NJ Dining: Mo’ Pho’ (UPDATED)

September 19, 2010

MoPho
212 Main St, Fort Lee, NJ
(201) 363-8886

Note: While Mo’ Pho’ in Fort Lee remains open, it’s Englewood sister restaurant, Saigon R. closed on August 30, 2010 and re-opened as Simply Vietnamese in nearby Tenafly. For more information on Simply Vietnamese, click here.

As summer comes to an end and the weather starts getting rainy and a bit chilly, I start getting that craving for Asian noodle soups again. There’s no question in my mind that my all time favorite type of noodle soup has to be Pho, the anise-flavored beef bone broth and the national dish of Vietnam.

Northern New Jersey has a couple of notable Vietnamese restaurants, but there is a special place in my heart for Mo Pho, the flagship restaurant owned and managed by Khan “K.T.” Tran, a talented female chef who is carrying out the culinary traditions of her mother, who once catered embassy functions for Southeast Asian dignitaries and heads of state for the Republic of Vietnam.

I’ve been to Mo Pho (and it’s sister restaurant that recently closed, Saigon R.) so many times and K.T. has become such a close friend that I have to admit I am probably unfairly biased towards her food. Overall, her cuisine is not the kind of hardcore (and less expensive) offal-centric, employing weird cuts of meat, Vietnamese street stall food or authentic in exacting detail like Nha Trang in Jersey City,  Huong Viet in Nutley or even Bloomfield’s Binh Duong — this is a more refined interpretation of Vietnamese food more suited to American customers.

Still, when I have a Pho craving, its K.T.’s that really does the trick for me. Her broth is simmered for an entire day and is far more intensely flavored with beef bones than any other I’ve had in the area, including Pho stalls I’ve visited in NYC. It’s not the super clear Pho broth you see at most places; its got a much darker color and is somewhat cloudier due to the residual gelatin, giving the soup a much more satisfying and comforting mouthfeel.

Mo’ Pho’ storefront on Main Street in Fort Lee. Mo Pho now has a new sister restaurant in Tenafly, Simply Vietnamese.

Mo’ Pho’s dining room.

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The Last Supper with David

May 8, 2010

New York Times’ David Corcoran, who’s wonderful restaurant reviews have graced the “Old Gray Lady’s” NJ Metro/Dining section for 10 years.

My foray into food blogging has almost certainly had much to do with my respect and admiration for the newspaper writers, who’s level of reviewing standards I could never even try to emulate with any degree of success.

The print newspaper and magazine staff restaurant writer is a dying breed, one who’s role has had to change with the times, if not for the challenges that newspapers and  other periodicals must now face in competition with the food blogs and other new media outlets.

That being said, I am sad to see this occur, even if I am a willing participant and advocate in this change of focus towards the Web.

Perhaps one of my saddest moments in this realization was a happy occasion — having a wonderful Chinese dinner with a newspaper restaurant reviewer that I call a friend and mentor, who had told me that this meal would be his final review.

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Picnic a Les Marmitons

April 19, 2010

by Rachel Nash Perlow

Chef Christine Nunn of Picnic, The Restaurant (opening June 2010), was the special guest chef at the New Jersey chapter of Les Marmitons Spring event.

We feel a bit of a Yenta’s pride in this as another OTB friend Eric Eisenbud, and former President of the chapter, was the event organizer, responsible for procuring the guest chef and provisions. For those who don’t know, Les Marmitons is a gastronomic and social club of gentlemen who share a common interest in fine food, wine and the culinary arts.


Chef Christine Nunn discusses the menu with current NJ chapter President, Efrain Raices (right), and John Howlet (left), a past president of the NJ chapter and the current Vice President of Les Marmitons International.

Click here for a slide show of all of Jason’s photos of the event.

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Blogroll: Spoon & Shutter

February 28, 2010

I’d like to welcome Spoon & Shutter to the New Jersey food blogging community.

