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lorisueb's Profile

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St. Louis - just one dinner

Last eve njfreqflyer and I went to Niche. I really wanted to like it ... The sound was a bit bouncy though for me, it didn't deter from the metro atmosphere. So that there was more to try, we split the cauliflower soup, the crispy octopus, the pasta and uni and finally the vermillion snapper. The soup was excellent; made unique by a drizzle of hot pepper sauce and bits of roasted cauliflower. As I don't eat meat, we ordered the octopus and white beans without the chorizo. The octopus was crispy and tasty though the beans seemed a little under cooked, maybe it is just my preference to have beans on the softer side? I was totally excited when we spotted uni on the pre fixe menu and; Niche was accommodating, again offering it to us ala carte. It was prepared with homemade pasta and crab meat. The pasta was great though the richness of the ingredients (namely butter) overshadowed the delicate crab and uni. The fish was done nicely, quit moist and tasty. It was served with polenta and a sorrel pesto; the polenta was salty and the pesto just detracted from the fish. Finally, initially, i felt very rushed... As one course was being cleared from the table, the next was being delivered. To slow down the pace, I ate one strand of pasta at a time though the party next to us specifically asked that their pace be slowed. I was not wowed by Niche though I would give them another chance, maybe they were just recovering from the blizzard of 2011 like the rest of us! .... Njfreqflyer feel free to add on ....

Feb 06, 2011
lorisueb in Great Plains

POLL RESULTS: Top New Jersey Restaurants of 2010

Amazing job, NJFF! Thanks for your time and analysis .... So many new places to try .... !

Jan 11, 2011
lorisueb in New Jersey

Spirito's -- Elizabeth

Updating after a few months … With some good friends, dined (uh, feasted) at Spirito's last eve. It hasn’t changed since I first started coming, 30 years ago … green and red decor, no table cloths, wait staff with an attitude (all NJ), table wine from a juice glass, bread – no butter, and the best homemade ravioli and sauce (uh, gravy)! The garlic salad is big enough for 4, I am still tasting and loving it today. What’s more, I’m ready to go back. Enjoy!

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Spirito's Restaurant
714 3rd Ave, Elizabeth, NJ 07202

Nov 09, 2009
lorisueb in New Jersey

PLEASE POST YOUR VOTES HERE: Ultimate Los Angeles Restaurants 2009

Max, this is an incredible undertaking. Thank you!
+25
Providence
Hump
Locanda Veneta
Mozza Osteria
Urasawa

-25
Maria’s Fresh Seafood (Central Market)
Urth Café
La Brea Bakery
BH Cheese Shop
The Pantry Cafe

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Urasawa Restaurant
218 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

La Brea Bakery
624 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Locanda Veneta
8638 W. Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048

Nov 06, 2009
lorisueb in Los Angeles Area

Angelini Osteria

I was looking for the quintessential Italian eatery in LA; yes, I am a bit thwarted, being from New Jersey and all. I just visited Anelini Osteria for the first time this past Tues eve. The place was bustling for 9:00 on a Tuesday and I was immediately taken by all of the commotion, close tables and general atmosphere.

My first disappointment came when there was no octopus salad remaining (one of the draws to select AO). Next, my companion had a glass of one of his favorite wines, Arneis but he thought this particular Arneis was underwhelming. On the other hand, I had a wonderful Brunello to which my companion switched.

The meal was served with a crispy flatbread, an olive bread and an Italian bread with olive oil. Nothing notable except my companion did ask for and never received butter.

We began with a mixed green, beet and buratta salad. The combination of the beets and buratta was wonderful with the textures blending perfectly. Next, we moved on to split the seafood gnocchi. I enjoyed but was not ‘wowed’ by the meal. The shrimp stood out well though there were not many shrimp or mussels and I was unable to distinguish other seafood. Last, we split the whole Branzino roasted in sea salt. The fish was moist and delicate, served with mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables. Though the broccoli rabe was salty, it was my companion’s favorite vegetable while I thought the cauliflower was more cooked to perfection.

In summary, the service was mediocre, and though I did enjoy the overall dining experience, I did not find this to be the quintessential Italian eatery … still searching.

