Restaurant Review: Sahara 34 (Matawan, NJ)

I just came from one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time, and probably the best middle eastern meal I’ve ever eaten. Period. Sahara 34 is located in a little strip mall in Matawan. The place has been there forever. The menu reads “Under New Management”, but it was all new to…

Updating Esposito’s Pizza and Pasta (Matawan, NJ)

When I first reviewed Esposito’s, it was part of a Takeout Joints column for pizza and Italian food. I only ate there once before this past week. It was good, but I did not remember much. Most encounters here have been takeout, notably their award-winning sesame seed crust pizza. But a couple of days ago,…

Photo of the Day: September 9, 2017

I was not a big fan of West Lake in Matawan (overpriced and average) but I’ll be damned if that was not the best wonton soup I ever had. The wrappers were paper-thin. October 2016.

Photo of the Day: August 7, 2017

You’re looking at one of the best slices of cake I’ve ever had in my life. Period. Go figure that it was actually at a vegan restaurant. I make fun of them a lot and do not believe in the lifestyle, but the Loving Hut in Matawan, New Jersey did know how to cook, and…

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 and Pasta (Matawan) Three words: sesame seed crust. Without…

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…