Richmond VA Dining: Full Kee

October 19, 2008

Full Kee Restaurant
6400 Horsepen Rd, Richmond, VA 23226
(804) 673-2233

I’ve been spending the last couple of weeks in Richmond, Virginia. While not as ethnically diverse as Washington DC, its nearest major city, there are still some dining gems to be found. One of these is Full Kee, probably one of the best Cantonese restaurants I have ever been to outside of the New York Metropolitan or San Francisco Bay areas. This place is so outstanding that I’ve taken to eating there as much as twice a week in the month I’ve been traveling back and forth to Richmond.

Full Kee literally translated from Cantonese means “Magical” or “Prosperous” Place. From what I’ve experienced of this restaurant so far, it is indeed.

Full Kee has branches in the Washington DC area as well, which are apparently even more impressive. But there’s no doubt that this is the most serious Chinese restaurant in the Richmond area.

The taste of Hong Kong delights at Full Kee. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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NJ Dining: Nanking

August 30, 2008

Nanking Restaurant
101 Hudson Street, Jersey City NJ 07302
(201) 333-6500

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

Downtown Jersey City is an area that I normally don’t get to spend a lot of time in, and that’s mostly by choice — it is situated in one of the most difficult traffic areas in existence, and if you live in any of the Eastern Bergen County towns like me, trying to get there at any time of the day is an utter nightmare, because you’re dealing with roads that intersect every major crossing into New York City. That being said, I am now working on assignment in the Exchange Place area for a few months, and I’ve had to make the best of my commute, which gets me up at 6am and into work by 8am, missing most of the bad Holland Tunnel and bridge traffic.

Despite the horrendous traffic situation, Jersey City is an absolute goldmine of fantastic ethnic food. One of those ethnic cuisines is Indian food, which has grown in popularity since all the strategic outsourcing started bringing in IT workers from Bangalore and other cities in India to work at many of the financial institutions which migrated to Jersey City after 9/11.

One Indian restaurant that I recently visited in Jersey City is Nanking, which is very close to the Exchange Place PATH station. Nanking is actually an Indian Chinese restaurant (which is part of a small local chain that has several restaurants in NYC and NJ) which also serves Indianized Thai food. For those not familiar with Indo-Chinese cuisine, its a spicy, tangy fusion cuisine that originates from Calcutta and utilizes Chinese-style wok cooking methods combined with Indian spices. Indo-Chinese is a rather rare cuisine in both New York and New Jersey — the two best known restaurants that serve this food are owned by the Mehtani Group, which owns Ming and Ming II in Edison and Morristown, both of which are excellent.

Nanking Restaurant, Jersey City NJ by you.

Nanking, in downtown Jersey City features exotic Indian Chinese cuisine. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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NYC Dining: Roberto

August 6, 2008

Roberto Restaurant
603 Crescent Avenue, Bronx NY 10458
718-733-9503

Web Site: http://www.usmenuguide.com/Robertos.htm

Rachel and I have been dining at Roberto for many years now, so much that it has become part of our Arthur Avenue “routine” — Shop at the Retail Market for specialty items, hit Teitel Brothers for bulk goods, go buy bread (and cannoli) at Madonia, grab some raw clams at Cosenza’s, hit the Cheese Shop, and then go have dinner — EARLY! — at Roberto. Notice that I emphasize the “Early” part. The restaurant gets into full swing at around 6PM, and unless you get there by 5:30 or so, you’re going to have to wait a bit for a table. It is by far the most fine dining of the Italian American restaurants in the Belmont area, and I think it compares quite favorably with some of the very best Italian choices in Manhattan.

Roberto's, Bronx NY by you.

Storefront on Crescent Avenue.

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NYC Dining: Umberto’s Clam House Bronx

August 6, 2008

Umberto’s Clam House Bronx
2356 Arthur Avenue, Bronx NY 10458
718-220-CLAM (2526)

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

My parents were recently visiting from their home in Florida, and asked us where we could go get some brunch. Given the fact that Rachel and I are trying to avoid brunchy, carb-laden stuff, I suggested we go to Arthur Avenue, do a little window shopping and try Umberto’s Clam House, a seafood restaurant that is open for lunch on Saturdays. Umberto’s is also based out of Manhattan’s Little Italy, but as a result of the “Chinatownification” of the Little Italy that most people are familiar with, they decided to open an outpost in the Bronx, where the “real” Little Italy is now.

Umberto’s on Arthur Avenue.

Umberto's Clam House, Bronx NY by you.

Umberto’s Main Dining Room.

