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Jul 4, 2009 07:10 AM

Looking for Dinner Recs in New Brunswick

I'm meeting some friends for dinner on an upcoming Sunday evening in the New Brunswick area (Highland Park or Edison would work too). What's good there these days? Looking for a place to enjoy a leisurely meal. Ethnic eats work great, as long as the foods authentic and tasty.
Went to Pithari Taverna a couple years ago. Is that still around? Still good?

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  1. New Brunswick Area - Based on the current pulse of the MidAtlantic board seasoned chowhounds recommend and LOVE
    Steakhouse 85 in New Brunswick

    Most recent thread from seasoned chowhounds regarding Pithari Taverna

    IMO some other good suggestions in the area
    Makeda - Ethiopian - New Brunswick
    Hong Fu - Chinese - Highland Park

    1. Yes, Pithari Taverna is still there and still good.

      I've been hearing very good things about Due Mari at 78-80 Albany Street in New Brunswick, but haven't had a chance to try it yet.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JoanN

        My favorite in NB is Daryl Wine Bar and Restaurant.

      2. As JoanN stated, Pithar is still there, remember, it's a BYO.

        Others to consider, without knowing your price range...
        Due Mari $$$
        Frog & Peach $$$$
        Daryl"s $$$ (same owner as David Drake in Rahway... an up and comer!)
        Panico's $$$
        SoHo on George $$ (a favorite back-up of mine)

        1. Daryl's
          Stage Left
          Steakhouse 85
          are all good choices

          Frog and the Peach
          Catherine Lombardi

          1 Reply
          1. re: Yellowshirt

            In addition to the above, I travel across the bridge as often as possible to get the sausage fried rice at Pad Thai. Their Special Jumbo shrimp and avocado curry is great too as is most of the huge menu.

          2. Old Man Rafferty's is a nice fun casual place with great specials and a huge menu.

            I also love Soho on George and have been meaning to try Frog and Peach, Delta's, and Catherine Lombardi.

            10 Replies
              1. re: steakrules85

                Haven't been in a few years, but I thought the service at The Frog and the Peach was pretentious to the point of having to stifle laughter and the food okay, but certainly not worth what they were charging for it. I got the impression they were charging for what they
                they aspire to, not what they actually are. Quite a lovely room, though. Never had any desire to return. Will be curious to hear, if you do give it a try, if it has improved any.

                1. re: JoanN

                  I had the misfortune of dining at The Frog and the Peach on Saturday night. I ahd not been there in some years and was looking forward to it. Atmosphere was great but that's where it ended. I ordered one of the "special" appitizers which was tauted as an eggplant tart. It was actually a tall stack of eggplant and something else, so unremarkable I can't even remember. I ordered lamb for my main. Now I really like my lamb very rare, they said no problem. It was well done. I would have actually sent it back but the sauce was do horrible I figured what was the point. Had anyone ever come over to pour our very expensive bottle of wine, they might have noticed that my entree had barley been touched! I was starving so ordered the olive oil cake. Now I make an outstanding olive oli cak, moist and terrific so I expected better from them. It was 3 oval lumps about 1.5 inches in diameter with something green drizziled on the plate. So dry and discuting I couldn't swallow it. They have to be kidding! The waitress said she would take it off the bill. The manager came over and when I explained about the meal and that no one poured any wine for us he gave me his card for the next time. That is not happening. I left there starving and had to get some bar food at the Heldriech when we went back to the hotel. Now really they should be ashamed. We love Nicolas and have never left there hungry or having been served that caliber of food. Some of you complain anout Nicolas bieng pretentious, bring it on, for a $300.00 dinner which I don't mind paying at least come to the table once in while, not just for the tip! I will never return .

                  1. re: gailelyson

                    Wow, I was there thursday and posted this review on another site.

                    fiance and her friend dragged me to Frog and Peach yesterday, before 6:30 to get some drinks and food at the menu is half price before 6:30, so I figured, what the heck.

                    bartender made a few good Sazeracs and some wimpy fruity vodka drink for L's friend. We ordered, between the 3 of us...

