NJ Dining: Tandoori Chef/Madras Bistro

February 26, 2010

Tandoori Chef
258 Main St, Hackensack, NJ

Rachel and I recently re-visited Tandoori Chef, which has been under new ownership for 3 years. Tandoori Chef used to be part of the same restaurant group as the now closed Indian Chef in the International Food Warehouse in Lodi, but has since undergone significant changes, including the re-branding of the cafe space that it owns next door, which used to be Veggie Express but is now Madras Bistro. It should also be noted that Tandoori Chef has recently lowered the price of its lunch buffet to under $10 a person, and we intend on checking that out soon.

Indian Chef and Madras Bistro in Hackensack are serving some of the best North Indian and South Indian Food in Bergen County.

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Ultimate Chef Bergen County 2010: Battle Cranberry

January 16, 2010

That’s right folks. It’s time again for your favorite culinary battle competition, Ultimate Chef Bergen County, sponsored by Chef Central in Paramus, New Jersey. For the opening round, Chef John Marsh of Green Door Cafe in Tenafly went up against Chef Jesse Jones of Heart and Soul Catering.

Click Here to view High-Res Photo Slide Show.

The ensuing battle was a clash of titans, a 40 year veteran of the New York restaurant scene with a classic cooking style versus a Southern style, North Carolina down-home cook. As with with many of these TV-style competitions, the focus was on a “Secret Ingredient”. For the opening round this year, it was Cranberries.

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October 14, 2009 Updates: Daruma, Havana’s Cuban Cafe

October 14, 2009

Daruma 2009 Collage II by you.

Daruma in Englewood, opened in 2004, is still producing some of the best and most creative Sushi and Sashimi creations in Bergen County.

Havana's Cuban Cafe, Edgewater NJ by you.

Babaloo! Havana’s Cuban Cafe in Edgewater is still banging out delicious Latino delights.


NJ Dining: Babylon (UPDATED)

August 18, 2009

Babylon Mediterranean Restaurant
606 Kinderkamack Road
River Edge, NJ

In August of 2006, Babylon, one of our favorite Turkish/Middle Eastern restaurants was forced to close when its lease was not renewed along with several other stores in the ill-fated Huffman-Koos shopping center in River Edge. Needless to say, I was totally bummed out by this development — not only was Babylon a great dining value but it also made some of the best Turkish and Middle-Eastern food that you could find in Bergen County. To get anything comparable, you had to go to Patterson or Union City. While we still had Kervan in Cliffside Park (a restaurant that has seen better days, its hardcore Turkish crowd long gone) and Samdan in Cresskill (admittedly solid Turkish place, but just didn’t have the precise atmosphere or taste I was looking for) they just weren’t the same — Babylon’s doner and other kebabs were made fresh from scratch daily, and had a definitively home made flavor that couldn’t easily be duplicated.

However, all was not lost. In Late March of 2007, Babylon re-opened only about a mile away from its original location, on Kinderkamack Road on the site of Shanghai Restaurant, which had closed six months before. The owners completely renovated the interior, and now Babylon, menu unchanged, with prices more or less the same, is back and better than ever.

Babylon storefront on Kinderkamack Road in River Edge

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NJ Dining: Green Door Cafe (CLOSED)

June 30, 2009

Green Door Cafe suffered a devastating fire on July 30, 2010. The owner plans to rebuild, but the restaurant is closed until further notice.

Green Door Cafe
1 Highwood Avenue, Tenafly NJ
(201) 567-8226

Green Door Cafe, Tenafly NJ by you.

Green Door Cafe’s Storefront in downtown Tenafly, NJ.

As a few of you may be aware, I am a resident of the sleepy hamlet of Tenafly, which is situated on the northeast side of Bergen County, adjoining the towns of Cresskill, Bergenfield and Englewood. Tenafly, while being a wonderful residential neighborhood, has a bit of an unfortunate reputation of being the town that eats restaurants.

One of the restaurants that recently got the axe was Blockheads, an outpost of a NYC-based burrito chain. So I was rather surprised this week as I was driving by its former location to find Green Door Cafe, a self described “Doorway to real food” which only serves “proteins which are antibiotic and hormone free or organic” and produce that is “organic or locally farmed seasonally. We restrict our purchases to foods raised naturally without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers.”

I was expecting the place to be owned by a bunch of hippies wearing hemp clothing. What I wasn’t prepared for was being greeted by the former owner of Blockheads when I went in, Leon Bell. “Hey! Jason! The Off The Broiler Guy!”

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NJ Dining: Fire & Oak at Westin Newport

June 27, 2009

Fire & Oak Restaurant / Westin Newport
485 Washington Boulevard, Jersey City NJ 07310
(201) 610-9610

Web Site: http://www.southcitygrill.com

Fire Oak Restaurant, Westin Hotel, Jersey City NJ by you.

South City Restaurant Group’s latest, Fire & Oak restaurant at the brand-new Jersey City Westin Newport.

Rachel and I were recently invited to dine at a press luncheon for Fire & Oak restaurant, a brand new casual dining restaurant attached to the recently opened Westin Newport hotel in Jersey City, which is conveniently located near the Jersey City PATH and only a block and a half away from the Port Imperial Ferry to Midtown and Downtown Manhattan.

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NJ Dining: Shish! at Whole Foods, Paramus

June 20, 2009

Shish! at Whole Foods Market
2701 Bergen Mall, Paramus NJ
(201) 226-1244

Other locations: Tribeca, NYC

Shish! Collage by you.

The new Shish! stand at Whole Foods’s new Paramus. New Jersey location serves Middle-Eastern kebabs and mezze with an organic twist.

I recently had a chance to try the new Shish! middle eastern food stand at the brand new Whole Foods market in the recently revamped Bergen Mall, accompanied by former Bergen Record staff writer and experienced foodie Victor Sasson, who recently has started blogging about healthy and chemical-free shopping options in New Jersey. Victor is a Syrian Jew by birth, with a very discerning palate, and has an even greater level of experience with Middle Eastern food than I do, so I was interested in seeing his reactions to the food there.

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