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Now that (sob) Chengdu 1 in Cedar Grove is closed....

I think it was called "Chengdu Style" or something like that. Maybe in the former Golden Cantonese spot? I'm hoping for a buffet.

Jul 20, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

Quaker Steak and Lube - Edison

I tried out the wings and wasn't too impressed. The wing itself is pretty standard, not great, and I only tried two sauces - atomic and supercharged. Supercharged wasn't hot enough, atomic was a little too hot. Halfway between them would've been great. The only reason to go back would be if I wanted burn and wasn't in the mood for thai.

Also, the server was great, did everything right, checked all the boxes, even said "I'll be right back with your change" (I hate when they assume they get everything) and was in line for a 30-40% tip. Then she brought back only the bills, not the silver. If the change is $15.31, and you bring me back $15.00, you basically decided to keep some of my money. My dad would've either spoken to the manager or let her know that she chose $.31 as her tip and that's all she would get. I just silently fumed and left 15% or so.

Jun 28, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

Char - Red Bank

Yeah, I'll hit Steakhouse 85 next time I'm in the mood. Most of the time I'd rather have a burger, though.

Jun 19, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

Char - Red Bank

I'll throw this out there since it just happened. In a moment of weakness I went to Longhorn Steakhouse and got the Outlaw Ribeye, and it was perfect. Perfectly cooked (med rare), perfectly seasoned, really enjoyable and for $25. The french onion soup was kind of crappy, the salad was what you would expect, good broccoli side, no drinks or dessert, good service (sat at the bar). Best steak I've had in some time.

Jun 19, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

Dave & Buster seeking approval to open in NJ

I think the problem with chains is that consistency among locations is so important - you need to have a particular dish taste the same every time, whether you're eating it in Dunellen or in Chicago. That means an operations manual that produces the same results whether it's a teenager or Jacques Pepin in your kitchen. In other words, it's always pretty good but never really bad or superb. I'd rather go to a place where the chef's skill makes a difference and he or she has the freedom to innovate.

I'm not a food snob, though; I'll throw down a quarter pounder in a heartbeat.

It astounded me that there was a Hard Rock Cafe on Bourbon Street and there were people inside eating. Hard Rock. In the heart of New Orleans.

Jun 18, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

Suggestions near TD Bank Park - Somerset

Depends on how far you want to go - your best bet is to hit route 28 in either direction, and it's a mile or so until you get to either Bound Brook (mexican/salvadorean/etc), Somerville (fancy, lots of places) or Manville (Grub Hut, Drewby's Grill Pub). There's also 28 Barbecue pretty close which has Portuguese barbecue. Yelp mentions Girasole and the New West Brook Tavern but as I haven't eaten at either I can't comment.

If you like sushi I'd hit Shumi in Somerville and get the omakase. Last time I went to Grub Hut I got the brisket and it was outstanding, but as you know barbecue can be hit or miss.

Jun 18, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

Jersey Sloppy Joe gets its due at Serious Eats

I had a similar experience and I enjoyed it, but not as much as the one I was used to, by a long shot.

Jun 14, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

Jersey Sloppy Joe gets its due at Serious Eats

good one

Jun 14, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

New Brunswick - any really good indian?

Hoysala is close and pretty good, just down easton ave into Somerset. If you want to stay in NB you can go fancy - Due Mari, Panico's, Clydz, Catherine Lombardi, Stage Left, Frog/Peach - or you hit the sketchy part of town for Mexican/Dominican/criollo. Lots of other choices depending on what you feel like, but Indian wouldn't be my choice.

Since you say near State Theater, if it's lunch just go to Stage Left and get the burger - it's outstanding.

Jun 07, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

Guy Fieri Diners Drive-ins and Dives - any worthwhile in Monmouth County?

10 seconds of that guy was enough for a lifetime.

May 28, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

A dairy farm to tour

Valley Shepherd Creamery has a sheep-based operation, artisan cheeses, etc. valleyshepherd.com

May 14, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

looking for places to get tacos al pastor in northern NJ (Bergen County)

I have no idea which one in the NB/Plainfield area is the best. From my point of view there are 20 or 30 equally good and authentic mexican places within my lunch radius. I usually go to Crazy Burrito or pick one I've never been to.

May 09, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

Edison and surrounding area suggestions

They're Taiwanese, I think, one of only two or three in the area. Pretty good the one time I ate there.

May 09, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

Edison and surrounding area suggestions

I'd add one of the Korean places, China Bowl for cantonese, Coco or Penang for malaysian curry, Noodles Time for the pork belly bun and if you find yourself in North Edison, Sigiri for sri lankan (black curry).

I'd probably split it up into three days - Pan-Asian Day, Indo-Pak Oak Tree Day and the Latin-American Plainfield-New Brunswick Alliance.

Excellent idea, by the way.

May 09, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

hmart

I have to hand it to whoever is handling the Edison HMart - they've got a plan and they're executing. It used to be yet another half-empty strip mall but is now thriving, with most of the storefronts occupied and several more with "Coming Soon" signs. It was so busy today I had to park in the far southwest corner to go to HMart.

