Schmecht Gut's Profile
Having just returned from Seattle and San Francisco, I am still amazed at how few really great restaurants there are in NJ - especially given the income levels of some of the towns. That said, there are a few great places within driving range of Warren.
Bel Paese in Cranford is a gem of an Italian place with a Sicilian owner who makes the best stuffed artichokes. Entrees are very reasonably priced and it is BYOB. It is not fancy or a beautiful place - just great food and a character of an owner that will pull up a chair to share a recipe.
I also like Chao Phaya in Somerville which is Thai. The owner there used to work at Four Seasons Thai in Piscataway and the food is good - also BYOB. Nice dining room.
There is a little Vietnamese place Pho Viet Anh on Talmidge Road in Edison.
I am a craft beer lover so go to The Stirling Hotel in Stirling quite regularly as their draft selection changes often. The atmosphere is very comfortable, the place is always packed, their food is good (depending on what you order) and it is a great place to bring kids. They have very inexpensive standards like hamburgers and fries and then some nice fancy salads and more upscale entrees. Everyone can find something they like on the menu.
A bit further is Ptari Tavern for Greek in Highland Park - it is worth the drive. It is authentic, has a very varied menu, is BYOB and very friendly owner/wait staff. Very authentic
More pricey but one of our favorite places in central Jersey is A Toute Heure in Cranford, It is a farm to table place with a blackboard listing all the local farms and purveyors that supplied the food on the menu. Again BYOB Very interesting and exciting menu and pretty dining room.
I am writing this review because I just had such a great dinner at McDuff's Pub. I am from New Jersey, work in NYC and am a good cook with high standards. Everything we were served tonight was excellent. I would call McDuff's a gastropub. I had the house salad which was way above average and a lamb burger with sautéed wild mushroom, truffle oil and a Parmesan crisp. The meat was amazing. My beloved had the fish and chips but substituted in onion rings for the chips. The portion was huge and the coating was delicate perfectly cooked - crunchy, tender and not oily at all with a great tarter sauce and malt vinegar. we also had great local beers on draft that were $5 a pint. Our wait person was charming, gave us some recs for other restaurants and gave us 20%off our next meal. mcDuffs opened in 2010 I believe and it my place of choice.
thus far the other places we have eaten at are Sprouts for lunch which was a throwback to vegetarian places I ate at in the 80's with really good, fresh, healthy food that I really enjoyed, Nikki's Chaat Cafe which was solid Indian with the nicest owner and staff, and Fresh Ketch which was OK seafood in a very nice setting and a fabulous waitress. we also went two different times to Edgewood Golf Club at Brooks Bar. One time was for drinks and an appetizer and the other was for the breakfast buffet on Sunday morning. Both time we sat outside on their patio looking out on Lake Tahoe and the snow covered peaks and it was magnificent. I think everyone should go have a drink there at least once for the scenery. Even the parking lot has a spectacular view. for breakfast we were the only customers on the patio and had the place to ourselves. We went in jeans and had a great time.
Ole Bistro in Asbury Park is fabulous