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Jersey Food

Jersey Spin - July, 2008

Inside This Edition: New Jersey Food Reviews By The Jersey Shadow: Bensi Ristorante Italiano in Roseland, NJ and The Shannon Rose in Clifton, NJ 

 

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

 

Bensi Ristorante Italiano - I don't usually talk about restaurant chain dining, but if the chain was Born In Jersey, I will give it considerate thought.  I've been to Bensi a couple of times and decided on this day to give it a thorough going over.  This Tenafly originated chain has 24 locations, but if you are going to go the chain route, then walking into any one of them should produce the same kind of experience.
 
Stopping by the Roseland location, I discovered a steady stream of customers arriving for dinner this particular evening.  Some tables and chairs had popped up outside since my last visit, but inside was where my guest and I wanted to dine.  Bensi was inviting, clean and comfortable with friendly staff everywhere.

 

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Our waiter arrived to take our order.  He seemed new, but was friendly and tried hard to take great care of us despite having to do double duty by also serving the outside diners.  The menu selections were simple, easy to understand and clearly laid out.  Grilled Sausage and Broccoli Rabe for 14.95 with a house salad was most appealing to me and the thought of this old-school Jersey dish had my mouth watering.  Hmmmm, I was asking a lot of this place to make me something like this, because let's face it, if you are from North Jersey you know this dish and know how it should be made and taste.
 
Time to start on my included house salad which was freshly made, perfectly dressed and in a word delicious.  I had another reason for wanting the sausage...  I wanted to see if this place was real Italian food, and if this dish could be created properly, there would be no question.  My sausage arrived butterflied, perfectly grilled and on a bed of freshly cooked Broccoli Rabe with a wedge of lemon.  The presentation exceeded my expectations and the taste was first- rate because it was cooked perfectly with good Italian sausage.
 
My guest enjoyed the big fresh portions in the dinner salad and remarked about the taste and quality.  Okay, if the waiter wasn't stretched to the four corners of the restaurant, our dinner time could have been shortened a bit and more butter with the bread would have been nice, but overall Bensi was a good experience 
 
The owners of Bensi are passionate about the quality of their food and the satisfaction of their customers.  They clearly want customers for life and they all go way out of their way to be appreciative of the business and eager for nothing less than a 100% satisfied customer. - Jersey Shadow - 
 
Bensi Ristorante Italiano
Eagle Rock Commons
33 Eisenhower Parkway
Roseland, NJ 07068
Phone: 973-364-8277

 

 

The Shannon Rose - I decided it was time to return to The Shannon Rose in Clifton, New Jersey, for lunch.  I had been there shortly after it first opened, but it was then way to new to review.  Reviews of a places when they first open are usually meaningless, but in this case my review would have been spot on.  Was it spot on in a good way or a bad way?
 
Well, for one thing if I try a brand new place and it is not that great but with detected underlying potential, I might return.  If the place is a total disaster, then probably not.  In the case of Shannon Rose my experience was excellent the first time and without a doubt worthy of a second look after the paint fully dried and their vision fully in place and implemented.
 
The place looks like a chain with a very polished and structured approach to everything from the decor to the menu which is classic American Irish Pub.  The Shannon Rose single handedly captures all the convenience of relaxed casual dining, decent prices and full bar with class, efficiency and comfortable surroundings.  The restaurant is literally one of a kind, as this is the only one.
 
On this day for lunch the dining room was busy but we managed a table near the bar.  Previously, I have found the noise level to be somewhat distracting, but always within tolerable ranges.  This day was not very loud at all and relaxing.  You can opt for the outdoor patio if you like.

My burger was absolutely perfectly cooked to my order and even came with a plastic flag indicating "medium."  The ingredients were all high grade and fresh and the         English muffin my burger came in was especially good.  The fries were hot and tasty although I like mine a little more seasoned but perfectly understandable for mass appeal.  A more seasoned option would be great and wouldn't seem overly burdensome for a kitchen this proficient.  My lunch partner ordered the beer battered Po Boy Shrimp served on grilled sourdough bread with Chesapeake remoulade sauce.  It certainly didn't disappoint.

 
Places like this that are passionate about food and service often zoom to the top quickly.  With all the success here, there is an inherent vulnerability to losing a provided great experience and service either through arrogance and/or complacency.  After a year here, there seems to be no complacency just good simple food made with fresh high grade ingredients served with competent and friendly service.  

The word on this restaurant has surely spread faster than a funny Irish joke.  There is no real competition for this place because they do things the right way and when things are done right, everyone is happy and satisfied.  The Shannon Rose is a nice diverse addition to the local dining options in this part of New Jersey. - Jersey Shadow -

 
The Shannon Rose
Clifton Commons 
98 Kingsland Road
Clifton, New Jersey 07014
Phone: 973-284-0200

 


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