (in order to avoid the spectacle which ensued when two friends and I each ordered our own and all eyes fell on our table when the meat arrived).
  22. I was there once and didn't order anything which would be substantial enough for me to formulate an opinion. I think I can safely say I'm not a big fan of the 50's retro style though (if that's any help at all)!
  23. I definitely have to second tkrongold on this one. I haven't yet tried the Applegate Farm ice cream, but I have been to Holsten a couple of times and the ice cream just doesn't do it for me. Gelato (is that really the name?) has been my favorite ice cream place in the area for a while now and I'm sure I must've mentioned it on this board before. Ah yes... it's right here along with a couple of other suggestions for desserts. I messed up in that thread saying it was on Union Ave when it's really Union Blvd... I guess it was a brain freeze. Speaking of gelato (the product, not the business)... if I get in the mood for gelato specifically I tend to head to Four Seasons on Market Street in Elmwood Park rather than the place described above. It's run by a really nice guy from Sicily who always seems to have RAI on the TV and makes gelato as nice as he is. I think the hazelnut is probably my favorite there.
  24. 201

    Buffalo Wings

    Blasphemer!! Tapatío is a favorite of mine for eggs and such, but you're right... it's not a substitute for Frank's. There is no vinegar at all in Tapatío, which pretty much puts it in a different category than sauces like Frank's Red Hot, Louisana's Finest, etc... the standards for buffalo wing sauce. I suppose one COULD use it for buffalo wing sauce if enough vinegar was added to the mix, but the flavor profile of Tapatío would make those wings anything but authentic.
  25. Mmmm, pie. You go there. When come back, bring pie. Toppings are nothing worth noting, but the pizza itself is respectable. It was my usual late-night take out spot for a while. Don't expect to be blown away or anything, but you might want to file it under "useful info".
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