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Local Favorites

This is where the description goes for what eric does with restaurant reviews.

—  local favorites  —

New Jersey | New York City | Eastern Pennsylvania

There are certain restaurants that just speak to me…it’s all about the people and the flavors presented with every dish. My girlfriend Lynn and I find ourselves ordering six+ dishes just for the two of us… as we comment, “we can always take the leftovers home”; this happens more often at new to us restaurants. Our favorite restaurants are all about flavor, passion and people


Sakana Sushi Bedminster

Sushi - Bedminster, NJ

January, 2019 (weekly since 2018)

Sakana is our local go to sushi spot, we head there almost every week for our sushi fix. The sushi is fresh and always consistent Sakana focuses on the Art of Modern Sushi. The owner Julie Wahudi has amazing energy and she lights up her restaurant; she knows many of her guests by name and greats them all with a smile.

The first photos below are from one of the meals we ate in the restaurant… the “take out” pics are from a photo shoot I did for Sakana Sushi for Corporate dining. Contact Julie Wahyudi at 908-781-7888, for high end catering events, private parties, Country Clubs and Corporate dining

440 US Highway 206 North Bedminster NJ 07921 | 908.781.7888 | http://www.sakanasushinj.com/

 

Santouka Ramen

Japanese - Edgewater, NJ

March 2019

http://www.santouka.co.jp/en

“Life is too short to eat crappy Ramen” — Eric Eisenbud

Ramen is NOT simply another Noodle soup...NO! 

Served in a deep bowl and within the confines of the vessel is the entire universe...hours and for the really authentic good Ramen, days in the making. Ramen is a lesson in Peace and harmony, balance and coexistence. A broth so rich that it could own a yacht and accoutrements added to the bowl with precision and purpose.

I can’t help but pause as sit hunched over the Ramen at Santouka @ Mitsua Market and reflect on the skill of the people who made this bowl of Umami possible. As is Japanese tradition, I sip the broth first and I am transported back to Tokyo and a smokey little Ramen shop where I had a bowl of a life changing rendition of my ultimate comfort food.

 
 

595 River Rd Edgewater NJ 07020 | M-SA 11a to 8:30p | Su 11a to 8p | Cash Only | http://www.santouka.co.jp/en

 

bon palay

Thai - Central NJ

soon to be relocated | Www.bonpalay.com

October 2018

“Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right”— Jerry Garcia

Recently I met guy named Mike and his wife Palay. Mike, a chef from Nj and Palay is from Thailand.
They own a tiny but mighty Thai Restaurant in Manville, NJ called Bon Palay. It is unlike any other Thai food I’ve ever had. Their approach to Thai cuisine is considerate and respectful. Every ingredient is thoughtfully incorporated into dishes reflecting not just food from Thailand but from the specific village where Palay is from. I want you to experience what Thai food is suppose to taste like at Bon Palay. I want you to be prepared to wait with incredible patience for your food at Bon Palay as the kitchen is not a high volume, crank out endless orders of a Pad Thai, kind of kitchen. In fact, they don’t even have Pad Thai on the menu. The kitchen is small, the btu’s of the burners are too few, and the exhaust hood is the little engine that could, but sometimes can’t....but i want you to trust me and i want you to wait for it., make an evening out of it...you’ll thank me later. If youre going to go, call Lynn and I and we will meet you there and wait with you. The food is so good that it’s the only restaurant that I’m willing to wait days for the food and then happily tip 25 percent.

The food will change the way you think about Thai food and it will change your life.


The Pasta Shop

Italian - Denville, nj

january 2019

Just had an incredible meal @the.pasta.shop in Denville, NJ. Coming up on their 1 year anniversary on February 1st, the Dynamic Duo of Durham Wheat, Sergio (Owner of @sergioandcompany Italian Specialties also in Denville), and Chef Tommy Pollio who’s done his share of high end cooking during his long and storied career, have redefined the inner sanctum of a true Alimantari (the Italian word for a place that makes and sells Pasta). Their efforts are expertly supported by Roy and other front of house staff who exude knowledge of the menu and gratitude to be a part of The Pasta Shop customer experience.
Every ingredient used is the best that money can by. Every process is respectful to those ingredients. The space is bright and inviting and the vibe is friendly and vibrant.
We began our meal with their famous Mozzarella Sticks made from their own Mozzarella made fresh daily. They were everything you want a Mozzarella stick to be!
We also had the equally famous Sergio’s Meatballs that lacked nothing except the density and over breadcrumbed texture of every meatball I’ve ever had elsewhere.
The Garlic Bread was a masterpiece of balance between perfectly light and toasty bread, appropriately understated garlic and olive oil that made for the vehicle to get the wonderful marinara and pieces of meatball into my mouth.
The passion for pasta offered at The Pasta Shop was made evident in our entrees. The canvas that showcases the restaurants namesake. My girlfriend Lynn had the PAPPARDELLE BOLOGNESE... beef and pork ragu. There is no parallel to fresh made pasta, perfectly executed with just the right amount of sauce and tender, long cooked meats. I had the LINGUINE AND CLAMS...crushed garlic, chili flakes, lemon. Small, tender clams, plump with their natural liquor and briny essence and a beautifully emulsified sauce of olive oil and clam juice. We ended our meal with a double espresso and Canolis.
I suggest you come early for dinner as they do not take reservations however the food is worth waiting for

