Photo of the Day: June 7, 2017

Chicken Ravello. A simple dish consisting of thinly-sliced chicken breasts covered in Mozzarella and Marsala wine sauce. Garnished with roasted red peppers and asparagus. The ingredients manage to represent the tri colore of the Italian flag. Trattoria Rustica, Matawan, New Jersey.

Photo of the Day: May 27, 2017

I find that a lot of times, photos don’t do good food justice. That’s the case here. Everything else I photographed at Shanghai Bun in Matawan did not come out so hot, except this one due to the crimping patterns on the dumplings. Most authentic Chinese restaurant I’ve ever eaten at. Ox tail soup, spiced…

Takeout Joints: Pizza/Italian Volume 2

Following the first part of my “Takeout Joints” column, here are three more pizzerias and Italian restaurants in my area. They each offer something different, from a special crust to childhood memories, and finally some wild and wacky slices you will not find anywhere else. Esposito’s Pizza (Matawan) Three words: sesame seed crust. Without it, unfortunately,…

Takeout Joints: Chinese/Asian Volume 1

“You can’t swing a dead cat” without hitting a Chinese takeout place near my hometown of Hazlet. Like pizzerias (reviews of which to come at a later date), they are everywhere. But for every gem there are three or four that are just average, and a couple more bordering on abominable. Many seem similar on…

Restaurant Review: West Lake Chinese Seafood Restaurant (Matawan, NJ)

Will’s fried tofu and sauteed vegetables. Unlike Crown Palace, this sit-down Chinese restaurant does not hearken back days of old. There are no uniformed waiters or expensive umbrella cocktails. Actually, West Lake is a BYOB, something which acts as a saving grace as you will see later on in this review. While takeout places are…

Playing the Waiting Game: A Review of La Madona (Matawan, NJ)

There’s waiting and then there’s waiting. We waited at La Madona. The evening went something like this: at 30 minutes: “It’s nice that they don’t rush you out of here.” At 60 minutes: “Wow, this is even longer than fine dining.” At 85 minutes: “Okay, where the hell is the food?” (Or maybe the language…

Restaurant Review: Trattoria Rustica (Matawan, NJ)

Chicken Ravello I worked here when I was in high school and have been eating here since well before that. Trattoria Rustica is one of those rare places that provides you with both quality and quantity. Meals are enormous, and come served with a slab of home-baked foccacia bread. Most entrees are also served with…

Restaurant Review: Shanghai Bun (Matawan, NJ)

Shanghai Bun has two menus. There’s the one for wimpy Americans with the typical assortment of lo mein, fried rice, and egg rolls. Then there is the one with the authentic Chinese food, featuring dishes with pork intestine, shredded beef stomach, and jelly fish. There’s actually plenty of “normal” meals on the authentic one as well,…