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Buffalo-bison -- other than burgers in central NJ

Lambertville Station in Lambertville, natch, (LambertvilleStation.com) sometimes serves buffalo but call, I think it's seasonal there. Try the Readington Buffalo Farm (NJBison.com) for info. The farm & meat store is between Whitehouse and Flemington. You can get your fresh buffalo meat there or have in shipped frozen. Since they supply local restaurants, they might steer you to one.

Enjoy
CompareFranco

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Lambertville Station Restaurant
11 Bridge Street, Lambertviile, NJ 08530

Aug 09, 2010
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Carmine's Asbury Park - Brando's Citi Cucina

All right, I'll bite. This is a joke, isn't it? I'm lost for the use of the term CITI, especially if this is really an Italian restaurant. I look at that word and shake my head. In Italian the soft "c" is pronounced like ch as in Church. and the terminal "i" like a long "e' (as in ravioli). So when I saw that name, knowing Cucina = kitchen, I got the mental impression that the name of the place was "chitee kitchen" !
Regards
CompareFranco

Jul 06, 2010
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'Italian Peoples' Rolls - What's their secret?

I do not believe in the "water" theory for many reasons. Water is a universal solvant desolving everything it comes in contact with. So the "chemical" compounds within any sample of water has to vary somewhat. The only exception is recently distilled water which fulfills the definition of odorless, colorless and, most important, tasteless.

Utah has really great water and some of the world's worst pizza, bread and bagels!

I've had some pretty crappy pizza in NYC.

Some aspects of cooking are arts, not science. As Bryam P put it "the secret is a combination of factors" and might I add - to me, that's just what makes finding new places and trying new places so much fun.

Jun 25, 2010
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Olive Garden coming soon in Freehold, NJ

tommy, et al

To my understanding, OG's parent company, Darden Restaurants of Orlando, Fla (NYSE=DRI; darden.com) built a "culinary school" in Italy where it sends its chefs to learn how to cook OG style food. As for comparing OG & all the other Eye-talian wannabes with independent (i.e., mom& pop) Italian places in New Jersey, as a long time Italian who has tried hundreds of laces, I have never had food as bad as OG etc at an indi place - yes, some of it was not all that good, but none of it was all that bad.
Regards
CompareFranco

Jun 11, 2010
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Max's 22 on Route 22W in NJ

First, there's no such thing as too many Italian restaurants! I've been trying Italian restaurants of all levels since 1947 and haven't tired yet! As Neil Simon said: "There are only two Universal Laws, Gravity and everyone loves Italian food!

As for Max's 22, I have found favor with all of Max's products. Max's 31 even passed the Ralphie-from-Brooklyn test. Ralphie was my guest there and he loved it.

My wife & I tried Max's 22 on a whim on New Year's Eve - i.e., we went without a reservation. Knowing we might not get in we went early and scored a table - one of the last opened tables before they did start turning people away.

Our meals were wonderful. I had a simple Penne Vodka (laced with prosciutto and peas). Man o man that kitchen knows what al dente means! My wife tried the chicken satimbocca style, loved it but had to take most of it home it was such a large portion.

My Caesar salad was also excellent. I particularly appreciated that the romaine leaves were cut bite sized. I find too many places fill the salad plates with elephant ear sized leafs. I would also give high notes to the house crafted croutons in the Caesar.

If you ever tried the Foolish Fox (what the place was last go-round), Max has dedone the interior making it roomier and adding a wall between the dining room and bar.

Ti me, Max's 22 is a keeper.

Jan 07, 2010
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Italian Christmas

Max's 31 to near the Hunterdon Medical Center. There are a half dozen medical office buildings around the HMC complex. Drug company sales folks regularly supply a catered lunch to office staff while they pitch their meds. Most of the restaurants - as well as Max's - near the medical complex offer drug rep menus.

Dec 13, 2009
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Italian Christmas

Orvieto on Main St in downtown Flemington (908-788-0119; no website). They've been doing Feast of the 7 Fishes dinner since they relocated their place from Little Italy in lower Manhattan to Flemington almost 20 years ago. Their Feast is kind of a hidden gem outside of the area but has gathered a 5 Nonna ratings from old Italians (an old Italian is one older than me!)

