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No Bull Burger Purist - Born and raised in NJ, the heart of the tri-state area and home to the oldest (and best) burger joints in the country. I don't need all the frilly toppings, happy servers or trendy decor, just a good burger...

Drinkin' Buddies

Drinkin' Buddies

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Mother's Ale House - (I had such high hopes)

Where:
Mother's Ale House
95 Mountainview BlvdWayne, NJ 07470Phone: 973-633-7400
http://www.mothersalehouse.com/

What: 
The Whiskey BBQ Burger

Build:
8oz Angus patty, pepper jack cheese, grilled mushrooms, whiskey BBQ sauce and haystack fried onions on Texas toast.

Comments:
Wanna know why the best thing you can order at a newly opened restaurant is their burger?

Because it's a fool-proof acid test for the food quality that you can expect from there-on-out, that's why. And unlike Mother's chef's attempt at cooking a burger, I've never seen this test fail.

It's what I've tried and written about so many times before, if a restaurant can't get the temperature of burger correct, how could they possibly prepare anything more complicated successfully?

Let me rewind for a second. My wife and I had been wanting to try Mother's after the initial curious crowds waned. Last weekend we saw a shot so we took it. It was Saturday, the 18th of July in the year of our Lord, two thousand fifteen. The sun was out, and it was hot as hell, and it seemed like a beer and a burger could set the world right again. (WRONG!)

Both the facade and interior of Mother's are unique and interesting enough to arouse curiosity. The interior is definitely geared toward liquor sales. (And why not, it's where the money is). There are many bar stools and enough TVs to keep even a non-drinker seated for quite a while.

So far, so good, however - if you're going to charge $7 dollars for a 6oz glass of really crappy house white wine you are going to follow the way of the Dodo.
And mind you, a house wine does not get any worse than the one offered at Mother's. It's Frontera, which is so bad it's only $8.99 for an entire magnum at any local liquor store. Really? You're proud to serve this? What's next? Happy meals? 

Once a restaurant establishes their level of "house" wines and liquors, it is also establishing their base clientele. Nuff said.

Without dragging this on, I'd like to point out to the folks at Mother's that you've got a potentially very cool business about to happen if managed correctly, and I'd love to see it succeed. I realize that you recently opened and are working out some kinks, but is there any reason that there should be dirt, crumbs, napkins, etc., on the floor under the bar stools that looks as if it hasn't been swept since the previous day? If nothing changes, I'm afraid you'll be on the road to becoming the new and improved Gabriel's.

My wife and I both ordered our burgers medium as our waitress told us that "medium means pink inside with a tiny bit of red in the middle".  

Mmmmmm, no, medium means that your burger will be cooked Buzz Lightyear style, to infinity and beyond.

But to be fair, as well done as our burgers were, and although being very obviously dry, they were still quite tasty. This made me think how really great these Angus burgers would have been if only cooked with some care. 

I will definitely return to MAH for another sample of the burgers. I am pulling for this place... I sincerely hope it does not disappoint again.

This burger gets a 5/10 on the BC rating scale.



My photos below will fill in any details of the story that I've missed...



















My wife's burger looked like it had potential also... what a shame...

































Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bobby's Burger Palace - Episode #3, Still Killin' It

A note to all you Food Snobs and Haters...

For the record:
Yes, I eat fast food burgers (get over it), but I've never considered them to be actual burgers – I consider them more of a snack food that defies classification. Take White Castle for example... would you consider them to be burgers in the traditional sense? No. But where would we be without them?

On to the review...



Where:
Bobby's Burger Palace
610 Bergen Town Center Mall
Paramus, NJ 07652
(201) 368-7001

What: 
The Dallas

Build:
Spice crusted burger topped with coleslaw, Monterey Jack cheese, BBQ sauce and pickles (crunchified, of course).

Comments:
My third and final review of BBP has not only proved that they consistently serve very high quality food, it has also given me the chance to devour yet another great burger.


As usual, the staff at Bobby's pays very close attention to the temperature of your burger to ensure that what you've ordered is what you are served – and as always, the meat flavor is fantastic. Also, if you're like me and have sampled more than one of Bobby's burgers, you'll know that the toppings for each burger on the menu were meticulously chosen to blend and contrast for a great burger experience every time.

Once again BBP gets a 10\10 on the bc rating scale.












































I went to lunch with my boss this day, she got the "Topless Burger Salad" which is any burger of your choice on top of baby greens with balsamic dressing. She said it was very good and it sure looked it. (Shout out to Pat B. for being a good burger buddy).









For me, the Burger Sauce at BBP represents a conundrum. In fact, it's more than just a conundrum , it's a paradox wrapped in an enigma. The flavor of this sauce is so obscure, so not welcome in a hamburger establishment, so devoid of flavor it blows my mind that it's still in the rack every time I return. But don't take my word for it, go ahead and try it.







Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Jyoti, Indian Restaurant, Wayne, NJ


Where: 
Jyoti - Exotic Indian Cuisine
24 Route 46 East
Wayne, NJ 07470
973-890-2224
http://www.jyotirestaurant.com/home-jyoti


What: 

Papadum with onion and green chutneys upon being seated (papadum is an extremely thin dough that is fried or baked until crisp).

Appetizers:

Paratha, which is a buttered pan-fried flat bread, plus onion panir which is an unleavened bread filled with onion and fresh minced cauliflower. 

Our second appy was a vegetable samosa, which is a crispy turnover filled with mildly spiced potatoes and peas.
Lamb Rogan Josh – Cubes of lamb marinated in Indian spices, cooked with chopped tomatoes in a creamy sauce.


