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Bazzini at 28 Oak St


adegiulio
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Hey, thanks Tommy for the recommendation!! Next time I want to eat dinner in a funeral home like atmosphere, this is THE place to go. I guess thats not totally fair, our service was quite nice.

For those of you who may have missed it, 28 Oak St. in Ridgewood has changed owners. The menu is modern american. There was a decent selection of items, though I still had a tough time finding something I was interested in. I think I am just in a mood tonight...Anyway, the result were less than stellar, though better than most.

To make this quick, Amy ordered mozzarella, prosciutto and arugala, I ordered salmon pastrami with a potato pancake. The mozz was ok, and the salad on top seemed quite fresh, but the prosciutto was the same stuff I buy in bulk by the pound. My salmon was tasty, though the pancake was clearly made ahead of time. I don't object to this , I just know there are better ways of serving it than just warming it up a bit.

For main courses, Amy had a simple grilled salmon fillet, I had duck done two ways. Salmon was quite good, served with mixed veg and mashed potatoes, which were good. My duck consisted of a seared breast and a spring roll of shredded duck. The spring roll was tasty but doughy. The accompanying spinach was overly sandy.

Service was nice, atmosphere was deathly. Would I go back?? Hows that Porto Leggero looking??

Ant

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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Hey, thanks Tommy for the recommendation!! Next time I want to eat dinner in a funeral home like atmosphere, this is THE place to go. I guess thats not totally fair, our service was quite nice.

hey no problem. my blowfish, blackfish, tuna tartare, veal, and whites from friuli at Esca were brilliant tonight. :raz:

thanks for that report. i've been wondering about this place and figured you'd take one for the team. much appreciated, although i suppose i'm still left thinking i should give it a shot.

did you sit in the small downstairs room? i never liked that hallway, errrr, room. the other room is OK. isn't the bathroom in a weird spot? like halfway up the stairs? or am i dreaming.

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Yeah, the bathroom is still up in a stairwell...at least I hope it is...

This place is definately better than Blend, but with Village Green or even Zarole within a block's walking distance, its a tough sell...

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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  • 6 months later...

Strolling through Ridgewood on a mild early-April evening, my steadfast, ever-present dining companion and I headed over to Joel's Malibu for dinner, only to find they were closed as it was Monday night. We decided to keep walking and before we got too far (maybe 5 doors down or so), we found ourselves standing in front of Bazzini at 28 Oak Street reading the menu that was posted for passers-by. Considering our casual dress (me in jeans and sneaks), I questioned the suitability of our attire but seeing that the restaurant looked quite empty and figuring that they would appreciate the business, albeit sneaker-clad, in we went.

The dining room is split into two rooms -- the hallway-like smaller room (as a previous poster had called it) and a larger room that you step down into. In this room there were two other tables occupied. It took a number of minutes standing in the front reception area before a busy, but composed gentleman escorted us to our table. A previous poster also made reference to a funeral-like setting/feel to the dining room. It did seem to be a bit boring... nothing exceptional, nothing special. And yes, the bathrooms are a VERY unexpected twist, as at the back of the dining room you go up two steps, walk through what seems like a door made for hobbits and ascend half-way up a steep, narrow staircase to the ladies room, whose door is actually part of the wall of the staircase. In order to actually step INTO the ladies room, you have to sort of step up over the stair riser into this tiny little bathroom. Stepping down out of the bathroom is an exercise in balance and I couldn't imagine doing it and remaining upright after a few glasses of wine! The men's facilities are located at the top of the same staircase.

We were initially tempted to give the tasting menu a try, but there were a number of things that looked good on the regular menu. I started with the Shrimp & Lobster Bisque with Chive Beignet and he ordered the House-cured Salmon with Creme Fraiche, Caviar and Sweet Sauteed Onions. My bisque was very good.... smooth with no actual shrimp or lobster pieces in it (sometimes its nice to stumble on a few small pieces, even in a bisque). The beignet was yummy, though quite mushy inside. Couldn't tell if it was undercooked or meant to be that way. There was a sprinkling of olive oil over the soup, enhancing the tangy flavor. Overall, a pleasant soup. My companion enjoyed his salmon (which I didn't taste) though he mentioned that the sweet onions (which to me looked almost like a slaw) were cold and the sweetness did little to add to the dish.

While waiting for our meal, we noshed on the bread, which came with a white bean and garlic spread. A nice change from butter, but I wished butter had been offered alongside the spread -- though there was an olive oil available on the table which I ended up sopping up with my bread. A word about the bread... the waiter provided a warm sourdough roll to each of us. My first reaction to it was, "This tastes like its been micro-waved" -- well, maybe not taste, but felt like it -- may have just been sourdough rolls that have sat in a warmer too long --- then again, sourdough does has a tendency to be a bit chewier than other rolls. Crustiness was minimal -- they need to rethink their bread.

