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Itailian BYOB near Woodbridge?

c
coldsolderjoint Dec 28, 2012 08:28 AM

Hi Guys,

Going out of my normal greasy spoon eating habits here. We are meeting some friends for dinner tomorrow night and it looks like the consensus would be Italian. We live off exit 117 and they live in Woodbridge. They seem to have no taste buds, and suggested Magianos in Bridgewater. Seeing as I'd rather eat a soggy Chinese newspaper in the Olive Garden's bathroom.. I'm trying to find an Italian place that would be more suitable.

It doesn't necessarily have to be fancy nor a BYOB, but I think that would be better for everyone. We can eat chicken parm and penne vodka, but my girlfriend would like it to be a little nicer then a greasy pizzeria. We have been to Casa Guisepe on 27 before, and we both thought that was too expensive for what we got.

Anything like that around Woodbridge? How bout like Westfeild or the like? New brunswick even? (They were willing to drive to Bridgewater)

Thanks in advance

  1. jrvedivici Dec 28, 2012 08:39 AM

    LouCas in Edison is probably the best bet in my book.

    http://www.loucasrestaurant.com/

    There is also a great fairly new place I have been too in Metuchen as well. Civilies.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Civile-...

    1. JustJake Dec 29, 2012 07:19 AM

      Excellent choice by JR.

      Either steer them to LouCas or beg off citing a stomach virus. I did Maggiano's once at that very BW location - hostage to a small group dynamic.

      4 Replies
      1. re: JustJake
        e
        ebchower Dec 29, 2012 09:15 AM

        Growing up in an Italian family, it was the one kind of restaurant my parents never wanted to go to. Like the OP, they didn't feel the independent places gave great value for the money and more often than not they weren't impressed. Despite the vast amount of home cooking they do, they can better tolerate chains like Carrabas and Maggianos over an independent if somebody wants to go out for Italian. There's a Carrabas in East Brunswick that would be about half way between WB and 117 if they have their sights set on a chain.

        1. re: ebchower
          JustJake Dec 29, 2012 10:14 AM

          Come on now man!!!!! ;-) Take your parents to LouCas and get back to us - the food is excellent.

          Fwiw, my local Italian will charge around $15 for 3 nice filets of veal ($13 for tender chicken breast) in their francaise/picata/marsala dish, with a nice side of pasta or a salad along with a half loaf of Italian bread. And while we've seen that pricing increase over the last 3 years (when they were even less and even more attractive), I find this to be very acceptable from a value standpoint.

          From a quality slant, local spots such as Illiano's, Scarpettas, Nick's (Wanamassa) far exceeds the Sysco/US Foods delivered frozen stuff that gets delivered to the Carrabas, Maggiano's and OG's of the world. .

          With all due respect, I just can't understand the mindset (of your parents) that they're disappointed by the independents 'lack of value', yet can tolerate these chains. Don't let the decor snooker one into an irrational exuberance - that doesn't make my food any better.

          Regards

          1. re: JustJake
            f
            fourunder Dec 29, 2012 02:31 PM

            First, you would be wrong about the frozen food aspect you mention with chains and Sysco....most food come in cryovac packaging...and actually the typical mom & pop independent is more likely to receive frozen products.

            Second, the prices you list are lower than what the pizzerias charge in Northern New Jersey. Restaurants are closer to $20 for independents....and the chains are closer to $15.

            1. re: fourunder
              JustJake Dec 30, 2012 06:54 PM

              Most of the local restaurants down here get their meats from Carl Streit out of Asbury Park. To the best of my knowledge, chicken never gets cryo'ed as it needs to breathe - veal, I'll give you.

              The local places I cited in my post are pizzarias first, but deliver vg Italian entrees. And I'm still scratching my head as to an Italian family wanting a Carraba's or a Maggiano's over a small storefront in a strip mall - $15 or not for that pedestrian cookie cutter Chicken Parm, or Ziti dish. I'm sure you'll agree that given your choice, you're not going to be 'champing at the bit' to go to one of the described chains over a mom n pop shop that's delivering a quality product at about the same price.

      2. b
        BigGeorge Dec 29, 2012 05:28 PM

        If you want to expand your palate from eating chicken parma and veal parma, Due Mari in New Brunswick would be the best place to go. However, it might be more expensive than you want to pay.

        1. sunangelmb Dec 29, 2012 06:50 PM

          Another vote for LouCas in Edison. Excellent Italian food

          2 Replies
          1. re: sunangelmb
            b
            betsey Jan 1, 2013 08:15 PM

            does loucas have another restaurant on route 516 in old bridge?

            1. re: betsey
              jrvedivici Jan 2, 2013 06:28 AM

              Actually I just recently found out that yes they do. It's directly across the street from Old Bridge Town Hall/Police Dept. I have not been there myself however my wife recently ate there with friends and told me about the relationship of the two. LouCas was our first date 19 years ago.

              She also learned there is actually a 3rd location in East Brunswick as well on either Tices or Rouse lane.

          2. JustJake Dec 31, 2012 03:47 AM

            Up early and trying to continue my fast for some blood work this morning, --- with posting about food probably the worst thing to do.

            CSJ, you should consider going back to Guisepe, unless you didn't like the restaurant. Why do I say this? As I hadn't heard of CG, I yelped it and then looked at the menu.

            Sterling reviews with their menu being reduced to 1997 prices - looking at it, it would be hard to beat dining at such a positive place amongst diners at that pricing.

            Nevertheless, good luck and oops, as I write this, the deed has already been done.

            1. jrvedivici Dec 31, 2012 06:20 AM

              Well don't keep us in suspense......where did you go?

              3 Replies
              1. re: jrvedivici
                c
                coldsolderjoint Dec 31, 2012 07:19 AM

                Sorry I didn't update this post, our friends who must have ADD decided they wanted to go to OLIO Lounge in Woodbridge.

                Well.. "WE" didn't end up going anywhere. My fiancee' seemed to have a brain fart. I work part time delivering for one of the major "plastic" pizza chains (solely because its busy and I make good money there). And of course, when I was supposed to leave, a rush came in, and I got out an hour later than planned. (I don't know why she forgot that happens in any food place and some customer service jobs too). So it seems she made the dinner plans too early, and the people we where supposed to eat with are Polly prissy pants' and couldn't eat a snack for an hour before we were able to go up there.

                So a big giant fight ensured, and long story short.. I ended up buying a few pizza's by myself from Jerzee Boys in Keyport. They were quite good. I've been going to Jersey Shore Subs & Soups on Main Street in Keyport, and talking to the owner, I found out that Him, the owner of Jerzee Boys, and the owner of Trinity Church Restaurant in Keyport are all Brothers.

                Fiancee went to Taco Bell

                1. re: coldsolderjoint
                  jrvedivici Dec 31, 2012 08:57 AM

                  Be honest....you went to Jersey Boy's Pizza and then you went next door!!! (well that's what I do)

                  I would have enjoyed hearing about OLIO lounge.....I LOVE the decor of that place since they opened and I have tried to make it a point to stop in from time to time to check it out have a cocktail etc. The problem is the place is always DEAD.

                  1. re: coldsolderjoint
                    JustJake Dec 31, 2012 11:40 AM

                    That's pretty riotous CSJ. I nearly spit out my tea reading your post <tongue in cheek or actual fact>.

                    Hell, I've done that trip once or twice in my lifetime and my GF, now bride of many many years.

                    Thanks for the laugh. ;-)

                2. c
                  cke25 Jan 1, 2013 06:30 PM

                  http://ditaliarestaurant.com/

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