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Jan 3, 2008 12:36 PM

Main Street Bistro, Somerville NJ

Was thinking of going to this BYO Friday night. Any comments? Any must-haves? All advice welcome!
Thanks : )

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  1. The Main Street Bistro has become one of our "go to" restaurants in the area. Whenever we've gone, it's been busy so they're obviously doing something right! The only quiet time we experienced was just after Thanksgiving when people were probably tired of eating.

    We've never had any of the appetizers for the simple reason that all entrees are accompanied by either a salad or a soup. The last time we went we enjoyed their pumpkin soup, a particularly delicious version that really hit the spot on a cold, winter night. I had one of their signature dishes, a pork tenderloin with gorgonzola sauce. If you don't enjoy blue cheese then this particular dish is not for you but since I'm a blue cheese freak I loved it! My friend had a tilapia special but all I can remember is that it was judged very good. Desserts here are especially good and I would recommend the apple walnut cheesecake if it's on the menu. I also remember having Nonna's cake but it wasn't nearly as delectable as the cheesecake.

    Although the serving staff tends to be young, they are more than competent. I'm guessing that they have been trained by the owner, who is quite visible in the dining room. He will almost certainly stop by for a short chat.

    If there's one weak spot it would be the vegetables that accompany some of the entrees. They tend to be run of the mill - carrots, cauliflower, etc - that are found at many restaurants these days.

    Bottom line is that we often go to The Main Street Bistro now and have recommended it to numerous friends.

    1. I don't have too much to add, except that I've been there a few times in the past (although it's been a couple of years now). I always had a nice meal there. Definitely give it try.

      2 Replies
      1. re: dj487

        Thank you both. We're going to give it a try. Will let you know how we make out.

        1. re: princessgirl

          Wasn't too busy Friday night, but then again we went fairly early and it's also January - not peak season for dining out (must be all the resolutions to lose weight). Service was great. There when we needed them but not hovering and very friendly. Bread was served with 2 sauces/spreads. I didn't try them as I too am trying to lose a little weight and have chosen to pass on the bread. My BF had it with the pepper and tomato sauce and said it was very good. Choice of soup or salad. Soup was N.E. clam, so we both opted for a salad, which comes with their house dressing. We chose the shrimp Niccola for an appetizer. Diced shrimp with fresh garlic and white wine served over Italian bread. IMO a little pricey at $10.99 when you only get 2 slices of bread. However, the sauce was delicious. BF ordered a special which consisted of chicken, shrimp, sausage & peppers in a balsamic like sauce. He raved about it. I had the stuffed shrimp. It was prepared well; however, the crab meat was a little disappointing as it was supposed to have brandy flavoring, which I did not taste and had a little too much filler for me. The portions were great and we definitely did not leave hungry. We will definitely be back (I'll just be ordering something different).

      2. great place.

        Also, if you haven't already, check out Madame "S" around the corner a bit. Another BYO, and some not so run of the mill dishes that are not so out there you wouldn't order and very good tasting.

        13 Replies
        1. re: RPMcMurphy

          If I recall correctly, Madame S closed about a month back and is now known as Bank 34 Restaurant serving Pan-Asian food. Here's a link to their menu

          1. re: bgut1

            Hmm, looks like a VERY "similiar" menu, although I remember having buffalo steaks there a few times. My girlfriend will be sad to hear it closed. It was kind of our hidden little place, but she'll be glad to hear they have a Bulgogi dish!!

            1. re: bgut1

              Yes, Madame S is gone. Same owners but different name and menu. I was looking forward to trying Tapastre but recently saw a not so favorable review on it. We tried Il Pomodoro over the summer. It was okay but not spectacular.

              1. re: princessgirl

                Where did you see the not-so-favorable review of Tapastre? All the newspaper and on-line reviews I've seen have been favorable. Here's one:


                1. re: ambrose

                  The only other review I could find was the Good given by Karla Cook of NYT.

                  1. re: bgut1

                    Hey, bgut1, I actually thought Karla Cook's review of Tapastre was very fair. The Artful Diner of course slammed it (or more correctly, slammed her) but then he seems to have a hidden agenda when it comes to Karla!

                    The other review of Tapastre I've seen was in the Time Off section of The Princeton Packet. However, it wasn't so much a review as a listing of what the reviewers ate. I'm always disappointed by the reviews in Time Off.

                  2. re: ambrose

                    I'm not saying they are reputable reviews (see below); however, they were in response to the Artful Diner's review. I'm still going to try it and form my own opinion.

                    Posted by foodie78 on 12/20/07 at 11:30AM
                    you've gotta be kidding me! everything about me and my husbands Tapastre experience was horrible. no one knew we had a reservation (not like it mattered, the place was empty). the lamb chops were so salty i had to send them back. the hummus should have been named simply "garlic spread" and my white chocolate soup tasted like burnt marshmallows.
                    i ordered a mark west pinot and it tasted like the bottle had been open for a month. i then asked the bartender if i could have instead a 7 n 7 and he had to ask me what that exactly was.
                    i'm usually NEVER this critical but i have to put this restaurant on my "stay away from" list!

                    Inappropriate? Alert us. Post a commentPosted by FJPurpos on 01/06/08 at 12:24PM
                    Horrible dining experience in every way. Please avoid this establishment. Il pomodoro upstairs isn't what it used to be either. Beautiful atmosphere though food is overpriced for what you get.

                    Inappropriate? Alert us. Post a comment

                    1. re: princessgirl

                      The sad thing about Tapastre and Il Pomodoro is that they are in such a beautifully restored building. I would hate to see the incompetent owners run it into the ground, but from my experience and what I've read, I wouldn't be surprised. What a shame that would be.

              2. re: RPMcMurphy

                With respect, RPMcMurphy, though Nurse Ratched doesn't work there, the one meal we had at Madame S led us to opine that the 'S' is the start of a four letter word that might follow 'bull' or 'horse'. We had two mediocre appetizers (so mediocre I can't remember them!) and two different pieces of fish so awful (Imagine licking the bottom of a salt water fish tank and you'll get my drift) that we sent them back, only to have the chef come out damn near waving a cleaver and cursing us out in some language I'm glad I don't understand. The present owners and staff of the newly named joint are the same as Madame S's. Caveat eater! My advice? Make a reservation at Origin across the street.

                1. re: mmgpsych

                  You do know, don't you, that Origin and the new restaurant (can't remember its name) are owned by the same people? And that one chef oversees both restaurants? Odd that the new place should be so bad, though I have read one or two negative comments about their take-out food.

                  Added in Edit: You should start a new topic about this place, once we remember its name!!

                  1. re: ambrose

                    I do know that the owner is the same, and it's a bit odd until you think about The Peter Principle (The Peter Principle says that people continue to rise until they reach their level of incompetence, and then rise no more.) The owner of Origin opened a second Origin in Morristown, still quite successful though not as good as the original, and then decided he wanted to expand his horizons and try something more upscale and experimental. Thus, Madame S. Blech!

                    1. re: mmgpsych

                      Duh, I just noticed in an earlier post from bgut1 that the restaurant is called Bank 34.

                      1. re: ambrose

                        i enjoy it everytime i go there...