The coming soons included "Spice 24" (a restaurant), a Scottrade and an "Ullala" which google suggests is Korean pajamas/lingerie. Also the spa looks open now and there's a new dollar store, or as I'll be calling it the "1088.29 won" store.

I sincerely hope a rival Japanese firm decides to take action and build their own JTown conveniently within my lunch range. Let's get this arms race started.

May 09, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

looking for places to get tacos al pastor in northern NJ (Bergen County)

Looks like a decent taco truck in Union City (Tacos Al Pastor on Bergenline Ave).

May 07, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

Where to go in Iselin area for group Indian dinner?

I've heard Rasoi is a good one

May 07, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

Fernandes 3 - Sayerville, NJ

That's why I barbecue ribs, not brisket. How is cheap beef twice as much as the most expensive chicken?

May 07, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

looking for places to get tacos al pastor in northern NJ (Bergen County)

Not sure how north you're looking, but there are several places in NB and Edison with al pastor.

May 06, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

First date restaurants in northern/central NJ?

New Brunswick has several decent places. Clydz for martinis and game, Tumulty's for pub food, everything else within walking distance.

Apr 23, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

Laksa?

Laksa noodles aren't sour; they're regular curry. Asam laksa is sour, hot and fishy. I haven't had one like on the A/E menu; that sounds good.

Apr 15, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

Best cheap buffets?

That always happens. It's like snow crab syndrome but worse - you have to be walking by at the right time when no one's guarding that spot, you grab a bunch, you spend 20 minutes mangling your hands to get 1/4 oz of meat and a mouthful of shell shards.

Just not worth it.

It's like someone threw a lobster in a wood chipper, then floured and fried whatever came out. I had trouble even identifying what part of the lobster they were supposed to be.

Apr 15, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

Laksa?

It's not just good, it's asam.

Apr 15, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

Best cheap buffets?

Teppanyaki on 18 is pretty good - large selection, decent dim sum, mostly chinese with sushi and miscellaneous. Makkoli on 18 is good for japanese and a better sushi assortment. Picnic Garden in Edison on 27 is an all-you-can-eat korean barbecue. The buffet is mostly raw meat but there are cooked items too.

The key with these, in my opinion, is to go for lunch and not for dinner. You get a better price for mostly the same selections.

Ichiumi in Menlo Park has very good food but is also very expensive for a buffet. Worth going at least once. They're one of the only places with cold soba noodles.

Most of the indian buffets have the same general dishes and they're all good enough. Hoysala is my preferred buffet because of the heat level.

Apr 13, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

The best dumplings-- and food as well

If I was looking for dumplings I'd see what King's Village has on special, then go to Wonder Seafood for dim sum and Shanghai for soup dumplings. I don't think I've had Sichuan wonton in hot oil but I saw someone mention them, and now I want them.

I'll add Korean mandu to the list of ones to try out also, and khinkali at one of the Georgian places.

Apr 12, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

First Dickey's BBQ in NJ opens in East Brunswick today

I took a bullet for the team and went down for a combo plate. They were mobbed but doing a decent job of keeping up.

I tried the chopped brisket, the sliced brisket, the pulled pork and the ribs. I don't know why anyone would choose chopped over sliced if they've had them both - texture and moistness were both better with sliced. Pork was standard, sliced brisket was decent, the ribs were ironically the best item. I thought they'd be sauced considering the pic, but they were dry rubbed, tender and flavorful. The cole slaw was very good, baked beans were standard.

Not a bad meal at all but also not great. Good enough.

Mar 19, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

First Dickey's BBQ in NJ opens in East Brunswick today

I will, because it's near me, it's barbecue and I haven't been there. Brisket will be my primary target as usual, but since it's the first time I'll make it a combo plate. Maybe two.

Ribs are my favorite, but I can make better ribs at home than I can get pretty much anywhere, so I buy meats I don't make at home.

Mar 19, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

First visit in 43 years

Not too surprising after watching the Kitchen Nightmares episode. The revamped menu was decent, though.

Mar 18, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

First visit in 43 years

I believe that was Rincon Ecuatoriano. I also hit Mi Vella Centroamerica (breakfast plate), Maria's (salvadorean), Danny's (guatemalan), Blackberry's, Family Soul Spot, a couple of others I don't quite remember (Rincon Hondureno, maybe, and peruvian barbecue). I haven't been to Lynmine Int'l but that's allegedly guyanese.

Mar 17, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey

Strip Mall Shangri-Las

I went there for lunch today and have some more details. They now have a menu to order from, and buffet on the weekend (all day sat, lunch only sun).

I ordered andhra mutton expecting that it would come with some kind of side dish, but I was wrong. There's a bowl of rice, a couple of crispy bread pieces and a bowl of mutton in not-spicy-enough sauce. It was good but I was looking for burn and didn't get it.

Next time I'd get the combo plate (thali, I think) and specify that I want it hot enough to injure. The better option is to just hit the weekend buffet, which I think I'll do in a few weeks.

In summary, mildly disappointing because of high expectations (from previous visits) and my own ineptitude (bowl of mutton instead of combo plate).

Mar 17, 2015
chuck98 in New Jersey