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Luke’s Lobster

20 Nov

Luke’s Lobster

Rating: ★★★★☆
93 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009
luke@lukeslobster.com
Website
(212) 387-8487
Price: $$
Hours:
Mon-Thu, Sun 11 am – 10 pm
Fri-Sat 11 am – 11 pm
Nearest Transit:
1st Ave-14th St (L)
Astor Place (6)
2nd Ave-Houston St (F, V)
Twitter // Facebook // Foursquare

Luke’s Lobster offers the best value on lobsters, crab, and shrimp rolls in the city PERIOD

For a lobster roll in New York City, Luke offers the best value. Granted you’re not going to get sit down service like you do at Pearl Oyster or Ed’s Lobster, but their lobster is fresh, they serve them perfectly, and the price is definitely right. Their rolls are served in two sizes, small and large, but are really tiny and small. As of November 18, 2009, they go for $8 and $14 respectively. They also serve delicious crab ($5/$9) and shrimp ($4/$7) rolls too. For the best value, grab one of their combos. The $20 Taste of Maine combo includes a small lobster, crab, and shrimp roll, as well as a par of Empress claws and a package of Miss. Vickie’s chips and a bottle of Maine’s Root Drink or Poland Spring Water. The Noah’s Ark combo is double the Taste of Maine offering with a $2 savings at $38. Butter, mayo, and seasoning is optional, but they are light by default. If you like your rolls really buttery, do let them know when ordering. Like I said earlier the rolls are really small, but a roll and a half with a bag of chips should be enough to satisfy most hungry stomachs.

I love Luke’s because unlike most lobster rolls served in NYC, the lobster is not shredded or minced but are served in huge chunks/bits. Plus I’m not a huge fan of mayo, so the way Luke’s serves their rolls are ideal for me. I’ve never had a lobster roll in Maine, so I can only compare it to what I’ve had in NYC and I think Luke’s the best so far.

The restaurant is really tiny with limited bar-style seating (8 seats at most) and is not recommended for groups. If you’re a fan of lobster roll, this is not one to be missed.

Luke’s Lobster
Small Lobster, Crab, and Shrimp Roll and 2 Empress Claws – Part of Taste of Maine Combo – $20

Luke’s Lobster
Menu as of November 18, 2009 – View Larger Image

Luke’s Lobster
Miss. Vickie’s Chips and Maine’s Root Drink

Luke’s Lobster
Large Lobster Roll – $14

Luke’s Lobster
Large Crab Roll – $9

Luke’s Lobster

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PalkagJung Restaurant

22 Oct

This venue is closed.

PalkagJung Restaurant

Rating: ★★★☆☆
268 Broad Ave., Palisades Park, NJ 07650
(201) 592-6400
Price: $$
Hours:
Mon-Sun 10:30 am – 10:30 pm
Foursquare

Fine traditional Korean food at a fair price. They have the best Korean ginseng chicken soup (samgyetang) in New Jersey

PalkagJung is a traditional Korean restaurant with a very diverse offering. They provide a generous amount of Korean side dishes (Banchan) and their services is attentive and friendly. They’re best known for their authentic Korean ginseng chicken soup (samgyetang), which is the best I’ve had in all of New Jersey. This soup is composed of a whole chicken stuffed with rice, ginseng, garlic cloves, daechus, and number of other herbs. It’s traditionally served in the summer for its supposed nutrients, but I’ve had it in the winter and it think it’s just as good, if not better.

In addition to their amazing chicken soup, I also recommend any of their hot bibimbap dishes on stone plates and tofu soups in stone pots. There ingredients are very fresh and any of those dishes wont disappoint. If you’re looking for Korean BBQ, they also have that here. It’s not great, but decent. There’s no permanent grill at the table, they bring out portables ones for you.

PalkagJung Restaurant
Korean Side Dishes (Banchan) – Free w/ Meal

PalkagJung Restaurant
Octopus Bibimbap – $13.99

PalkagJung Restaurant
Fried Chicken Appetizer – $9.99

PalkagJung Restaurant
Bulgogi Beef Patty Plater w/ Tofu Soup (not in picture) – $18.99

Wafels & Dinges

22 Jul

Wafels & Dinges

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Moving Target (See Schedule)
dinges@dedinges.com
Website
(646) 257-2592
Price: $
Hours:
Varies by day (See Schedule)
Twitter // Facebook // Foursquare

Wafels & Dinges has the decent Belgian waffle. Stick with the basics if you want wholesome Belgium Waffle, try the off-menu items if your feeling adventurous.

