Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Zinburger- Paramus, N

Hand-cut fries
Zinburger has taken that iconic American classic, the burger, and made it all grown-up with sophisticated taste and a bit of class served up in a slightly upscale setting and featuring a wide selection of wines, without going over the top. Yes, they are a bit pricey compared to burger joints, but I don't really think one can compare them to a burger joint. Zinburger is to burger joints as Morton's is to Ponderosa. Well, maybe Morton's is fancier, but you get the analogy.

We stopped by the Paramus location early on a Wednesday and the place was not crowded. It has an upscale, yet slightly casual feel to it. The service was excellent, friendly, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable. Nia took good care of us. 

The Ringer

I ordered the Ringer which had jalapeño jack cheese, bacon, a spicy onion ring, and a big of hot sauce on a brioche bun. I ordered it medium and it came out a perfect medium with just the right amount of seasoning. The burger was juicy, but not greasy, and had no aftertaste. In short, it was delicious and worth every penny of the eleven bucks it cost. 

Teresa got the classic Zinburger at ten bucks and it had a mild Spanish cheese, onions grilled in wine, and lettuce on a brioche bun. It came exactly the medium-well that she'd ordered and she said it was delicious. 

We shared an order of fries, five bucks, and a salted caramel shake, six bucks. The fries were great and the shake amazing. 


Overall, really good food with excellent service and nice ambiance. We'll be back. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Harp- Wilmington, NC

Good food, friendly service, reasonable prices, and nice ambiance. In short, a nice Irish pub. I stopped by today with my son-in-law and three grandchildren, we were on a boys day while the women were at a baby shower.

I decided on the traditional Irish breakfast (shown below minus the sausages which came out about a minute later) at eleven bucks and it was quite good. Brian got the bangers and mash, also good, at ten bucks. The smaller children shared an ample plate of chicken tenders and the oldest got the Junior Harp Burger which he loved. It would have been big enough for me. We all were full and happy.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Whisky Creek Sports Pub- Wilmington, NC

Whisky Creek is a local sports pub with amazing food at great prices and excellent service. We went there with five adults and six children on a Thursday evening and were quite impressed.

I ordered the Tanglewood burger shown above. It came with onion rings, jack cheese, a side of fries, and a really nice sauce with just a bit of heat for nine bucks. The special tonight was that it came with a domestic draft beer as well. I ordered it medium and it was darn close to a perfect medium, and properly seasoned as well. The flavor profile was just right. My son-in-law ordered the Jamie's Way Burger for the same price and it had an egg on it, also amazing. Teresa had the CB burger, she opted for sweet potato tots, for the same price and she was quite satisfied. 

The other special going on was that kids ate free, and since we had four of them, that was quite a deal. They all had chicken tenders and mozzarella sticks with fries or chips, and they would have only been five bucks anyway. They were all very happy with their meals. Like I said, great food at great prices. 

The service was warm, welcoming, and friendly. They treated us like we were all long-time good friends and regulars. It does get a bit loud, but that's all part of the charm of a local neighborhood pub. Stop by and be amazed for yourself, we'll be back again.

Henry's- Wilmington, NC

We had an enjoyable meal at Henry's, and some really nice entertainment as well. When we went in we asked to be seated in the bar area as they had some appetizers for five bucks. There were two guys singing folk songs from the sixties, one was playing a guitar, and they sounded amazing. Songs from the Everly Brothers, the Beatles, Chad and Jeremy and so on serenaded us while we ate.

I ordered the fried green tomatoes to start and they were good. Teresa got a salad and a quesadilla, both five dollar appetizers, for her meal and I ordered the shrimp and grits with a pint of guinness. 

The shrimp and grits were good, but not amazing. They were served on a grit cake which was rather bland. The shrimp were pedestrian. What saved the dish was the copious amount of bacon, bacon makes up for a lot of sins, and the lick-the-dish creamy parmesan sauce served on top. That sauce elevated a bland dish to being very good. 

Overall, the food was good, cheap, and plentiful. The service was excellent, Megan was attentive, friendly, and knowledgeable. We'd go back again.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

San Juan Cafe- Wilmington, NC

We stopped by The San Juan Cafe today for lunch and it was a good decision. I've had them on the short list for some time now.

