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Any Reviews of Erini in Ewing, NJ?

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Citizen Rich Mar 20, 2008 06:27 PM

My wife wants to go to a place called Erini in Ewing, NJ. I did an internet search, and other than the address and the restaurant website, found nothing at all. No review by the Artful Diner, the Packet or anywhere else that I normally look. Has anyone been there? We're going based on a recommendation of someone at my wife's workplace, but I'd feel better about laying out the money if I saw a review or two. There was a Trenton Times review on the restaurant site that sang praises, but I'd like to hear opinions if any others have been there.

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    Citizen Rich RE: Citizen Rich Mar 23, 2008 08:31 AM

    We went to Erini last night and was pretty pleased with everything about it. It's a large place (large enough to do banquets, weddings, etc.) on the Delaware just north of exit 1 off I-95. The waiter told me it used to be a place called Diamond's Riverside that I vaguely remember being told about once. The hostess was the owner of the restaurant. She was very pleasant and that pretty much set the pattern for the service that night. We had no problems there at all. She and her husband run the place and when she was not greeting customers at the door, she was roaming the dining room making sure everything was running smoothly. I'm a sucker for that sort of thing and always give extra points when it's done. In fact, the only points I'd subtract on the service side was that they tried to bring me my soup before I'd finished cleaning my appetizer plate. Fortunately the waiter quickly returned it to the kitchen until I was ready.

    The restaurant itself was very nice. Gas fireplaces in the entrance and the dining room with plenty of windows. Dress among the customers ran from jeans and golf-shirts (shame on you!) to suits to trendy poseur-wear, with weekending stockbroker/lawyer casual being the predominant attire. The large number of gas-guzzling big SUVs and German cars in the parking backed up that style call-out.

    The menu looked like they specialized in fish, but there were plenty of meat choices. I'd say it was American with kind of a hint of Greek. I started off with the special, 2 lobster spring-rolls with dipping sauce. Not a huge amount of lobster inside, but very tasty. My wife had a half-dozen clams casino that were also very good. I'd not had clams casino in a long time, but these were better than I remembered. I had a wild-mushroom soup that was very good. Creamy and good. For the main course my wife had what they called a "Boxcar Steak", a good sized filet mignon liberaly topped with lump crab meat in a white sauce with mashed potatoes and haricot verts (why don't they just call them string beans?). I'm not a fan of filet mignon or lump crab, but my wife tucked away at her meal with gusto. I ordered a pork chop (from a berkshire hog) covered in a five-wine compote served with a sweetpotato/rutabaga gratin. I love pork chops and this one hit me right in my sweet spot. I'd get it again in a heartbeat. I can take or leave sweet potatoes and I usually leave rutabags, but the gratin surprised me. Thin alternating layers of potato and rutabag with cheese. It was very good. I was too stuffed for dessert, but my wife had a cheesecake that she pronounced delicious.

    There was a jazz band getting geared up outside the bar when we left, but we didn't stay to listen since we'd reached our driving limit with the dinner wine.

    From start to finish we were there for just shy of two hours. Of the places we've been to in the area, I guess I'd compare it to Lahiere's in Princeton as far as menu style and prices go. I'd give Erini the vote over Laheire's. The service and food both get a big thumbs up and we'll go back again.

    1. MercerChow RE: Citizen Rich Sep 22, 2008 04:09 AM

      Erini has been on our “good intentions” list for several months, and we finally got around to visiting. It was fine, but we were not as impressed as either Citizen Rich above or Tom and Kate O’Neil in their Princeton Packet review.

      The place bills itself as “Mediterranean” but in this case that mostly means Italian. Other cuisines commonly found under that umbrella (Greek, Spanish, Lebanese, Turkish) were either sparsely represented or absent altogether. For example, with its emphasis on Amarones, etc., the wine list could have come straight out of Chambersburg. There were only two Spanish wines on the bottle list and no Greek (though there was one Greek on the by-the-glass list).

      So for ambrose, who posted here:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/532310

      wondering about Erini vs. Pithari in Highland Park, they are not comparable. Pithari is a Greek restaurant; Erini is not.

      But semantics aside, how was it? We ordered a bottle of the Rosemount Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre (GSM), which was fine. Starters of fried calamari and Caesar salad were serviceable but nothing special.

      I ordered the fish special, a whole roasted Bronzini (Mediterranean sea bass), which was filleted tableside and was quite good, although the sides of roasted potatoes and spinach were unimaginative. Mrs MercerChow had the Chicken Dori, which was an enormous plate containing several pounded chicken breasts covered with a gravy – a clear victory of quantity over quality. Not recommended.

      We finished with their homemade gelato, which was good.

      The service was fine, though a bit overly scripted. As Citizen Rich notes, the place is enormous, but fortunately is broken into smaller spaces. We had a table looking toward the back of the property, a lovely view where deer could occasionally be seen.

      So while I would not warn anyone to stay away, I doubt we will go back.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MercerChow
        ambrose RE: MercerChow Sep 22, 2008 07:18 AM

        Thanks, MercerChow. Your comments are very helpful. If I'm in the neighborhood, I might stop at Erini, but I won't be making a special trip to dine there.

      2. w
        Will5352 RE: Citizen Rich Sep 23, 2008 04:01 PM

        I live about a half mile from Erini. I went last Ocotober and I thought it was over priced for the food you got. Had Lunch there in February and the lunch prices and portions are smaller. That's all for a local place in a year. Ffigure it out for yourself. Go for lunch if you must and save your wallet some damage.

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