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NEED A GREAT BYO IN CENTRAL NJ!

f
fletchphil Nov 15, 2007 05:09 PM

Hi everyone! I want a really great place to have my birthday dinner with some friends... Need a Sunday reservation though, and it seems like all of the good BYO's take Sunday off... We will travel up to 45 minutes outside of Princeton. I guess I need to book it pretty soon though, I am looking for December 2nd...

  1. f
    fletchphil Nov 27, 2007 06:59 PM

    THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR AWESOME ADVICE>>> I MIGHT HAVE TO CHECK OUT THIS PLACE ORA IN MORRISTOWN. WE HAVE TRIED FERRY HOUSE, ACACIA, CHAMBERS WALK, AND BROTHERS MOON BEFORE, AND IT JUST SEEMS THAT THEY ARE ALL RESTING ON THEIR LAURELS... THE MENU AT THE FERRY HOUSE HAS NOT CHANGED IN YEARS, AND WHILE THE DECOR AT ACACIA IS MUCH NICER SINCE THE UP-DO, THREE OF SIX DISHES WE ORDERED HAD SOME FORM OF MASHED POTATOES, AND TWO OF THE THREE WERE COLD... I LOVE EL MESON AS WELL... AND AGAIN THANK YOU. IF ANYONE ELSE HAS IDEAS, WE ARE 4 PEOPLE, WITH REALLY GOOD WINE, AND ARE LOOKING FOR THE TYPE OF FOOD WE HAVE HAD AT THE BLUE BOTTLE, BUT THEY ARE CLOSED ON SUNDAY :(

    1 Reply
    1. re: fletchphil
      bgut1 Nov 27, 2007 08:00 PM

      fletchphil - Your welcome - however in the future I would request not typing in CAPS as its hard to read and people may think your yelling. Good Luck.

    2. Pink Pepper Nov 26, 2007 07:39 AM

      I have found a potential new favorite BYO. We've been there twice. Will go back again soon and bring friends with us. I'm so sure they will like it, as well.
      Valentinos Ristorante
      4241 Route 9 North
      Freehold, NJ
      732-683-1400

      Food is delicious and they make a beautiful presentation of everything! The desserts are also special...so save room.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Pink Pepper
        j
        jsfein Nov 26, 2007 09:57 AM

        Pink,

        Please provide more details. I drive by this place all the time and haven't stopped by. Its in the strip mall with the pool store, right? Last time I visited that space there was a short-lived Mexican restaurant that was rather terrible. What's good?

        1. re: jsfein
          Pink Pepper Nov 27, 2007 05:54 AM

          Yes, that's the place, Jsfein. There are quite a few good dishes at Valentino's. We've only been there twice but we've been happy with their lobster salad served in a huge martini glass. We both chose the grouper this time. Served in a light red seafood sauce over spinach. So delicious. Hubby had the apple crisp with vanilla ice cream. There were a lot of people having their flambe desserts made at their table and served in a crystal glass.
          The first time we went I wasn't sure if we should go in.We were peeking in the window. Sharif came out and chased us in. Practically begged us. lol
          This time we didn't have a reservation and had to wait 40 minutes. I'd say the place is catching on. A few people on the way out said the same thing..."Worth the wait".

      2. g
        gpineles Nov 25, 2007 10:05 AM

        Try acacia in lawrenceville. excellent!

        1. f
          fredfred Nov 25, 2007 06:37 AM

          The Ferry House in Princeton is BYOB and very good.

          1. j
            jkosnett Nov 24, 2007 05:59 PM

            Ora in Morristown. My wife, who rarely engages in hyperbole, described our meal there as "orgasmic." I'd agree.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jkosnett
              y
              yankeefan Nov 25, 2007 07:29 AM

              Take this as a one-time visit, but I thought that Ora was horrendous.

              I will have to say- reviews have been mixed and others have also sworn by it so I am willing to give another try. It was early on but the food was just not good at all and the service was the worst I had ever received.

