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AMA is BACK!!!

Sep 25, 2012
RGR in New Jersey

Drew's Bayshore Bistro, Keyport

b., Thanks for your kind words. :)

While the bacon was amazing, the escargots totally blew us away! One of the best escargots dishes we've ever had. I actually missed noting the mac and cheese. But it's just as well since we were already on appetizer overload. Definitely next time.

Mr. R.'s favorite dessert is ice cream, and he loved all three equally. The butterscotch and bacon was nice, but I didn't love it. Goat cheese and figs are two of my favorite things. Together, they were dynamite. The one that had me totally swooning was the corn ice cream. What an explosion of corn flavor! Also, the vanilla gelato that topped the chocolate caramel tart was excellent (as was the tart). It's great that Drew now has the proper equipment so he can make all sorts of delicious ice creams and gelatos.

The entire menu is a testament to Drew's never endiing creativity.

http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

Sep 14, 2012
RGR in New Jersey

Drew's Bayshore Bistro, Keyport

We had dinner at Drew's yesterday. We hadn't been in ages -- so long ago that this was our first time in the new location. Much more attractive than the old digs.

As everyone has said, Drew's cuisine continues to rock big time! We kind of went overboard with the appetizers and shared he following: Bistro Bacon, Bistro Flatbread, Escargots, Fried Green Tomatoes. For mains, Mr. R. had his beloved Jambalaya while I had the Duck Breast special which was accompanied by Duck Confit Jambalaya. Portions, as always, were so huge that in order not to burst -- and, of course, to leave room for dessert -- we came home with several containers of leftovers.

For dessert, we shared the Salty Pretzel Chocolate Caramel Tart and a few ice creams. I had the delicious housemade lemonade, and now that they have the proper equipment, Mr. R. ended the meal with an excellent cappuccino.

Tana and Heather provided superb service.

We are definitely putting Drew's back on regular rotation.

Photos of last night's dinner at Drew's: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

Sep 14, 2012
RGR in New Jersey

Thai food in Central Jersey

Tom,

Thanks for this recommendation. By coincidence, we needed to be in Toms River yesterday afternoon (not been there since I worked there wa-a--ay back in 1979!), so your mention of Siam Spice -- which I've not heard of before -- was timely. We went for lunch. Shared Chicken Satay, Fried Dumplings, and Pad Thai. All well-prepared and very tasty.

Siam Spice photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

Bon voyage!

http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

Sep 14, 2012
RGR in New Jersey

Indian Grill [split thread]

Thanks for the explanation.

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Sep 07, 2012
RGR in New Jersey

Chow Find - Italian "Donuts" (Krapfen?) in Freehold!!!!!!!!

Obviously, you didn't click on my photos. :)

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Sep 06, 2012
RGR in New Jersey

Chow Find - Italian "Donuts" (Krapfen?) in Freehold!!!!!!!!

I've been to Dolce Calabria three times, have sampled a variety of the offerings, and have been impressed by how delicious they've all been. The owners are really sweet (pun intended). Joe is behind the counter, and his wife (whose name escapes me at the moment) is the baker, though he is the one who bakes the macarons. It's great to have such a wonderful pastry shop in the area.

Dolce Calabria photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

Sep 06, 2012
RGR in New Jersey

Indian Grill [split thread]

To be honest, I don't understand the difference between the two.

Have you been to Junoon, in NYC?

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Sep 06, 2012
RGR in New Jersey

Indian Grill [split thread]

At Indian Grill, there appears to be just one cook. I have no idea if he's cooked at Aamantran.

When you've eaten at Aamantran, did they ask you what level of spice you prefer? That issue aside, what do think of the food? Is the menu different from ordinary Indian restaurants?

http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

Sep 06, 2012
RGR in New Jersey

Indian Grill [split thread]

We went back to Indian Grill again yesterday, this time for a late lunch. It was around 3:30 p.m., so no surprise that we were the only ones there.

We ordered the following: Lamb Samosas, Aboo Gobi (Cauliflower & Potatoes Cooked in Indian Herbs & Spices), Paneer Tikka Masala (Homemade Cottage Cheese Cooked in Mild Tomato Cream Sauce), Rice, and Onion Kulcha.

The lamb samosas were fried just as competently as the vegetable samosas we had last time, and the lamb filling was very tasty with just a hint of spiciness. The Onion Kulcha was also as good as previously. I've had paneer in other Indian restaurants, and this was an excellent version. However, the Aboo Gobi was new to me, and it was delicious.

