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Princeton to New Brunswick Corridor (Rt 1, Rt 27, Rt 130)

a
Al1 Jan 20, 2010 03:35 PM

I've recently moved to this area from NYC and I am seeking some good restaurant recommendations. I am aware of a few decent places (see below), but I am in need of some recommendations for:

Pizza
Cantonese Roast Meat
Dim Sum
Korean other than Woojeon
Sushi (good by global standards, not local - I've been to several ok local places, but none that compare to the better mid-range NYC sushi places)
Authentic Thai (poor, one-dimensional Thai seems to be common in this area)
Israeli
Doner Kebab
French (Bistro, brasserie, and high-end recos all appreciated)
Spanish
Mid to high-end Modern American
Mid to high-end authentic Mexican (not interested in Tex-Mex or Cal-Mex)
Authentic S. American (would especially like to find Peruvian & Brazilian places)
Cuban

Some places that I think are pretty good:

Hong Fu in Highland park for great Xiao Long Bao and decent other chinese food
Szechuan Ace on 27 (it isn't in the same league as Grand Szechuan International or Spicy and Tasty, but at least one can get some ma la food)
Super Star East buffet in nassau park (off 1) for chinese buffet
Woojeon on 1 for Korean
El Oaxaqueno 2 in New Brunswick for authentic cheap Mexican food (tacos, tortas, etc.).
Due Mare in New Brunswick for Italian
Pho99 on Rt 27 for Vietnamese
Desi Food Galaxy on Rt 27 for a variety of cheap indian
Dosa Grill on 27 for S. Indian veg buffet
Hoysala off Easton Ave for S. Indian non veg buffet
Khan Baba on 27 for grilled Halal (Indian? Pakistani?) meats
Blue Point Grill in Princeton for Oysters
Makeda for ok Ethiopean

Any advice is much appreciated.

  1. i
    ieee488 Jan 20, 2010 03:51 PM

    Interesting that you give high marks to Hong Fu. My Cinese friend said the food went downhill after the change in ownership. Used to be named Shanghai Park.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ieee488
      a
      Al1 Jan 20, 2010 07:08 PM

      I still really like their Xiao Long Bao (pork only version, not the pork and crab). I find the skin thickness to be just right for my taste, and the flavor is nice. I have had many worse Xiao Long Bao in Manhattan, including the overrated Joe's Shanghai. Their noodle soups are decent. Several of my colleagues order mostly chinese-american food and seem happy with it - I would order that stuff with light oil, since it seems a bit too oily. I personally don't think their Szechuan offerings top notch.

      1. re: Al1
        y
        yCf Jan 21, 2010 04:13 AM

        Haven't been there since the change of ownership to Hong Fu.
        Put I believe Shanghai Park still have a location in Princeton.

        301 North Harrison Street, Princeton, NJ‎ - (609) 924-8001‎

        I have never visited the Princeton branch though.

      2. re: ieee488
        jolivore Jan 14, 2011 07:26 AM

        It wasn't much good as Shanghai Park; the one in Princeton is dead on its feet.

        -----
        Shanghai Park Restaurant
        301 N Harrison St Ste 33, Princeton, NJ 08540

      3. t
        TomDel Jan 21, 2010 02:59 AM

        Pizza (Tomato Pie) – Go south on Rt. 130 to Rt. 33 and stop in at DeLorenzo’s for what is arguably the best pie in the world. See http://www.delorenzostomatopies.com . A closer choice would be Conte’s in Princeton. See http://contespizzaandbar.com .

        1 Reply
        1. re: TomDel
          jolivore Jan 14, 2011 07:28 AM

          Tomato pies are dull-crust wonders. Try Patsy's in New York or Sette Luna in Easton, PA.

        2. ambrose Jan 21, 2010 04:44 AM

          When it comes to French bistro, I think you would like Sophie's Bistro on Hamilton Ave. in Somerset. Nearly all the comments on this board about Sophie's have been positive.

          http://www.sophiesbistro.net

          For a bistro of a different sort, try Bobby Trigg's new place on Route 1 near Princeton.

          http://www.btbistro.com

          If you want to move upscale, go to Trigg's original restaurant, The Ferry House, in Princeton proper.

          http://www.btbistro.com

          2 Replies
          1. re: ambrose
            a
            Al1 Jan 21, 2010 06:15 PM

            Thanks for these recommendations - I haven't been to any of them and I look forward to trying them!