                    Short Ribs
                    Duck confit over arugula and peach "carpaccio"
                    Ricotta gnocchi
                    scallop po'boy sandwich
                    olive tapanade

                    everything was great, L and friend loved the scallop sandwich, breaded like hushpuppies, and the "fries" were pretty good too. I liked the ricotta gnocchi and you can't screw up duck confit....short ribs were good, but a little too hot out for me to get in the short rib mood. Pretty good sized portions too. Bartender provided good service.

                    all in all, 2 rounds of cocktails each, and the above dishes, 60$ (I think a round might have been throw in, one of the benefits of dining with beautiful women I guess), and everything was real good, I would have been happy even at full price.

                    We actually went to Catherine Lombardi's for another drink afterwards, but the "New Brunswick Rocks" crowd was there, and a little too loud for me, so we went back to F&P for cheeseplate and dessert (not sure what they got, some strawberry shortcake thing)

                    I'm picky when it comes to cocktails (why I usually go to CL's), and they don't stock a lot behind the bar, but the Sazeracs and Martini's we ordered were made and served proper, and good.

                    1. re: RPMcMurphy

                      I should clarify, by Wimpy Vodka drinks, I didn't mean they were badly made, just that....well I consider any vodka cocktail wimpy ;)

                      It's interested to have two completely different experiences so close together! We dine in New Brunswick ~2 days a week, and this was our first time at F&P and we were excited when we left that we can ADD it to our rotation!

                      But, I had horrible first experiences at Daryl, and Elements in Princeton, so go figure! (although, I swear, I'll give them another chance!!)

                    2. re: gailelyson


                      I'm sorry to hear that you had such a bad experience at the Frog. I'm really surprised because, although we haven't been there in a while, during many lunches and occasional dinners over the years, the food has always been excellent, and we've never encountered any problems with service.

                      I do think you should have sent the lamb back. If you didn't like the sauce, you could have instructed them to leave it off. Or you could have told them you wanted to order something else. That way, you would have given them an opportunity to make things right.

                      I am curious to know what your dining companions ordered, and if they were as disappointed with the food as you were.

                      1. re: RGR

                        Could have sent it back but was already so over this place that it did not matter. I actually have very sophicated taste in food and dining and am an excellant cook. I expect a restaurant of this "caliber" to give exceptional service and send out an entree as ordered. My companians dinner was not as bad, appitizer was smoked salmon(can't mess that up comes out of a package!) scallops which wile not bad were not great. He also found the cake to be terrible.

                        By the way, I love Catherine Lombardi's bar. We were actually there prior to walking over to Frog. I do not love the food at CL but the bar is great.

                        1. re: gailelyson

                          I can't say that I disagree with you. There really is no excuse for a restaurant of The Frog's caliber to get the doneness of the meat so wrong. But even the best restaurants can goof, and I think sending it back in hopes that it comes back cooked properly is better than going away hungy. However, even if you preferred not to do that, if you had complained straightaway and told them you didn't want to send it back, nor did you want a substitute, I think it would have behooved them to take it off your bill as they did with the dessert.

                          With regard to your comment about smoked salmon, many high-end restaurants smoke or cure salmon on the premises. So there's no certainly that The Frog's "comes out of a package."

                          1. re: RGR

                            Anyway, they are out of the rotation! There are so many other terrific places to go and have a great meal at the same prices or less. I value our time far too much to waste it going back to give an established restaurant a second try. They should have paid attention to what was coming out of the kitchen, and if they didn't catch it, the server certainly should have. Had sh bothered to stop by and pour some wine (at $75 bucks a bottle) she would have noticed! Anyway good eats to all.

                            1. re: gailelyson

                              I go by the premise that a restaurant has only one chance to make a first impression, and if they mess up, I generally won't go back. So, I can understand your decision.