We were asked how spicy we wanted the food. Had Mr. R. been ordering just for himself, he would have chosen very spicy. Since we were sharing, in deference to me, we asked for medium, and the level was perfect. Mr. R. was given a little cup of spicier sauce on the side.

Real plates and flatware were used for the main courses but not for the samosas. They're also still using plastic for drinks and for serving the food. I presume that will change soon as well.

Note that the couple running Indian Grill are business partners, not husband and wife. She owns the restaurant in Toms River called Aamantran.

Photos of our lunch at Indian Grill: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

Sep 06, 2012
RGR in New Jersey

Speaking of local BBQ events... (Marlboro)

Mo' Greens closed several months ago.

Discussed on this thread (Scroll down): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/750224

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Sep 04, 2012
RGR in New Jersey

Shore Fresh Seafood ~ Point Pleasant

No need for apologies, A. :)

I don't eat oysters, and while I do like scallops, even if they're fabulous, honestly, I don't think it's worth the shlep. Glad that the mac & cheese pleased your little gourmet-in-training.

Looking forward to reading your review of Mark Joseph.

http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

Sep 04, 2012
RGR in New Jersey

Indian Grill [split thread]

Thanks for your report, gwh912.

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Aug 31, 2012
RGR in New Jersey

Copper Canyon - Atlantic Highlands NJ - Review

sockster,

You were way too generous. Mr. R. and I would have tipped him a big fat 0!

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Aug 30, 2012
RGR in New Jersey

Shore Fresh Seafood ~ Point Pleasant

Angelina,

We will have to part company on this one. We had lunch at the original location a few weeks ago. Very disappointing. The New England Clam Chowder was just o.k. The fish and chips were sub-par. I doubt we'll be back.

http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

Aug 29, 2012
RGR in New Jersey

AMA - Sea Bright

We dined at Ama for the first time a few months ago. As one who has never found an Italian restaurant in the area that's anything but awful, I was very impressed with Ama's food and really liked the charming ambiance. We intended to go back but didn't manage to do so before the move.

Frankly, I'm leery about this kind of change because too often when restaurants expand, the food quality deteriorates and the restaurant loses its soul. That said, Chef Pat Trama is extremely talented and has very high standards, so I hope that will mean the food at this new location will be just as wonderful, and that whatever they are doing with the decor will make it feel like the old Ama.

Photos of our Ama dinner (Atlantic Highlands location): http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

Aug 29, 2012
RGR in New Jersey

Indian Grill [split thread]

Ha! We were there yesterday.

We shared the following: Samosas stuffed with potatoes and peas, Chicken Tikka Masala, Dal with yellow lentils, and Onion Kulcha.

The samosas were excellent and came with two very good dipping sauces, one quite spicy, the other sweet. The Onion Kulcha was also excellent. Although flat rather than puffy, it was greaseless with a tasty onion filling.

The Chicken Tikka Masala was far from the best we've had but decent. I didn't care at all for either the texture or flavor of the Dal. Rice, which was very fluffy, comes with each dish, so we got two bowls. All portions were more than adequate for us to share.

My mango lassi was delicious. However, there was a mix-up in communication. When Mr. R. ordered his Diet Coke, he asked for ice. When our drinks were served, my lassi had ice cubes in it. I've had many mango lassis but never any with ice. Obviously, when the wife took our order, she misunderstood Mr. R.'s request and thought I wanted ice in my lassi as well.

I can live with the very brown and very bland décor. But what really put me off was the fact that cups, plates, and utensils are plastic. (They're also serving everything in plastic bowls.) When I mentioned how I felt to the wife, who we found to be just as friendly as her husband, she told us that they had not really envisioned Indian Grill as a restaurant per se but, rather, as more of a take-out joint because of, she said, its location next to a bus stop. Since they've discovered that people do want to eat in, they’re going to make some changes so that eating there will be more agreeable (well, at least, to me). In addition to bringing in more tables, there will be real glassware, plates, and flatware. No mention about a buffet. She also told us that they own a restaurant in Toms River which she described as "fine dining." I didn't ask the name.

Indian Grill photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

Aug 27, 2012
RGR in New Jersey

Relatively inexpensive, fairly quiet place for business dinner

I would suggest Jeanne & Gaston. It's actually on the same block as Crispo but further east. Delicious French food and excellent service. Thursday's weather is supposed to be gorgeous, so you can sit in the lovely garden. But if you prefer indoors, the ambiance is very pleasing, and it will surely be quiet since all the "action" will no doubt be in the garden. Dinner is a $40 prix-fixe -- a huge bargain for food of such excellent caliber.