            1. re: ambrose
              njfoodies Jan 24, 2010 06:01 AM

              We definitely need to try BT. Always hesitant about trying restaurants in a hotel, but seeing as this is Bobby Trigg, it is worth a shot. Love The Ferry House! -mJ

            2. y
              yCf Jan 22, 2010 04:23 AM

              Cantonese Roast Meat - China Bowl, Edison NJ. Off Rt 27 in the strip mall where the new Hmart is being built. Haven't been there for a long while, but I think they are very good by NJ standard. Supermarket-wise, Kam Man in Edison off Rt 1 has the best Roast Meat. Don't bother buying them from Hong Kong Supermarket in East Brunswick.

              Sushi - 90% of all the sushi place in NJ is run by Chinese (especially in central NJ) and aren't all that great. The only place that is good and is near the vicinity of OP' request is Jo Sho in Somerset; it run by a lovely older Japanese lady; food is great there. For a sushi buffet, i think IchiUmi at Menlo park mall is very good but quite pricey.

              2 Replies
              1. re: yCf
                b
                blorgo Oct 16, 2010 10:21 AM

                Does anyone know if the China Bowl relocated, or just went out of business, when they started redoing the plaza there to have the H-Mart and new Picnic Garden Korean BBQ Buffet?

                I like the new places but if the China Bowl is somewhere I'd still like to visit it too. I looked at the area in Sept 2010 and the restaurant is gone.

                1. re: blorgo
                  wench31 Oct 16, 2010 09:30 PM

                  China Bowl has relocated. But, they closed down since July and is supposed to reopen a few months later somewhere on Rte 27. I forgot the address but I drove by there a couple of weeks ago. Doesn't look like they are opening anytime soon.

              2. a
                albinoni Jan 22, 2010 07:57 AM

                Also in Edison--just up Rt 27 from Highland Park, is Wonder Seafood. Hong Kong style, very good dim sum served every day (Sunday brunch is a big family day there--get there before 11 if you don't want to wait).

                1 Reply
                1. re: albinoni
                  y
                  yCf Jan 22, 2010 11:57 AM

                  oh, i second that. Forgot to mention it.

                2. a
                  azkaevolution Jan 23, 2010 07:58 PM

                  Efe's in NB has a decent selection of kebabs and middle eastern cuisine for cheap. I'm not sure if it's the best in the area or not, since I haven't really found many Middle Eastern places around here, but I sure like it.

                  also, had conte's yesterday. not nearly as good as it has been in the past, and prefer all 3 delorenzo's more anyway.

                  the Asian food center in plainsboro has pretty good cantonese roast meat - i actually prefer it to most of the places in chinatown in NYC...china bowl is better, but AFC is much more convenient for me.

                  i like Ajihei in Princeton for sushi...the tiny basement one is hard to get a table at, but worth the wait as far as sushi places in the Princeton area.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: azkaevolution
                    h
                    Heatherb Jan 24, 2010 11:53 AM

                    Did you know the Hamilton Ave DeLorenzo's now has it's own second location in the Risoldi's Thriftway? I've been stopping by there because it's the most convenient location for me. Honestly, I'm agnostic on the two different DeLo's, so that location wins out for me out of all four.

                    1. re: Heatherb
                      njfoodies Jan 28, 2010 04:29 AM

                      That is blasphemy heatherb! LOL! But I am a Hudson Street fan... -mJ

                    2. re: azkaevolution
                      jolivore Jan 14, 2011 07:29 AM

                      Szechuan Spring in Highland Park on 27 has authentic Sichuan food, very well done.

                      -----
                      Szechuan Garden Restaurant
                      270 State Rt 23 Ste H, Franklin, NJ 07416

                    3. JoanN Jan 24, 2010 12:02 PM

                      Have you tried Pad Thai on Raritan Avenue in Highland Park? Only been there a couple of times so haven't had much opportunity to explore their menu, but what I have had has compared very favorably with some of the better Thai restaurants in Manhattan.

                      www.pad-thai.com

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: JoanN
                        a
                        Al1 Jan 24, 2010 12:46 PM

                        I'm not a big fan of Pad Thai, although many of my colleagues really like it. Balance is the issue - dishes seem too sweet, or too one-dimensionally spicy - rarely tart enough, or enough deep background flavor. Manhattan is also filled with restaurants with this issue. Sripraphai in Queens remains my gold standard (although I am told by Thai friends that even though it is the best they've tried in the US, it is still a far cry from what one can get in Thailand).