Max's 31 (on Route 31 just north of Flemington 908-782-5999; www.maxs31.com) is offering a take out 7 Fishes Feast.

Owners of both restaurants are old school Italians. I believe that Orvieto was either the first or one of the first restaurants in NJ to offer the Feast of the 7 Fishes dinner. This might be Max's first foray into it. Buon Natale!

Dec 11, 2009
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Bushkill Falls, PA

Well, the Poconos "ain't Jersey" for sure. I've been visiting the area since 1963 and find the restaurant scene rather inconsistant - on the rare occasion I find a place I'd return to, I'm usually disappointed on the return visit. Probably tough to do business there - in a good economy, why go to the Poconos when you can go to Vegas or Disney World; why ski the Poconos when you could ski Park City, etc. In a bad economy, why go to the Poconos at all? Like I said, tough place to do business. I also believe that the fits-&-starts seasonality of business there accounts for the few seafood restaurants there.

That said, I have had good luck at Brandli's Italian Rest. It's a simple mom & pop pizzeria in an outlet mall. The pizza's OK; the pasta, how hard is it to make a decent sauce? I have also found their pasta e fagioli (home made) Chow worthy. It's located on Rt 209 south of Bushkill in the Foxmoor Village outlet center in Marshalls Creek. Even if your son's disappointed, it won't be a lot of money disappointed.

Another option is to stop at the Penna Welcome Center at the I-80 Exit right after the Water Gap Bridge. They usually have a bunch of restaurant directories & flyers often with menus & coupons, etc.

Good luck - I, for one, would like to see a follow-up on your son's dining experience there.

Oct 11, 2009
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Non-Belgian Waffles

Chicken & Waffles! Wow! That's a combo I've never had but the term was vaguely familiar, so I Googled it. Soul Food! I saw the term on a menu a couple years ago at a church-restaurant in Bed-Sty. Church-restaurant is just that. In the basement or attached to an African-American church that serves home made food to help support the church. Think sweet potato pie made by someone's grandma!!!! Some of the chicken + waffle images I saw showed round waffles but with the smaller dents & bumps of the old crunchy style rather than the Belgian style which has larger dents & bumps. Back when I was at the church in Bed-Sty I imagined it to be like IC on a waffle - a chicken sandwich on a waffle! Now that I've seen pictures of chicken & waffles, I wish I'd tried it.

Sep 03, 2009
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Max's Bistro (Flemington) Closed

California Grill is in Flemington, Cafe California is in Lebanon, Cafe California is more famous for its catering than its eatery.

May 28, 2009
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Jersey Burger

I had a "Jersey Burger" at a local diner. It was a burger with pork roll and cheese on a hard roll! (Review: I found the idea more exciting than the burger!)

May 28, 2009
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My recommended places in Hunterdon County, NJ

IMO, the problem with Chelseas is rather simple. The new owners kept the ambience and menu lock-stock-and-barrel. Everything was the former owner's signature stuff. A talented, experienced chef was cooking another person's stuff. I think he should have personalized the menu more.

May 28, 2009
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New Jersey Chefs who bicycle, or bicycle-friendly NJ restaurants

I understand that bicycle clubs and groups publish newsletters and such listing "cycle friendly" spots. As another poster pointed out, places tend to be delis and general stores along rural roads where cyclists love to ride.

May 28, 2009
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Great breakfast at Mariner's cove in brielle

I haven't been there in maybe 15 years. I am GLAD to hear they're still good. But, gand!, now I've gotta amke time to schlep myself there - got my juices flowing. (Breakfast is my favorite meal to eat out!)

Apr 17, 2009
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Maltese Food in NJ - Specifically Pastizzi?

Learning something new everyday! How informative - Maltese cuisine! . Here I thought the only Maltese dish would be roasted falcon!

Mar 23, 2009
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NJ Farmhouse Restaurant?

StantonChef

Your descriptions strongly says to me Lorraine & Paul Ingenito, he was Exec Chef at Russian Tea Room. The place was the Grand Colonial which he helped open. However, Paul & Lorraine operate the Perryville Inn and were involved with the Grand Colonial for maybe a year. I haven't been to the Grand Colonial since Lorraine & Paul were involved, so I can't say what's up there now. I know they have an artisan cheese menu at the Perryville, since I have kept in touch with the Ingenitos there (chef Paul's parents & I are in the same local seniors club). Your confusion about the term "Inn" in the name might stem from the fact that when you read that review, the couple was involved with both restaurants. Each restaurant has a website, so Google them (I don't have the addresses handy) and look at the images of the restaurants see if either one rings a bell.