Nov 06, 2009
lorisueb in Los Angeles Area

Seagrass - Sea Urchin (Uni) in Santa Barbara

Yes, Glbtrtr, the above was a credit to the new chef. The staff has been there awhile and they seem very excited about the change. So far, so good.

Nov 03, 2009
lorisueb in California

San Luis Obispo – Morro Bay – Cayucos: 1 dinner

Hi NJFreqFlyer - I just returned from a quick trip to San Luuis Obispo and ended up at Novo. We ate outside under the heat lamps next to the creek. This could be a romantic spot though it seemed to draw a younger, noisy crowd. I especially liked that the offerings were small therefore we were able to select many small plates .. yes, variety is the spice of life. The food was good, moving to very good. Abalone and sea urchin were not to be found.

Nov 03, 2009
lorisueb in California

Seagrass - Sea Urchin (Uni) in Santa Barbara

A day in Sant Barbabra ... in search for Uni. I spent the day in Santa Barbara looking for fresh uni. Interestingly enough, I could not find many restaurants or fish markets selling the elusive sea urchin. I did watch the uni being unloaded from the boats, directly to the trucks that whisk this fine delicacy to Los Angeles (barely a stop in Santa Barbara!!) ... Nevertheless, Seagrass came thru - all local fish, including the elusive uni. First course consisted of Heirloom tomatoes and burrata. A little fresh pepper, a light vingegrette, perfect combo, need I say more. Next, a scallop trio ... scallop trio ... progressively more savory and tasty! .. a carpaccio (lime, cilantro, mint & jalapeno), panna cotta (cucumber, shaved radish, grain mustard vinaigrette), seared (saffron & vanilla sauce, baby bok choy, oyster mushrooms ). Could not get enough of the saffron & vanilla sauce. Next - Yellowtail (sunchoke purée, tarragon, local abalone, heirloom carrot reduction) - the abolone made it worth it. Last, a modified Spiny lobster ... no lobster but grana padano risotto with Santa Barbara sea urchin sauce. What a gem. Thanks, Seagrass for a fine end to uni hunting in Santa Barbara

Nov 03, 2009
lorisueb in California

55 Main, Flemington: Worth a trip?

Last night I visited 55 Main. It has been one of a several times I visited since their opening, August 2007. The place was near full the entire 2.5 hours I was present.

As always, the portions were large and fresh and CIA graduate, Chef Jonas Gold scurried between cooking in the kitchen and kibitzing with his customers.

The group started with PEI mussels (served 3 ways (thai chili, red sauce, white wine sauce) - we chose the white wine. The mussels were plump, tender and tasty. There was just the right amount of red pepper to fire up the taste buds but not drown out the taste. The ravioli with braised beef was a big hit as always and the black bean soup started ok … though it progressively improved as the bottom of the bowl was neared.

The Caesar salad was perfect as always, with the unique tastes of the anchovies, mustard and cheese all shining through. Unfortunately, one of my guests prefers his salad room temperature. Though the salad was on the crisper / colder side, he left no Romaine leaf unfinished.

Still, the bread leaves a bit to be desired, regular dinner rolls. Chef Jonas, bake your own or bring us some bread worthy of your offerings.

The main courses included salmon; cod with spinach, garlic and fried anchovies; seared tuna; and skirt steak. The salmon was good. The seared tuna served with sticky rice and Asian cabbage was excellent though unfortunately 55 Main was out of wasabi. The cod was done to perfection, easily flaking and moist. The spinach and garlic were combined perfectly. The steak was served with a mushroom / onion sauté and reduction sauce – I was told the steak and mushrooms were wonderful. (Chef Jonas’ secret is in his sauces and gravies – all made from scratch and what is in the kitchen)

We were too stuffed for desert though the pumpkin cheesecake did look very appealing…. Next time.

Note: The décor is stark (which I do like), the meals run between $20-25 and BYOB.

