Jersey Spin - November, 2011

NJ Food Reviews - Huck Finn Diner  in Union, NJ And Forte Pizzeria & Ristorante in Randolph, NJ



Huck Finn Diner - Nothing like a Jersey Diner unless it doesn't live up to the high standards many of them set and deliver day after day.  While New Jersey didn't invent the diner (Invented in CT) it did perfect it and today reigns supreme as the diner capital of the world.

There are good diners here, and ones that are off the charts in quality, selection and that Jersey atmosphere.  The Huck Finn Diner in Union has an old Jersey look to it as it beckons drivers passing by on old route 24.  This evening I pulled in with a guest.

The place is nice enough on the inside and there is a bar, which I'm sure is attractive to many.  The prices are inexpensive and the menu has a very retro 1960's quality to it, and it was nice to not see the obligatory pictures so many diners put in their menus.

I went with the Italian omelet with marinara sauce and my guest a simple grilled cheese and tomato.  Rather simple, easy to make selections, but unfortunately not simple enough this day.  My omelet was mediocre at best, and it had a strange almost musty flavor to it.  It might have helped to try and drown it out with the offered marinara sauce but it was conspicuously missing, so I reached for the ketchup which didn't help much at all.

My guest remarked of an odd... almost cheeze whiz type flavor to the grilled cheese and tomato, and it also was mediocre at best.  The whole experience was rather odd, because New Jersey is usually an environment of high expectations when it comes to diners, and the place was busy with hungry diners who appeared to be enjoying their food.

So how come my meal was such a disappointment? Who knows, but in a diner everything should be good.  Sadly, I didn't find much here at all except that cool retro-looking menu.
- Jersey Shadow -

Huck Finn Diner
2431 Morris Avenue
Union, New Jersey 07083
Phone: 908-810-9000

Credit Cards Accepted - Full Bar












Forte Pizzeria & Ristorante - It seems that good Italian Dining is pushing itself further into more areas of Western Morris County with some solid choices.  Among the choices is Forte Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria.  More and more it seems the Jersey Italian restaurant model seems to be take-out with sit down dining.  On a cool fall evening I decided to sit down for a bite to eat.

The menu was quite large with much of the regular favorites and even an option for chicken on the bone for some dishes, which is old school.  I went with the Chicken Murphy for $17.95 which admittedly is pretty steep for a chicken dish and downright expensive for this area.  It did included a salad starter.  My guest went with the Chicken Francaise.

It's nice to receive a  basket of fresh bread to start an Italian meal, and the bread was remarked as very tasty especially when dipped in the red sauce.  On to the salads which arrived quickly on very small plates.  The portion was fine, but the plates were way too small.  Included in the salad were some olives, very tasty peppers, celery and greens all of which were very fresh.

I'm a big fan of Chicken Murphy and eat it a lot.  I'd have to say their version was good;  I've had better, but I've had far worse.  I liked my meal but loving a meal is something I reserve only for the very best.  Still it was good, and the chicken was exceptionally tender and of good quality.  My guest raved about her Chicken Francaise, and also remarked without my saying so first about the high quality and tenderness of the chicken.

All in all it was a nice meal ,albeit on the expensive side.  Forte seems like a hit in the area with a nice take-out business, and it also seems attractive to big gatherings.  The building has a nice design with a very open sidewalk which would be very nice for outside dining in the warmer months.  Forte is a solid selection for this area and the area does seem to be growing.
- Jersey Shadow - 

Forte Pizzeria & Ristorante
486 Route 10
Randolph, NJ 07869
Phone 973-328-4300

Credit Cards Accepted



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