Mar 15, 2009
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anyone been to artisan kitchen in lebanon central jersey?

I believe it has closed - I've seen no action near the place since the holidays. The website is still up but when I called the number, I got a generic answering machine message, certainly not one an active restaurant would use. And I called during lunch hour on Friday.

Feb 05, 2009
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Venitian Grill / Central Pizza, Somerville, NJ - Good Times

Central Pizza Somerville brings back memories. It's like one of the longest running pizzeria in the area (I think only Mr Assante out on Route 22 is older). When I lived in Somerville back in '67-'68 it was my go-to place. My father, who made pizza in a Newark pizzeria during the 1940s, declared it good and we always got pizza there when he visited Somerville. I glad to hear the place is still doing well. Gotta make time in oh-nine to re-visit.

Jan 01, 2009
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Best pancakes,french toast, waffles in NJ?

Central Jersey pancakes - the very best blueberry pancakes can be had at Gronsky's Milk House on Rt 513 in High Bridge. Gronskey's is a tiny deli/IC shop with a lunchroom and the friendliest staff anywhere. Their pancakes are BIG - How BIG? I can easily eat a full stack of 5 IHOP pancakes. In the 10 years I've been going to Gronsky's once a week for breakfast. I have yet to finish one!!! Forget any other variety - they're just big and pretty good. But the blueberry pancake (they do cooked-in blueberries) are super abundant, not mushy and even off-season their frozen blueberries are the closest to fresh I've ever had. Just remember - order only one - more if you dare!

Dec 29, 2008
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Real Mexican Food In New Jersey

What constantly mystifies me is this. If Sean McGillicuddy moves from New Jersey to California and opens a Mexican restaurant there, it's regarded as "authentic" But if Jorge Martinez moves from Mexico City to New Jersey and opens a Mexican restaurant, it's not authentic as Sean's in California. Why is it that Mexicans forget how to cook their native cuisine when they come to New Jersey but anybody in California can cook authentic Mexican?

And I doubt if it's the ingredients. First New Jersey tomatoes are superior to California's by far - and fresh ingredients are available world wide today. Any restaurant that wants fresh ingredients can get them.

Can someone explain to me why Mexicans living & cooking in New Jersey can't cook Mexican food authentically? Do they have to check their Mexican-ness at the Delaware?

Dec 03, 2008
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An Amazing Hot Dog

I've been less than amazed by the franks at Amazing. I find them dry, gritty, and rather bland. And the color seems off. Neither the kraut, mustard (yellow) nor roll brought anything to the table.

The last time - and I do mean last - I had a hot dog there, I couldn't finish it. So when I got back to my car, I offered it to my dog who turned up his snout and walked away. That settled it for me! I've had more flavorful and more interesting hot dogs at Stewart's, Nathan's, Hot Dog Johnny's and scores of other places during my 60+ years of rambling around sampling eats.

Nov 29, 2008
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Inn of the Hawke - Underrated?

The "strikes against it" was stated in your paragraph above, Heatherb "it's definately not haute cuisine"

The Inn of the Hawke is underrated because haute cuisine is overrated. Too many people - and most food & restaurant critics - are "bring-n-brag" diners - they only approve of the trendiest, most expensive, most exclusive places . They seek an elevated sense of self by affiliating themselves with the trendiest, most expensive, most exclusive places. The very term "haute cuisine" refers to its snobbishness of being higher (above) non-haute cuisine - those who affiliate themselves with haute cuisine are by definition looking down at those places that are not part of the exclusive inner circle.

Bluntly, those folks have achieved their high school need - eating at the table with the "in-crowd" - it's an ego boost, something you don't get from a place like the Inn of the Hawke.

As you said - dining at the Inn of the Hawke leaves you "satisfied and happy" which ain't too shabby.

Nov 26, 2008
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Bensi~Old Bridge

Lyds & njchowgal

Sorry, we're talking apples & kangaroos here. I was responding to the food level of the 2 eateries. From your replies, your bad experiences had to do with the quality of the service. I understand your comments better now. Service - and cleanliness - are restaurant 101 - they are givens. Your experiences are unacceptable.

