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Happy Birthday to Me in New Jersey

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I just moved back home, to New Jersey, two days ago, after living in the DC metro area for the past year. I was never thrilled with the northern New Jersey dining scene, but I hope to make the best of the area's food this summer.

Today is my birthday, and my mom and brother have offered to take me out to dinner, my choice. Neither of them are Chowhounds so they don't have any particular suggestions or ideas. I don't know where to go! My favorite place around here is Saigon House on Route 10 in East Hanover; I actually asked my boyfriend to take me there last night, as an early birthday present...so good!

If it were your birthday, and your family was treating you, where would you go? I like all types of cuisines, and I'm open to most anywhere in Bergen, Essex, Passaic, and Morris counties. Help me have the best birthday meal ever! =)

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Well, I don't know NJ, ryssiebee, except for some place that is no longer there near the Meadowlands that used to make THE best Caesar salad (a mob place, I was told) and Il Villagio, a really good 'gravy' Italian place I can't remember where, but:

    Happy Birthday!

    1. I recommedn a few places- Marcello's in Ridgewood, The Park Orchard in Rutherford ( I think) Harvest in Closter, Casa Dante in Jersey City, Nanni's in Rochelle Park.

      1 Reply
      1. re: 180macd

        Just a note, it's Park and Orchard.

      2. Happy Birthday! I have a few Montclair suggestions: Fascino,(don't know if you can get a reservation for today, but worth a call), Epernay, (french) or perhaps Aozora, (japanese/french fusion). All are BYOB.

        1. Happy Birthday! I love Saigon House too and I live for their Sesame Clam appetizer. In the Morris/Essex area I would recommend:

          On the higher end~

          Restuarant Serenade in Chatham

          Scalini Fedeli in Chatham

          Copeland in Morristown

          South City Grill in Mountain Lakeshttp://www.southcitygrill.com/locations_moun...

          Adaman Sea (Thai) in Morristown
          Service can be slow but if you stick to their seafood dishes you won't be disappointed

          For a real foodie dinner I would definately consider Portuguese/Spanish in the ironbound section of Newark.

          My personal favorite is Solar do Minho in Belleville.

          Let us know where you ended up going!

          1. Happy Birthday!
            A couple of recommendations:
            Axia, a nice, upscale and classy greek restaurant is in Tenafly, NJ and i can recommend the menu, locale, and atmosphere. Also recommend the Village Green in Ridgewood. They have a really good tasting menu that's moderatly priced and it's BYO. For thai, i can recommend Pimann in Oradel/emerson on kinderkamack...

            1. Thank you all for your recommendations! I decided to go with Tasi's suggestion. We went to South City Grill in Mountain Lakes. What a great choice! The meal was wonderful, and our waiter was great. I had a lovely salad, the chef's special: arugula, dried cherries, goat cheese, apples, pears, and I think it was a plum vinaigrette. Also I had the filet mignon with veggies. My mom and brother enjoyed their meals too. I was very pleased! =)

              Thanks again! I will have to make a point to sample all your recommendations this summer.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ryssiebee

                You are more than welcome! I must admit I don't know the other counties as well the Morris County area but you have a ton of great new places to try, myself included.

                I work in Manhattan (and used to live) so next to spots in my hometown we tend to head back in the city. Your options are limitless.

                I love this board b/c as you can see from the limited amount of posts for North Jersey there doesn't seem to be a large "foodie" base but for the posts that are here...they are definately reliable and good.

                Welcome back!

              2. Welcome back to NJ! I know DC dining pretty well, and can tell you you're in for some pleasant surprises here in NNJ.

                In Montclair, Blu would be my first choice, followed quickly by Fascino; different experiences, but both wonderful...and both are BYO.

                In Hoboken, Cucharamama (also BYO) gets consistently fantastic reviews, and a true newcomer in Jersey City, Ox, is also getting a lot of buzz; both of those are on my list for this summer.

                Not a birthday spot, but if you appreciate good Asian food, there is excellent authentic Sichuan at Chengdu 1 on Prospect Ave (Rt 23) in Cedar Grove.

                For all of the above, if you do a search on this board you'll find details. I don't know how easy it will be to jump in to a Sat night reservation at this late hour, but give 'em a try. Happy Birthday!