Jersey Food

Jersey Spin - January, 2008

Inside This Edition: New Jersey Food - Jersey Shadow Review: China Chalet in Florham Park, NJ and Willie's Taverne in Bedminster, NJ - 


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Feedback is always welcome on all of my reviews.  Drop me an email if you like! - Jersey Shadow - 

NJ Restaurant Reviews

China Chalet - On a quiet weeknight, I decided to visit the China Chalet to see what that restaurant had to offer.  When I say quiet weeknight, it certainly pervaded the large dining area, although I must point out that it was early.  The waiter arrived with a small dish of peanuts.  Peanuts ... now that's rather bizarre and something I've never experienced.  Hmmmm were they special Chinese peanuts seasoned in some special way?  After a quick taste ... nope ... right out of a can or bottle.
I went with the spicy chicken and my guest a spicy shrimp dish.  Much to my surprise the chicken was very spicy with pretty good flavor and although my guest's shrimp wasn't spicy it was described as delicious and perfectly cooked.  All in all, the whole experience was rather odd, but the food was good and service friendly albeit a little detached.  I wanted some soy sauce but the waiter disappeared until we were finished eating.

The end of the meal arrived as quickly as the food did ... fast ... and the check included 2 fortune cookies.  Hey... I was up for a fortune, and when I read it, all I got was a commercial that said and I quote: "Did you remember to order your takeout also?"  To be fair the cookie arrived in a sealed package and I'm sure they had nothing whatever to do with the imprinting inside the cookie but come on ... what's the world coming to when you can't even get your fortune after a Chinese meal. 
Florham Park is home to the China Chalet and the town is fast becoming quite the spot in Morris County with all the attention being focused on it with the New York Jets building a new home there.  I expect some culinary surprises in this part of New Jersey in the coming years.  China Chalet was full of little surprises and it's a quirky, okay place.  Perhaps some clever cookie fortunes for the New York Jets might be something their fans might cheer about. - Jersey Shadow -
China Chalet
184 Columbia Turnpike
Florham Park, NJ 07932
Phone: 973-966-2828









Willie's Taverne - After arriving at Willie's Taverne for lunch, I was struck by how well-cared- for the outside of the building looked and how spacious the parking lot was.  Inside was a warm, cozy dining area complete with rustic looking knotty wood walls where my guest and I were seated.  For nearly 3 pm in the afternoon the room was surprisingly peppered with diners, both large and smaller groups.
I gravitated to what looked to be a signature dish for Willie's Taverne as it was described as Willie's Favorite Burger which looked a bit intriguing.  I've never had a burger with a fried egg and Canadian bacon on it before so I went with that.  I ordered my burger medium and it arrived a little overcooked and a little dry but okay.  Priced at $10.50, I expected it to be as perfect as my surroundings which were quite nice.  Willie's Favorite Burger wasn't my favorite burger but with a few tweaks it possibly could be.  First it needs to be cooked perfectly to order and I'm sure that my experience this day may well have been just a miss and it happens to every place.  My guest remarked that her quiche, although flavorful, was a slight miss as well, as it was a bit dry.  
I don't often give places that miss a second chance, but I will return to Willie's at some point.  Getting back to my burger, I think Willie is really on to something here, and if the Canadian bacon is replaced with real bacon with the fried egg it would taste much better.  What would probably make it my favorite would be some spicy Hollandaise sauce variant to top that off... hmmm Willie's Burger Benedict anyone?  
Willie's Taverne
PO Box 66
Rt. 202 Bedminster, NJ 07921
Phone: 908-234-1596



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