Jersey Spin - April, 2011

NJ Food Reviews - Mexicali Rose in Montclair, NJ And Qin Dynasty in Parsippany, NJ



Mexicali Rose - You never know what you will find when you check out a new restaurant.  I've been impressed and horrified over the years and it's a joy when I find a new place that is cool and different.  Mexican ... is definitely different so much so that it's not even called that on the outside just Mexican Restaurant on the awning and something else entirely on the building itself.


Okay, I'm intrigued but will I be impressed?  The entrance is very old, very cool and it would be a shame to ever change it.  Walking inside, the place is much bigger then it appears from the street with a nice atrium for dining which is where we sat.  Complimentary chips and salsa arrived soon after seating which is always a good sign.

The menu is interesting with usual Mexican fare, but also with some unusual dishes as well.  If you like Mexican food, I'm sure you will find something you like.  The room was a little cooler than I like, but leaving my jacket on took care of that, and I noticed some other diners doing that as well.  It is an older building and the season is changing here, so perhaps that had something to do with the indoor temperature.

I went with an interesting dish called Pollo Chipotle which arrived in a plentiful portion and was delicious.  An interesting take, was the addition of flavorful mashed potatoes and an ear of corn perfectly cooked with flavored butter.  My guest went off the menu for traditional hard shell beef tacos which they were delighted to prepare.

This restaurant is solid, the staff friendly, very professional, and eager to please.  It's a very big deal for me to be treated well when dining out and there is nothing worse than an empty glass when thirsty, and just a soon as my glass was empty another soda arrived without my having to ask for it. - Jersey Shadow -

Mexicali Rose
10 Park Street
Montclair, NJ 07042 
Phone: 973-746-9005

Credit Cards Accepted & Local Delivery



Qin Dynasty - Stepping into Qin Dynasty was like walking into a Chinese VFW Hall complete with vinyl tile flooring and banquet seating.  The place was adorned with signs written in Chinese and the Menu was in Chinese, along with English.

Amidst the unusual surroundings it seemed like a good meal, even memorable one might be on the way.  I was genuinely excited to hopefully have found a cool quirky place with outstanding food.  Memorable, yes, but as for the rest... uh oh.  I ordered the spicy Beef & Orange dish and my guest had Shrimp with Cashews.  I feel terrible about slamming a place but my dish was in a word, inedible.

The Beef had a funky taste, and even the Broccoli I had to leave behind.  My dish looked almost as undisturbed as when it was delivered to the table.  Usually Chinese food comes with at least white rice, and after the Entree's were delivered, and not at the same time, we were each asked if we wanted rice... and oddity indeed.

I asked for rice and it turned out to be my meal with some soy sauce (right on the table) and a can of Coke which was nice and cold!  I don't mind drinking Coke from the can and no glass with ice was brought or offered.  The water was warm with no ice... yuck (industry term used to describe unpleasant tastes) as was my meal, except the rice.

My guest wasn't overwhelmed with the Shrimp dish but was able to eat some.  After a bite of my Entree all I wanted to do was leave and the end of the meal couldn't come fast enough for me.  The check arrived 30 dollars and change... oh well.  I began to dream of that bowl of cereal with my name on it back at the house and soon we were out the door.

I must say that it does take some doing to get me to offer no hope for a place and the simple fact is that, at least for me, this place could never live up to even modest standards or expectations.  I just can't see the possibility for any meaningful change here, because it would require a whole new approach by the staff and in the words of typical Jersey Jargon... It ain't never gonna happen. - Jersey Shadow -

Qin Dynasty
857 US Highway 46E 
Parsippany, NJ 07054
Phone: 973-361-9048

Credit Cards Accepted 



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