13 First Ave, Denville, NJ 07834 | Tuesday-Saturday 11am-9pm | http://www.thepastashopdenville.com/ | Instagram: @the.pasta.shop | Facebook: The Pasta Shop Denville

 

Kuay Tiew

Thai - somerville, Nj

January 2019

How fortunate am I to have not one, but two incredible Thai restaurants within striking distance from my house. You’ve “heard” me wax poetic about one of them, but this time I write about Kuay Tiew Noodles and More in Somerville, NJ. It was my second visit, it was a Monday night, it was 5:30 pm, it was 10 degrees and the place was hopping. The place is spotlessly clean and it’s BYOB. This statement alone should be enough for you to want to go, but as they say..TPIWWP (This post is worthless without pictures)

The Thai Vibe is palpable from the moment you walk through the door of this hipped up version of Authentic Thai Cuisine. It begins with the Thai greeting you receive from every single person under the employ of Chef/Owner Tana and from Tana himself....as if they are welcoming family into their grateful care. The decor is Minimalism meets reclaimed and upcycled building materials, used tastefully throughout the space so it doesn’t come off as reproduction Restoration Hardware meets HomeGoods.

We shared a pot of Hot Thai Tea that had hints of Vanilla and was perfect on a cold night like tonight. On to the food! Trust and believe you are getting Authentic Thai Cuisine at Kuay Tiew Noodles and More with a twist.

OUR MEAL:

  • CRISPY PORK BUN - Steamed bun with crispy pork, topped with pickle red onions and carrots, fresh cucumber with honey hoisin and mayo spread. What sets this Bun apart from others that I’ve had is the Tonkastsu style breaded and fried pork Cutlet. It adds a wonderful texture to this popular street food.

  • CRISPY BABYBACK RIBS in Thai BBQ Sauce… Tender yet toothy with a sweet and savory BBQ sauce.

  • PAD SE EW - Sautéed flat noodles with Chines Broccoli and Beef | A common offering in Thai restaurants across the land and this one didn’t disappoint.

  • SPICY WILD BOAR - With Curry, Kaffir Lime Leaves, Garlic, Thai Green Peppercorns and Red Bell Pepper. The Wild Boar was tender and lent itself well to the bold flavors of this dish. I added extra heat via the two types of chili offered....in paste and powdered forms.

  • PB&J with Ice Cream - Delicate puffs filled with Americas favorite flavors! More times than not we skip dessert when we dine out, but hear me loud and clear....when Tana has the PB&J on the menu, you get it!

42 W Main Street, Somerville , New Jersey | (908)393 9555 | http://www.ktsomerville.com/

 

south and pine

American Eatery - Morristown, NJ

A favorite since 2015

I have my friend Chef Carl Ruiz to thank for introducing me to Leia Gaccionne, the Chef and Owner of South and Pine (and now also Central and Main in Madison, NJ) Leia is a ferocious culinary powerhouse who pours her heart and soul into her craft with the poise of a lady and the ferocity of the warrior princess that she is. Always greeted with a warm hug and an enormous smile, Leia’s seasonally changing menu is always perfect, and well thought out and executed with precision and mind blowing flavor.

90 South St Morristown, NJ, 07960 | 862-260-9700 | Reservations | http://www.southandpine.com/

 

Chengdu 1 Palace

Szechuan - Greenbrook, NJ

February 2019

I have been eating the authentic Szechuan Cuisine at Chengdu 1 Palace for almost 15 years. Its where I learned the term Ma La which translates to hot and numbing. The heat comes from ground chilis and chili oil and the numbing comes from the exotic Szechuan Peppercorn. The heat is present while your eating a dish however it doesn't linger in the way eating a Jalapeno or Habanero does. 5 minutes after eating, there is no sense of heat on your palette. The Szechuan Peppercorns offer up an aromatic flavor and a unique numbing effect not found in any other ingredient I know.

The dishes are comprised of minimal ingredients, respectfully combined with bold spices and oil based sauces. A culinary scenario that this chef really loves….a lot!

100 US-22, Green Brook Township, NJ 08812 | (732) 752-6888 | chengdu1palace.com

 

hills of herat

afghan - Martinsville, NJ

February, 2018

“Hills of Herat is a family owned and operated restaurant, bringing authentic Afghan cuisine to Martinsville, New Jersey. We understand the value of a warm atmosphere and a home cooked meal, and take pride in making each customer our guest as we share a piece of our culture. Rich in flavor and quality, all of our food is prepared fresh and with care. We believe that health is the ultimate wealth and make sure that our dishes are prepared from the highest quality ingredients from trusted suppliers. We are committed to bringing you the most delicious and freshly made dishes infused with traditional herbs and spices.

Our famous Kebabs and Steaks, savory Lamb Chops, tender Lamb Shanks, mouthwatering pressure-cooked Dopiaza and Chicken Qorma, flavorful rices, delicious Ashak and Mantu dumplings, crispy freshly baked Bread and all other menu items are prepared from natural ingredients.” - Hills of Herat

1982 Washington Valley Rd #2, Martinsville, NJ 08836 | (732) 640 2922 | hillsofheratmartinsville@gmail.com