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Everything posted by foodcyclist

  1. I've recently learned that one of my favorite dining destinations in NJ has closed. A poster on another forum had noted that a sign was placed in the window indicating that they're relocating in spring. Is the relocation story the truth or is it another 'Ryland Inn' white lie? thanks
  2. My wife and I took the ride out to Gladstone and enjoyed a meal at Sublime during their opening week. There were a couple service hiccups which I'm sure have been worked out since then but overall my service experience there was excellent. The menu is on the short side but all the major points are hit- with a couple bonus surprises. I had an incredible ceviche, served over ice in a coconut. My lamb was perfectly prepared but perhaps a bit bland. My wifes' braised beef ribs were a bit dry but very flavorful. I'm confident that over time, they'll get it all right. Overall, a very eclectic menu. The wine list, although brief, does cover the bases. I'd like to see a couple more selections by the glass in the future. Where my experience at Sublime took a wrong turn was in the cocktail department. They have a very basic stock of premium liquors and everyday varieties. The bartender was some early-20's doofus with no idea of mixology. I ordered a Negroni with no luck, then a Bijou with the same result. Settled on a so-so Manhattan. My wife's cantelope martini had to be sent back and was never quite right. I was assured that they're still 'building their bar' so I'll back off a bit for now. But if you're going to tout yourself as a destination for cocktails then be ready from the get-go. Charging $12 for a tiny glass of ill-prepared booze doesn't fly for me. Perhaps with time Sublime will be one of my 'destinations'. For now, you decide.
  3. ' At The Market is now closed, but Chef/owner Michael Ventura has opened up The Kitchen Table. I hear great things so far! www.thekitchentablenj.com
  4. Having just returned from an excellent dinner at David Drake, I would tend to give it the nod. but... I live accross the street from Serenade and have been there a bunch of times and have always enjoyed myself there. I went there for my first anniversary, my birthday and just for the dining experience. It's an incredible experience and I highly recommend it. I'd have to give Serenade the nod. But.... If you're driving a bit in any event, Restaurant Nicholas is the current pinacle of Jersey dining. I've never been but I'm DYING to go. The enormous amount of positive feedback and outright RAVE reviews are hard to ignore. For a dinner of a lifetime outside NYC, I'd have to give Nicholas the nod. But... Ha Ha... I'm obviously of no help here although I'll say that with the choices you've narrowed yourself down to you CANNOT lose! Whichever restaurant you dine at is the winning move! do you have a three-sided coin to flip? ;-) btw- please let us know your choice and your experiences
  5. I have no regrets from my choices but I do feel a bit curious as my dining companions really enjoyed some of the courses I didn't choose. Anyway.... #1 Fluke sashimi. Delicate fish course with a savory yet sweet sauce to accompany. unreal. matched with an overly sweet reisling. Too bad but the dish put such a smile on my face. I swear they sprinkled the fish with fesh nutmeg but I could be wrong here... #2 crispy potato gnocchi. Better than I prepare at home.. and I make some serious gnocchi. Although I loved the woodsy mushroom pairing, the sauce was a bit too watery for gnocchi, IMHO. Delicious otherwise #3 seared sea scallop with pork belly. I ordered this after reading (and viewing) the report from Randi and was not disappointed. This was by far my favorite course as the scallop was perfectly prepared and the pork belly added sooo much to the flavor of the dish I wondered why I hadn't included it in any of my scallop recipies...doh! Awesome stuff! #4 Angus Sirloin. They goofed and served me the entree' portion so I had plenty of beef to deal with here. Luckily, it was served rare as requested and matched with perhaps the best Cabernet I've ever experienced with food. Bravo. I'm getting pretty full here but always ready for more A little intermezzo of orange juice with some zest thrown in for flavor. Yummy as I believe they torched some orange zest and steeped it in with some orange or orange/ lemonade. A nice refresher after so many different tastes. #5 Artisinal cheese. My second favorite course as the Sauterne that was matched with my selection fit so well. Great range of flavors and textures. All the best points of a cheese course covered well here. I would have appreciated a bit more fruit to accompany the appricot preserves.. perhaps some fresh granny smith apples or some cranberry compote.. delicious in any event. Like I've mentioned in my previous post, the service was without question the best I've ever experienced in all my dining endevours. I've experienced some pretty crappy service at 4 star restaurants and great service at local taverns. David Drake is now my benchmark for service going forward. I will be going back. I highly recommend David Drake to anyone looking for an incredible dining experience without the trip to NYC. Thanks
  6. Got back home last night around 11 pm after a wonderful experience at David Drake. I say experience instead of meal because although the focus was on the food, I came away with a feeling that I normally only have after an evening of food AND entertainment. We opted for the 5 course tasting with wine pairings which is listed accurately on their website. No surprises. Just incredible presentation and execution. The service was the best I've experienced. The only drawback was perhaps the wine pairings. I understand the choices can be very subjective but I was rather disappointed with their choice of Reisling and the Pinot Noir, although they paired my beef course perfectly with an incredible Cabernet. Overall, an excellent restaurant and an even better dining experience. It can be 'holy cow' expensive but there's some great value there if you're in the mood for 3 hours of David Drake. No pics, sorry
  7. Update: Word from the owner of Peapack Fine Wines is that the Opah Grille's haunt will soon re-open as a sushi lounge. Interesting.
  8. I'm very sad to hear that
  9. Their website is down and nobody is answering the phone. I wonder if this is 'my' first victim of the economic downturn. I really crave their spicy tuna tartare!
  10. I'm sorry you're experience was less than steller. I'll report back my experience at Dd.
  11. Last night The wife and I enjoyed another fine meal at Restaurant Serenade in Chatham. We took advantage of their new "100 mile menu"- a $35 3-course meal separate from their normal offerings. It appears that some of the higher end restaurants in my area are beginning to offer 'special' menus at a reduced price just like some of the lesser expensive kitchens have. Any other restaurants in NJ offering these options?
  12. Actually, I'm going down to DD because of word of mouth from my other foodie friends but your incredible food shots were a large influence as well. I'd like to do the same but thought it would be a turn off to our guests and those around our table. But yes, I plan on it. Thanks. btw- How often do they change their menu? The sample tasting menu on their website is perfect for me but the a la carte choices don't wow my wife...q
  13. What a beautiful lunch experience! And the Fromagerie is right up the street for dinner
  14. So, I'm finally getting out to David Drake's at the end of the month and was curious as to any current opinions. My friends all have great things to say about DD as well as previous posts here at EGullet. I'd appreciate any new feedback. Pictures would be a real plus. Also, of the 4 in our party, 2 are interested in the tasting menu while 2 are for the 3 course. Will there be an issue with 2 for tasting and 2 for prix fixe? Thanks
  15. I was just there with my wife on Friday night and was very impressed with my entree as well as the service. Perhaps Il vicolo should move to the Livingston Town Center... Then again, NO
  16. Unfortunately, it's not only the economy that will be taking out stores in Livingston. It's also the residents. I grew up in Livingston and always knew Livingston to be a bedroom community where deli's, pizzaria's and fast food take out thrive but not much else. There really wasn't much of a feeling of community when I lived there and saw first hand the decline of the old Silverman's shopping center. Sadly now we'll see the decline of the new center as well.
  17. To reply to my own post. My wife and I dined there on Saturday night. We arrived without reservations but luckily early enough to get a table before the place filled up. It's a nice space with equal space consideration given to the dining and bar areas. Comfortable booths and chairs. Reasonably priced as well. The service was solid without any rough spots. The starter portions were pretty huge. I had the BBQ sampler which consisted of 4 HUGE fall off the bone ribs and an assortment of brisket and bbq sliders. I was full after that. Delicious! My wife had the NJ tomato and mozzerella. Nice presentation and flavor. Her entree was a double cut pork chip on the bone with a fuji apple puree. Delicious. My entree was an uninspiring seared tuna with mango salsa and coconut flavored rice. A bit underflavored and the mango was ice cold. Kind of a disappointment given the rest of the meal. Overall , a very good experience as well as an excellent value. I'll definitely be back... this time with a bigger appetite!
  18. I believe the Gladstone Tavern will be hosting a Thanksgiving dinner with 2 or 3 seatings. If I recall correctly, it's $40 per but much less for children. Personally, I love the G-stone tavern and it's pretty centrally located for your party. www.glastonetavern.com
  19. foodcyclist

