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First visit in 43 years

mennorm Jun 30, 2011 09:57 AM

It has been 43 years since I have been to NJ. I remember eating in an upstairs Chinese restaurant called Queens Palace on Front Street in Plainfield. I would love to have some authentic Chinese food while I am there. Was also wondering if anyone knows if the building is still around. It was creepy going up the stairs but a wonderful formal setting when you opened the door and walked in. We also would go to the Leaning Tower of Pizza. Don't remember where that was. But they had the best pizza (when I was young)
I will be in the Plainfield, Somerset, Middlesex area.

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  1. h
    HillJ RE: mennorm Jun 30, 2011 10:16 AM

    Leaning Tower of Pizza...wasn't that on Route 22?

    1 Reply
    1. re: HillJ
      mennorm RE: HillJ Jun 30, 2011 10:39 AM

      That sounds right. I am having to think back too far. lol Thank you. I have been searching for authentic good places to eat there. I am looking through all the messages.

    2. menton1 RE: mennorm Jun 30, 2011 10:42 AM

      Authentic Chinese food: Take the Holland Tunnel into Chinatown. New Jersey side: fuggeddaboudit!!

      BTW, where do you live now, mennorm?

      10 Replies
      1. re: menton1
        mennorm RE: menton1 Jun 30, 2011 10:49 AM

        I live in Florida. On the east coast. Not much in restaurants here.

        1. re: mennorm
          menton1 RE: mennorm Jun 30, 2011 11:54 AM

          Really? I hear Miami has a mega-food scene going on there!

        2. re: menton1
          mennorm RE: menton1 Jun 30, 2011 12:09 PM

          I am now in Florida. On the east coast.

          1. re: mennorm
            menton1 RE: mennorm Jun 30, 2011 12:30 PM

            Miami=Florida=East Coast=Great restaurant scene

            1. re: menton1
              equal_Mark RE: menton1 Jun 30, 2011 12:37 PM

              Did not see mennorm mention anything about living near Miami.

              1. re: equal_Mark
                mennorm RE: equal_Mark Jun 30, 2011 01:13 PM

                Miami is about 3 hours south. That is true about Miami :) I have been there only once and there is so much to choose from there. I meant, where I live there is not much to choose from.

          2. re: menton1
            The Professor RE: menton1 Jun 30, 2011 04:16 PM

            Not necessarily true. There are a number of real, truly authentic Chinese eateries in Edison. Problem is, they don't have menus in English (or if they do, it's the 'gringo' menu. LOL). It takes some convincing (and sometimes a translator) to convince them you don't want "American" Chinese food.

            1. re: The Professor
              GraydonCarter RE: The Professor Jul 1, 2011 06:49 AM

              Fortune Cookie in Raritan is fairly authentic.

              Fortune Cookie
              41 Old York Rd, Bridgewater, NJ 08807

              1. re: GraydonCarter
                mennorm RE: GraydonCarter Jul 1, 2011 03:02 PM

                Thank you, am adding to my list and see which will be in the direction I am going.

            2. re: menton1
              tommy RE: menton1 Jul 1, 2011 01:41 PM

              There are a bunch of authentic chinese restaurants in NJ.

            3. a
              arpad RE: mennorm Jun 30, 2011 11:21 AM

              Leaning Tower of Pizza was on the north side of Rte 22 in Greenbrook .
              As far as Chinese food search this site - as many opinions as there are posts .

              1 Reply
              1. re: arpad
                mennorm RE: arpad Jun 30, 2011 01:14 PM

                Thank you arpad, I have been searching the posts and getting ideas.

              2. h
                HillJ RE: mennorm Jun 30, 2011 01:17 PM

                mennorm, there are tons of suggestions for Italian on the NJ boards.

                For Cajun in Plainfield I'd give Freshwaters a try; especially if you enjoy fish.

                and Hoysala in Somerset for Indian comes to mind

                3 Replies
                1. re: HillJ
                  mennorm RE: HillJ Jun 30, 2011 01:30 PM

                  Thanks so much HIllJ. I am keeping note of these for my trip in July. "only one more week!!"

