Jersey Food

July, 2007

Inside This Edition: New Jersey Food - Jersey Shadow Review: Piccolo Cafe in Madison, NJ and Publick House  in Chester, NJ


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Shoreguy Beachguide 2007

Piccolo Cafe - Madison, NJ, is a delightful place full of interesting dining selections.  Piccolo Cafe popped up along Main Street about a year ago.  I usually like to give a new place time to get things going before I visit.   It just felt like the right time to stop in for dinner to see what's become of this location, former home of Mama Tucci's which has moved on to Livingston. 
I found Piccolo Cafe to have a simple but grand vision of customer first, and it was clear on this day that they have  developed a loyal following.  There is no pretense here, just a dedication to superior food and service.  The food was meticulously prepared from meticulously chosen, high grade ingredients and I haven't been more excited about a new find in a very long time.  The prices  are very reasonable and on this day, Wednesday,  even more so as I happened upon a price-fixed meal of $16.95.  I ordered the Veal Picatta with the Piccolo Salad (mixed field greens with warm pears and walnut raspberry dressing) to start.
The taste, seasoning and tenderness of my veal was astonishing given the price, and proof positive that this fine establishment puts the customer first and is deserving of all the good fortune that can come their way.  My guest was very pleased with the Shrimp Scampi and Risotto (typically a tough dish to make) and enjoyed the Piccolo Salad as well.  The service was attentive but not intrusive and laid back but not forgetful.

The quality, portions and price of this experience was nothing short of stunning.  Piccolo Cafe (I've never said this before) deserves the opportunity to satisfy the most discerning palate and pocketbook.  It was a joy to be part of Piccolo Cafe's success on this day in this small way and I shall return sooner rather than later. - Jersey Shadow -
Piccolo Cafe
77 Main Street
Madison, NJ 07940
Phone: 973-360-9400


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Publick House - A recent trip to Chester included lunch at the Public House.  It was lunchtime and very hot , so eating outside wasn't very appealing; instead my guest and I chose the comfort of the air conditioning.  The table was nice enough, but this place (or at least the area surrounding the bar area) is very loud.  The server didn't have much personality but managed to take our drink order as we looked over the menu.
We had a while to look over the menu, and all I really wanted was a sandwich or something simple.  I was generally shocked by the wacky pricing.  I had my heart set on a chicken sandwich but 14 dollars was about double what I was willing to spend.  I moved on to the lunch entrees where I thought I found something that might be good with the Chicken and Sausage Giambotta for 13.95... hey cheaper than the sandwich and possibly a better value, so I ordered that.
Along came some bread and a new party of business folks who were seated at the table beside us.  The bread was hot, unusual and very good, and kept us occupied for a bit as we waited and waited for our lunch to arrive.  It seemed odd for it to take so long as it wasn't very busy, but it was a nice showing for an early weekday.
Our lunches arrived along with some forgotten silverware for the table beside us.  My meal and the Cobb salad my guest ordered looked appealing enough.  Well, the Chicken and Sausage Giambotta I ordered was a flavorless disaster, and I couldn't even make it palatable with the salt on the table.  The only thing Italian about this dish was the name as it was oddly prepared with unseasoned bell peppers.  My guest raved about the Cobb Salad and to be fair, it did look good but inconsistency does not a restaurant make.
The gentleman beside us had to send his meal back as it was not what he ordered and he had to go to the bread basket as his lunch mates ate their lunches.  Anyway, our waitress returned later to see my almost uneaten meal and never said a word about it, but hey she refilled my water glass!  If I owned a restaurant and served a virtually uneaten meal, I'd sure like to know why.  Avoiding valuable customer feedback is never a good thing, but as everyone knows the customer gets the final decision and can always avoid a place altogether.  - Jersey Shadow -
Publick House
111 Main Street
Chester, NJ 07930
Phone: 908-879-9863

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