tommy:eats reader and friend 'Curlz' has been telling me about the burger at Next Door for a few years. I finally got around to getting over to Next Door, which is Zod Arifai's more casual restaurant next to his appropriately- and much-ballyhooed Blu.
A few months back, Travel Channel aired two episodes of Burger Land, a great show on hamburgers hosted by George Motz. I figured that was it for the show, but they've restarted with some additional episodes.
George is an affable character with some admirable sideburns and a real passion for burgers. He did, after all, write the book on the subject. The show is shot and edited well, and is a real pleasure. Don't miss it.
After catching the third episode, "Hollywood Hamburgers," which featured a place called Pie 'n Burger, I knew what was happening for lunch.
The Pie 'n Burger cheeseburger consists of two four ounce patties, smashed down with a can of tomato juice, cooked on a flat top, with pickles, cheese, and a Thousand Island style dressing. It also has lettuce, which I generally skip when making burgers. This style of burger is right up my alley.
Here is what my version looked like. For some reason four ounce patties on TV are much smaller than they are in my kitchen. I wouldn't recommend eating a burger this rich more than once a week. Or, whenever you catch Burger Land on TV.
201 Magazine, the big, glossy magazine that you see in grocery stores (or in the mail...they seem to send it to people for free in addition to selling it), released their yearly readers poll. It's sprinkled with "Editor's picks" and "Celebrity picks." I'm not sure I care what these folks have to say about restaurants, but I guess their opinion is neither better nor worse than that of any random person.
Something called Wa Lobster Pot is opening in the space that Lisa's previously inhabited. I'm not sure what a Wa Lobster Pot is, but we'll see.
Park West Tavern continues to pump out excellent burgers and "sliders" (mini-burgers, actually), along with some other very acceptable, and often excellent, food. Their website continues to pump out annoying and unecessary music. Hey Park West Tavern, I'm listening to my own music while looking at your website. Don't need yours. Thanks, though.
The place called Raymond's, which I've read on the internet "OMG they have the BEST waffles," in addition to other food with is apparently "to die for," is open, and is, aesthically speaking, a wonderful addition to downtown Ridgewood. I'm confident that most items are "cooked to perfection" and "SOOOOOOOO freakin good," and the "establishment" serves food that "my hubby loved," but I haven't made my way over there to be sure.
We stumbled on The Kill Devil Grill whilst searching for decent places to eat during a recent trip to the Outer Banks. OBX has a shit ton of restaurants, most of which are mediocre as far as I can tell. But, there are a few gems, and The Kill Devil Grill is one of them.
Situated right across from the beach on Beach Road, you'd think it'd be another somewhat sticky, sandy, kitschy place. But it's not. It's clean, sleek, and cool...and somewhat kitschy (a tiny old diner with an addition on the back). More importantly, the food is damned good.
Probably some of the nicest outdoor seating you'll find in New Jersey. I mean, what a view. But is there anything worthwhile beyond that view? Our first visit suggested that there could very well be a decent restaurant here.
It sure doesn't hurt having Chef Kenny Trickilo running the show. I've been a fan of his since his days at Bistro 55, back in its heyday.
It looks like the chef brought along some of his dishes, including the duck confit grilled cheese sandwich, and the roasted garlic with blue cheese. Unfortunately that great pork chop didn't make its way over to Liberty House.
The beausoleil oysters were perhaps in the top 5 of all oyster experiences of my life. Beausoleil are typically briny, bright, clean tasting oysters, and these were no exception. They were chilled, but not too cold, and all of that beautiful liquor was still in the shell instead dumped into the ice. Absolutely outstanding, and if this serving was any indication of how they treat their oysters at Liberty House, it could certainly be my go-to place for sauvignon blanc and oysters in the summer months.
A friend ordered the soup special, which was a cold melon soup of some sort. Refreshing, but a bit too sweet for his taste. It would have been fantastic in a glass with 3 ounces of gin, however.
She's a delicate little flower, ain't she.
Tuna tacos came 4 to an order. Raw tuna with seaweed and spicy mayo. Perfectly acceptable, although I'd prefer the tuna flavor and texture to be more pronounced.
