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Aug 16, 2007 06:52 AM

Garlic Rose, Cranford NJ

Been wanting to go to this place for the longest time, finally went last night--my mother went there for the first time this past Monday with friends, and couldn't wait to take me there. It was very, very good. I had a pasta from the regular menu--shrimp sauteed in olive oil, white wine, garlic, olives, herbs, etc., tossed with angel hair. No stinting on the garlic (they will add or eliminate as much garlic as you want). My mother just had an app of Spanish-style sauteed shrimp, also with lots of garlic. Very generous portions, good service too. Highly recommended.

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  1. Appreciate your report, albinoni. Our one experience with Garlic Rose was at their Madison location several years ago. It was a lunch celebrating a friend's receiving her PhD. The food was fine but nothing special. Thus, even though the Cranford G.R. is much closer for us, I've never been tempted to go there.

    2 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      I agree. A number of years ago, I dined at their Madison location, and I found the food to be good, but certainly not extraordinary. My real problem with the place was the incredibly crowded nature of the place. The tables were placed so close together that it was extremely difficult to navigate to and from one's table, and of course, having so many tables in such close proximity made the ambient noise level higher than it should have been.

      If the Cranford location is less cramped (Is it??), I might consider going there, but I have to say that I am not rushing there, based on the overall quality of the food that I experienced in my earlier visit in Madison.

      1. re: Ted in Central NJ

        As I noted, we were at the Madison location for a celebration luncheon. There were 12 of us, and seating was at several tables strung together, so the tight spacing you encountered was not an issue. Though there were a couple of other occupied tables, noise -- other than modest conviviality at our table -- was not a problem.

    2. Thanks for the report. We ate there once a couple of years back. It was ok, we weren't impressed enough to ever go back. We expected it to be more typical Italian with a heavy emphasis on the garlic and weren't very interested in the type of menu they had concocted - just a bit too fussy, like they were trying to hard to for the gimmick. Not bad by any means, just not our style of food tho I agree about generous portions, good quality and good service.

      1. albinoni, any chance it's under new ownership since its debut? Dh and I, along with friends from Union county, gave Garlic Rose a try right after it was probably six months new..and wanted more than anything to like it (even LOVE garlic) but just couldn't find anything extraordinary about our meal.

        Perhaps your experience is reason enough to give it another try.

        3 Replies
        1. re: HillJ

          Maybe it's new ownership or just changes in the kitchen. I don't even know when it opened. In any event, I was impressed by the quality of my meal (although desserts are just so-so).

          1. re: HillJ

            Yesterday I mentioned GR Craford to a friend of mine who lives in Scotch Plains, and he said he was just there last Saturday--that he had first been there shortly after it opened and did not like it very much, but after a couple of years decided to give it another shot, and found that it had improved substantially. He had heard that the ownership had been spending more time in Cranford because they realized it needed fixing. I'd say it's been fixed.

            1. re: albinoni

              Maybe we'll have to give it another shot then. It's been a couple of years since we went, so perhaps we owe it another try too. Thanks for the news.

          2. I love this place as well and the one in Madison is just as good. The Cranford place is a little cramped as well but comfortable, really good dining environment. I am very very picky when it comes to italian or efforts to make italian, but I think this place does a good job.

            The crabcakes that they had were shockingly good and among the best Ive ever had. Top notch food for any real garlic lover. Not much of a better combination than the fresh bulb of garlic with some fresh bread, the gilroy potatoes and some quality sangria.

            1. jum, that's interesting, i went to the madison location about 3 months ago because a friend told me about the place and i did not like the food at all, i had a shrimp pasta with garlic as a main dish, the pasta was overcooked and flavorless. the best stuff were the artichoke appetizer and the bottle of Nipozzano Riserva we brought.