    Dinner! 2007

    Wow! What are the garnishes around the plate? And how did you make the galette? The garnishes consist of capers, caviar, balsamic reduction and a bit of chili oil. I make the galette by slicing the potato on a mandelin then mincing them in a food processor with fresh dill, grated Parmesean an egg yolk and salt and pepper. I drain some of the liquid and coat in Panko bread crumbs. They're browned in hot peanut oil and finished in the oven. An excellent complement to the salmon. Everything works so well together in this dish.
  20. foodcyclist

    Dinner! 2007

    All those steaks! Yum! I had some smoked salmon with potato galette...small but filling.
  21. Now I'm getting on the bandwagon. It's amazing how a little bit of hype and anticipation can stir up so much talk. Personally, I can't wait for his new restaurant to open.
  22. Thanks for the input! I should have mentioned that I doubled up on the portions for testing purposes so that I'd have serveral bites for people to try.
  23. Recently, I posted a thread about an upcoming 5 course meal planned where the 2nd course was to be scallops. I posted some test kitchen results and received back some valuable feedback. The following is the result of a couple sessions in the kitchen with a couple different outcomes. I took the comments from my posts and came up with the following: Scallops two ways... Hot and angry Scallops ( A la David Burke) with Chili oil, Balsamic reduction and Basil chips... Also, Savory Scallops. Parsnip puree' with basil oil and Thyme garnish. I decided to go with a 'two way' course as I was so torn between the two versions and the portions were so small I figured 'why not'?. Anyway... Thanks to all for the advice and input. I hope the dinner is as successful as I'd envisioned.. Steve
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