                        1. re: Al1
                          JoanN Jan 24, 2010 01:05 PM

                          Still haven't managed to make it out to Sri. Guess that's why I think Pad Thai is the equal of what I can get in Manhattan. And I agree that nothing I've ever had compares at all with the food I had in Thailand. Unfortunately, I can't get there on a Metrocard. :-)

                      2. t
                        theoreticalphenogroup14 Oct 16, 2010 10:20 PM

                        It may be worth considering a visit to Raagini in Mountainside on Rt.22 which was, at one time, considered the best Indian restaurant in NJ. However (and I am unable to confirm this), I have heard that the old chef is no longer there and that his high standard has not been maintained. Expensive.

                        -----
                        Raagini Restaurant
                        1085 US Highway 22, Mountainside, NJ 07092

                        1. r
                          ruf Oct 31, 2010 08:08 AM

                          Have been on a pho quest so tried Pho 99 this weekend. Friendly service but pho broth was sweet and had no depth. Best pho by far is at Nha Tranh Place in Jersey City. At the latter, the pork chop (a single chop with rice) plate was exceptional too; also try the sauteed chinese greens. The pho at Pho Barclay in Cherry Hill is also very good and a little better than the other Cherry Hill place, the name of which i'm sry to say I can't recall.

                          -----
                          Nha Tranh Place
                          249 Newark Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07302

                          Pho 99 Vietnamese Restaurant
                          , Franklin Park, NJ 08823

                          1. b
                            bkar78 Nov 4, 2010 05:22 PM

                            Magarita - North Brunswick Pizza
                            Indochine - New Brunswick Vietnamese
                            Steak85 - New Brunswick Oysters
                            Midori - Highland Park Sushi

                            1. c
                              chuck98 Dec 4, 2010 09:01 PM

                              There's a decent French cafe in Metuchen named Cafe Paris.
                              Two Peruvian places in Middlesex/Dunellen on 28, I think - El Tumi and Inca Grill.
                              There used to be a Brazilian rodizio place in Bound Brook, but I haven't been there in a while. There's a small Cuban place in New Brunswick near the courthouse and a fancier place in Somerville - Martino's?
                              Sunny Palace down 18 has dim sum on weekends, Wonder Seafood has it every day.
                              King's Village has Tianjian style food, 27 in HP/Edison.
                              Sichuan Spring has ok sichuan food, 27 in HP.
                              There are a couple of Spanish places on Amboy Ave on the northern edge of Metuchen.
                              Plenty of Mexican places in New Brunswick, several Central and South American in Plainfield.
                              There's Viet all over the place but no one has the pho bo sate I used to get in Manhattan.
                              Malaysian on 27 near Stelton.

                              -----
                              El Tumi
                              559 Bound Brook Rd, Middlesex, NJ 08846

                              Cafe Paris
                              441 Main St, Metuchen, NJ 08840

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: chuck98
                                c
                                chuck98 Dec 5, 2010 10:49 AM

                                As long as we're sharing, here are a couple more:

                                Burger at Stage Left, NB, was great
                                Grub Hut in Manville has decent barbecue
                                Jerk An'ting in NB for jamaican
                                El Ranchito in NB has Honduran and Mexican
                                Rincon Equatoriano in Plainfield has Equatoriano
                                Mi Ranchito in Plainfield has Salvadorean, but I haven't gone there yet
                                There's a new Shanghai Noodle House in Edison across from Penang
                                Leo's Barbecue in South Plainfield for Filipino point-point
                                Lots of Portuguese barbecue, like Hamilton BBQ in Somerset
                                Soul Food - Blackberry's in Plainfield is ok, also Mama's Soul Food in NB
                                Sri Lankan - Sigiri on 27 north Edison - the lamb black curry was great

                                -----
                                Sigiri
                                52 Lincoln Hwy, Edison, NJ 08818

                                Grub Hut
                                307 N Main St, Manville, NJ 08835

                                Stage Left
                                5 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

                                Noodle House
                                2313 US Highway 1 Ste 4, North Brunswick, NJ 08902

                                Leo's Barbecue
                                4947 Stelton Rd, South Plainfield, NJ 07080

                                El Ranchito
                                129 E Front St, Plainfield, NJ 07060

                                Mi Ranchito
                                100 8th St, Passaic, NJ 07055

                                Rincon Restaurant
                                6417 Park Ave, West New York, NJ 07093

                                1. re: chuck98
                                  jolivore Jan 14, 2011 07:33 AM

                                  My gas guy who is from Monterrey swears by Mariachi on Olden Ave in Trenton.

                                2. g
                                  glutton Dec 5, 2010 05:37 AM

                                  It's just beyond New Brunswick, but close enough... Pithari Taverna has outstanding Greek food.

                                  -----
                                  Pithari Taverna
                                  28 Woodbridge Ave, Highland Park, NJ 08904

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