His main course consisted of Cioppino with Saffron Risotto. The seafood was fresh-looking and plentiful (calamari, scallops, shrimp, clams and mussels) and the risotto exactly what risotto should be. I ordered the Pork Loin with Rosemary, Spinach with Croutons and Mashed Potato's (substituted the garlic mashed offered with the dish with Marscapone & truffled mashed potatoes) I might just be from my own lack of "pork-loin experience" but when I buy a pork loin from the grocery store, its usually boneless. I was surprised to find two substantial bones in this mighty 4-5+ inch thick pork loin. It reminded me more of two uncut pork chops than pork loin. Like I said, my butchering expertise is somewhat limited. :-) It was accompanied by a mild brown reduction sauce. The quality of the pork loin in question was excellent and I ended up taking much of it home as the quantity was more than anyone could eat. The amount that was left could probably make a nice stir-fry or a quesadilla for a couple of people! The truffled mashed were good, though I like my truffle-flavor a bit stronger and nothing gives me more pleasure (well, almost nothing) than finding specks of truffle throughout mashed potatoes while I am enjoying them. Here, there were none to be found (must have used truffle oil). The presentation of the dish was very pretty with a sprig of rosemary standing upright alongside a very large, very vertical freshly made waffle-cut potato chip. Overall, a good dish, but nothing terribly outstanding.

We ordered dessert -- at this point, the dining room consisted of only one of the original two tables -- very slow even for a Monday. I haven't mentioned service thus far in the review but must mention that our Waiter/Busboy/Host/ETC. was the only visible staff in the restaurant. He greeted us, took our orders, refilled our water glasses, brought out our meals, etc. He was nothing but very professional, efficient and attentive. At one point, we laughingly wondered if he was cooking the food as well. I ordered a "French" soda -- the day's flavor: cherry. It was basically an Italian soda (seltzer & Toroni syrup) with a shot of milk (mixed, of course, by our jack-of-all-waiters). Yummy , refreshing and a nice alternative to an actual calorie-laden dessert. My male counterpart ordered fresh, sliced strawberries with zabliogne (sp?).

Overall, my impression of 28 Oak was "eh". It was a good solid meal but nothing special and nothing exceptional. Again, hats off to the overworked solo-staffer. What would make this dining experience better? Perhaps an amuse bouche to begin with? a fresh and crunchy bread? a little more effort put into the decor? Sneakers or heels, I don't think my feet will be walking into 28 Oak again in the near future. Perhaps if my Mom and 70-year old Aunt needed a non-threatening, decent and a somewhat bland dining experience where they could order interesting sounding meals while being served dishes that would not stimulate their old-lady palates too much, I would mention 28 Oak to them.

Don't go to Bazzini's 28 Oak Street if you are expecting more than that.

And more importantly, please don't tell my mom I referred to her as an old lady.

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Yeah, this place has potential. Hey guys, how about some music!! And liven things up a bit...And if you are going to make things ahead of time, make sure that they come out right...

It sounds like things haven't changed since I was there last fall. Thanks for saving me the time of going again...

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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Yeah, this place has potential. Hey guys, how about some music!! And liven things up a bit...And if you are going to make things ahead of time, make sure that they come out right...

It sounds like things haven't changed since I was there last fall. Thanks for saving me the time of going again...

Funny, I was going to mention something about music making it a bit more "alive", but then I remembered that there actually WAS music playing... but it was played sooo low in the nearly empty dining room that it was almost as if it wasn't playing at all.

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Perhaps if my Mom and 70-year old Aunt needed a non-threatening, decent and a somewhat bland dining experience where they could order interesting sounding meals while being served dishes that would not stimulate their old-lady palates too much,  I would mention 28 Oak to them.

Ahhh...but how would they feel about the difficult-to-access ladies room? It sounded like a deal-breaker for even the slightest of mobility-challenged individuals! :rolleyes:

"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best --" and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called. - A.A. Milne

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Perhaps if my Mom and 70-year old Aunt needed a non-threatening, decent and a somewhat bland dining experience where they could order interesting sounding meals while being served dishes that would not stimulate their old-lady palates too much,  I would mention 28 Oak to them.

Ahhh...but how would they feel about the difficult-to-access ladies room? It sounded like a deal-breaker for even the slightest of mobility-challenged individuals! :rolleyes:

Most excellent point. With my mom's previously broken hip, there is NO way she would be able to maneuver into the bathroom. I wonder if there is some hidden bathroom on the first level ... otherwise how would they get past the American's with Disabilities Act requirements?

Interesting...

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