Wafels and Dinges (W&D) is a Belgian waffle purveyor that also has a line of packaged waffles sold in organic grocery stores such as Fairway, Food Emporium, and Garden of Eden. They operate out of a truck and can be found in various locations throughout Manhattan, depending on the time of day. See their truck schedule here or follow them on Twitter and Facebook to stay up-to-date on their whereabouts.

W&D has some god dam good waffles. I like their liege waffle ($5), it’s nice and crisp on the outside and soft and chewy in the inside. They also have a good selection of dinges (toppings) to choose from; the first one is free, the second is +$1 and +$2 get you unlimited dinges or a WMD (Waffle of massive deliciousness).

In addition to traditional Belgian Waffles, they are also experimenting with nontraditional favors. These are items not on the menu and it’s a bit of a secret, but if you ask for it they will serve it. The two that I know of and have tried are their BBQ Pull Pork Waffle and Bacon & Syrup Waffle. Both are decent, but not spectacular. There may be other items on this off-menu that I am not aware of, please contact me if you know of others.

Overall, I would recommend sticking with their regular offerings for that good wholesome Belgium Waffle taste and trying their off-menu items if your feeling adventurous; either way you can’t go wrong at Wafels & Dinges.

Wafels & Dinges
BBQ Pull Pork Waffle – $8.00

Wafels & Dinges
business as usual

Wafels & Dinges
The Truck

El Pollo Loco

30 Jun

This venue is closed.

El Pollo Loco

Rating: ★★★☆☆
2100 88th St, North Bergen, NJ 07047
Website
(201) 868-0500
Price: $$
Twitter // Facebook

Chicken marinated and flame broiled to perfection, decent burritos and tacos, and always fresh salsas

El Pollo Loco, which translates to “The Crazy Chicken“ is mostly a west coast restaurant chain with new locations recently popping up on the east. They specializes in flame-grilling marinated chicken and is regarded as a healthier alternative to traditional fast food chains. They have over 300 restaurants across the country, I visited their newly open location in North Bergen, New Jersey.

I had their BBQ Slider sandwich ($1-1.50) and eight piece special ($6.99), which includes wings, thighs, and drumsticks. Their slider sandwiches are decent, cheap, and incredibly small; you can literally finish it in less than 2 bites. Their flame-grilled chicken is exceptionally good, the skin is crispy and the meat has good herbal flavoring. Their chicken is also not as greasy as your average chicken fast food chain (ie. KFC). You can purchase meals in 2, 3, 4, 8, 12 piece sets. All meals come with sides (there’s 8 to choose from) and a drink.

In addition to chicken, they also serve burritos, bowls, tacos, and a few specialties. I tried their Bean, Rice and Cheese Burrito (BRC) ($1.69) and there’s no comparison to Toco Bell and the like, they use solid pinto beans and real Spanish rice instead of that mushy refried junk you see in fast food chains. Their Toco al Carbon ($1), which is a chicken taco with diced cilantro and onions is also good, but is extremely small portioned. There fresh salsa bar is also a crowd favorite and it includes toppings such as avocado salsa and guacamole, which is free to all customers.

Overall, I recommend the majority of El Pollo Loco’s offerings, especially their flame-boiled chicken. They’re not the best I’ve had, but at their prices you’re definitely getting a value meal (good quality and descent portions at a fair price).

El Pollo Loco

El Pollo Loco
Salsa Bar

El Pollo Loco
8pc Chicken Meal (Legs & Thighs) – $6.99

El Pollo Loco
BBQ Slider – $0.99

El Pollo Loco

El Pollo Loco

Menchanko Tei

7 May

Menchanko Tei

Rating: ★★★☆☆
131 E 45th St (btwn Lex Ave & 3rd ), New York, NY 10017
Website
(212) 986-6805
Price: $$
Hours:
Mon-Thur 11:30 am – 11:30 pm
Fri 11:30 am – Midnight
Sat 11:30 am – 11 pm
Sun 11:30 am – 10:30 pm
Nearest Transit:
Grand Central (4, 5, 6, 7, S)
Lexington-3rd Aves-51st St (6, E, V)
Foursquare

Not the best, but decent for a midtown lunch.

