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Good restaurant in Ridgewood, N.J. area?

Hi 'Hounds!
Got a question for those in New Jersey. I live in California, but my brother has lived in the New Jersey area (Ridgewood) for almost 5 years now. I would like to send him a gift certificate from a restaurant from that area, but I have only visited there once, and don't know any of the restaurants there. I would like to give a certificate for $75-100, and send the money to the restaurant and then have them send the certificate out.
Can anyone out there help me out with this? Thanks!

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  1. Bacari Grill in Washington Township is very nice.

    2 Replies
    1. re: patmolloy

      Thanks, I'll check it out!
      Any additional suggestions out there?

      1. re: patmolloy

        I have heard nothing but bad things about Bacari. Overcooked, tasteless, boring food. It looks "nice", but it is not hound worthy. I've heard this from people who have been there for dinner, for holiday parties, for showers, etc. And I've also heard that it is overpriced.

        You didn't mention the type of food he would enjoy, so I have a few recs. In Ridgewood, I would highly recommend Sakura Bana. It is an excellent sushi place, and it is extremely popular. Every night the wait to get in the door or to get take out is very long. The fish is excellent, the rolls are very interesting, and they have some unique sashimi and sushi options.

        In the area, I would recommend Andreas in Waldwick. It's an Italian restaurant with outstanding food. I'm very, very picky about Italian food, and I tend to not go to Italian restuarants--but this place is the exception. They have a great menu with classics, and then their specials are always great. My go-to dish there is chilean sea bass on a bed of broccoli rabe with lemon and capers. And I always get their famous napoleon for dessert.

        -----
        Sakura-Bana
        43 Franklin Ave, Ridgewood, NJ 07450

        Andreas Ristorante Italiano
        26 E Prospect St, A Waldwick, NJ

      2. does it have to be in Ridgewood? i would recommend Cafe Panache in Ramsey or Saddle River Inn, both of which are about 10-15 min. drive from Ridgewood.

        1. I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest something a little different than most, as I have come to find peoples' opinion and preferences are different.

          I believe the important issue is the generosity of the gift, and not necessarily where or how much it is for.. Generally speaking, it is nice to receive a gift for a place that normally would not be in the recipients financial range, but at least, the gift would contribute to the intended experience. You are going to receive many yeahs and nays, and dissenting opinions....I'll leave that for others.....

          Consider simply a Certificate to Houston's in Riverside Square Mall in Hackensack or the new Grand Lux Cafe or Napa Valley Grille located in the Garden State Plaza mall. I am sure your brother or his family shops at one or both and they could use it for a meal at some future time. All three are reliable choices and safe recommendations to satisfy a wide range of tastes.

          The new Grand Lux Cafe is a new concept from the parent Cheesecake Factory. It's more upscale and originally conceived to be part of The Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. I have been to all three places and if I received a gift from either of the three, I would be more than presently surprised. it is also located next to the new AMC Movie complex, so it is convenient for date nights.

          With that said, my suggestion for a "Wow" gift would be for Lu Nello's in Cedar Grove/Little Falls. It's the choice for my gifts to friends and business associates.

          All places can be Googled and have their own websites, so gift certificates can be easily purchased.

          7 Replies
          1. re: fourunder

            Thank you everyone, especially you, forunder, for your thoughtful reply. I appreciate that you considered several components of the gift.
            I will definitely consider all of these suggestions with my sister, who is sending the gift with me.

            1. re: aurora50

              aurora50,

              Thank you for the polite communication and kind words. The reason I worded my first response carefully was my suspicion of the responses that you would receive, not by me, but others. It appears this is a tough crowd. It's always easy to spend other people's money.

              For you naysayers who by chance would receive a gift certificate from Morton's The Steakhouse in Riverside Square, would you still feel the same way.......disappointed and may I add, ungrateful.

              BTW...this is gift from family people......not from some business client or employer. If a family member of mine was disappointed after I thoughtfully and generously took the time and effort to send me a gift of any kind after research and much contemplation.....from 3000 miles away...........it would be the last gift they ever received from me. Also consider this gift can be passed on to nieces or nephews, or enjoyed for a pleasant lunch during a day of shopping, rather than the fast food food court. I know you all shop.

            2. re: fourunder

              The Grand Lux is a chain, as you mentioned above. It is mediocre at best. I would be very disappointed, personally, to get a gift certificate to this establishment. I dined there once a few months ago (at the Garden State Plaza location) and the food was basically diner food at restaurant prices. There was nothing interesting about the place, and the service was exactly what you would expect from a chain. They literally took my husband's dish away while he was still eating. But, as you said, everyone has their own taste.

              In my opinion, Cedar Grove is a little on the far side for a gift. I would stay in the Bergen County area.

              1. re: kimie

                Thank you kimie, do you have any suggestions? Or do you agree with any of the suggestions so far?

                1. re: aurora50

                  I operate a store in Ridgewood and have tried about every restaurant in town. In your price range, I'd personally be thrilled to get a gift certificate for Silver Oak Bistro. Even better, you can purchase a gift certificate from their website, silveroakbistro.com. The food is sort of upscale southern comfort food which really hits the spot on snowy day like today.

                  Mediterraneo on Broad St. in Ridgewood is also good, but I'm not sure if Michael sells gift certificates. Give him a call at 201-447-0022. Might be a better choice if your brother likes mediterranean/provencal/middle Eastern fare. Michael is a real stickler for detail and authenticity - his dorada is flown in from the mediterranean (and if he doesn't think you can appreciate it he will tell you that he's out of it - either that or else he really is out of it!).

                  Sakura Bana is good if your brother likes sushi, but I feel that they've gone downhill somewhat since remodeling the restaurant. Also have to voice another nay for Bacari Grill.

                2. re: kimie

                  Have to agree with Kimie; even for a new/unknown to me chain (which this is for northern NJ), I'd be less than thrilled about a g.c. to a restaurant at the mall. Unless you make it clear that you want them to have a 'date night' and give them AMC tickets along with it, I think there are many more choices in and around Bergen County.
                  I'm a major fan of Blu in Montclair (about a 30 min drive), which is also BYO. For $100, a couple can have a fantastic meal. The chef is often cited as one of NJ's best, but you're not going to find food this good at this low a price anywhere else that I can think of! www.restaurantblu.com
                  Another spot that gets raves is Cucharamama in Hoboken; I haven't been yet, but your brother could easily take the train right from Ridgewood and not worry about parking or driving. Again, this is a place with creative food that is highly touted in local and national publications (it was either Food & Wine or Gourmet that recently highlighted the place). www.cucharamama.com

                  1. re: Curlz

                    Thank you so much, everyone! If anyone else wants to join in, keep 'em coming - I'm going to consider each and every place.

              2. Sakurabana used to be our favorite but it no longer seems to have first rate sushi.
                Napa Valley Grill, although part of a small chain, is a lovely restaurant with surprisingly good food. Oceanos in Fairlawn, is a very popular, fairly new seafood restaurant. Unfortunately, even though Ridgewood has many, many restuarants, most are very mediocre.

                1 Reply
                1. re: nancyl126

                  i've been reading the reviews for the Sakurbana in ridgewood, post-remodeling... hm... the Sakurabana in Central Nyack is truly delicious. You should try the one in Nyack, it's still very very good.

                2. FYI, here's a terrific article about the owner of Cucharamama (and Zafra), the Hoboken restaurant I suggested:
                  http://www.gardenplate.com/article/fe...