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Everything posted by albie

  1. In North Jersey (Bergen County) Bazzarelli's in Moonache near Giants Stadium and Lieto Ristorante in New Milford
  2. All of the Blackstone California appellation varietals, which in my neck of the woods are priced as low as $7.99
  3. One place in Freehold that is, or has been, under the radar, is Solo Trattoria, 7 South Street. For my money, it's as good as any Italian place in the state. It does, of course, occasionally suffer from Jerseyitis (i.e. minor inconsistencies in quality and service), but the positives far outweigh its negatives. There are four or five items on the ``Cucina Classica" section of the menu, for example, that are as authentic as any in New Jersey (their bucatini amatriciana is one prominent example). Pizza is another of their under-reported virtues (where else can one find a typically Roman example of ``cucina povera" as their potato pizza, a disarmingly bare-bones yet delicious small pie dressed with nothing more than mandoline-sliced, wafer-thin potatoes, olive oil and fresh rosemary?). Another all-too-frequently overlooked virtue of this place is the glassware for your BYOB; how rare is it to get a glass that does justice to a better-than-average wine?
  4. To me, ``fashion" in gastronomy is overstated; integrity, uncompromising insistence on only the best quality ingredients, painstaking preparation, attention to detail and solicitous service -- not faddishness and gimmicrky --are the foundation on which great restaurants build their reputation. Thus it has always been and will always be.
  5. albie


    Rao's is a place that trades more on its Runyonesque ``Guys and Dolls" aura than on the intrinsic quality of its food... get Frank Pellegrino's cookbook and it's all there: solid, honest red-sauce Italian-American food, all done no better and no worse than a dozen other places with similar menus. The menus and preparations at its midtown cousin Baldoria on 49th are virtually the same. Then too, the venerable Patsy's, Sinatra's old haunt on 56th, is probably better practitioner of this genre than either of them.
  6. I'm hearing good things about this place, just across Route 34 from Delicious Orchards; I understand the chef/owner to be the same Toni from the once-renowned Farmingdal House. All I know so far is that it's a tough reservation on weekend evenings, and wondering whether it's worth the trouble. Has anyone been?
  7. I'm an irreformable pastaholic; and for me, the fresh, daily-made pastas of the reliable if decidedly untrendy Bravo Gianni's on East 63rd trump those made by anyone else in the city, and that includes Batali's. Particular favorites are Gianni's pansotti (stuffed with spinach and sauced with walnut sauce), meat ravioli, feather-light gnocchi, trenette and pappardelle. I'm an unapologetic regular, especially at lunch, when crowds are light and service if unhurried. I recall one particular trip to the downstrairs men's room on a route which took me past a room where I spied Gianni contentedly cranking out reams of fresh noodles on a giant laundry wringer-sized pasta machine.
  8. I believe that a general acceptance of tomatoes by the Italians came a bit later than the 18th century. In Naples, for example, one historical work recounts that a pasta dish prepared with tomatoes was called ``all'ultima moda del 1849." Once largely confined to the southern regions, consumption of tomatoes, especially in pasta sauces is now virtually ubiquitous, along with the dried, extruded semolina pastas.
  9. Going way back to the late sixties/early seventies, and I have fond memories of Orsini's, The Italian Pavilion, San Marco, Romeo Salta, Fonda del Sol, and several of the original places on Restaurant Row, i.e., Al La Fourchette; Jack's Epicure and Chez Cardinale; then when East 56th was the bastion of upscale Italian, Lidia's old neighbors such as La Camelia, Altri Tempi, Girafe, Gian Marino, Tre Scalini, etc. Anybody else out there remember these places?
  10. albie

    Del Posto

    Well, whose fault is that?! And you're kidding about the gross on a Friday or Saturday night, aren't you? Because even at 300 covers, that's over $400 a person. ← ....... and whose fault was it that the landlord re-checked his math and wised up? Okay so, maybe my number for the weekend growth was hyperbole, let's say it's a month's worth of weekends..... still dirt cheap...
  11. albie

    Del Posto

    Wanna know what's behind the pissing match? If the NYT article has its numbers right, the $130,000 per year lease they reported is dirt cheap; the place probably grosses as much on a good Friday or Saturday night.
  12. Hmmm... interesting; I wonder whether they're related to the Foschini's of Foschini's bakery in Hackensack's First Ward, on Lodi Street.
  13. albie


    Although I wouldn't expect so, given doyenne Lidia's high standards, I've heard rumblings that her focus has drifted elsewhere (primarily to Del Posto) and that her Flagship is the worse for it. I haven't been there for a while and wonder whether any of you have any thoughts.
  14. In Amalfi, the perennial favorites are Da Gemma, Zaccaria, La Caravella. nd Pesce D'Oro. In Sorrento, there's IL Buco and in Nerano, Nonino a Quattro Passi.
  15. I haven't been, but one enthusiastic recommendation from people whose palate I trust is Girasole.
  16. albie

    Ryland Inn

    Without meaning to disparage Nicholas -- dining there is a superlative experience -- but The Ryland Inn and Shelton are in a class by themselves -- and so are their prices.
  17. The way I understand it, lots of growers in the traditional area don't bother with the hassle of obtaining DOP certification. I look for ``Nocerino-Sarnese (SA)" on the label and have never been disappointed. I've compared Luigi Vitelli's 35-oz non DOP product with Colluccio's DOP and they compare quite favorably. Additionally, have you ever noticed how much less sodium is in the imported Italian tomatoes.
  18. -- Assaggia, on Hackensack Avenue in Woodridge; -- Charcoal Corners, Hackensack
  19. Conspicuous by its absence: The Saddle River Inn; I would also add Andre's of Newton and Stage Left, New Brunswick, to any such list.
  20. Keens Steakhouse, Harry's at Hanover Square, Bravo Gianni, Manducatis and The Four Seasons are my nominees.
  21. John Mariani did an extensive -- and very favorable --review of this place in his Virtual Gourmet webpage
  22. You folks are marvelous; thanks! FYI, I'm going to do a lasagne alla bolognese, with fresh spinach egg pasta and with bechamel. Do you thin I can layer the fresh pasta w/o pre-cooking it at all? it would seem to enhance its capacity to absorb from the ragu and from the bechamel. What do you think?
  23. This is to solicit any advice as to how to assure a reasonably firm lasagne that stands up to portioning, as opposed to collapsing into a soupy mess at the first pressure from a knife or spatula. The irony is that reheated leftovers -- long after the guests have departed -- are usually near-perfect in this respect. Should it be baked uncovered? Baked completely and frozen, then reheated on the day of use? Should fresh egg pasta be parboiled or should the lasagne be assembled with raw pasta? Any suggestions would be most welcome!
  24. albie

    Turkey Leftovers

    For my money, o other meat or bones yields the flavor of a soup made from a turkey carcass, and with so little effort.
  25. Proponents of a leaner diet suggest that the fat content of old favorites like pork ribs can be reduced by a parboling in advance of grilling. My questions: does parboiling achieve a significant fat reduction, and does it appreciably diminish flavor? In consideration of the latter, is it then advisable to use a liquid flavored with herbs, spices, etc. or beer/wine/Guinness? Any feedback would be most welcome....
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