Menchanko Tei serves decent ramen, not the most authentic but definitely acceptable. The service is fast and their prices are not too bad. They have two locations, both in midtown (131 E 45th St & 43 W 55th St), the 55 St location was under renovations a month ago and I’m not sure if they have re-opened yet.

During my last visit to the 45th St location I tired their Hakata and Shoyu ramen, both were respectable but not comparable to Ippudo nor Santoka. Their gyoza gets a huge “Don’t Buy”, it  not fresh and tastes like it’s from a package. Overall, I like Menchanko Tei for lunch, but only for it’s ramen and nothing else.

Menchanko Tei
Pork Dumplings – $4.75

Menchanko Tei
Hakata Ramen w/ Mochi – $10 (8.50+1.50)

Hong Ga Meun Ok Restaurant

5 May

This venue is closed.

Hong Ga Meun Ok Restaurant

Rating: ★★★☆☆
4 East Columbia Ave, Palisades Park, NJ 07650
(201) 313-0025
Price: $$

Their food is decent, but what keeps me coming back is their attentive service.

Hong Ga Meun Ok Restaurant is a new Korean Restaurant on Columbia Avenue in Palisades Pak, NJ. They offer the round-of-the-mill Korean dishes, but specialize in Korean BBQ. The restaurant is broken up into two sections with a common area in the middle, one half is dedicated for BBQ and the other is for BBQ and non BBQ customers. This review is based solely on their non BBQ dishes, there will be a separate review for their BBQ offerings at a later date.

During my visit to Hong Ga Meun Ok Restaurant I tired their spicy rice noodle (duk bok ki), Korean roll (gimbap), fried pork cutlet, steamed pork dumplings and season beef rice stone pot (bulgogi bibimbap). None of those dishes are particularly special and compared to the vast Korean offerings in the Palisades Park area, they’re average at best . What I found particularly refreshing about Hong Ga Meun Ok was not their food, but their customer service. They’re very attentive and they go out of their way to make customers fell welcome. I was provided with a complementary dish because they felt that my bibimbap was not served prompt enough, which really wasn’t the case. The majority of their customers are Korean (I think 95%), thus they don’t even have a english menu but the waiter was patient enough to slowly explain the entire menu to me. I was told that they’re in the process of creating a english menu, but until that’s available it may be difficult for patrons that are unfamiliar with Korean food to order (even with a waiter translating the menu). The store front is also entirely in Korean (see image below), so unless you can read Korean get acquainted with the address and/or the image of their store front below.

Overall, Hong Ga Meun Ok has decent food, nothing mind blowing, but worth visiting because of their wonderful service.

Hong Ga Meun Ok Restaurant

Hong Ga Meun Ok Restaurant

Hong Ga Meun Ok Restaurant
Fried Pork Cutlet – $13.99

Hong Ga Meun Ok Restaurant
Steam Dumpling

Hong Ga Meun Ok Restaurant
Korean Roll (Gimbap) + Spicy rice Noodle (duk bok ki) Combo – $9.99

Tospia

4 May

Tospia

Rating: ★★★☆☆
1215 Broad Ave, Palisades Park, NJ 07650
Website
(201) 944-1100
Price: $
Facebook // Foursquare

Tospia is a South Korean franchise that recently opened a US branch on Broad Avenue in Palisades Park, NJ. They specialize in press sandwiches that are made using their custom press machine. All sandwiches are made to order and are served hot and toasty. My favorite are their bulgogi, pizza and chicken teriyaki sandwiches. In addition to sandwiches they also serve korean bread and pastries, ice cream, fresh fruit juices, bubble tea and Douwe Egberts coffee. Their fruit juices are decent, but everything else is very sub-par, I would only revisit for their sandwiches. Their service is very friendly and they do take credit (Visa or Matercard), but there’s no lot so be prepared look for street parking.

