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NJ Food Guide

NJ Food Guide - May, 2009

Inside This Edition: New Jersey Food Reviews By The Jersey Shadow: Via Brera in Nutley, NJ and Park West Diner in Little Falls, NJ

 

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Via Brera - One never knows what kind of experience is in store when checking out a new place to dine.  Sure there is the buzz, the food reviews that are often nothing more than biased fawning puff pieces, and then when all that gets digested there is the reality when one tastes the food.  The reality for me is -- the food tells the story -- and I give you what I experience when dining out, the good, the bad and even sometimes if I'm very lucky the spectacular.
 
If a diner is very fortunate, he or she can manage to stumble upon greatness once in a while if he or she samples enough food from various places around New Jersey.  I don't know what I will order ahead of time, opting rather to go with the flow and where my taste takes me on any given day.  In this economy I'm attracted to price and value, so it was there that I started my hunt for the right selection at Via Brera.

 

Lunch specials can be a good place to find value as long as one feels like eating what is offered and the special Minestrone Soup to start with sounded good to me.   The soup was followed by a grilled chicken and salad entree and at $9.95, I would say this represented a good value.
 
Sometimes in life you taste something that is so simple, rustic and you know it's been in someone's recipe book for many generations.  It makes you feel as if you are eating in Grandma's kitchen in the old neighborhood.  One taste of Via Brera's unpretentious version of Minestrone Soup will fill your stomach with something very special and yes spectacular.  To make my experience even greater I was served a large bowl of this old-world soup, a recipe which I'm sure nourished many a peasant where it was created.  I ate every drop with the largest soup spoon I have ever seen used in a restaurant.
 
I was so satisfied with the soup that ending the meal there would have been fine, but my grilled chicken entree arrived, and it was good.  The star of the meal though was the spectacular soup, and it is something to be sought after and tried at least once.  It's a little different from the traditional American version of Minestrone Soup but Via Brera's version makes all the difference in the world and this difference is something worth experiencing for yourself. - Jersey Shadow -
 
Via Brera
160 Franklin Avenue
Nutley, NJ 07110
Phone: 973-662-0244

 

Park West Diner - A great experience at a New Jersey diner conjures up expectations of a fast-paced yet polite atmosphere with a menu full of choices where there is something undoubtedly for any diner that takes a seat for a meal.  The Park West diner along busy Route 3 offers speeding westbound motorists a glimpse of the old retro-style steel facade outside, and for those who decide to stop in much more.
 
Inside on this warm sunny spring afternoon were many diners and despite being crowded we were quickly seated.  Opening the expected large menu loaded with choice my desire this day gravitated to the basic.  You can tell a lot about a place by how well they do the basics, so I went with the ubiquitous turkey club sandwich on rye toast with fries.  Doing the basics well will fill the seats everyday so I was expecting something at the very least decent and was pleasantly surprised and impressed with what arrived.
 
What made this turkey club a standout was the quality of the turkey which was extremely fresh and the bacon had a very nice flavor to it as well.  The fries were of the steak variety and perfectly cooked.  Sadly, it's not an everyday event to be served by an experienced waitress who does her job with efficiency, politeness and concern for the customer.  The Park West Diner is fortunate to have at least one server among the ranks of the very best who have ever put on the waitress apron.
 
Our table was checked on often with drink glasses attended to and kept filled.  I always ask for extra mayo when I order a turkey club and it was graciously noted by her and pleasantly delivered as ordered.  It was a great experience and a noteworthy Diner I will visit again for certain when in the area and even go out of my way for a return visit. - Jersey Shadow -
 
Park West Diner
1400 US Highway 46
Little Falls, NJ 07424
Phone: 973-256-2767

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