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Origin in Somerville, NJ

Had dinner at Origin in Somerville on Friday night. I had never been, but my girlfriend had...we had a party of 6.

I had the Curry Chicken Puffs for appetizer and Wild Boar for Main course...Girlfriend had a duck salad and the seared Tuna.

Well, the food was AMAZING. I didn't care for her salad as I don't like cold duck, but my appetizer and main were both AMAZING. Perfect portions too. Everyone else had a great meal as well and I love that it is a BYOB.

The wait staff was not the greatest, took a while to check on us, and even after we got dessert menus it was quite a while before she came back to take our order. Didn't seem too friendly, and we also got the "plate auction" upon our food coming out...

the dessert (I had the chocolate soufflé) was not the greatest but I didn't really expect it to be.

Again, the food, was.....probably on a top 10 list of mine for best meals ever, I even tried my girlfriends rare tuna, and it was great, and I don't eat seafood(!) and the service wasn't all that "bad" but it wasn't great either. The check for three couples was 75$ a couple, roughly....and well worth it to me...

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  1. RPMcMurphy - I'm happy you enjoyed your dinner at Orgin. I had tried it for lunch last year and enjoyed it very much. I specifically recall a luscious sticky rice with mango for dessert. If it wasn't for the long distance I'd have been back to try it for dinner.

    1. Go there for lunch any Monday through Friday. Their lunch specials are of equal quality and dirt cheap. You don't eat seafood, I see, but be sure whoever goes with you for lunch tries the mussels. Surprisingly good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mmgpsych

        i agree, i actually enjoyed lunch betetr than dinner...

      2. Origin is remarkable in every way. But it's like eating on a runway, jet noise everywhere. I haven't been there since '05, though, so maybe they've upgraded their heater. When I mentioned it to the owner, he said "noise means people are happy."

        4 Replies
        1. re: jolivore

          Jolivore:
          We stopped going for dinner as well. It's a lot less noisy at lunch. The problem is that the ceiling is made of tin tiles, and when it gets loud, you feel like you're trapped inside a metal garbage can with some miscreant banging on the lid. What is most offensive to the point of pain is their 'Happy Birthday' song; it comes over the loudspeakers loud enough to have us wishing that whoever's birthday it was hadn't been born at all! (Not really. But you get the point. :-))) Still, the food is very good, and not only in contrast to the culinary wasteland that's Jersey.

          1. re: mmgpsych

            If you like the food but not the noise, try the Morristown location. I don't remember it being noisy at all. Try to sit upstairs, though. Downstairs has a vaguely disinfectant smell that's off-putting.

            1. re: bropaul

              We've done that, and the downstairs is, as you say, off-putting. Still, it may have been our imaginations but the same dishes we ate at Morristown were a cut below those in Somerville. As my wife said (Trust me, I would *never* make the analogy!) Somerville Origin was the real Gucci bag and Morristown was the knock-off. YMMV.

            2. re: mmgpsych

              "culinary wasteland that is New Jersey" Blew me away! When we visit my mom, we bring down coolers to bring back real food to Maine. Ya Ya Ya, I know the land of lobster, but we can't afford it. Try Utah, chain restaurant heaven. What else is there to do in Jersey but eat? And why can't I find great pizza in Middlesex County?

          2. Ive been to the morristown location several times for lunch. the spring rolls and the mussels are flat out awesome.

            Im very interested in going to both locations for dinner. Thanks for the info.

            1. headed there again tonight.....got the woolies for the boar and curry puffs....

              4 Replies
                1. re: mmgpsych

                  it was great!!! great meal again! Picked up a bottle of wine from the wine store in the area, (as well as found a new piece of furniture for my office all in one)

                  meal was great. Embarrassed to say that I got the same thing as last time, but it was even more amazing than my craving was remembering!

                  service was "eh" but o well. Dessert, again, sucked, (banana purse thing?) it was just a banana rolled in a crepe.

                  1. re: RPMcMurphy

                    If the wine store you're talking about is the one I think it is ('Discover Wines' or something like that) they have a clever display that matches wines to specific dishes in local restaurants, and for the most part, they're pretty on target. We were planning to scoot down to Swagath in Edison for lunch today but you've rekindled our desire and persuaded us to do Origin instead. . . Thanks. And give our best to Nurse Ratched :-)))

                    1. re: mmgpsych

                      Hahahah most people just think thats my "real" name.

                      yep, same place they have a wine tasting today too!!which I'm going to (as I have to pick up my furniture next door! so if you see a guy carrying a black leather chaise chair, its me!)

                      We did get the bottle of Syrah they suggested for Origin and it was great.

                      Bring me home a bucked of them curry puff appetizers, they should be listed as desserts! They remind me so much of Singapore!

              1. I wish this place would do a better job with their soft shell crabs, a bit too soggy.

                However, they do a great jobs with all the other seafood dishes I have had.

                Need I say more than "happy happy birthday"....

