Jersey Spin - September, 2011

NJ Food Reviews - Romanelli's in Madison, NJ And GK's Red Dog Tavern in Morristown, NJ



Romanelli's - 40 years is a long time for a restaurant, by any measure, but Romanelli's is still at it with their unique take on a decent dining option in Madison, NJ.  Romanellis' is more than a pizza parlor, but less than a restaurant with it's cafeteria setup.  No waiters here --- so grab a tray and order what you like from pizza, chicken wings, Italian entrees, salads and sandwiches.

It's not fine dining but it is just fine when wanting to grab a decent meal for a reasonable price, cafeteria style.  They really should consider playing up the cafeteria angle a little more with daily specials and perhaps a name change to Romanelli's Italian Cafeteria.

I checked out the Veal Parm over penne.  It was good... not anything out of the ordinary but good and well worth the money, plus the dining area was pleasant and very clean.  My guest had the chef's salad... it looked good with a lot of meat, although the giant bed of iceberg lettuce underneath looked a little bland.  The dish was remarked as very fresh and a good value.

Romanelli's has been an area solid performer for many years and all signs point to many more years to come.  The place could be explosive if they went with some "old school" daily specials which are off the charts in taste and quality, especially now with cost-conscious customers and more competition.  For me, when fast food won't do and not up to a fully serviced sit down meal, I'll head over to Romanelli's if in the area. - Jersey Shadow -

42 Lincoln Place
Madison, New Jersey 07940
Phone: 973-377-9515





GK's Red Dog Tavern - Rod's has been an area mainstay for years with its fine dining, inviting atmosphere and excellent food.  Rod's has taken one of their 
rooms and turned it into the Red Dog Tavern.  I eat at Rod's at least  once a year and am never disappointed, so I was curious about the Red Dog Tavern.

I arrived one Friday for lunch with a guest and it became immediately apparent that they are going after the business lunch crowd and it's working.  The dining room was filled to capacity.  The room is a little cramped especially the booths because the tables don't move, but oddly, the bench seats do which makes it impossible to squeeze in if the person on the other side hogs the space.  I tried to squeeze in... the guy on the other side hogged all the space and wouldn't move, and there you have it, a booth that was useless.

Okay, so we settled in to a tiny table for two.  Even with this rough start I was optimistic about the meal.  I went with the burger and my guest the shrimp salad wrap.  The burger was delicious, perfectly cooked and I mean perfectly, and the sauteed onions delicious.  Even the tomato and raw onion on the side were delicious.  The pickle was also quite good.  All ingredients were clearly very carefully selected for freshness and quality to meet a high standard.  My diet is  changing (more on that in the coming months) so my guest, who has an impeccable palate, tried the fries and piece of the bun.  Both were remarked as delicious, and we were both struck by the presentation of the fries in a miniature wire basket fryer.

My guest had the shrimp salad wrap which was  beautifully presented.  The wrap was remarked as being of exceedingly high quality, delicious, as was the accompanying fresh salad and cole slaw.  My beverage of choice these days is ice water and my glass was never empty; my guest chose the nostalgic cream soda and really enjoyed this blast from the past.  The service was superior and warm and friendly.

The meal was off the charts for sure and I will definitely return.  The issue with the booth probably can be fixed by securing the bench seats to the floor (at least during use) so they are equally spaced between the tables.  It's quite a challenge to bring anything new to life and the Red Dog Tavern was born of vision and complete understanding of the area.  They fill a niche, and they do it well and will no doubt be doing so for many years to come.  - Jersey Shadow - 

GK's Red Dog Tavern
One Convent Road
Morristown, NJ 07960
Phone 973-585-5700

Credit Cards Accepted - Full Bar



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