They gave us water and a bowl of chips and salsa to start while we looked through the menus. There were a few items we wanted to try and we watched as food was delivered to nearby tables. Everything looked good and generous in portion. 

I had the Cubano sandwich at $7.95 and it cane with a generous portion of good fries. The sandwich was a proper Cuban with real slices of ham, nice thick slices of pork, and just the right amount of Swiss cheese on properly grilled bread. 

Teresa ordered the two tacos, she got one with tilapia and the other with beef, at $8.95 and it came with a side of beans. I tatted the tilapia and it was good. 

Overall, good and reasonably priced food, good service, and nice ambiance. We'd go back again.

Mellow Mushroom- Wilmington, NC

Mellow Mushroom is a southern pizza chain of about 150 stores, many of them franchised. We went to the one on Oleander in Wilmington on a Monday night to play PENGO, a variation of bingo put on by a local radio station for prizes such as concert tickets. Our kids go here often and it's fun.

There are quite a few pizza options, including build your own. You choose a size, the sauce, the toppings and it is priced accordingly, on Mondays they start at six bucks for the small. I was going to create my own when I saw, and ordered, a blue bayou pizza for fifteen bucks. It had shrimp, a blue cheese base, and andouille sausage. It was very good, surprisingly good in fact.

There is a good beer selection, we had the Highland Oatmeal Stout. The service is friendly, but a bit chaotic. The food is good, they even have an excellent gluten free option, and reasonable. The atmosphere is fun. I'd go back again. Oh, and we didn't win at PENGO.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Cape Fear Seafood Company- Wilmington, NC

Grouper Saltimbocca

In a word, excellent. I'll now give a whole bunch more words as to what made it excellent, and a few criticisms as well. 

Cape Fear Seafood Company sits in a strip mall in on College Ave on Myrtle Grove. It isn't all that big, and it is quite popular, so I would recommend making reservations. Inside it is tastefully appointed with an understated, yet bright, upscale coastal seafood restaurant look. The service was good and friendly and the restaurant pleasantly quiet enough to carry on a conversation with people at your table.

We ordered appetizers to start, the fried okra and hush puppies. The okra was well executed, crisp enough, and well seasoned with a remoulade sauce. The hush puppies were overly fried and a bit dark, but not terrible.

Figure Eight Flounder
I was debating between two dishes. One was the shrimp and grits, and the other was the Grouper Saltimbocca. While shrimp and grits is fast becoming one of my favorite dishes, and I have had some amazing interpretations of it, I wondered when I was going to have the opportunity to have a grouper saltimbocca again. I mean veal and chicken saltimbocca are amazing, why not grouper? Additionally both dishes had mushrooms listed in the ingredients and I thought that I could pick them out of the saltimbocca easier than from shrimp and grits. I don't like cooked mushrooms, especially cremini, to me they take on a taste of dirt and permeate any dish made with them. Raw mushrooms on the other hand I will eat. 

I went with the Grouper and I must say that it was simply amazing, in spite of the fact that the mushrooms that I asked to be omitted (the waiter said this could be done, but I think I caught a bit of an eye roll as he said it) were right there on the plate. No real problem as they were only partially cooked and edible, but I did leave a few on the plate. The prosciutto wrapped around the grouper was slightly crisp and the grouper was perfectly cooked. The spinach, goat cheese and sauce combined to make this one of the best, and most interesting, seafood dishes I've had.

Shrimp and Grits
Rachel ordered the small shrimp and grits after our waiter told her that it was one of the top five in the free world, or something like that. She liked it, and I tasted it. We both agreed that it was good, but not life-changing. There were too many tomatoes and far too many mushrooms which became the dominant flavor. Now, please bear in mind that this is simply based on my own personal tastes but my choice of the grouper turned out to be the right one. 

Hush Puppies
Teresa ordered the figure eight flounder and it was excellent as well. The veggies were a tad over seasoned though. AJ had a fried seafood plate which was good and came with nicer hush puppies than the appetizers. 
Fried Okra
We started with soup, Rachel and I both had the crab bisque and it was excellent. We ended by sharing a Crème brûlée which was good. 