A chef once said to me: "I think I'm a good chef, but nothing I do in my kitchen can make-up for poor service."

Somebody in the kitchen at Max's screwed-up on your orders and no one wanted to take responsibility - unacceptable. And yes, njchowgal, there's a big difference between waiting for food to be prepared correctly and waiting for a server. A 15 min wait for your server? Unacceptable. I've been at places that were short-handed - but before I was seated, I was informed that service might be slow - I could have opted to leave, some people did. Now that's professionalism.

Nov 20, 2008
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Bensi~Old Bridge

I think Bensi must be throwing some serious curves to this group. I've found the place to be neither as bad as the detractors say nor as good as the fans say.

It's a chain-like group - I think it's more of a co-op among semi-independent owners than a chain serving corporate food. Bensi's food is far superior to any found in those faux-Italian chains. I never found the food there "chain-like" as njchowgal says. While far from chain-like, I can't support Lyds's contention that Bensi beats Max's.

Fact is, Bensi's is good, but not that good. Between my house and any Bensi's are dozens of Italian eateries better than it - and I include Max's places in that list. If you're nearby a Bensi's, it's worth a stop. But I could never suggest a special trip to one.

BTW, I don't consider waiting for food a "bad thing" - as an old Italian I view restaurant food prepared fast to be suspect.

Nov 19, 2008
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Kobe Beef at O'Connors, is it really?

American "Kobe" beef is an oxymoron. Kobe beef is defined as beef from the Wagyu breed of cattle raised in and around Kobe, Japan. Unless the restaurant proves to your satisfaction that the beef is actually imported from Japan, do not pay NYC prices - even in an NYC restaurant.

American "Kobe" beef begins with a vat (1 maybe 2 liters) of Wagyu sperm (frozen in liquid nitrogen) shipped to US ranches where American beef cows are impregnated. The hybrid offspring are called "Kobe" - Most US ranchers use Black Angus cows for the hybrids. So American "Kobe" is usually Black Angus with half Wagyu DNA.

Most places charge between 10 and 15 bucks for a Black Angus burger. So O'Connors price is right and it probably really is "American Kobe" - But, 40 bucks for a domestic hybrid burger is a ripoff.

Nov 11, 2008
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The Falls tinton falls

Sorry, I have to disagree. Actually, I'm not all that sorry. This is something I learned 60 years ago about eating out from my father. And over the years I've discovered how right he was. The surest way to have a positive dining experience is to enter a place with a positive attitude. To be governed by negative cliche's and stereoyypes and bumper-sticker proverbs limits one's potential for an enjoyable experience. A positive attitude has served me well over the years - even when the experience was less than hoped. I've enjoyed a good laugh describing how crappy the food or service was in the less-than-recommendable joints I've encountered.

Oct 11, 2008
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BYO in Flemington/Somerville/Lambertville

MOST restaurants in Somerville-Flemington-Lambertville area are BYO, provided you're talking in-town. There are licensed places between these three towns.

Downtown Somerville - Alfonso's, Bank 34, Cedars, Choa Phaya, DaFilippo, Gabriel's, Main Street Bistro, Marino's, Origin Thai - I have listsed as byo (older list, subject to changes - I do not have info on the several Asian restaurants in town)

Flemington - in- town - Aikou, Blue Fish Grill, Californis Grill, Capo, Ciao Luigi (was il Mulino), Fusion, 55 Main, Matt's Red Rooster, Luca's, Market Roost, Orvieto, Shaker Cafe, Viva Mexico - there's also a Latino restaurant on Main St where UnclePete's was, I've forgotten it's name.

There are about another dozen byos nearby but out-of-town that have Flemington PO addresses.

Lambertville - Bukp's (?? - can't say if that's still open), Full Moon, Hamilton's Grill Room (thete's a wine bar next door), Lilly on the Canal, Manon, Moustache, No 9, Ota-Ya, Rick's, Siam Thai, Tida Thai, Cinco de Mayo.

This is the most complete list I have - others, feel free to add, update and correct.

Oct 02, 2008
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Moustache Falafel?

