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May 28, 2007 04:05 AM

D'lish in Matawan

Six of us ended up at D'lish for an early supper last night and, to sum things up, we were glad we came.

D'lish is a byo on the corner of 79 and 34 that has been around for two months now (so it is time to remove the "Grand Opening" sign ;o). We came hungry as our first choice was closed and we were forced to find a nearby substitute.

The appetizers were very good. A huge portion of fried calamari arrived light and greaseless and were good, but the bbq shrimp were the big hit. It's kind of a sweet and sour sauce with mangoes.

Salads were big, fresh and flavorful as well, but nothing to get excited about. The homemade pastas were a lot more exciting however. I loved the gnochi and the ragout on the papardelle was outstanding.

Mains were decent, but less exciting. We had the crispy chicken and the veal chop milanese and both were alright, but nothing I would miss if I never had again. And desserts were ordinary but good.

I look forward to my next visit to try some other things - maybe the pizza...

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  1. Thanks for the report, seal! Despite the few things you say were very good, too many other dishes in the "nothing to get excited about" and "ordinary" categories. Sounds to me like another addition to the so-so Italians that swamp the area. :-(

    Btw, which was the restaurant that was closed?

    11 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      lol. True I guess about D'lish not being wonderful, but then again we were happy just for ordinary.

      And we were on our way to aTavola.

      1. re: seal

        A Tavola is normally closed on Monday. Strange that it was closed yesterday, a Sunday.

        As I've mentioned on another thread, we've had dinner at A Tavola once, and the food was very good. But since I believe consistency is key, I'm reserving overall judgment until we eat there a few more times.

        1. re: RGR

          Hi RGR and Seal,

          A Tavola generally doesn't open until 5 on SUndays sometimes even later if there is a private party. THnaks for the report on D'Lish. Sounds like it would be worht it just for the home made pasta, a hard find in this area.

          1. re: angelo04

            One quick question for either of you since you both seem to know the area well. What is your take on the Pine Tavern on 34 and Cotrell. I never thought twice about it since moving into the area 2 years ago but am intrigued since it is Zagat rated. RGR - Have you made it to Thai Thai. I am curious to hear your review.

            1. re: angelo04

              Hey angelo04,

              First off, yes, we did have dinner at Thai Thai a few weeks. I have been meaning to post a review, so I apologize for being so lax. In short, we liked the food a lot. But I'm still reserving overall judgment until we've had the opportunity to eat there a few times. That's because all too often we've tried restaurants for the first time and come away thinking that they're promising only to find on subsequent visits that the food was wildly inconsistent.

              As regards Pine Tavern, I had heard good things about it on another food forum, so we finally got around to trying it last year. Had dinner twice. The food was quite good both times, so it would appear there is consistency there. The interior is large and has pleasant decor. Service, though friendly, could be a bit more efficient. Despite that, I recommend you give it a try.


              1. re: RGR

                Will do. I've been apprehensive. Something about the exterior doesn't make it appealing to me. I'll give it a whirl.

                1. re: angelo04

                  Well, not for nothing is it called The "Pine" Tavern.

                  1. re: RGR

                    Please report back on Pine Tavern. I have declined to go there a few times and am interested.

                    1. re: seal

                      I am not excited about trying this, but I will take one for the team and report back in a week or so. LOL.

                      1. re: angelo04

                        angelo04, I've already paved the way for you since, as I've noted, we've been there twice. Just keep your expectations at a reasonable level and you should survive with tastebuds in tact to tell us your tale. lol

                2. re: RGR

                  I've ordered take out from Thai Thai several times now, and its much better than Pooket, its predecessor.

                  I have designated it my go to Thai place, unless you want to trek over to Aligado and wait forever

      2. I can't go back to D'lish after my last time there. I've been there twice. First time was inoffensive. Food was decent, not excellent., but our server -- a guy in his 30s-- was good. So we went back a second time. This time...ohhh boy.

        I asked my waitress a simple question, Is there any cheese on the "Veal Saltimboca?" I will try to relay an brief version of what followed:

        The waitress: Do you want cheese?
        Me: Well, I want to know how it's prepared. If there is cheese on it, I definitely want cheese.
        The waitress: How do you want the cheese?
        Me: I want the cheese however it comes. Melted I assume?

        Cut to the plate being put in from of me with a sunny side egg laid over the top of the Veal/Spinach/Proscuitto.!..I called over the waitress....and stated the obvious:

        Me: Um excuse me, this is an egg.
        The waitress: Yeah I know.
        Me: Do remember me asking you about the cheese?
        The waitress: I know, I think there's cheese IN it.
        Me: But you never mentioned the egg. An egg on top of veal is a really big thing to not mention.
        The waitress: I know. I asked them if I should tell people about the egg and they said no.

        And with that, I removed the egg and put it on my bread plate and tried to enjoy my meal. I don't even like eggs that much for breakfast let alone on my $28 Veal dish. I totally respect the chef's vision. He's perfectly entitled to put whatever he wants on his veal but to not disclose it on the menu implies he knows it's something people would be put off by and just doesn't care! If I had that information, I certainly would have tried a different dish. What if I had an egg allergy? A little while later the manager/chef's father? comes by and asks how everything is. I look at my egg and shrug Ok i guess. The guy in the white track suits says "great" and keeps moving.