Crab Bisque 
Overall, like I said in the beginning it was excellent with a couple of small caveats. I would definitely go back again and have the grouper or one of the other dishes that looked interesting. Check them out sometime and see for yourself. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Le Catalan- Wilmington, NC

I've had Le Catalan on the wish list for some time now and I figured it was time to see what everyone was raving about so we went on a pleasant Thursday evening. It was a bit hot out, and the sun was still fairly intense on the deck, so we sat inside. An hour later and eating on the deck would have given a delightful view of the sunset, but I like the view over the Battleship better at sunset so we ate earlier.
Creamy tomato basil soup

We started with soup. I had the creamy tomato basil and it was very good. Teresa had the gazpacho and  it was also quite good. The problem was what to order for dinner. The menu is simple and not too extensive, but there are some very nice choices. I opted for the shrimp and orzo gratin and was very satisfied with it.

Teresa ordered the quiche Lorraine and we both agreed that it was well executed. Tasty and fluffy, not dense. Both dishes came with a small house salad and were filling. 

They have an extensive selection of wine available, and even sell bottles as well as their quiche and other dishes to go. 

Overall, very good food, excellent service, and romanic ambiance. The prices are about mid-ranged, it cost forty bucks for two soups and two entrees, but well worth it. I'll be back again.

The German Cafe- Wilmington, NC

The German Cafe in Wilmington is where I have eaten what was perhaps the finest Rueben ever, and considering how many I have consumed over the years that is quite a statement. They serve it on pumpernickel bread which is a pleasant deviation from the standard rye. The meat was lean, moist, and full of flavor. The sauerkraut was perfect. For only $8.25 it came with a lovely warm German potato salad and a slice of watermelon (not traditional German).

Mark went with the wurst special and it came with two types of wurst, sauerkraut, and German potato salad. Very good indeed. We each had a large beer and enjoyed the German music as we dined. The waitresses were dressed in traditional German clothing and it was interesting to hear them speak in a Southern accent. 

Overall, an excellent meal. Good food, good service, nice atmosphere. 

The German Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Indochine Revisited

Appetizer sampler

If one were to ask me what my favorite restaurants were I would have to place Indochine within the top ten. If that question was narrowed to Wilmington then Indochine would be in the top five. They feature Thai, Vietnamese and sushi. The food is always amazing and the service always good. In fact the only real problem is that they are usually crowded. We recently went on a Monday at 6:30 and it was just right.

Teriyaki Chicken

There were seven of us and we ordered the appetizer sampler and the dumpling sampler for starters. All were delightful. I had the duck curry, I've had it before, and it was amazing. In fact, I'm eating the left-overs as I type this. 

Roasted Duck Curry

Stop by sometime and see what I mean.

Friday, July 11, 2014

K-38 Baja Grill- Wilmington, NC

Someone mentioned fish tacos today and I wound up with a craving. Now I've had them at Las Olas Mexi-q and they were good so we decided to try the K38 on Oleander which is run by the same folks. 

I decided on the seafood tacos which was tilapia and grilled shrimp with cilantro and avocado. The two tacos were fifteen bucks and came with a side of refried beans. They were quite delicious and fresh tasting. Teresa had a small Barbacoa enchilada at nine bucks and the portion was rather large, and she said quite good. 

Overall, good food and good service. Jackie took good care of us. I'll head back, but I think my next stop will be to the Porter's Neck location when they have a fish taco special. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Jake's Bar and Reastaurant- Flemington, NJ

Jack's Bar and Restaurant in Flemington is one of those places we have passed dozens of times and noted that the parking lot is usually full. A full parking lot intrigues me and I put them on the list for a visit.

Inside it is fancier looking than the outside with white table cloths and waiters in black shirts. The dinner menu looked nice with entrees ranging from the mid-teens to the mid-twenties, reasonable.

I had the Cuban Press sandwich which was quite well executed. The fries however were a bit lacking as they had the taste of frozen fries, dropped in the fryer while still frozen. Teresa had a salad which she liked and Mark ordered the fish tacos with swordfish. I tasted them and they were good. 

Service was good, food good, prices reasonable. I'd stop by again.