Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bobby's Burger Palace, Paramus, NJ

Bobby Flay is one of the best-known stars on the Food Network and I've been watching him since his beginnings on his original show, Boy Meets Grill, when he fumbled a few lines. His fame has grown, as have his restaurant holdings and talents, and one often wonders if the celebrity chef's restaurants are as good as they should be. We've been to a few places that have been featured on the Food Network. I've had this place on my short list for quite some time now and the opportunity presented itself to stop by. And no, I did not expect Bobby Flay to be in the back cooking my burger, but it would have been cool if he were there.

There are five locations, and the restaurant we went to was in the Bergen Town Center, an outlet Mall off Route 4. The restaurant entrance is from outside the mall and we saw there was a line to get in. The line moved fairly fast and next thing we knew we were at the counter. You place your order and pay. They give you a number for the table (so they know where to bring the food) and you move to a short line where a server directs you to an open seat. For two or three this seemed quick, but it may be more problematic for large parties. After being seated the food came quick. Even though the place was packed, we weren't there all that long.

The featured burger was the Chicago Burger with all the trimming of a Chicago hot dog, only on a burger. I went with my personal favorite and ordered the Bobby Blue Burger, medium (see top photo). It was cooked perfectly with pink all through the inside and nice juicy flavor running down the mouth, and all over my hands. There was plenty of blue cheese and some very nice crisp bacon, lettuce and tomato and a fresh bun. I had it crunchified (potato chips on it) and added some chipotle ketchup. The price? $7.50 for what was probably one of the best burgers I've ever had.

Teresa had the Dallas Burger (second photo) with cole slaw, Monterey Jack cheese and spices for $7.50. She ordered it cooked medium well and it looked perfectly done and she said it was. We shared an order of sweet potato fries for $3.00 and they were very good with a dipping sauce. Add a soda and the whole thing came to twenty bucks. Good prices, great food, and a neat dining experience.

So the question I had earlier was indeed answered. Bobby Flay delivers in his Burger Palace and he has created a great burger and trained the staff to deliver it as he intended. Like I said earlier, it would have been cool if he were there, but he didn't need to be. The final product was his creation.
By the way, the mall has a Whole Foods store in it so we'll be headed back to do some shopping and to try out some of the other burgers. You should try them too. The website has locations and menu and all that stuff.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Raccoon Saloon, Marlboro, NY

The Raccoon Saloon on Route 9W in Marlboro, NY has been around for a very long time. The mid-eighteen hundreds in fact and the name comes from a family of raccoons that used to live on the property. The restaurant has changed hands a few times, but they've had a reputation for making a very good burger. Years ago there was a sign in front proclaiming they had the best burger in the Hudson Valley. We ate there about a decade ago when that sign was up and I disagreed with it.

A couple of weeks ago my son said he ate there and the burger was excellent. I trust his opinion, especially since he inherited and or acquired similar tastes to mine so we went there to check it out. We went on a Saturday night during restaurant week so there was a special Prix fix menu that had an interesting seafood fra diabolo on it, but I came to try the burger so that's what I looked at.

I got the 12 oz burger with bacon and Swiss cheese and I got the onion rings instead of the fries. The burger was $11.75 and the bacon and cheese added another two bucks and a quarter to make it a fourteen dollar burger. Teresa got the 8 oz burger with fried onions and that came to $11.75. This is not a cheap burger, so I thought it had better be a good burger. It was. The meat was fresh and well cooked, the onion rings were good, and they use their own home-made ketchup which has a sweet taste to it.

The food was good and the people seemed accommodating. We'll go back again to try something from the regular menu sometime soon.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Table Talk Diner, Poughkeepsie, NY

As I've said before, there are great diners, there are good diners, there are mediocre diners and there are bad diners. Table Talk fits somewhere between good and mediocre, a nice place but nothing special.

We stopped off the other day to try something different, we'd seen seen it on our last trip on Route nine and were seated fairly promptly. We were given menus and when we looked them over they featured fairly standard diner fare. The specials had quite a few fish dishes, probably because of the lenten season. They had a Kobe burger for six-fifty, but I seriously doubt that it would be real Kobe beef for that price. I was tempted to try it just to see, but decided against.

I decided on an Italian Panini, featured above. It came with french fries and had prosciutto, mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes and onions. What it needed was some moisture so I asked for some balsamic vinaigrette dressing and added it. Much better. Teresa had the vegetarian omelet with home fries and that looked and tasted good.

Bottom line, the food was okay and the service adequate. Not bad for a bite, but like I've said before; when in a diner get diner food. They have a website for more information.