            2. Passadumkeg Nov 17, 2007 01:37 PM

              Try Seven Hills in Highland Park. Very good Turkish food, nice cozy atmosphere, gracious staff and open Sunday. Flying down to NJ tomorrow for the week and is high on my list.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Passadumkeg
                Spiritchaser Nov 17, 2007 01:52 PM

                I agree that 7 Hills has great food and a wonderful staff but I would never think to call it cozy. Seems almost utilitarian.

                1. re: Spiritchaser
                  t
                  Tay Nov 17, 2007 02:35 PM

                  I agre... "Cozy" is not a word I'd use to describe this restaurant

                  1. re: Tay
                    Passadumkeg Nov 24, 2007 05:28 PM

                    Man, compared to florescent lights and formica counters and table tops in rural Maine and I mean rural, 7 Hills is more than cozy it is almost plush! Just got back from NJ this afternoon, the cold crisp air tasted great!

              2. Spiritchaser Nov 17, 2007 09:45 AM

                It will push your limits as to how far you want to go but a "cannot miss" place that happens to be a BYO is Le Rendevouz in Kenilworth. If it doesn't work for you on this occasion make a point to go some other time.

                1. s
                  SunnyD Nov 17, 2007 08:29 AM

                  Thai Origin in Sommerville! Excellent food, BYO, and they even have a special song if you tell them it is your bday. About 25 minutes from Princeton.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: SunnyD
                    y
                    yankeefan Nov 17, 2007 09:42 AM

                    Have only been to Origin in Morristown but if the one in Somerville is the same, I would also recommend.

                  2. n
                    njeggy1 Nov 17, 2007 03:43 AM

                    Drew's is pretty far and is pretty small. If it's a lot of people, then you will be disturbing the other diners. I recommend LouCas in Edison on Rt. 27 and Parsonage Rd.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: njeggy1
                      bgut1 Nov 17, 2007 10:10 AM

                      I wouldn't rule out Drew's if size is a concern. I would call Drew and see what he thinks. I'm sure they should be able to handle your party.

                      1. re: njeggy1
                        a
                        albinoni Nov 19, 2007 10:57 AM

                        I've been waiting for chance to post my recent experience at LouCas. I was there for an early dinner with my wife and mother, and my wife ordered a veal chop medium rare. It came out between medium and well. We called the waiter over who seemed unsure about what to do, but took the plate away. A minute or two later, an older woman--obviously the owner, although she never introduced herself, came over, and started defending the preparation of the chop. She then took my wife's knife out from under her, cut off a slice, and held it up, saying that it was medium rare because . . . She was loud, obnoxious, and her behavior was unprofessional and unacceptable. I don't believe that a restaurant should ever blame the customer when the kitchen gets it wrong, and that is exactly what she was doing. I would never recommend LouCas on this board or any other.

                        1. re: albinoni
                          bgut1 Nov 19, 2007 01:13 PM

                          albinoni - I would take it a step further. This kind of behavior isn't acceptable EVEN if the kitchen wasn't wrong. As far as I'm concerned, the customer is always right and the owner should have taken the dish away and replaced it with one to your wife's liking. Establishments like this should not be rewarded with our patronage.

                          1. re: albinoni
                            fershore Nov 21, 2007 10:47 AM

                            I had the exact same experience with Danny from Danny's in Red Bank. I ordered a filet mignon medium rare and it came out medium well. Danny pointed out that the center bite was cooked perfectly!

                            1. re: fershore
                              t
                              Tay Nov 25, 2007 07:57 AM

                              fershore
                              I would have then sugggested that Danny take a cooking class on the degree of doneness of meat. :-} I can never understand why an owner would risk, actually, insure losing a patron over something so foolish.

                            2. re: albinoni
                              t
                              Tay Nov 25, 2007 07:54 AM

                              albinoni
                              That really was outrageous behavior! The very fact that this person picked up and handled your wife's eating utensils is just plain obnoxious and unsanitary .
                              I hope you didn't get intimidated into paying for her entree.