While the paint is still drying on this new blog, which only started in February of 2010, its got some serious talent behind it, so you’ll want to pay attention — it’s run by Susan Leigh Sherrill and Ted Axelrod, the husband and wife team whose works you’ve seen in 201 Magazine. Sherrill works as Food and Entertainment Editor of 201, and Axelrod is a professional photographer who has freelanced a number of food spreads in 201 magazine and elsewhere.

Check it out at http://spoonandshutter.wordpress.com


NJ Dining: Last Meal at The Citrus Grille

February 13, 2010

Last night, our friends who live in the Ramsey/Mahwah area introduced us to one of their favorite restaurants, The Citrus Grille, located in nearby Airmont, NY, which is owned by CIA-trained chef Steve Chrisitanson, who cut his culinary chops at New York City’s The Four Seasons Restaurant under the late Christian Albin.

I was extremely looking forward to adding another fine dining location to our list, only to hear from our friends that this was the restaurant’s last weekend after 13 years in business.

However, there is a silver lining to this story. While The Citrus Grille will be closing after Valentine’s Day weekend, Christianson will be opening a new restaurant in nearby Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey, in a newly constructed space in the Fall of 2010. So think of this post as a preview of great things to come, and not a goodbye.

While the new restaurant doesn’t have a name yet, I’ll keep you apprised of upcoming developments.

I apologize in advance for the lighting/color in the photos, as we were sitting by a nice warm fireplace that was giving off orange light.

What do you start the evening off with? Why, a green tea Zen Martini.

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NJ Dining: BBS Chicken

February 6, 2010

BBS Chicken
561 Livingston Street, Norwood NJ
(201) 768-1230

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

BBS Chicken, the rogue warrior of Fried Chicken in Norwood, is the new king of Korean Wings in North Jersey.

As many of you are aware, I’m a bit of an obsessive when it comes to Korean Fried Chicken.

In Northern New Jersey, since I last wrote about the subject in 2007, there have been a number of openings of new Korean wing joints. Unidentified Flying Chickens in Tenafly opened in 2009 and in early January 2010, its sister restaurant in Englewood, Green’Licious Cafe also opened.

However I think there’s a new wing king, and unlike the big names such as Bon Chon which has multiple locations in the NYC/NJ metro area,  it’s an independent takeout/delivery-only store run by a pair of young, enterprising guys with a passion for making a quality product, and they’re on the main drag of Livingston Street in Norwood, where several Korean  businesses have opened up in the last few years, further extending the Korean community from their commercial centers in Palisades Park, Fort Lee, Leonia and Ridgefield.

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Ultimate Chef Bergen County 2010: Battle Pignoli

January 26, 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 second round,  Chef Adam Weiss of Esty Street in Park Ridge went up against  Chef Ike Koutrakous of Cooking in Your Kitchen.

This fight was a doozy, resulting in the closest competition that Chef Central had ever had to judge. Let’s get to it!

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NJ-Based Chinese OTB Groupie Needed

January 18, 2010

Yup, it’s finally come down to this, we’re absolutely desperate. We’re looking for that special someone who can speak Mandarin, Cantonese and other regional Chinese dialects that is familiar with the New Jersey Chinese restaurant scene and knows how to get us “The Good Stuff”.  There are restaurants we’d like to go to, but our lack of Sino-communication skills are preventing us from getting the very best authentic dishes.

If you can tolerate hanging out with a bunch of hungry and loud food-obsessives that like to take photos of every single thing they eat, inquire within to jperlow AT Gmail DOT com.


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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NJ Dining: Sliders (CLOSED)

January 1, 2010

4/1/2010 Sliders has closed.

Sliders
190 Franklin Turnpike, Mahwah NJ
(201) 529-1717

Sliders storefront on Franklin Turnpike in Mahwah.

Sliders is a new burger place in Mahwah which opened in August of 2009. While it’s a bit down route 17 near the Suffern NY border, I think that it’s well worth the drive now that they are offering their “Secret Menu” platters which I helped them to create. I really hope you go, because I think the burgers are excellent and they are great people too.

The new “Secret Menu Platters” at Sliders designed by Off The Broiler.

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