Jan 04, 2009
lorisueb in New Jersey

Very Fresh Seafood - South Jersey -

UPDATE: New Owners have New Website and phone:

http://thearkpubandeatery.com/index.html
401 Route 35 North
Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742
732-295-1122

Jan 01, 2009
lorisueb in New Jersey

Very Fresh Seafood - South Jersey -

I am looking for very fresh seafood, not sushi. I hear The Arc is under new ownership and has great seafood. Can anyone attest to this? thanks,

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Ark Pub & Eatery
401 Route 35, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742

Dec 31, 2008
lorisueb in New Jersey

Tony's Taverna

Seems it has been awhile since Tony's has been mentioned; definitely not a place worth forgetting.

I visited Tony's mid-Dec and I am already craving it again. The offerings that are good are very good, and those that are ok, are just that. A relaxed meal on the outdoor may just be a perfect place to relax and enjoy some delicious morsels.

Without a doubt, try the 'baby octopus' - it was the biggest baby octopus I ever tried. In fact, I don't care for baby octopus but I am forever in search of the perfect octopus; I was therefore convinced to try it. Either every other place I tried to date is serving the babies as ‘grilled octopus’ without letting us know or Tony is really not serving the babies. Size aside, the tender slices were perfect.

I also enjoyed the pita, a generous helping. As well, my favorites included tabouli, tzatziki and spanakopita. The tabouli included scallions / spring onions – Nice. I actually ordered the Vegetarian Paradise for lunch. My oh my, more than enough for two (after the ‘baby octopus’). The grilled vegetables were ok, good but not special; same for the tiropita.

Note: It’s not only me - Honorable mention was given with regards to the octopus
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/580264

Enjoy!

Dec 30, 2008
lorisueb in Los Angeles Area

Salang Kabob House - Toms River

Thanks, NJFreqFlyer! BTW, with what are the Aushak filled? ty.

Dec 29, 2008
lorisueb in New Jersey

Excellent Omakase (at a Premium) - Dinner with the Venerable Sushi Master of West L.A. - Mori Sushi [Review] w/ Pics!

I feel the need to keep the Mori string alive.

I have been to Mori Sushi, fondly called ‘Fish’ numerous times with varying degrees of satisfaction. Don’t’ misunderstand, I have always enjoyed the fish but at times, the service and attitude left a lot to desire. Last week I tried again and it was close to if not the best meal I have had at Mori’s. Oh, why ‘Fish’? The only sign identifying this understated, unassuming restaurant is a picture of a fish.

We sat at the bar, in front of Mori-san. Mori was his kind, unassuming self. Serving and talking to us through the meal.

We had Omikase, sort of. A little of Mori’s choice, a little of our choice. We started with Ankimo / Monkfish liver over seaweed. This is usually not one of my favorites and the chunks were intimidating in size but honestly, there were creamy and tasty, probably the best monkfish liver I have ever had.

We moved on to a seasonal vegetable plate containing Chestnut, Eggplant with Miso, Eggplant with Egg, Fish innards, Seared Abalone, Mushrooms, Seared Artichoke. Very good; the chestnut added the right amount to feel ‘autumn’ to the dish.

Next was seared Mackerel on a bed of onions with baby arugula and balsamic vinegar. The mackerel was of excellent quality, the onions a little overpowering. All and all, I prefer my fish raw.

Onto a wonderful Miso based soup containing Manilla Clam, Shrimp and white fish. Little bursts of surprise received from the finely chopped red and yellow peppers. An excellent combination.

I am sorry to say, I don’t recall the next course.

We then moved on to the sushi … Excellent Needlefish followed by a buttery Hamachi. Quality excellent as expected.

At this point I was asking Mori to slow down, I can’t seem to eat as much as I would like. With a cute smile, he told me there were 9 courses left; he would not slow down but instead cut back on his rice.

Incidentally, if you don’t go to Mori’s for anything else, go for the rice. He grows, picks and hulls it himself. A very particular man – nothing wrong with that.

I generally like to try the tuna offering. Mori presented us with a tuna-trio consisting of Hawaiian, Maguro (bluefin) Boston. Though the Hawaiian was placed down first, I chose to eat the Boston Tuna first and Hawaiian last. That day, Boston was by far, the best and I should have consumed it last. Maybe order matters?

