Jersey Spin - January, 2011

NJ Food Reviews - Gladstone Tavern in Gladstone, NJ And 4 Park Avenue Trattoria in Madison, NJ



Gladstone Tavern - I was recently included in a party of 8 to dine for dinner at the Gladstone Tavern in upscale Gladstone, NJ. This old Inn has been carefully restored into a fine dining establishment with tavern menu as well. 8 Hungry discerning diners is quite a test for any eatery and we were seated upstairs near a burning fireplace.

The Brisket of Beef jumped right out at me with horseradish and potato pancake which was exceedingly delicious and most generously portioned. I started with their version of the Caesar Salad and while major credit is deserved for creativity the result fell far short. The salad was made exactly as described on the menu, but for my palate the capers just didn't work and the other flavors worked against each other and weren't complimentary. I forgot about it almost instantly though once I tasted the brisket.

It's not a real good idea to offer one basket of bread for a table that size... 3 would have worked much better. Others this evening raved about the Surf and Turf specifically the beef fillet which was remarked as best ever tasted. Another standout included the Salmon. 

When eating out at holiday time, especially with a large group, it's nice to know that you are not going to be hurried along, and we were not.  We were allowed to eat at a leisurely pace with lots of time to interact while being attended to by a very pleasant staff.  I'd have to say that although not perfect by any means, the meal was quite memorable with elements of brilliance. I do love the idea, of trying to offer a new take on the classic Caesar Salad and perhaps some reworking of that might be in the future... at the very least the capers (and I love capers) should come out and for sure very flavorful large homemade croutons should be included.   Everything considered, Gladstone Tavern provided a most pleasant dining experience and should be included in your restaurant choices.- Jersey Shadow - 

Gladstone Tavern
273 Main Street
Gladstone, NJ 07934 
Phone: 908-234-9055

Credit Cards Accepted







4 Park Avenue Trattoria - 4 Park Trattoria in Madison, NJ, has emerged 
from the old Top Notch restaurant formerly at the same location.  Outside is an early bird special at $14.95 beconning all who pass to stop in.

Parking is difficult here with spots that are way too small... even if a few spots are lost, widening the spots would go a long way to ease navigating the small lot.  Inside is comfortable, and this evening the food channel was playing on a modern flat screen TV.  The old Top Notch always seemed to be a favorite with the (make a reservation) ladies lunch or business lunch crowd and this evening a big table welcomed a big party.

In the end and as always, it's the food that is either the star or the flop of the show or,in this case, the mediocre performer.  It's sad to see that the food has slipped a bit here and all the re-branding can't change that.  The salads were okay but salads do not a meal make.  Seasoning is a big part of any dish... get it right and the flavor goes off the chart... get it wrong and ruin it.  I went with the Veal Picatta, and sadly it was way over seasoned with salt which was a shame because the meat was moist and tender.  My guest didn't fair much 
better, with a prime rib which wasn't very prime with too much fat and  overcooked.

Like my father used to say... a bad meal on occasion is inevitable from time to time, but still, it was surprising, as I was expecting more.  It's clear that more has probably changed here than just the name, and if they want to succeed they will have to step up their game, because even the most loyal regular will grow tired of inconsistent fare. - Jersey Shadow - 

4 Park Ave Trattoria
4 Park Avenue
Madison, NJ
Phone: 973-660-9222

Credit Cards Accepted



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