Tospia

Tospia

Tospia

Tospia

Tospia
Bulgogi Sandwich (Seasoned Beef) – $4.50

Tospia
Chicken Teriyaki Sandwich – $4.00

Tospia
Pizza Sandwich – $3.50

Tospia
Potato Salad Sandwich – $3.50

Tospia
Spicy Pork Sandwich – $4.00

Otafuku

29 Apr

Otafuku

Rating: ★★★★☆
236 E 9 St (btwn 2nd Ave & Stuyvesant St), New York, NY 10003
(212) 353-8503
Price: $
Hours:
Mon-Thu 1 pm – 10 pm
Fri-Sat 12 pm – 11 pm
Sun 12 pm – 10 pm
Nearest Transit:
Astor Place (6)
8th St-Broadway (R, W)
3rd Ave-14th St (L)
Facebook // Foursquare

Otafuku is usually crowded with people eating their takoyaki (hot wheat-flour balls with a piece of boiled octopus inside) outside of the shop because they don’t have proper seating and the customers can’t wait to eat their takoyaki (me included). There’s often a 5-20 minute wait for takoyaki because they sell so well, but you can call ahead with your order so you don’t have to wait. In addition to takoyaki, they also sell yakisoba (pan-fried noodles) and okonomiyaki (Japanese-style unsweetened pancake). Try one of their four combos, I often order combo B (6pcs takoyaki & 1pc okonomi) or C (6pcs takoyaki & 1/2 yakisoba). They don’t accept credit cards, remember to bring cash.

Otafuku

Otafuku
Combo C (6pcs takoyaki & 1/2 yakisoba) – $9

Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen

29 Apr

Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen

Rating: ★★★☆☆
620 8th Ave (btwn 40th St & 41st St), New York, NY 10018
info@schnippers.com
Website
(212) 921-2400
Price: $$
Hours:
Mon-Thu 11 am – 9 pm
Fri-Sat 11 am – 11 am
Sun 11 am – 8 am
Nearest Transit:
8th Ave-42nd St (A, C, E, 1, 2, 3, S, 7, N, Q, R, W)
42nd St-5th Ave-6th Ave (7, B, D, F, V)
Twitter // Facebook // Foursquare

Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen is a fast food joint in a diner environment. Food is made to order and rather quickly for that matter. Their burgers are surprisingly good and the mac and joe is one of my favorites. They serve wine and beer to complement your meal as well has handcrafted milk shakes and unlimited refills of fountain drinks. Their sweet potato fries are popular amongst the crowd; I haven’t tried yet it, but I will on my next visit. There’s plenty of seating indoor and out (when weather permits) with a rest room intended only for customers (door code on the receipt). Schnippers is not the most healthiest of places to grab a bit nor is it a “must try”, but they do have decent food and it’s worth trying for individuals longing for a burger in the theater district. Be warned, Schnippers is a bit pricey and if you’re ordering a burger remember to state how you’d like it cooked, or else it will be served medium.

Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen

Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen
Mac and Joe – $6.99

Schnipper’s Quality KitchenSchnipper’s Quality Kitchen
Sloppy Fries – $6.99

Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen
Hamburger and Fries – $8.25 (5.50+2.75)

Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen

Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen

Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen

The Big Red Tomato

29 Apr

The Big Red Tomato

Rating: ★★★★☆
1205 Anderson Ave, Fort Lee, NJ 07024
Website
(201) 224-6500
Price: $$
Hours:
Mon-Thurs 11 am – 9:45pm
Fri 11 am – 10:45pm
Sat 4 pm – 10:45pm
Sun 3 pm – 9:45pm
Facebook // Foursquare

The Big Red Tomato (BRT) has the best Italian food I’ve ever had in New Jersey. There’s nothing fancy about BRT, they’re simply a casual family-style Italian restaurant that serves dam good food. Their pastas are always perfect, their pizzas are great for the kids and the free garlic knots are always a great starter. They have great friendly service, their prices are reasonable and on top of that they’re BYOB. It does however, get busy during dinner and there’s usually a wait, but it’s worth it. They don’t have a parking lot and street parking near the restaurant is limited, so you might have to circle for a bit. I really like their pastas and recommend everyone try the Linguni Mariano and the Spaghetti Capacha.

The Big Red Tomato

The Big Red Tomato
Every table gets a free bucket of bread and garlic knots

The Big Red Tomato
Linguini Mariano (chicken, broccoli, mushrooms and pimentos sauteed in a light cream sauce) – $11.95

The Big Red Tomato
Shrimp Special of Day – $18

The Big Red Tomato
Sauteed Broccoli Rebe – $5.25

The Big Red Tomato

The Big Red Tomato