Archive | March, 2011

Il Villaggio Ristorante

11 Mar

Il Villaggio Ristorante

Rating: ★★★☆☆
651 Route 17 N, Carlstadt, NJ 0707
info@ilvillaggio.com
Website
(201) 935-7733
Price: $$$
Hours:
Mon-Fri 11:30 am – 11 pm
Sat 5 pm – 12 am
Foursquare

Very grand decor and great service, but the food is just mediocre

Il Villaggio Ristorante is located off a highway, but don’t let that fool you. This restaurant’s decor is just as nice if not more magnificent than any of the high-end restaurants you’ll find in New York City. The first thing you’ll notice when pulling up to this restaurant is its grand entrance, you fell like you are walking into a palace of some sort. The host and waiters are very knowledgeable and attentive. If you are an inexperience diner, feel free to ask for recommendations and pairing suggestion. In my experience, the waiters are very honest and they don’t try to up-sell. Do expect a little wait, even with reservations. This place gets very busy, especially during the holidays. The bar is a good place to chill while you wait for a seat.

Now on to the food. As nice as this restaurant looks and as great as the service is, the food fails to excite. They specialize in authentic northern Italian dishes but everything was way too salty and I couldn’t taste any of those Italian flavors that I love. The scallops on both my pasta and risotto dish were also overcooked. Go for the grand decor not the food, they don’t have the total package!

Il Villaggio Ristorante

French Onion Soup Gratinee
French Onion Soup Gratinee – $5.50

Il Villaggio Ristorante
Broccoli di Rabe – $6.95

Il Villaggio Ristorante

Il Villaggio Ristorante

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Fruits Gelateria

10 Mar

This venue is closed.

Fruits Gelateria

Rating: ★★★☆☆
322 Broad Ave, Palisades Park, NJ 07650
(201) 944-5150
Price: $
Hours:
Mon-Sun 11 am – 12 am
Facebook // Foursquare

Pricy self-serve “Pinkberry style” fro-yo

Fruits Gelateria was one of the first fro-yo joints on Broad Avenue and for some time, was my favorite, that is until they instituted the self-serve model and made their fro-yo so much more pricy than their competitors. Average medium plain frozen yogurt with no toppings will set you back $6-8 bucks, so not only do you have to make it yourself, but you also pay more. Their frozen yogurt is very similar to Pinkberry, not very creamy and a bit tangy. Their gelatos are a hit or miss. On some occasions they are nice and fresh and on others they taste as if it has been sitting there for years. They also offer shaved ice, cakes, bubble tea, coffee, soup, and sandwiches – none of which are at the very least appealing.

What is appealing about Fruits Gelateria is their decor. They have comfy couches, a mezzanine section with large table to do work, and an outdoor patio – all with free WiFi. And remember to bring cash, they only accept credit cards for purchases over $10.

Fruits Gelateria Froyo
Frozen Yogurt – Plain

Fruits Gelateria Froyo Machine

Fruits Gelateria Counter

Fruits Gelateria Seating

53rd and 6th Halal Cart

9 Mar

53rd and 6th Halal Cart

Rating: ★★★★☆
53rd St & 6th Ave, New York, NY 10079
support@53rdand6th.com
Website
Price: $
Hours:
Mon-Sun 7:30 pm – 4 am
Nearest Transit:
7th Ave-53rd St (B, D, E)
5th Ave-53rd St (E, V)
57th St-6th Ave (F)
Facebook // Foursquare

Not much to look at but extremely delicious

The 53rd and 6th Halal Cart is easily the most popular street vendor in New York City, if not the world. Lines can be seen over a block long, which amounts to as long as an hour wait. Their enterprise has grown from a single cart to five affiliate carts, the busiest still being the original on southwest corner of 53rd and 6th.

Their menu is pretty simple, choose a choice of meat (chicken or lamb or both) on a peta or patter. A platter includes rice and sliced pita. Top it all off with their special white sauce and if you dare, their red sauce. The white sauce is what I think makes their food so addictive. Their chicken and lamb with lettuce on rice or a peta is decent, but when you add the goodness of that creamy sauce it makes their offering utterly orgasmic. The red sauce is really hot, try a little before opting to have your food sprayed with fire.

The guys are fast, be ready to order when it’s your turn and have your money in hand. They only accept cash.

53rd and 6th Halal Cart Wrap

Chicken Wrap – $4

53rd and 6th Halal Cart Preparing
Chicken and Lamb Rice Platter with White Sauce – $6

53rd and 6th Halal Cart Ordering

Batten Ramen

8 Mar

Batten Ramen

Rating: ★★★★☆
12024 Center Ave, Fort Lee, NJ 07024
(201) 461-5465
Price: $$
Hours:
Mon-Sun 11:30 am – 10 pm
Foursquare

Nothing spectacular, decent ramen and good katsu curry

Batten Ramen is an authentic Japanese ramen house that has been around for while. It is located in the Oaktree Center and has the small and cozy feeling you would come to expect from a ramen house in Japan. There’s a shelf of mangas (Japanese graphic novels) and Japanese magazines for you to read while you wait or eat. Both the chef and waiting staff are very attentive and you are always greeted when you enter and leave the restaurant.

The food was not the best I’ve ever had, but it’s decent. The gyoza was crispy on the bottom with a good balance between filling and skin. The tonkatsu (pork) ramen, which they call the Batten Ramen has a decent soup-base – not as flavorful as Santoka, but acceptable. Batten’s ramens are generously portioned and they have that chewy/springy bounce that you expect in a fresh bowl of ramen. Their Hiyashi Chuka (cold ramen) was also not on par with Santoka. I’m not a fan of seasoned pork cutlet in my cold ramen, I would have much preferred crab meat. What shines at Batten Ramen is their curry, the katsu curry is my go to dish and is one of the best you’ll find in New Jersey.

Batten Ramen offers combination sets that allow you to add a half portion of curry rice or fried rice to you ramen order for an additional $3. They have daily deals that offer a combination of items on their menu for one low price. Remember to bring cash, they don’t accept the plastic. There’s metered street parking in the front and a large muni-meter lot in the back.

Batten Ramen
Batten Ramen Combination (add half curry or half riced rice for an additional $3)- $11.50

Batten Ramen
Batten Ramen (ramen in tonkatsu broth)

Batten Ramen
Gyoza – $3.50

Batten Ramen
Batten Ramen – $8.50

Batten Ramen
Katsu Curry with Rice – $9.00

Batten Ramen
Hiyashi Chuka (cold ramen) – $9.99 (seasonal – only available during the summer)

Batten Ramen
Champon Ramen – $8.50

Batten Ramen

Batten Ramen

Batten Ramen

Batten Ramen

Batten Ramen