                1 Reply
                1. re: yankeefan

                  That is my 'go to' dish when they have, and come spring after a long winter, I'm one happy dude when I see the magic markered, butchered English sign on 8x11 notepad paper: Softshell Crabs IN! or something to that effect

                  I eat softies whenever I can (be it seafood restaurants or Little Szechuan in Little Silver) and I've never had a soggy one. Don't care for the overly breaded almost fried, but a light batter in saute. Try it again at Origin; that along with their tamarind Salmon in phylo is just superb.

                2. We went for the first time last weekend. I can't believe I've missed out on this little gem all these years. We had a really good meal and just made a reservation to go next weekend again. Got the mussels and grilled squid salad for starters. The salad was very good and had a great, tasty dressing. The mussels were just OK. I wish the broth had been a bit thicker, it was a little watery and didn't have a lot of flavor. I was originally wanting to ask for some bread to dip in my broth, but after tasting the broth, decided against it. For main course, got the grilled squid plate which came with grilled veggies and rice wrapped in a banana leaf. Also got a chicken curry dish. The chicken curry was good, had a good spice level but was not overly memorable. However, the grilled squid plate was so wonderful that I couldn't stop eating it. I was so full, but I just could not let a single morsel remain on the plate. The grilled veggies were perfectly cooked and seasoned. The squid was tender and came with a trio of dipping sauces that were each quite good. The best, in my opinion was a cilantro and bean dip. The sauces were nice and spicy but not uncomfortably so. Last, but never least, was that scrumptious, deliciously wonderful rice. What could they possibly do to plain sticky rice that could make it taste so good? I have no earthly idea, but I could eat that rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We skipped on dessert as we were quite full, but will try to squeeze that in next time.
                  The service wasn't great, but it wasn't bad either. I didn't have any issues with the noise as I have heard from others. All in all I would say food: 5 stars, decor 4 stars, service 3 stars. Can't wait to go back!

                  -----
                  Origin Thai
                  25 Division St, Somerville, NJ 08876

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: madgreek99

                    The mussels dish is what it is. Thin broth in lemongrass, basil, and vegetables. Why have a preconceived notion as to 'what it SHOULD BE?'

                    Along with the crab or salmon entrees (which are atop my short list), there's one appy I ALWAYS GET. That's the mussel appy and whenever I've been there, whomever I've been with, there is one fervent wish........to have a crusty baugette to sop up every last bit of that wonderful broth.

                    To each his own. But for someone who's been dining there for many many years, this is the way they make this dish. Always have; and it's just delightfully perfect. As I made Tod Kratiem Prik Tai last nite, my mind gravitated to two dishes that I will probably tackle in the next week or two (i.e. shrimp spring rolls and the in topic mussel dish.) Thing is that there's also kamfir lime leaves in that rascal, and other than Reading Market in Philly, I'm hard pressed in finding, even at the Asian food markets.

                    Bon Apetit. But please don't start changing the menu at this great restaurant <smile>

                    1. re: JustJake

                      Just Jake,
                      WOW. It was just my opinion. You clearly feel very passionate about those mussels, so for your sake, I hope they never, ever, ever, ever change them. I, on the other hand, will skip them. Jeez....

                      1. re: madgreek99

                        Sorry if I came on a bit heavy handed, but after dining at Origin for so many years (probably before the Internet even came into full being), I can succinctly say that Origin's version is more than likely reflective of it's true origin as a dish back in Thailand. I've had the dish well over 2 dozen times and I've never had that introspective critiquing that "the dish wasn't there". And while you've just discovered this place, you obviously don't know what this dish is all about.

                        I do cook Thai (on occasion) and have made this dish (using the same approach), I also have a dear friend who is an excellent cook and oftentimes 'hosts' dinner parties over the years with a decided Thai theme. We always have mussels (as an appy), and his recipe from a Thai cookbook also produces a very similar broth (thin) which is FULL of FLAVOR (via the lemongrass, basil, julienned red sweet peppers, thai pepper, wine, camfir (sp) lime leaves). It's subtle, tasty, with a bit of heat. Thai food is exceedingly light; even if it's a noodle dish (unlike it's Chinese American cousins who have to resort to sweetening their sauces etc to appeal to the American pallete).

                  2. Went to Origin again. Everything was a homerun. The duck salad was wonderful, the lamb entree was very good. Mango and sticky rice for dessert was delicious. This has to be the best Thai restaurant in central Jersey.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: madgreek99

                      We ate at Origin on Sunday. Our second time, in about 3 years. the food was super. I had the Pad Thai and it was slightly different in taste with more of a citrus flavor than other Thai places. I generally order the Pad Thai, mostly because I love the levels of flavor. This dish had a complexity that exploded when I put on some chili sauce. The service was attentive, and prompt. It was a rainy afternoon and there was no noise problem, but voices do carry in this space. We will go back, the next time in Somerville

                      1. re: pslpete

                        Thanks for the report. Here is a place that has been off our radar for a couple of years, I don't know why as the few times we have been were very good to excellent.
                        Gotta get out that way soon!