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Pat’s King of Steaks

2 Feb

Pat’s King of Steaks

Rating: ★★★☆☆
1237 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19147
marketingwit@patskingofsteaks.com
Website
(215) 468-1546
Price: $
Hours:
24/7
Twitter // Facebook // Foursquare

Overrated, overpriced, worth a try, would not return

Pat’s is better than Geno’s, but that’s not saying much. Their steaks are more flavorful and the temperature is just right, but their bread is a little on the hard side. The lines here are just as long as Geno’s, but they have a way more courteous staff. Case and point, one of my steaks was a little too dry to my liking and they replaced it no questions asked. You won’t get that kind of service at Geno’s.

Overall, the cheesesteaks are decent, but not worth the price or the trouble of waiting on a long line. This is more a less a tourist attraction, after all Pat’s is credited for creating the original Philly cheesesteak.

Covered seating is available outdoors and they only accept cash.

Pat’s King of Steaks

Wiz Cheesesteak with (onions) ($9), Provolone Cheesesteak with ($9), & Provolone Cheesesteak without ($9)

Pat’s King of Steaks Fries
French Fries ($4)

Pat’s King of Steaks

Pat’s King of Steaks

Front of Pat’s King of Steaks

Long Lines

Pat’s King of Steaks Menu

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Geno’s Steaks

2 Feb

Geno’s Steaks

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
1219 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Website
(215) 389-0659
Price: $
Hours:
24/7
Foursquare

Over-hyped and bad service! You’re better off going across the street to Pat’s, the lesser of two evils

What was once a past favorite is now an over-hyped tourist trap. Lines get really long, mostly due to its attractive lights and its mural of celebrity encounters. The cheesesteaks are warm at best, the beef was sliced and had no flavor what so ever, the provolone cheese wasn’t melted, and the onions were raw. That’s pretty much everything you can do to ruin a cheesesteak. Not to mention the service is horrible, they’re rude and they look down on customers that can’t speak English well. The fries are decent but if you want a more satisfying cheesesteak, just go across the street to Pat’s.

If this review hasn’t deterred you enough to not want to try Geno’s, then bring cash because they don’t accept credit. Similar to Pat’s, covered seating is available outdoors.

Geno’s Steaks
Wiz Cheesesteak with (onions) ($9) & Provolone Cheesesteak Sandwich with ($9)

Geno’s Steaks
Freedom Fries ($4)

Geno’s Steaks

Geno’s Steaks

Geno’s Steaks

Bobby Van’s Burger

31 Jan

Bobby Van’s Burger

Rating: ★★★☆☆
120 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036
info45@bobbyvans.com
Website
(212) 575-2599
Price: $$
Hours:
Mon-Fri 11:30 am – 11 pm
Sat 5 pm – 12 am
Nearest Transit:
Times Sq – 42 St (S)
47 – 50 Sts – Rockefeller Ctr (B, D, F, M)
42 St – Bryant Pk (B, D, F, M)
Facebook // Foursquare

Off to the side and back of Bobby Van’s Steakhouse sits a small open kitchen grill that wips up burgers at a frantic pace to meet the demands of the midtown lunch crowd. The wait during peek hours can get pretty long, average 25 minutes in my experience. The burgers and fries are decent, not the the best I’ve ever had. The cooks are not very consistant. I always order my burgers medium, but results tend to very. It’s a lottery, sometimes the burgers come out awesome and other times they are over cooked. Fortunate for me, I’ve had better luck than my friends and colleagues who I’ve dine here with. A patter gets you a burger with fires and onion rings. I usually opt for the 1/2 pound sirloin burger ($7) with creamed spinach on the side, which is amazing. They also serve sandwichs, pizza, and salads. I dont know why, as no one seems to order them. Seating is available in the atrium directly in front of the restaurant.

Bobby Van’s Burger

Bobby Van’s Burger

Bobby Van’s Burger

Bobby Van’s Burger

Bobby Van’s Burger

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

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

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

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

22 Jun

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

Rating: ★★★★☆
65 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013
info@chinatownicecreamfactory.com
Website
(212) 608-4170
Price: $
Hours:
Mon-Sun 11 am – 10 pm or 11pm
Nearest Transit:
Canal Street (J, M, Z, N, Q, R, W, 6)
Grand Street (B, D)
Twitter // Facebook // Foursquare

This is the place to go for ice cream in Chinatown! You’ll always find a crowd here.

The Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is an Asian inspired homemade ice cream parlor. It serves custom cakes and fresh ice cream in a variety of unique flavors. My favorite are egg-tart, zen butter, almond cookie, black sesame, and pistachio. They also have the common chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and some sorbet for the less adventurous folks. Experimental flavors are released are periodically.

For $3.75, you get a “one-scoop” cup or cone, which is really two scoops that can be split between two flavors. Larger portions are not too much more.

Don’t expect seats here, most just huddle outside and eat it in front of the shop. Be sure to have cash in hand, like most shops in Chinatown, they don’t accept credit cards.

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
“One scoop” black sesame cup (but really two scoops) – $3.75

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

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