Next, the scallops. Nothing beats live, fresh sweet scallops. Mori served the scallops with citrus. Though this combination is frequently served, I prefer the scallops to stand alone.

Then Uni from Santa Barbara. There are only a few locations at which I eat Uni. The creamy Uni was perfect with Mori’s crispy Nori. I was not disappointed.

Last on the list, just when I thought I could eat no more, the delicate Orange Satsuma was placed before me. I could not resist. Inside the orange was a cool, thick orange concoction. When I asked Mori what he used to create the consistency of the orange, he touched and said ‘his heart’ and I believe him.

‘Fish’ has not left my list of favorite sushi places yet.

Dec 21, 2008
lorisueb in Los Angeles Area

Downtown's Beautiful, New Italian Restaurant - Drago Centro [Review] w/ Pics!

Made it to Drago Centro 12/10. As fdb so aptly stated “I can't write a better review than exilekiss so here is a short recap of my visit last week” …

Let me start by stating I am a huge fan of Enoteca Drago, BH, and quite particular.

With that said …
Walking into Drago was like walking into a typical NYC restaurant, lots of ‘dark suits’ and black napkins, classy yet relaxed. As we are originally from NY/NJ, my guest and I immediately felt right at home …I felt a little homesick feeling that bit of that NY sensibility.

As Drago Centro has just opened, I feel they are still trying to get their act together. My partner had one menu, and I, a slightly varied menu. On his menu, Roasted Chestnut Soup was present, not on mine. Unfortunately, I had the current version of the menu. Soup was not in the cards for us. Additionally, there were a few ‘collisions’ and ‘spills’ in the dining area; excusable for now.

I was disappointed that two of my favorite dishes from Enoteca didn’t make even a disguised appearance at Centro – Burrato and Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe. My arm was twisted to try something new.

We started out with an amuse-bouche se containing some meat (prosiutto). I don’t eat meat; we sent it back and were gifted with a mouthful of flavors from ricotta and tomato.

The wine was kept at a distance, not allowing for self service; the staff was overly attentive, always trying to keep my Shott Zwiessel wine glass filled. I don’t drink much and prefer to fill my glass on my schedule.

The salad was a nice – le verdure e lattughe novella; fresh tasting baby greens, baby vegetables, butternut squash, cannelloni bean and white balsamic vinaigrette. It was light and ‘safe.’

We moved on to the Crispy Risotto with Octopus and Young Garlic Sauce (I am forever in search of the perfect Octopus). My ‘Italian’ guest was thrilled to speak with the wait staff about the regional influences of the dish. Next time I'd like to try the creamy risotto.

Next, a side of Caponata Sicilian. It was chunky, perfectly blended, enough pine nuts to be tasted and a hint of red pepper. Near perfection (I could have done without the golden raisins).

We moved on to the I Cannelloni di Zucca – Pumpkin Cannelloni, hazelnut butter, parmesan and sage. The meal was very blintz-like, the creative intent was there but the meal itself was overpowered by the parmesan.

We ended the meal with a scoop (or three) of pistachio ice cream.

The night was busy. We did see Chef Drago stop at a few tables, unfortunately, not ours. Thus, I guess we will need to visit Drago Centro again. I am looking forward to returning, trying more meals as Drago Centro matures.

Dec 20, 2008
lorisueb in Los Angeles Area

The Excellent New Seasonal Menu at Izakaya Bincho! [Review] w/ Pics!

NJFREQFLYER:
Hey, was there Sat eve (11/22), being a fish eating vegetarian, I found plenty on the menu to fulfill my need for diversity and healthly appetite. Started with the Rikotta, was good but each of the subsequent 6 or 8 courses was better and better. The salmon rice balls had wonderfuly crispy nori, the salmon was a little salty but kept me wanting more. The roasted Ginko Nuts were to die for .... I loved them. The fired cream cheese dumplings were not notable. The Agedashi Tofu was the best. For for 'desert', please try the fresh spring rolls. Like a breath of spring. Enjoy. By the way, I think I saw you there ...

Nov 23, 2008
lorisueb in Los Angeles Area