                  1. re: mennorm
                    HillJ RE: mennorm Jun 30, 2011 02:44 PM

                    Know one needs to tell you that 43 years is a long time and much has changed, yes ?!
                    But have a wonderful time and I hope some lovely meals!

                    1. re: HillJ
                      mennorm RE: HillJ Jun 30, 2011 06:18 PM

                      LOL I wasn't even old enough to drive then. So this is more of an adventure than remembering. Yes I will have a wonderful time.

                2. a
                  arpad RE: mennorm Jun 30, 2011 02:00 PM

                  I think you may be disappointed in Plainfield . When you were last there there were good stores like Tepper's and a terrific ice cream place - can't recall the name but now there's nothing in the downtown area . If you remember Iselin that town is now mostly Indian with some great restaurants on the outskirts . Do you have any preferences other than Chinese ?

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: arpad
                    mennorm RE: arpad Jun 30, 2011 02:57 PM

                    I really want some good Pizza and Seafood too. I try to stay away from Chain restaurants. I like the authentic kind of places. I will be in Somerset, Plainfield, and also up in Warren. then one day will be by the Liberty State Park. All of my family has moved from Jersey. My Sister and I are coming up to put our parents remains in the family Grave. We are making a vacation out of all of this. Thanks arpad, I am kind of scattered around. I will just keep looking and figure it out.

                    1. re: mennorm
                      arpad RE: mennorm Jun 30, 2011 04:04 PM


                      This is a link for a beer garden near Liberty Park .
                      The ferry to Ellis Island and to the Statue of Liberty gives you a wonderful view of the Upper Bay but don't even carry a small pen knife in your pocket - security is tight . I was last there the day the Intrepid was moved back to its permanent berth - great to see the fireboats putting up plumes of water in salute !

                      1. re: arpad
                        mennorm RE: arpad Jun 30, 2011 06:16 PM

                        Thanks for the info on the security. Good to know. Hope to go to the beer garden. Adding it to my list!!!

                        1. re: mennorm
                          JerzeyShore RE: mennorm Jul 1, 2011 05:38 AM

                          What town do you now live in Florida?

                          1. re: JerzeyShore
                            mennorm RE: JerzeyShore Jul 1, 2011 06:14 AM

                            I am in Sebastian. Quiet little town. Known for its Inlet and great fishing. But no seafood restaurants with fresh fish. Haven't explored to the north and south of me lately though.

                            1. re: mennorm
                              MGZ RE: mennorm Jul 1, 2011 09:23 AM

                              I've been to Sebastian (the Inlet has a legendary break) and would say that dim sum at Wonder Seafood or a few Sichuan dishes at Dragon Palace (each in Edison) might be what you're looking for. There are discussions of each on the Board.

                              Dragon Palace
                              1635 Oak Tree Rd, Edison, NJ 08820

                              1. re: MGZ
                                mennorm RE: MGZ Jul 1, 2011 03:00 PM

                                That sounds good. I am hoping to try them or one.

                      2. re: mennorm
                        GraydonCarter RE: mennorm Jul 1, 2011 06:53 AM

                        Mennorm, after 43 years you may notice that NJ is quite crowded, espcially compared to Brevard.

                        1. re: GraydonCarter
                          mennorm RE: GraydonCarter Jul 1, 2011 02:57 PM

                          Ya think so? LOL I travel through Orlando every so often and used to go to Tampa when I was on that side of FL. Also to Miami to a Dr. I don't hardly remember NJ. Only few memories, I was young. So I am expecting it to be quite crowded like you said. thank you for your reminder.

                      3. re: arpad
                        Passadumkeg RE: arpad Jul 11, 2011 04:04 PM

                        Say Hi to Archie in the men's department of Tepper's for me! What a dude he was.

                        1. re: Passadumkeg
                          arpad RE: Passadumkeg Jul 12, 2011 05:42 AM

                          Talk about a voice from the past !!! Their men's department was great !

                      4. ambrose RE: mennorm Jul 1, 2011 05:41 AM

                        I completely agree with HillJ about Hoysala in Somerset. They serve terrific south Indian food. If you don't have a lot of time, go to their lunch buffet which is one of the best I've ever had.

                        Also in Somerset is Sophie's Bistro, a French restaurant that has a number of seafood items on the menu. Can be crazy on a weekend because of the adjoining bar.