Jeanne & Gaston photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

and here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

Aug 27, 2012
RGR in Manhattan

Where should we go next?

Um Segredo (whihc means "secret") is Chef David Santos's Supper Club. Dave is of Portuguese extraction. Each dinner has a theme with a different menu. While some have had Portuguese influences, most have not. All show Dave's superb talent, creativity, versatility, sense of humor, and playfulness.

There is at least one thread discussing these dinners (I'm too lazy to do a search).

Here's the website where you can sign up to receive notices of upcoming dinners: http://www.umsegredony.com/

Btw, Dave is running the Seafood Shack at Pier NYC, on Roosevelt Island. We were there a few weeks ago. As usual, his food was delicious.

Pier NYC photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

Aug 25, 2012
RGR in Manhattan

NJ Tomatoes

While I agree with you that the tomatoes (lowest prices in the area) and corn (the white is unbelievably sweet) at Battleview Orchards are excellent, I totally disagree with you about the peaches. They are always like the proverbial Rocks of Gibralter, have absolutely no aroma, and never ripen properly.

The Clayton Family Farm, on 537, in Freehold, has some luscious heirlooms though, sadly, not as bountiful as last year. Their regular tomatoes are also delicious.

http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

Aug 24, 2012
RGR in New Jersey

Indian Grill [split thread]

(Note: I replied on the other thread, but when the moderators split this off, they didn't include my post, which is not there either. So, reconstructing here....)

Thanks for the report, yCf. Sounds promising. As I said in my previous post, we do intend to try it.

While I wouldn't consider myself an expert on Indian cuisine, during the past few years, we've expanded our experience with it quite a bit dining in various NYC Indian restaurants. The food we've had in them has been uniformaly excellent, so that sets the bar pretty high for us.

http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

Aug 24, 2012
RGR in New Jersey

Indian Grill [split thread]

Thanks for the report, yCf. Sounds promising. As I said in my previous post, we do intend to try it. Though I wouldn't consider myself an expert re: Indian cuisine, during the past few years, we've really expanded our experience with it in various NYC Indian restaurants. What we've had in them has been uniformly excellent, so that sets the bar pretty high for us.

http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

Aug 24, 2012
RGR in New Jersey

NJ Tomatoes

Where exactly are you located?

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Aug 24, 2012
RGR in New Jersey

Turkish cuisine for a celebratory dinner...

Turkish Kitchen has been our favorite for many years. We had dinner there two weeks ago. As always, the food was perfectly prepared and delicious. They've redone the decor to tone down the red a bit. Very attractive.

Turkish Kitchen photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

ETA: We tried Sahara twice when it first opened. Imo, Turkish Kitchen is superior.

http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

Aug 23, 2012
RGR in Manhattan

Indian Grill [split thread]

Indian Grill (the actual name) is now open. I stopped in and picked up a menu. Wide-ranging with all the usual suspects. The interior space looks about the same as when Mo' Greens was there (sans the bbq-related stuff on the walls, of course). We'll probably try it for lunch.

http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

Aug 21, 2012
RGR in New Jersey

Corton - Price for wine pairings?

We were at Corton in June. Did the seasonal menu @ $115. Wine pairings: $95.

Corton photos (including wine labels): http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

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Aug 21, 2012
RGR in Manhattan

Lamb Ribs in CNJ?

I suggest you try Wegmans in Manalapan. I've not seen lamb ribs in the display case. However, in the past, when I've asked for something they don't normally stock, they've told me they'd special order it for me.

http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

Aug 21, 2012
RGR in New Jersey

Where might we enjoy ourselves on my cousin's birthday?

Based on our experience this past Saturday evening, I wouldn't agree with your statement. We had dinner in The Modern Dining Room, and the Bar Room was busy. Not much action at the bar, but tables were full.

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Aug 20, 2012
RGR in Manhattan

Vegetarian Bday Dinner / Tasting Menu

I like Adour. Though we're carnivores, some of the best dishes we've had there have been with vegetables. The kitchen excels with them, so I'm sure that tasting would be delicious. Service is wonderul, and the elegant space is beautiful. However, acc. to the website, their annual summer closing is Aug.19th - Sept. 4th.

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Aug 19, 2012
RGR in Manhattan

Chef Michael d'Ennery

Pink Pepper and Bossa_Nova,

Thanks for your reports! Sounds as though, with the exception of the calamari, the food you both had was very good. Once Mark Joseph's has been open for a while and has, hopefully. worked out the service issues, we'll probably try it.

http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

Aug 18, 2012
RGR in New Jersey