        Need I say more. The waitress' ignorance of the menu and how she handled my disappointment in the dish was inexcusable, purposely hiding such a non-traditional item on a traditional dish is in excusable, the manager's obliviousness to my ambivalence was inexcusable. I think not letting the management know my displeasure at the time was inexcusable on my part. And I apologize for airing it here instead of giving the management an opportunity to remedy the situation. I was just so irritated at the time.

        Mind you, this place was packed both times I was there. I don't get it.

        6 Replies
        1. re: lolly318

          Hey, lolly318,

          Sounds as though the chef stumbled into D'Lish's kitchen and thought it was a German restaurant since there is a classic schnitzel dish that is topped with an egg. lol Seriously, though, for a chef to bastardize a classic Italian dish and then *purposely* tell his wait staff *not* to mention the egg? Inexcusable is putting it mildly!

          I do agree that you should have spoken up as soon as the plate was placed in front of you. However, since this chef's "vision" is, in my view, entirely too cloudy, I doubt if it will save the next unsuspecting diner who orders what he or she thinks is veal saltimbocca. That certainly is not it!

          As far as the place being packed, it doesn't take much for even the most mundane Italian restaurants around this area to attract diners. And, unfortunately, lots of mundane Italian restaurants is exactly what there are! :-(

          1. re: RGR

            Hey RGR,

            You can say that again about mundane Italian restos in Matawan. Before D'Lish it used to be Mulberry St Foccacaria and as you guessed it, Italian resto. I was hoping it would be something different but I guess I was hoping too much. By the way, have you've or anyone been to Peter's Fishery that's across the street. I've been wanting to go but been very afraid to. Hubby and I love our seafood but are just worried about the "freshness" of the items. Sometimes packed parking lot doesn't say much about the quality of the food.

            1. re: Rogsmom

              I've been to Pete's Fishery a couple times in the past year. I'm very picky about fish and I'm not always satisfied with the freshness at Pete's. My friend loves their crab-cakes. (I'm allergic to crab, so I can't give an opinion.)

              I like Navesink Fishery in Middletown. It's a fish market with a dining room in the back. Fresh fish, nicely prepared. Stick to the classic preparations and avoid the creative sauces.

              1. re: Rogsmom

                Hey, Rogsmom,

                We've been to Peter's Fishery many times though not within the past year. It's one of those places where we order exactly the same thing every time. (The one time I tried something different, i.e., slightly more "creative," it was a disaster!) We each start with the Manhattan clam chowder. Then, my husband orders the Mediterranean morsels over linguinie (not my thing!), and I order the fried shrimp platter with fries. The shrimp have a nice coating and are properly deep-fried so that they aren't greasy. Nothing mind-blowing but quite decent. Portions are very generous, so I always take home enough shrimp and fries for lunch the next day. As far as freshness goes, there's never been a problem with the shrimp or with any of the seafood "morsels."

                Btw, you do know that before Mulberry St., that location was occupied for many years by Peter's Fishery? They moved after building from scratch the restaurant they are in now. (I presume the owners bought the lot.) The original decor was ho-hum, but a few years ago, they completely renovated the interior. Now, it's more comfortable and has the look of a reasonably attractive diner.

              2. re: RGR

                I just went to D'Lish for lunch about two weeks ago and walked into an almost empty place. There were two tables being used when we arrived. I orgered the lasagna and when the waiter brought my plate to me, I was surprised that there was absolutely nothing else on the plate...I expected a piece of bread or something. When I requested some bread, he told me they didn't have any. Didn't have any bread? You've got to be kidding...he said "no, we only have bread for dinner" I guess I'll have to go there for dinner and see if that is true! Otherwise, the food was very good...I work right across from them and I have to admit, I thought they were closed as I rarely see any cars in the parking lot. When we left, they had one table with three people there...and that's a shame cause they do offer a tasty menu an the prices are reasonable.

                1. re: kfox1081

                  Your "no bread at lunch" story reminds me of a similar situation we encountered when we had lunch at Joe & Maggie's just after it was sold and before the new owners changed the name to Cask 591. I'm pretty sure I've told this story before somewhere on this board. But, here goes...

                  After we placed our orders, we received nothing but water. So, I asked the waitress if we could have some bread. Off she went, but when she returned, she informed us that there was no regular bread, just pita. We weren't thrilled, but what can you do? So, we said o.k. Off she went again, this time returning with a little basket from which, with a tongs, she extracted exactly one small triangle of pita for each of us. And nothing to go with it. No dip or spread. Just those two sorry little triangles. Period. It was totally laughable. We decided it wasn't worth pursuing. So, we ate the pita and waited for our food.

              1. re: shabbystorm

                And a final update in this thread: the location is now Esposito's Pizza & Pasta, and will presumably be opening soon.

                Any updates should be in a new thread titled "Esposito's".

                Pizza & Pasta
                1505 N Dupont Hwy, New Castle, DE 19720

                1. re: eleeper

                  That's kind of funny, since "Esposito" is more of a Spanish name than an Italian one.

                  Other than that, oh boy! Pizza & pasta! Sure don't have enough of THAT around here (insert eye roll here).

                  1. re: MarlboroMan

                    Thank you. Like Matawan really lacks pizza and pasta.