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Jersey Food

Jersey Spin - June, 2008

Inside This Edition: New Jersey Food Reviews By The Jersey Shadow: La Piazza in Florham Park, NJ and Trattoria Toscana In Whippany, NJ 

 

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

 

La Piazza - So often many places don't look like much on the outside and the facade of La Piazza is "Jersey strip mall" but with a nice patio for outdoor dining.   La Piazza is clean and unpretentious, but in the end, it's what comes out of the kitchen that determines if the place is serious about food or not.   

La Piazza in Florham Park is a delightfully casual, pleasant and friendly kind of place.  La Piazza is Italian for "The Square" and the restaurant resides in the town center of Florham Park.  Inside is pretty much what I expected in terms of offerings with a simple uncluttered menu of local North Jersey Italian offerings.

Shoreguy Beachguide 2008

 

That particular evening I went with the Veal Marsala dinner for an awesome
price of $15.95 which came with pasta and a green salad... very fresh and
crisp with a homemade basil dressing.  The veal could have been a bit more
tender but it was very flavorful with plenty of tasty mushrooms in a
traditional Marsala sauce.
It's interesting to me that my guest had the veal also, only Francese
style, with similar overall comments as it shows consistency.  My
overall experience at La Piazza is that they are sincerely interested in
delivering enjoyable, tasty meals with warm, friendly service at a
reasonable price, and they are appreciative of the business. 
Additionally, they also serve pizza with all menu items available for
take-out and delivery.  A liquor store is handy, as the restaurant is BYOB
with all major credit cards accepted.     

Florham Park is Jet's country and La Piazza has a solid team and efforts
with solid direction.  If they keep their eye on the ball by buying the
highest quality ingredients they can justify to support their competitive
pricing strategy, I have no doubt their tables will remain filled and in
serious contention for the local and visiting dining dollars. - Jersey
Shadow -
 
La Piazza
184 Columbia Turnpike
Florham Park, NJ 07932
Phone: 973-301-9660

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trattoria Toscana - I've ridden past this place for years but never stopped in --- finally the allure was just too great.  Also, I must admit that it did rise on my list of places to try after reading a recent rave review of the place in a newspaper.  I must admit that few food critics are bias-free and there is more than an occasional puff- piece about this place or that.   However, out-to-lunch should always mean just that, and never with respect to a food critic's reviews because people actually read them and have even been known to use that info when deciding where to spend their hard- earned dollars.
 
Everyone who reads me knows that what I experience is what you get back here in the form of an honest, unbiased reflection of food, service and surroundings.  I never slam a place, they slam themselves.  I never overstate or understate ,I just give back what I get to you who deserve nothing less than the unvarnished truth.  If I'm effusive about a place it's not because I have some agenda, it's not because the meal was free... it just means I liked it.  My only agenda is serving those who read here with honesty and integrity.

If I rave or rant about a place it doesn't mean that you will absolutely have the same experience, but it does mean absolutely that you will receive back what I experience exactly... good, bad or Yikes!  My experience at Trattoria Toscana was Yikes!   The surroundings were quiet, filled with pleasant atmosphere, thoughtfully selected music and passion filled anticipation for a great meal.

 
This place is definitely "old school" and a family run type of place with the odd amenity of a liquor license which anyone in Jersey knows is a prized, sought-after advantage rarely found in North Jersey in such a small establishment.  I always root for a good meal and a good restaurant, but when the food fails the place fails and unfortunately the food failed here in a big way.
 
No matter how you look at food if it has no flavor it has no life, and all the ambience in the world cannot infuse life and vibrancy into a flavorless meal.  Some dishes are made great with big flavor and subtle flavor but no flavor is a disaster and utterly forgetful.  The traditional dishes on the menu such as lasagna, chicken and standard Italian fare were priced on the heavy side and the meal left me with a heavy unsatisfied feeling.
 
All things are possible and almost any place can be great under the right conditions, but what needs to be determined here is the answer to one basic question before even addressing the particulars and that is the passion question.  Is there any passion here for the future?  If yes, it's great news because with great passion can come a great restaurant.  Put the passion in the food, and there will be more life in a restaurant than any decor can capture.
 
It's simple, food first, equals customers first and if a chef has the talent and drive all things are possible including happy satisfied customers, a happy satisfied chef and quite probably a healthy prosperous business.  I'm sure the folks at Trattoria Toscana may well know that things aren't right and perhaps dream of glory days gone by, but dreams aside, if meaningful change ever takes place I would be happy to return to be part of any rebirth.  - Jersey Shadow -
 
Trattoria Toscana
554 Route 10 West
Whippany, New Jersey 07981
Phone: 973-386-0303 

 


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