My wife & I stopped in for lunch today. Neither of us are that knowledgeble about Mid Eastern food, but we throughly enjoyed our meal, the staff and the place. It's South Union St, Lambertville at Mt Hope St which is quite a bit south of the tourist area. The small place has lots of Mid Eastern decorative references and Mid Eastern music played. We split a falafel appetizer (there were 5) which was accompanied by a tahini dip and a spicy green salsa like dip. When the owner came over to check on us my wife said the green dip was too hot for her (it was, in fact, fairly high on the hotness scale!). The owner said No-No this is hot & moved it nearer to me and said: it's for the man! Almost all the items on the menu were new to us, but we have had falafels many times and what we were served at Moustache was so tasty I can't compare them to anything - it was a whole new level of "fafalel-ness" for us! The pita loaf that came with the appetizer was so freshly baked it was still inflated like a balloon. It flattened as the steam escaped but its taste and texture was more like a couple of crapes glued together lwaving a pocket. The soft parts reminded me of the feel of injera (sp?) while the crispy part was like a hard croissant flake.

My wife went with the familiar and ordered a gyro which is stuffed with rotisserie broiled beef. She ate the whole thing which is unusual for her! I tried the house Moustache Pitza, which is supposedly the ancestor of the pizza. It's personal sized thickish pita, loaded with roasted red bell pepper, tomato, onion, parsley, chili & fresh mozzarella. It was made like the pizza I remember eating back in the 1940s - flash baked in a piping hot oven. It was a tasty medley of flavors and I think the quality of the pita made it taste unique, not like a fake pizza at all.

My wife opted for iced tea which was deeply infused with mint. I drank a Loomi - a citrus drink that was tart & refreshing but I couldn't breakdown the flavors.

We shared Pistachio ice cream for dessert.

The owner told me his family runs the Moustache in the East Village, NYC. My son is familiar with that place & says that it's friendly but not a place for fast food folks. The service in Lambertville was friendly all right - it might be slow, but I'm an old Italian and find food prepared too fast suspect!

Yeah, Lambertville is a hike for me, but now I have another reason to go - and the place is open early week when the city's not cluttered with tourists. It's currently open 11 a.m. to midnight but the owner said he'd like to be open 24/7.

Finally, cash only. It's not cheap but we found everything worth every dime.

Jul 22, 2008
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Has anyone been to Soupe du Jour in Hopewell, Lately?

Well, the place's phone number is gone. I dare say, it is, too. Which is kind of sad.

Jul 21, 2008
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How would you describe the Syracuse scene?

Sadly, the negative reports are valid. I have had to visit Syracuse regularly since 1965 - my wife grew-up there and her family family still lives there. A culinary black hole. My first meal there was homemade "lasagna" made by the person soon to be my sister-in-law since she understood that I was Eye-Talian. It consisted of noodles, cottage cheese, Campbell's Tomato Soup and chunks of Velveta! The Syracuse natives thought it was the best Eye-Talian food the ever had! I became the Black Sheep of the family for refusing to eat it! Bread? It's pitiful. Bagel, croissant, scone? Forgettaboutit! Even the much ballyhooed Wegman's can't get bread right up north.

The best meal I ever had in Syracuse was at Stella's Diner - a greasy spoon breakfast place. I don't know it it's still there.

The only thing that terrifies me more than my wife saying "Let's visit Syracuse" is getting there and my in-laws saying "Let's eat out!"

The GOOD NEWS is this: it is unbelievable cheap to eat out in Syracuse. I've lived in NYC Metro area all my life and by cheap I don't mean the rural parts of Pennsy cheap, I mean dine out frequently cheap. Housing - even when the economy was solid - is cheap. (I could get 2 houses in Syracuse with the equity in my NJ place even with today's depressed market) Groceries are cheap - I complained to the NJ Dept' of Argriculture several times because NJ blueberries in season are usually a dollar ($1) a pint cheaper than in NJ!

I second catnip's suggestion - Finger Lakes region for food out. It's an easy ride from Syracuse (except when it snows) and the winery tours are first rate! Local groups often charter a bus to tour the wineries so you don't have to worry about driving. If wine is an interest, that's the place to be.

In short - mixed news. BTW - NY State Fair is in Syracuse around Labor Day - it's by far the biggest and best in the US and you can get some great street eats there.

Jul 18, 2008
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