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Connecticut Dining: Noah’s

July 3, 2008

Noah’s Restaurant
113 Water Street, Stonington CT 06378
(860) 535-3925

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

The sleepy little town of Stonington, CT looks like it belongs on a movie set — it’s got everything you’d want in a New England experience, right down to the old lighthouse and cute little shops. Situated right outside of Mystic, CT, it’s often lumped into the greater Mystic area, but it really has its own identity and atmosphere. If you want to escape the tourist crowds at Mystic Seaport and New London and want something a bit more serene, a visit to Stonington is the way to go.

The old lighthouse in Stonington.

If you do head to Stonington, my recommendation is that if you want to have one heck of a good meal, you go straight to Noah’s, which has been a locally kept secret for nearly 30 years.

Noah’s is not just your average New England seafood restaurant. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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Cape Cod Dining: Ardeo

May 29, 2008

Ardeo Restaurants
Cape Cod, Massachusetts (Various Locations in Yarmouth, Hyannis, Brewster)

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

In New England, one cannot live on traditional baked and fried and steamed seafood alone. But we were still in the mood for some good local fish and shellfish, prepared in a different fashion and in a healthier way. It was our good fortune that we came across Ardeo, a local chain of Mediterranean-style restaurants that specialize in Lebanese, Greek and Italian cuisine.

The Union Plaza location in Yarmouth is the original, and we happened upon it after a long day of museuming and shopping, and I am happy to note that they are able to accommodate requests to make dishes healthier when asked. A word of warning however — ordering the”Sauteed” calamari will result in them bringing you FRIED calamari sauteed in an al oglio garlic sauce over greens. Don’t get me wrong, it looked awesome — but as my grandmother Slyvia Perlow used to say, “It’s not for us, Jack”.

The original Ardeo location in Yarmouth.

Ready for some New England Seafood, Mediterranean Style? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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Triangle Dining: Korean Food

May 17, 2008

On cold rainy days away from home, I want a taste of Jersey. For me, that means Korean food.

The Korean community in the Triangle is relatively small, but it is growing steadily, and a  few restaurants have popped up to support the local taste for home style Korean dishes. During my stay in the Raleigh-Durham area I found two that I enjoyed.

Chosun Ok Korean B.B.Q
2105 E Highway 54, Durham NC
(919) 806-1213

Chosun Ok Restaurant

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Triangle Dining: Poole’s Downtown Diner

May 16, 2008

Poole’s Downtown Diner
426 S. McDowell Street, Raleigh, NC 27601
919.832.4477

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

The Triangle area has such a bounty of wonderful local produce and ingredients. One such place that is focusing on the organic and sustainable is Poole’s, a small funky eatery-cum-wine bar-cum-bistro with a diner theme located near the Convention Center construction zone on the site of a former pie shop. Here the talented Ashley Christensen (formerly of Enoteca Vin) is serving fresh and delicious simple  dishes using the best stuff she can source.

This downtown storefront in Raleigh in the midst of the construction zone is serving some of the best casual local cuisine in the city. Watch yourself while crossing the street, it’s practically a NASCAR track.

Poole’s is no ordinary diner. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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NJ Dining: Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation 2008

May 10, 2008

by Rachel Perlow

Monday evening, May 5th, the annual Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation 2008 New Jersey event was held at the Birchwood Manor in Whippany. In previous years, it had been held at the Madison Hotel, which always seemed too big, being spread out over the grand ball room, The Conservatory, and a third smaller ballroom. Last year it was held at the Olde Mill Inn, which was a little too small – just one regular sized ballroom. The Birchwood Manor was just right. One very large ballroom, with adjacent patios and lounge to escape the crowds. Or, I may just be prejudiced towards the place, as my high school prom was held there I don’t want to tell you how many years ago.

But the size of the venue is besides the point, that being to raise money to fight childhood hunger. To that end, it was a huge success, bringing in lots of money to benefit The Community FoodBank of New Jersey and Eva’s Village, while allowing area restaurants, caterers and merchants to promote themselves to their ideal customers.

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Podcast #47: Jeremy Clayman and Eric Foster (The Mint)

May 9, 2008

The Mint Restaurant
219 Fayetteville Street Mall (1 Exchange Plaza) Raleigh, NC
(919)821.0011

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

Click Here to Listen to The Mint Podcast

Related Post: The Mint is Loaded (VarmintBites)

Related Post: Greg Cox Just Doesn’t Get It (VarmintBites)

Sous Chef/Pastry Chef Eric Foster (left) and Chef de Cuisine Jeremy Clayman

Click on the above photo for a hi-res slide show.

My meal this week at The Mint will go down as one of the most memorable I have ever had in the South, including my many wonderful meals in New Orleans. The Mint is as good as any of the fine restaurants we have in New York City which specialize in local sustainable cuisine — that I compare it to Gramercy Tavern or Blue Hill is not without serious consideration for the level of art and technique that is being practiced at this restaurant, which Raleigh should consider itself extremely lucky to have.