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paul jaouen

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Everything posted by paul jaouen

  1. I'm a regular there. I have been since the start. They have never served an amuse bouche. Also serving cheese without ordering sounds very strange.
  2. paul jaouen


    I loved Ox. The food and service were great and they were accomodating with their corkage policy. Only complaint I ever had was the noise level. I heard it was not financial but owner disagreements. Of course this is just hearsay. I have no facts on why they closed.
  3. I thought the same thing but then again many would say we overdo.
  4. I had not been in years. Went to the one in Madison years ago and thought the garlic overwhelmed. I went to the one in Cranford this past Friday and they have cut back on the garlic. They also state on the menu that they will prepare your dishes with level of garlic you want. We did not ask for anything other than their norm and it was fine. Good place, good food, not ass kicking food but good and I would return. One issue for me is there were too many chicken dishes on the menu and not enough red meat or seafood dishes. I would like to see more variety. Oh and service was excellent.
  5. Was there a set price for this menu? I do a lot of this type of BYO dinners and would be interested in doing one at the Manor. BTW, nice line-up. The '90 Beau can be very sexy if you get one with not too much brett. But the '89 for me really rocks!
  6. Hudson County does one. Week of July 28th this year.
  7. Pretty cool that Ox made the list. This is a good place to go during the week as it doesn't get too crowded. While they do have a liquor license they have been accomodating in regards to corkage charging $15. I would recommend you call ahead to make sure the policy didn't change.
  8. I got to try this relatively new restaurant in Lebanon this past Friday. Food and service were excellent at this BYOB. My one complaint was that the AC did not get the place cool enough and it was a scorcher outside on Friday. My first appetizer after an amuse bouche of grilled scallop with a hint of bacon and sausage, was Portugese Octopus with green olive, anchovy, pine nut puree. Definitely the tenderest octopus I've had and may be the best octopus dish I've had although a dish at Esca in NYC rivals it. This went surprisingly well with the oldest bordeaux I've ever had which was a 1916 Chateau Cantemerle. Also had the 1920 this night but not as good as fruit had faded. Probably not the greatest pairing but it worked as the wine was elegant enough not to overpower the octopus. Second app was their pork belly which was superb. And since I can never get enough pork I went with the suckling pig for my main course which was flavorful, tender and they got the crispy skin part right. Drank some older California Cabs and some other bottles of bordeaux which also worked well. Finished off with a mixed cheese plate and an '85 Veuve Cliquot Rose Champagne which was a good match for the cheese and it was a nice way to finish. I hope this place does well. The food is very good but the location of the restaurant is in a strip mall and prices are high for the area I think. So we'll see how they make out and if they can sustain support. I would certainly return.
  9. It does get busy on Saturdays. I usually avoid as I do not have the patience to wait. Fridays can be quite busy but not so much in the summer. We usually go early on Friday or during the week. One more thought is that they do like to turn tables on the weekends so make sure you tell them how you want it paced.
  10. This Bistro www.atouteheure.com has been open for just about a year and has gotten more popular over that time. I've been more than a dozen times which means I like it. One thing I like is that you know where the main ingredients come from as they list the farm or butcher it comes from which are mostly local. This can lead to other fun things. For example, I had a sheep's milk cheese that I really enjoyed so I ended up visiting the farm, taking a tour, and finding these great raviolis that they sell there made with their cheese. I also bought a bunch of other cheeses. They do some cool stuff during the week like all you can eat mussel pots on Tuesday nights with the accompaniment of some excellent pommes frites with house garlic-saffron aioli. The mussels are all you can eat but the frites are not and if you have no will power like me, you will re-order the frites! Negatives are that pricing is not bistro-like but they are BYO which makes a big difference. Once in a while they miss with a dish but they are quick to replace it and make it right. It's a friendly, cozy place that I would recommend you try. It is a small place although they have more seats in the summer as they have outside seating. Reservations are only taken for parties of 6 or more.
  11. I love CulinAriane. Harder to get into on weekends because it is a smaller place. We're doing a wine dinner there later this month during the week. While CulinAriane remains steady I think Passionne has consistently improved. If you haven't been in a while it's worth another visit. I was a big fan of Orbis until they changed their menu to small/large plates. Seems to me they were not sure what they wanted to be which I think hurt the overall experience. Some of the small plates were actually quite huge. I haven't been in a while so granted they may have gotten a more confident handle on their restaurant's style or what they want the style to be.
  12. I have eaten here three times and have enjoyed each visit. Food, service, ambience are all fine. It is BYO and they have decent stemware so no need to bring your own. Some of the highlights are a special of lobster risotto (had twice) and the venison. Venison was cooked exactly as I ordered. Not gamey but loads of flavor. Chocolate souffle for dessert with a Barolo Chinato is killer.
  13. Just got back from a few days in Key West. 915 Duval, Hot Tin Roof, and Louie's Backyard were all very good. Seven Fishes is no better than diner food. Worse Bananas Foster I've ever eaten (actually not eaten). All three of the recommended restaurants had great views, service and food. Wine lists in Key West need work. I made an online reservation at 915 Duval and they lost my contact info. They booked a wedding that night so we were out of luck but they asked us to come another night and comped us a bottle of wine (our choice) which was quite decent. Went to Grand Cafe for lunch which was quite good and had the best wine list I saw. Definitely would try for dinner next time.
  14. paul jaouen


