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Jersey Spin - March, 2011

NJ Food Reviews - Vitella's Cucina in West Caldwell, NJ And Millbrook Pub 399 in Randolph, NJ


 

 

Vitella's Cucina - It's not often one comes across an original dish of greatness and when it happens, it's exhilarating. Dinner for two this night was an even $50.00 for just entree's and a couple of soft drinks. In this economy that's a good chunk of money.



Restaurants are feeling the pinch of rising food prices, so it's no wonder that t increases get passed on to the customer, still $50.00 (with tip) for a couple of chicken entree's is steep. Was it worth it?

I went with an original dish called Chicken Vitella which was chicken, sauteed artichokes, sun dried tomatoes with white wine over risotto. The dish was stunning and off the charts in design, flavor, ingredients (very fresh) and presentation. What was especially outstanding about this dish was how the ingredients complimented each other with incredible flavor, and certainly befitted carrying the creators last name.

My guest had the traditional Chicken Piccata which was also flavorful with a generous amount of capers. The risotto which we both had and agreed was outstanding was perfectly cooked and complimented with spinach.

Vitella Cucina is far and above superior to the previous Italian restaurant that was at this location. The food is awesome and while not cheap, it's memorable and certainly rates as an excellent occasional dinner dining option in West Caldwell. They also serve pizza and subs which offers a nice less expensive way to enjoy Vitella's. - Jersey Shadow -

Vitella's Cucina
40 Clinton Road
West Caldwell, NJ
Phone: 973-228-6500

Credit Cards Accepted & Free Local Delivery

 

Millbrook Pub 399 - Ah, the rolling hills of Western Morris County along route 10... up and down... up and down.   Add in lots of traffic and one may well want to pull off the road for an adult beverage and or relaxing meal. The Millbrook Pub might be just the ticket to ease a commute or satisfy one's hunger.

Having passed this pleasant-looking place from the outside numerous times, it looked like an interesting restaurant to check out.  Upon entering, it is not very remarkable on the inside... average kind of plain looking, but expansive and could hold a crowd. After being seated in the dining room, I began to check out the menu.

The menu was big... maybe too big for a place like this to do well, but I made my selection of Chicken Murphy and my guest had the Chicken Parmigiana. Not wanting to spend a lot, we skipped the salads. Even so the bill topped out at almost $50.00 which was steep for pub food and not the best value.

Our entree's arrived and the Murphy looked good, tasted good ,but I would have liked more sausage for the money. My guest liked the Chicken Parmigiana, but had to ask for some bread. Ask for bread? Is this a local custom? This brings up and interesting point I've been mentioning for years doing these reviews... it's my money on the line and you get what I get.

There are many publications who think it's okay to pay for someone's meal in exchange for a review. I can tell you that such reviews are worthless, because anyone who doesn't pay for the meals they review can't possibly deliver a fair and honest assessment because they have no skin in the game.

My reviews aren't the nauseating puff pieces often seen in the media, but they are very useful, not only to readers but to the establishment itself. If a place isn't doing as well as they like and they read their review here, it may well present a constructive way to improve.

Millbrook Pub 399 has a cool name, and impressive roadside presence, and there is room for improvement.  My meal was fine, don't get me wrong, but this place can be way better than fine with a scaled back menu and better pricing, more in line for a pub. A couple of outstanding signature dishes would help and always, always, always -- at least -- offer bread to dinner diners. - Jersey Shadow -

Millbrook Pub 399
399 Route 10 East
Randolph, NJ 07869
Phone: 973-361-9048

Credit Cards Accepted / Full Bar

 

 


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