Jersey Food

January, 2007

Inside This Edition: New Jersey Food - Jersey Shadow Review: Mama Tucci in Livingston, NJ, and Taste Of Asia in Chatham, NJ, - Also, why the Jersey Shadow never uses star ratings in any reviews.


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Mama Tucci Ristorante - On a tip from a friend I discovered Mama Tucci in Madison, NJ, and had a very positive experience when I reviewed it back February of 2005.  It takes a lot to get me back into a place that I have previously reviewed, but I felt compelled to visit the new relocated Mama Tucci in Livingston, NJ, because my first visit was memorable.  Mama Tucci's has grown and taken a delightful second floor space in the new Livingston Center.  Anyone who has read my reviews knows how tough I can be on a restaurant, but it's always fair and brutally honest.  I can honestly say, without question, that the new Mamma Tucci is as good as the old one and in many respects, even better. It is much improved because of the larger indoor space and a beautiful outdoor private terrace, complete with large tables and heaters for seasonal dining.
I decided that it would be nice to stop by for lunch since my last lunch at the old location was so good.  I went with a grilled chicken panini sandwich which was loaded with flavor, perfectly cooked and accompanied by a very fresh and perfectly dressed baby arugula salad.  My guest had an apple and gorgonzola thin crust pizza which was in her words, "out of this world."
Mama Tucci's is a BYO restaurant filled with passion in its superb food, service, and elegant yet very comfortable surroundings.  It's a real delight that after so many years of reviewing places for Jersey Spin I found such an inspiring place.  If someone does find fault with this place the problem may well be theirs, not Mama Tucci's. - Jersey Shadow -
Mama Tucci Ristorante
4245 Town Center
Livingston, NJ 07039
Phone: 973-597-3700

A Jersey Spin Reader Asks - "Why don't you use stars in your reviews?"
Jersey Shadow - One thing you will never see in any of my reviews is the dreaded and quite lame ratings system of "this many stars" in talking about a place.  Labeling a non-exceptional experience with stars is unfair and capricious.  Using stars also punishes or rewards a place unfairly by branding it with a certain level of quality.  I just write about my experience on any given day and let you the reader form your own decision to either visit or not visit a place.  Also, saying a restaurant is good or bad with a star or similar ratings system without explaining why is the lame part, because you the reader deserve to know in great detail the unbiased truth at all times.  I will never hide behind lazy writing or a non-helpful ratings system. 


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A Taste Of Asia - Walking along Main Street in Chatham I stumbled upon A Taste Of Asia and a sign offering a 3 course lunch special for 8 dollars.  I put this on my short list of places to check out in the future.  Recently I arrived for a late afternoon lunch.  The restaurant is located on busy Main Street where I was fortunate enough to get a good parking spot.  The dining room is very pleasant, open and comfortable.  There for the special, I made my selection of Vegetable Soup, Achat appetizer (cold, spicy pickled vegetables) and Nasi Goreng (Malaysian spicy fried rice) with chicken.

It's really nice to have found some very authentic Malaysian food in this part of New Jersey and for those who have yet to partake in this type of cuisine it's adventuresome without being overbearing.  Trying something new can be exciting and I'm sure for the faint of heart you will be able to find something on their menu to your liking as they do offer dishes that aren't spicy as well.

Everything was good and the soup broth was outstanding.  The Nasi Goreng was nice and spicy, and I sure did get a lot of it.  My guest remarked how perfectly cooked and flavorful her shrimp dish was, although it was far more than she could eat.   For a 3 course meal like this, the price just can't be beaten and if I'm given the chance to sit in a pleasant dining room for a nice full-service meal over a sub in the car (which can cost more) I'll take this place any day.  Unless you have an unbelievable appetite you won't get up from your table hungry, but rather satisfied with a good meal at an unbelievable value. - Jersey Shadow -
A Taste Of Asia
245 Main Street
Chatham, NJ 07928
Phone: 973-701-8821

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