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Saturday Dinner in New Brunswick?

Just made reservations for overnight at the Heldrich Hotel for my hubby's 57th birthday. Looking for dinner places to go to. Has anyone been to Due Mari recently? Not looking for super fancy. I also saw some reviews of Chef's Place which is new; anyone been there and is it open for dinner?
Thanks

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Due Mari
78 Albany St, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

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  1. Chef's Place closed recently, unfortunatelty. I'm not sure what qualifies in your mind as super fancy, but I'll throw out my favorites and maybe others can weigh in as well.

    I love the pierogies at Clydz, and the fireplaces at the bar.

    If you are looking real casual, Tumulty's will always be one of my favorite pubs.

    If you're up for trying something new/like spicy Makeda (Ethiopian) is also another favorite of ours. We often would head there with friends for a nice night out.

    Casual Italian - Panico's Brick Oven Pizza has been pretty decent at lunch, but not sure what their dinner is like.

    I haven't been to Due Mari, but I hear good things.

    And it probably falls into the super fancy catagory, but I'm almost never disapointed with Stage Left. Catherine Lombardi is good too, but sometimes I feel a bit pricey for the options. Of course, on the flip side, the service is so great that I feel it's often worth it for a special night.

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    Catherine Lombardi
    3 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

    Stage Left
    5 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

    Clydz
    55 Paterson St, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

    Due Mari
    78 Albany St, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

    2 Replies
    1. re: mickeygee

      thanks, may just do Tumulty's. Haven't been there myself in 30 plus years!

      1. re: liotma

        Harvest Moon Brewpub on George St. Check out the menu online. Fun place and good food without spending a fortune.

    2. Due Mari is one of my favorites - just stay away from the pizza. The pastas and small appetizers are very good.

      Another very nice meal can be had at Steakhouse85 just around the corner from Due Mari.

      All the rest of my favorites in town are lower end, with the best of them possibly Noodle Gourmet on Easton. And, if you like thai food, just across the bridge in Highland Park is one of the best in NJ, Pad Thai.

      Hope you have a great night.

      1. I agree with seal's recommendations of Steakhouse 85. It's been a while since we've been there, but all our meals there have been delicious. Service is excellent, and the ambiance is extremely pleasant.

        http://www.steakhouse85.com

        Due Mari is a Michael White restaurant (he's chef/partner in three major NYC restaurants). He's especially known for his superb pastas, and the ones we had at Due Mari were first-rate.

        Due Mari photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

        http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

        4 Replies
        1. re: RGR

          We went to Due Mare before the Rutgers Villanova game last week. Place was on its toes, everything cooked fine and the service was great. Slamon and roasted chicken were the highlights, both cooked perfectly.

          Surprised to hear the pizza knock, we were eyeing one while at the bar and it looked and smelled delicious

          1. re: carlylecat

            Due Mari is the best restaurant in New Brunswick. It usually has good food and service, Steakhouse 85 is not in the same league.

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            Due Mari
            78 Albany St, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

            1. re: BigGeorge

              You cannot go wrong with Due Mari. Probably the best food in New Brunswick.
              Excellent choice on picking the Heldrich over the Hyatt too! When my husband and I stay there we try to do a restaurant/bar crawl...stopping at a few different places on the way down from the hotel and on the way back. Drinks at Hotoyke are fantastic, desserts at Old Man Rafferty's rock. Christopher's bar in the Heldrich pours a nice glass of wine.

              Enjoy!

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              Old Man Rafferty's
              284 US Highway 206 Ste 3A, Hillsborough, NJ 08844

              Due Mari
              78 Albany St, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

              1. re: Nursemegg

                Thanks for the suggestions. We stayed at the Heldrich 2 years ago for anniversary and really liked it. Hyatt does not have the Heldrich's panache, it seems more like a conference center. And yes, their bar is lovely, have had a glass of wine or two there!

        2. There are plenty of great restaurants in New Brunswick. For casual dinning I like OLD MAN RAFFERTY`S and The Harvest Moon. At OMR they have a wide range of food from burgers to salmon dinners. My favorite is the club sandwich. The Harvest Moon has an onion soup that is to die for. i believe that both places are open for lunch.
          enjoy your trip.

          1. We went to Due Mari in 2012 and loved it. We went again a couple weeks ago and it was just OK. We really did not enjoy any part of our meal. Dessert was especially poor. Maybe we had overly high expectations because of our previous visit, but I don't think we will go back.

            1. I went to Due Mari several times in 2011/12 and it was fantastic. Just got back from a visit there, and I agree, it's faded. The food was nice, but the pulpo wasn't as tasty as before, my pasta was well made, but the sauce - kale, prosciutto & cheese - was mostly cheese. Pistachio gelato was chalky, tiramisu is bizarre (a pie-sliced wedge?)

              The topper was a table of 4, ordered a bottle of inexpensive white (with the sommelier's unsolicited assistance), the waitress pours out the last of the bottle, doesn't ask if we want more. Our entrees come, I ask for another bottle, it doesn't arrive. 10 minutes later, the waitress apologizes for the delay. 20 minutes later I see the sommelier, ask him about our wine, he offers to order it, I tell him we already asked for it, and it STILL takes 10 more minutes for it to come. He prepares to serve it, and I say, "look at the table - 3 empty wine glasses," he just nods, puts down a fresh glass for me, I say "you can just pour". He misses that, and tries to do the whole taste thing, and I'm like, we don't need that.

              My mistake having the sommelier get the wine? Did our waitress have to go through the sommelier to order the second bottle? Whatever. It was irritating, I even stopped eating, hoping the wine would show up soon.

              No refills on the coffee either. Oh, and the waitress interrupted our dessert conversation to apologize for the wine. Ugh.

              She got 20%, I'm a former server, and she's very sweet, but much too inexperienced for a fully booked Saturday night.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Snorkelvik

                I have never had anything but an excellent meal and attentive service at Catherine Lombardis. Their wine and cocktail list is on the same level.

                Their osso bucco is on its own level.

                1. re: Snorkelvik

                  I agree. We went several months ago and while the service was OK (we had difficulty getting our wine refilled) the food quality had declined. The menu seemed more limited as well. So we were disappointed since our last visit was so impressive and probably won't return.