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Valentine Day

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What are you planning for Valentines day? DH and I are going to stay home this year but I was wondering where others are planning to go.

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  1. We're staying home because our anniversary is 4 days later and we'll go for our "special" dinner for our anniversary. We'll probably go to Salt Creek Grille.

    1. We're not going out for Valentine's Day. We go out every Saturday, so we're going to go to Gladstone Tavern on Saturday as our Valentine's Day dinner to avoid the fixed menus.

      1. Folks, this regional board is focused on where to find great chow in the Mid-Atlantic region, and therefore "eating at home" is off topic for this board. If you want to talk about ideas of where to eat out, that's fine, but off topic responses have been, and will be, removed. If you want to discuss why people eat out on Valentine's Day (or choose to eat in), you are welcome to join this thread already in progress:

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/481272

        Thank you for keeping this board a valuable resource for local chow tips.

        1. We went on Saturday -- Il Casttello's in Woodbridge. Was EXCELLENT! Had the bronzino fish, cooked at the table; very tender and light. "He" had filet mignon. VERY fresh beet salad w/ lobster and mango salad // different but quite tasty with just the right amount of dressing. They've just redone the place and each room was hoppin'. Decor is beautiful, service excellent.

          1. Can someone recommend somewhere good between say Old Bridge and New Brunswick (on Rt. 18)? I have a DJ gig on Thursday, but want to eat before - and don't want to do a chain. Please help! :)

            12 Replies
            1. re: DJMarilyn

              There's something "Tomato", I cant remember the name! In milltown. suppsd to be good food, and not $$$. byob. Hounds help if u know the name. There's tons of places in NB but $$$$ for VDay

              1. re: DJMarilyn

                DJMarilyn,

                There really is not much to offer right on Route 18. The only non-chain place I can think of, Blue Water Seafood, is horrible. However, if you like Thai food, Thai Chili, in Spotswood (adjacent to E. Brunswick, about 5 minutes from Route 18), has very tasty food, good service, and nice atmospherics.

                http://www.thai-chili.net

                1. re: RGR

                  I.A.W.R. If you have to choose a chain, the Bonefish Grill in E.B. is serviceable. Instead I would travel the extra few minutes to either Highland Park or New Brunswick. Trust me, the drive is well worth it for the very good food being offered in those towns.

                  1. re: bgut1

                    My gig is in New Brunswick, so we could feasibly eat in NB somewhere, but I want to try to keep it at a reasonable cost.

                    Thai Chili sounds good, but we just did Thai this past Saturday. Thai Thai in Old Bridge is good, but again, don't want to do Thai so soon. Is there anything else on 516 worth trying? What about that Italian place in that same shopping center? I don't recall the name.

                    Most people here have said to stay away from Shogun18 Sushi as well as Gusto Grille on Rt. 18.

                    I would love some hole in the wall type of place. I hear there is a Vietnamese restaurant in NB. Anybody know what it's called/where? What do you recommend in Highland Park?

                    1. re: DJMarilyn

                      The restaurant across from Thai Thai is Ponte Vecchio, which claims to specialize in Italian seafood though the menu has plenty of other stuff. Same owners as LouCas, in Edison. I've never been to either, but I recall reading some positive things about P.V. on this board. Try doing a search.

                      http://www.restaurantpontevecchio.com

                      On 516, there's a Brazilian restaurant not to far from where Thai Thai is located going toward E. Brunswick. I was inside once to see what it was like. Though it looked decent, we never ate there because at the time, they still permitted smoking. Obviously, that's no longer the case, but we've still not tried it. I don't know the name, but if you want to give it a shot, it's in a small strip on the right side of the road just a little past the fast food place called Checkers.

                      In Highland Park:

                      We've always had good experiences at the Turkish restaurant, 7 Hills of Istanbul.

                      http://www.7hillsof Istanbul.com

                      Shanghai Park has superb fresh steamed buns, aka soup dumplings.

                      1. re: RGR

                        RGR,

                        You are the best! While the Brazilian place sounds tempting and would be on the way, Seven Hills of Istanbul looks amazing! I love Mediterranean/Middle Eastern/Moroccan type foods. Everything sounds very tasty. Thank you for the tip. If that is where we end up, I will be sure to post my experience here.

                        Ponte Vecchio can wait. :)

                        1. re: DJMarilyn

                          I would second RGR's recommendation for Shanghai Park (especially for the soup dumplings - best in the state). As far as 7 Hills I'm not much of a fan having disliked my one experience there way back when it first opened. I used to live in that town a number of years back and my favorite reasonably priced eats in the area consisted of the following: a combination plate at Jerusalem Pizza, a cali burger with cheese/pork roll with cheese at the White Rose System or a pie at Mary's Pizza. I also recall Pad Thai as being pretty good. For reasonable fare in New Brunswick I would suggest a burger, iceberg lettuce wedge salad and a root beer at Tumulty's, a Boli at Stuff Yer Face, or dessert and a sandwich (in that order) at Old Man Rafferty's.

                          1. re: bgut1

                            bgut,

                            I'm a bit surprised that you didn't like 7 Hills. Turkish Kitchen is our favorite in NYC (been there too many times to count), and we've found that 7 Hills compares quite favorably. For me, that's something! :-)) But, as I always say, a restaurant has only one chance to make a first impression, and it appears that in your case, 7 Hills's wasn't a positive one.

                            1. re: bgut1

                              Anything with cheese is out (aka pizza) ;) I love Thai, but just did Thai recently. RGR read me well - I'm looking for something different, ethnic, that isn't going to kill me ($$) on V-day night. I think (and hope) Seven Hills fits the bill. If they have some crazy, astronomical ($$) special menu, then perhaps we'll switch gears and try Shanghai Park; it would certainly be suitable too. I adore well made dumplings. In any case, thanks for your tips as well bgut1. That's why I come here - Chowhounds usually don't steer me wrong, regardless. ;)

                              1. re: DJMarilyn

                                That's right Marilyn - No dairy. I recall reading that somewhere. I forgot. You could always get the cali burger and pok roll sandwich without cheese at the System :) While not typical Valentine's fare, you need to try it - Its a NJ institution. Either way, Good luck and enjoy your V-day.

                                RGR - It was a long time ago after they had just opened. I recall the food not doing anything for me. Maybe I should give it another shot especially since you like it so much and our tastes are similar. Who knows - they may have gotten a lot better in the intervening years.

                                1. re: bgut1

                                  Marilyn,

                                  At 7 Hills (and, indeed, in all Turkish restaurants), there are not many dishes that use dairy. Unfortunately, you will have to avoid one of our favorite mezze, sigara boregi (Phyllo scrolls filled with feta), but there are plenty of other mezzes, both hot and cold, to choose from.

                                  bgut,

                                  I don't remember how long after 7 Hills first opened it was that we went there. Iirc, we had dinner three times over a span of a couple of years. However, we haven't been back in quite a long time, so I can't say if the food has held up. Perhaps you should wait to see if Marilyn ends up eating there and reports back.

                                  1. re: RGR

                                    Welp, we decided not go to Highland Park after all last evening. So Seven Hills will have to wait! Instead we went to Sushi Bento right here in Matawan. I have been meaning to start a thread about that. Overall: run of the mill sushi, but great prices, and can't beat 20% off. :)

                2. We're going to wait until Saturday night. Called Nicholas, but they said they were having their Valentine's Day weekend menu. She mentioned the 3 course at $95. I told my hubby that doesn't sound right. I'd rather go on a regular weekend. Looks like we may choose Table or Thyme Square.