                              1. re: Tay
                                a
                                albinoni Nov 26, 2007 06:15 AM

                                Tay,

                                We paid for everything. I didn't want to make the scene any uglier, since my mother, who is disabled, was with us. I think the best way of dealing with a situation such as a confrontational owner or manager is to post on boards such as Chowhound or Roadfood. The adverse publicity will not deter the restaurant's regulars who do not read Chowhound, of which I am sure there are many, but it will eventually make its way out and encourage potential new customers (and old ones who get wind of what kind of experience they too might one day expect at LouCas) to spend their hard-earned money elsewhere.

                                1. re: albinoni
                                  bgut1 Nov 26, 2007 07:07 AM

                                  albinoni - I would dispute the charge for the meal with my credit card company.

                          2. y
                            yankeefan Nov 16, 2007 11:15 AM

                            Not sure if you are interested in Mexican laid back atmosphere, but my all-time favorite BYO is El Meson in Freehold.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: yankeefan
                              f
                              FoodDoc Nov 16, 2007 01:05 PM

                              Dre's Bayshore Bistro in Keyport

                              1. re: FoodDoc
                                bgut1 Nov 16, 2007 01:38 PM

                                I wholeheartedly second FoodDoc's recommendation of Drew's. I would also consider non-BYO's and inquire about corkage fees. For example, during the summer I brought a bottle to One54 in Rocky Hill nd for a very reasonable fee (I don't recall the sum), enjoyed one of my favorite bottles of wine. The food by the way was fantastic and recommend you give it a try as it not too far away from you.

                            2. ambrose Nov 16, 2007 05:41 AM

                              It would help to know how many will be in your party and what kind of experience you are looking for. Some people want a TGIF type place and others are looking for something more upscale. Let us know and we'll try to help.

                              I can tell you that the Blue Bottle in Hopewell is closed on Sunday but The Brothers Moon just down the street is open. It's a great little BYO but I think it closes around 8 PM (a lot of restaurants close early on Sunday night).

                              If you're willing to drive all the way to Flemington, consider Matt's Red Rooster Grill or Fusion on Main. Both are BYOs and both are very good (and they're open on Sunday). I haven't been to Orvieto for years, mainly because I was never impressed with the food.

                              There was a thread some months ago about the best BYOs in Lambertville so you might search for that. I'm afraid I don't know which ones are open on Sunday.

                              You might also check out The Main Street Bistro in Somerville. I had a wonderful meal there about two weeks ago. Their web site says they are closed on Sunday but I'm pretty sure this is no longer correct. Give them a call.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: ambrose
                                ambrose Nov 17, 2007 07:30 AM

                                Just a thought...

                                Our favorite BYO in Lambertville is Manon. However, the restaurant is fairly small so it would work only if your group is small. Here's a recent review from the Star-Ledger. Oh, yes, it is open on Sundays.

                                http://www.nj.com/entertainment/dinin...

                              2. b
                                BCjr Nov 16, 2007 05:18 AM

                                I just had dinner at No. 9 on Klines Court in Lambertville and it was great. The antipasto was fantastic and I had the best pork chop I had ever tasted. Big, tender and juicy. My wife had Escolar, which you don't see much, which came with a tasty risotto.
                                She loved it. The short ribs are fantastic too.
                                I'd have everyone meet at the Boathouse Pub, off of Coryell St. for a drink first and walk down the path to No. 9. If you haven't been to the Boathouse I think your guests would get a kick out of it. It's a cozy 2 story "house" with a very eclectic style. It's so unique. BTW, I think it might be cash only. It is directly across from Hamilton Grill, which is pretty good, but I prefer no. 9.
                                A little closer for you is the Blue Bottle and Brothers Moon in Hopewell. I like them both, but can't swear they are open on Sunday.

                                1. j
                                  jt11647 Nov 15, 2007 05:26 PM

                                  Orvieto's in Flemington - great food -byo
                                  Nonna's- in Raritan - Italian - byo
                                  Settebello - in Morristown
                                  Hamilton Grill - Lambertville

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: jt11647
                                    TBird Nov 19, 2007 01:15 PM

                                    hamilton grill is a solid rec...

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