    For our wine dinners, they are allowing us to bring our own for $12 corkage per person (not per bottle). This is quite reasonable but I'm not sure if it is only for larger wine dinners that we organize or if it is policy for smaller parties also.
  15. paul jaouen


    We did a 10 person wine dinner there about a month ago with Barbera as a theme. Food and service were excellent and the place was packed as it was restaurant week. Every dish I tried (I tasted what others ordered) was well prepared. This is not a BYO but we were able to work a deal. I will definitely return.
  16. I live about 5 minutes away. What is the range of wines? Usual stuff or small producer, hard to find wines?
  17. Princeton is such a cool town with an upscale image, yet it is depressing how few good BYO restaurants there are. Ferry House hasn't been worth going in years. La Mezaluna (sp?) was good at one time but I haven't been since they changed hands. Blue Point Grill would probably be my recommendation if I had to pick one. Pretty much seafood and they don't take reservations which makes it tough.
  18. Lisa, thanks. The Ampeau would have been a very nice match for the duck I think. Emily, ten minutes between courses is not long in my opinion. I would complain if it was any faster.
  19. Lisa, Sounds good. What wines did you bring to match the menu? Paul
  20. Restaurants visited last week: Marché Bacchus: This restaurant is about 10 miles off the strip. It has a unique concept which I like very much. It is a retail store and restaurant. You walk into the retail store. Restaurant is out back. They have indoor and outdoor dining. The outdoor dining is quite enjoyable. There is a small lake there so nice views of ducks and swans. The concept of the venue is that you pick out whatever wine(s) you want to drink in the retail store and then bring the wine into the restaurant and they will open and serve it for $10 corkage. Wines are reasonably priced and there are some gems at not outrageous prices. For example ’95 Margaux was $350. We had just flown in so we did not want to go too crazy and thus we picked an ’04 Vieux Telegrahe for $50. Owners are French as is the food. I had escargots and cassoulet. Food = B+. Wine List = A+. Ambience = A. Service = A+. Spago: We had an early dinner here before going to see Elton John. This place is always reliable and food is always very good to great. The sweet corn agnolotti with parm reg was especially wonderful. No bargains on the wine list which has mostly current vintages. Food = A+. Wine List = B. Ambience = A. Service = A. B & B: This is the new Mario Batali place which is copied from Babbo. Food was very good in a similar vein as Babbo. The restaurant itself has only been open 3 or 4 weeks and it showed in the service. Food arrived before the wine. It took them forever to fillet a Branzino. Waiter was obnoxious and rude. Wine list has an excellent selection of Italian wines with many from Piedmonte. There are a few value plays and only other issue is that the Barolos are much too young. Food = A. Wine List = B+. Ambience = B. Service = D. Pinot Brasserie: This restaurant is located in the Venetian. I believe it was connected with Pinot Blanc in Napa. Not sure what the deal is now that Pinot Blanc has closed. The food here is very good but not great. It is food prepared in a more simple style than in many of the over the top Vegas restaurants. We did share some delicious mussels and my heritage pork chop was terrific. The attraction here is that you can bring in your own wine for no corkage! Food = B+. Wine List = NA. Ambience = B+. Service = A. Mesa Grill: If you like Bobby Flay’s style of southwestern cuisine you will like Mesa Grill. Only complaint is the location near the Caesar’s Palace Sports Book. I loved my appetizer of blue corn pancake with barbequed duck in a habanero chile – star anise sauce. Entrée of spice rubbed pork tenderloin with bourbon-ancho chile sauce was delicious as was a cornmeal crusted chile relleno stuffed with white cheddar, black beans and rice. Wine list is OK. California is probably where to concentrate. Again no great value but then again none expected in Vegas restaurants. Food = A. Wine List = B. Ambience = B. Service = A. I also did 2 lunches at Lotus of Siam. I won’t go through the usual litany. Just be assured it was as good as ever!! The place does get packed early. I got there at 11:30 and there was already quite a crowd both days. By noon, there was a line to get seated. Do NOT do the lunch buffet as it is pedestrian. Order off the main menu!
  21. Friends of mine that have been going to Ferry House for years had told me the food was not as good as it used to be. The one time I was there about 7-8 months ago, I certainly didn't think it was anything special let alone one of the top 3 restaurants in NJ.
  22. I guess I missed this in April. I think Tabla is an incredibly good restaurant. The mix of Indian with new world cuisine in the upstairs dining room is superb. Chef Cardoz does a wonderful job of pairing dishes with wine. Corkage is a reasonable $15. They also have a good and reasonably priced wine list.
  23. Isn't good British fare an oxymoron? Seriously, I've yet to find a good plate of fish and chips or bangers and mash or such in NJ. I don't say it doesn't exist but I haven't seen it. Not that easy to find in London either.
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