                        For authentic Hunan, check out Fortune Cookies in nearby Bridgewater. Lots of very positive comments on the web about this place. Don't let the name fool you into thinking this is a Chinese-American restaurant (though they do have Chinese-American dishes for the non-adventurous!).



                        2 Replies
                        1. re: ambrose
                          albinoni RE: ambrose Jul 1, 2011 12:44 PM

                          The English menu at Wonder Seafood in Edison is pretty comprehsive--the manager is extremely helpful with the specials, and the food is wonderful. Since it is Hong Kong/Cantonese, it is not spicy, and in my experience, anything on the menu that sounds like takeout (yes, they do have General Tzo's Chicken and Garlic Shimp) should be avoided in favor of what they specialize in.

                          Downtown Plainfield is now fillled with a ton of storefront Mexican and Central American places. I have no idea if any of them are any good. If it has been 43 years since you've been there, I think you will be very disappointed to see what has become of it.

                          1. re: ambrose
                            chuck98 RE: ambrose Jul 11, 2011 03:55 PM

                            I wasn't too impressed with Hoysala. They had some dishes I don't normally see, but the selection was kind of small. A couple of places that I liked better are Chand Palace in Piscataway (seemed pretty high quality to me, but vegetarian) and Arusvai down Rt 130 (Chettinad style).

                            Hoysala Restaurant
                            2 John F Kennedy Blvd Ste 5, Somerset, NJ 08873

                            Chand Palace
                            1296 Centennial Ave, Piscataway, NJ 08854

                          2. riverman18 RE: mennorm Jul 1, 2011 02:23 PM

                            "La Viet" was a Vietnamese restaurant on Front Street years back. Upstairs, too. I still remember the fold-up dance floor in the corner for after hours.

                            Small world if these places were different incarnations of the same spot.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: riverman18
                              menton1 RE: riverman18 Jul 1, 2011 02:37 PM

                              In the Red Tower location on Rte 22 & Wilson Ave (North Plainfield) there used to be a terrific charcoal burger joint. Anybody remember the name of it?

                              1. re: menton1
                                riverman18 RE: menton1 Jul 1, 2011 03:27 PM

                                You mean Opdyke's? They had fantastic fried shrimp.

                                1. re: riverman18
                                  menton1 RE: riverman18 Jul 1, 2011 05:45 PM

                                  Yeahhhhh! Opdyk's! I seem to remember they spelled it this strange way without the "e". Right at the jug handle!

                              2. re: riverman18
                                mennorm RE: riverman18 Jul 1, 2011 03:06 PM

                                I am going to take a picture if I can find where the Queens Palace was. Maybe it is the same place. I will ask what other restaurants were there.

                              3. n
                                nosow12 RE: mennorm Apr 7, 2014 01:43 PM

                                Wish I could dig up the picture of my folks taking us three boys over to the Leaning Tower for Sunday afternoon pizza. Red Tower on Park Ave. had the best breakfast sandwiches and hot dogs anywhere! Great burgers at 2 in the morning after a night of clubbing too! Sucks getting old and saying "remember when" !!

                                1. b
                                  BrianYarvin RE: mennorm Apr 7, 2014 02:28 PM

                                  If you haven't seen Plainfield in 43 years, you won't recognize it. A bit down on its luck, but a great place for Central and South American restaurants. I frequently shop at Supremo, a huge Latin-American supermarket.

                                  The walk-up restaurant location on Front Street has been Vietnamese and Mexican during the twelve years I've been here. Even though some of the best Chinese food in the Northeast can be found within ten miles of that spot, it going to be similar to what people are eating today in China,not what was eaten in NJ 43 years ago. Finding authentic Chinese/American is actually tougher.

                                  For pizza, we're going to need a more detailed definition. I've never had good pizza by any standard in Plainfield, but then again, I've been distracted by the other stuff. You shouldn't have much trouble finding something that's REALLY New Jersey in that department on Route 22.

                                  In the end though, you can't go home again. Nothing tastes like it used to. Of course, if you see a middle-aged Chinese guy crying for joy over a plate of some simple thing like a bowl of noodles, the place he's eating at came pretty close.

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