Entrees:

Chicken Tikka Masala – Pieces of Chicken Tikka cooked in a creamy sauce with fresh tomato and Eastern spices. (Tikka refers to chicken roasted in a  clay Tandoor oven)


Comments:
I love this place; the food, the atmosphere, the exotic spices…everything. And although my review is going to be very positive, it is most assuredly unbiased.


Keep Scrolling Down...







Upon being seated, our server placed down what I would describe as the Indian version of tapas – a plate of bread/chips called papadum, accompanied with a plate of onion chutney and green chutney to pick on while cruising the menu. Delicious (Shout out to Sabah for gettin' us the skinny on Papadum). The onion chutney is delicious and it's ingredient list almost impossible for me to guess due to what I consider to be a plethora of spices used. The green chutney however had the distinct flavors of fresh mint and cilantro and perhaps a dollop of yogurt. Excellent.







Next up: I ordered a Haywards 5000. This popular Indian beer came in a 650 ml bottle (that's a 22 ouncer!), and I didn't find out until the next day that Haywards is 7.5% alcohol. It’s no wonder I was feeling no pain when I got home.



Our appetizers consisted of a few Naan breads, one plain, buttered and one stuffed with onion and cauliflower. We also ordered a plate of veggie Samosas stuffed with potato and peas served with a brown dipping sauce which, to me had flavor seemed to me to be an Indian spiced version of steak sauce with tamarind being the predominant flavor.  Really great stuff.







Next came the entrees...



My wife's Chicken Tikka Masala was creamy and spicy with the flavor of fresh tomatoes popping through the cream. Soon after followed a great afterglow of heat... that wonderful Indian heat. So good. What great comfort food.




The flavors of my Lamb Rogan Josh are a favorite of mine, and although the dish lacks spicy heat, the spices used are nothing shy of fantastic. Especially when ladled over Jyoti's fragrant basmati rice.   




And last but not least, while finishing up our meals and contemplating dessert, it happened...

The lights went out... yup, no electricity. We sat in complete darkness for about 15 minutes before being led to the server station to pay by candlelight. Needless to say, they were very happy to see that we had cash.

Can't wait to go back to Jyoti and sample some more new and exotic flavors from the East.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Step into 1955 at The White Dotte Dairy Bar in Vincentown, NJ

Where: 
White Dotte Dairy Bar
2345 US-206
Vincentown, NJ 08088


What: 
Their 1952 original: The White Dotter Burger

Build:
Whiz, ketchup, mustard, diced onion, thick cut pickles, sesame seed roll.

Comments:
Talk about stepping back in time... 
This was my third trip to The White Dotte and my burger was every bit as good as my first. Just a great old-fashioned flavor coupled with a great old-fashioned American atmosphere. Doesn't get any better than The White Dotte Dairy Bar for a burger and a vanilla malted. 

Once again, the burger gets high marks with a 9/10 on the BC rating scale.

Here is my previous review of the White Dotte Dairy Bar's burger...

http://billcianciburgerreviews.blogspot.com/2012/04/the-white-dotte-dairy-bar-white-dotter.html

(Scroll to the bottom to check out the photos of my sons Fried Chicken and Waffles platter)...













































And finally, my fourth trip to The White Dotte will be to sample the their Breakfast Burger:


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Houston's - The burger is very good, but...

Where: 
Houston's Restaurant
1 Riverside Square Mall #181
Hackensack, NJ 07601
201-488-5667



Dish #1 
What: 
Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes

Build:
Lump crab meat, Pommery mustard sauce, hand-cut French fries, house-made coleslaw.

Comments:
These crab cakes compelled me to invent a new Acronym: TDF (To-Die-For).

Not much else to say... just look at the photos and you'll agree with me based on the visuals alone. The taste of these beauties was equally magnificent. The sweet lump crab meat was pan-fried in butter to achieve that crispy, seasoned breadcrumb top and bottom, and the Pommery mustard sauce added a sharpness that contrasted perfectly with the richness of the crab meat and butter.
T-D-F 


Houston's hits this dish out of the park. 10/10













See my comments on this housemade cole slaw in my next review below...






Dish #2
What: 
The California Burger

Build: 
Approximately a 7oz. fresh-ground chuck patty, Jack cheese, arugula, avocado, red onion, brioche.

Comments:
What is there to say about a burger whose humble beginnings were only a few hours prior to cooking? Houston's grinds their burgers every day, eliminating fluctuations in taste and texture and maximizing their ability to consistently serve up one of the best burgers you could ever ask for. Although my burger was fresh and cooked perfectly to my order, it was not without a few flaws. 

1)      My last visit to Houston's was quite a few years ago and I distinctly remember the patty being much larger. 

2)     My wife pointed out to me (I let her have the first bite), the fact that she thought there was bacon on the burger. Being as I didn't order my burger with bacon I checked under the lid, no bacon. I took a bite and discovered a fairly strong wood-smoke taste that caught me by surprise. I'm not sure why this flavor is not part of the menu description since there are a good number of people out there who consider smoke flavor disgusting. Although I am not one of them, this burger did not need the extra smoke flavor, it masked the taste of that wonderful meat.

The house-made coleslaw is very good – I tasted parsley, sweet pickle relish, mustard, green onion, and just a hint of cilantro. That's all I could identify, but I'm sure there are other ingredients in this very original, very delicious side dish. The fresh-cut potato fries were also good, they didn't get soggy and cardboard-tasting after they cooled. There is something to be said about eating a fresh-cut potato out of a deep fryer. 

All in all, given all the fantastic, inovative dishes on Houston's menu, I have no freakin' idea why I ordered the damn burger. 

Again, the burger is very good, but not that strong 10\10 it used to be...

I give it an 8.5/10 on the BC rating scale. 


P.S.
Houston's provides every bit of 5 star service.