The burgers were ordered m/r and came out a bit more on the medium side. They were also not very juicy. Other than that, they were acceptable, and served with a good, light fluffy bun, and very sweet pickles. I have a feeling if cooked a bit less, these could be really super burgers. With one of the two burgers ordered, we subbed sweet potato fries for the cottage fries, both of which where exactly what they needed to be.
One of my favorite dishes at Bistro 55 was the duck confit grilled cheese. This was just a fantastic sandwich. Thick country bread stuffed with brie and duck. The version at Liberty House didn't impress as much. I'm not sure if it was different in some way, or it was just off for some reason. It was fine, don't get me wrong, but not as good as I remember from my Bistro 55 days.
The cocktail list is certainly a step up from most cocktail lists, which sadly seem to focus on flavored vodkas and overly sweet concoctions, suitable for college parties more than serious contemplation. This list does the same to an extent, but also has more tequila than you'd think, and fresh lime juice, which is fine by me. However, a few of the drinks came out a bit too sweet, even though we stressed that we wanted unsweetened fresh lime juice. Next time we'll sit at the bar (bar dining is almost always preferable), and provide some additional oversight and instruction.
The selection of wines by the glass is robust and broad. You'll not have to choose between 3 California chardonnays and a pinot grigio as you do at too many restaurants. Sancerre, prosecco, sauvignon blanc from 3 continents, riesling, albarino, malbec, tempranillo all make an appearance by the glass. Lots of food-friendly choices here. Bravo, Liberty House.
The beer list is essentially non-existent. Boo, Liberty House. I'd like to see some craft beers filling the list here.
The view really is wonderful. The outdoor seating is comfortable and cosy. I got the feeling I was on vacation, what with this out-of-the-way location and magical setting.
Overall Liberty House really impressed me. We're looking forward to returning. And if you're planning an event, have it at Liberty House, and invite me.
Make sure you get the outdoor tables that don't have this view.
Representatives from the t:e organization found themselves at Rhodes North Tavern in Sloatsburg, NY, recently, and boy were we impressed.
If you're like me, you've probably driven past this place a bunch of times, and thought "hmm, looks like an interesting biker bar," but then never pulled the trigger. That was a mistake on my part, and on yours as well.
Our first impression when pulling into the parking lot was "woah, this place is packed." Thankfully, it's quite a large space, and all of those people from those cars found their way to some place other than the large, square bar, where we gleefully set up shop.
Right from go, we felt as if we were in another world. While Sloatsburg is only a few miles from the New Jersey border, there seems to be a, umm, cultural difference from your average Bergen County restaurant. In a completely good way. Was it due to the country pop music playing over the sound system? Hey listen, I hate country pop as much as the next guy (although I loves me some Big & Rich), but when subjected to it on a Sunday afternoon, you just can't help but think you're on vacation. Like in South Carolina or something. In a completely good way.
I didn't have high expectations, but I thoroughly enjoyed a burger ($16) at the bar at The Capital Grille in Garden State Plaza. As scholars of malls know, Garden State Plaza is in Paramus, NJ. As other scholars know, there's no 'e' in 'grill.' Unless they meant to name it "Ye Olde Capital Grille," which would be somewhat more annoying.
The burger is said to be "infused" with bacon. This could mean a few things, but in this case it means that bacon (along with onion) is ground into the beef. The bacon flavor is somewhat pronounced, so if you don't like bacon, you might not like this burger. It works, although somewhat insults my purist views on burgers. Yet it's hard to argue with results. So conflicted. Adjusting meds...
I was poking around the New Jersey blog You Don't Know New Jersey and came across a post about Steve's Burgers in Garfield. This post was convincing enough, and not being one to pass up the chance to find a decent burger, off I went to find this little shack of a place on Route 46.
Steve's must have hired the same painting contractor as Pizza Town USA, up the road a piece. The playful red, white and yellow stripe motif no doubt helps it stand out. You can't miss it. Well, you can miss it, but you'll see it just as you're passing it. Now you have to turn around. Good luck.
If you manage to get back to the place (this time, try the back roads, and skip 46 altogether), you'll be treated to a damned good burger and fries.