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Archive for the ‘Restaurants/Meals’ Category

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Steak 38 has been on my list to check out since it reopened under its original ownership back in 2011.  The restaurant is noted for classic table side service and a vintage steakhouse menu.  I was particularly excited because one of my favorite dishes, Steak Diane, was a welcome find on the menu.

Finding the restaurant, attached to a motel advertising weekly rates, in Cherry Hill on Route 38 highway was a challenge – mostly because if you don’t know the entrance is coming up you zoom past it with 60 mph vehicles zooming around you.

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Once we parked I was greeted first, in the lobby, with a photo of two of my favorite people ever – Former Philadelphia Mayor Frank L. Rizzo and the Chairman of the Board Frank Sinatra – at Steak 38 or a former incarnation of its owner some time in the 1970’s.  This is a good sign for me.

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Grilled Cheese & Crab Cake Company

I have driven past the Grilled Cheese & Crab cake Company in Somers Point, NJ a hundred times over the last half dozen years with every intent of stopping in some time.  Because it is along the route into or out of my destination Ocean City, NJ I am usually not in search of a meal when I pass and think of it.

On Good Friday, the last non-meat Friday in Lent this year, the restaurant came to mind when I was thinking about dinner.  So, I took the trip over the bridge out of Ocean City to Somers Point.  I arrived at 7:30 p.m., with dinner service running until 8 p.m.  Two other tables of diners were seated and ordering.

I was quickly greeted and a drink order taken and menus left for me to peruse.  As you would expect the menu had many choices involving crab cakes or various takes on a grilled cheese.  A full slate of seafood and non-seafood appetizers was available as well as Chili, Cream of Crab Soup and Cream of Tomato soup offered daily, along with specials including Chicken Orzo.  Any soup can be made “angry” by adding jalapeno and chinese spicy oil.

I ordered the Cream of Tomato soup and a dinner basket combination of Fried Shrimp and Crab Balls, fried miniature crab cakes.

Cream of Tomato Soup

Cream of Tomato Soup

The soup arrived about 10 minutes later.  It was very good, but it was either a dressed up Campbell’s canned tomato soup or it was a remarkably successful attempt to recreate the Campbell’s recipe at home.  I enjoy Cambpell’s tomato soup, but I was expecting something a little creamier.  Next time I would try their “famous” Cream of Crab soup as several other tables ordered it and it looked very good.

Fried Shrimp and Crab Balls Basket

Fried Shrimp and Crab Balls Basket

The entree arrived shortly after I finished my soup.  The shrimp and crab cakes rested on a large bed of french fries, which I picked at but barely ate, along with two containers of cocktail sauce (both it and tarter were offered) and a very creamy side of cole slaw, which I also enjoyed.

Crab Balls (Miniature Fried Crab Cakes)

Crab Balls (Miniature Fried Crab Cakes)

The crab balls and shrimp were boiling hot and it took a long time for them to cool on top of hot french fries.  The miniature crab cake balls were a healthy mix of crab and filler.  A little more filler than I would normally enjoy, but I found these to be a nice balance.  They were not too firm, but not runny either.  A nice crispy fried coating helped hold it all together.

The fried shrimp were fresh and large with a double fried coating on the outside.  The shrimp inside were fully clean (sometimes you get surprised by shrimp that haven’t been deveined) and tasty.

I burned my mouth a number of time because I was too impatient to wait for it all to cool.

Dinner was $22.00 and the menu included a wide range of sandwiches, platters and appetizers.  Homemade desserts in a cold case display looked good and included a vanilla buttercream Easter cake, apple pie, regular and chocolate cheesecake and an offering that looked like coffee cake but lacked a label.  I wish I had room to try dessert, but I did not.

Service was friendly and attentive.  My only gripe was they offered only Pepsi products, no Coke.

I will try this place again some time.  I waited too long.  Their website does not appear to be functioning at this time

55 W Laurel Dr
Somers Point, NJ 08244
(609) 601-7533

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I first patronized the Bridgeport Rib House at their second former location the creatively named Conshohocken Rib House.  That closed some years ago, but the original in nearby Bridgeport is still producing great ribs and a fair price.

There is not much in the way of ambiance.  This is a biker bar that serves great ribs and has for many years and offers up live music on many nights of the week.  The motif is something of a witch doctor’s lair with spooky pig looking things scattered about and a collection of ties tacked to the walls.  Legend says if you enter the place after 9:00 p.m. wearing a tie it gets cut off and tacked to the wall.

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Penn’s Tavern is the casual dining room at Lower Gwynedd Township’s historic William Penn Inn.  The WPI shimmers during the winter with thousands of miniature lights.  The circa 1714 Inn is one of the premier dining locations in Montgomery County and offers banquet facilities and three dining rooms:  The semi-private formerly members-only exclusive Commonwealth Club on their second floor, the main Monet Dining Room for fine dining (both the Commonwealth Club and Monet rooms have the same menu) and Penn’s Tavern.

I have probably been to the WPI fifty times in my life but I had never dined in Penn’s Tavern so when we tried to get reservations to celebrate my birthday on Mothers Day weekend…Penn’s Tavern was all they offered.  It was as good a time as any to try it.

We were seated within 15 minutes of arrival, which wasn’t bad considering the crowds.  We took our seats in one of the tables in the modest bar area with live piano player (as opposed to a dead one, I suppose).  The pianist played mostly saloon songs from the 50’s and 60’s and instinctively played “As Time Goes By” just as one of my companions said “I’d really like to hear…”

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It is a pretty good bet if MaGerks was around when George Washington and his troops were marching by during the Revolution, they would have stopped in for a sandwich and a beer.  The former Bent Elbo Tavern reinvented itself last fall as MaGerks, the third outpost of a Maryland-based restaurant operation run by area natives.

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I remember reading about the Mandarin Garden in Philadelphia Magazine some years ago.  Larry Kane, in a 1994 interview, declared it “the best Chinese food in the world”.  That is probably an exaggeration, but it is very good and the menu has a larger than usual number of dishes that are not the “usual fare”.  You can get all the “usual” stuff (General Tso’s, Sweet and Sour this and that, Moo Shu, Lo Mein, etc.) but the variety of “specialty” dishes has impressed me on both visits.

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The view from the Route 52 Causeway (aka 9th Street Bridge)

This restaurant has had many incarnations over the last decade.  For a while it was The Waterfront, then it tried to go upscale chic and was Sails.  They changed their name to The Inlet last year but the menu stayed upscale chic and not very good.  A new menu drew a return visit and I must say I was pleasantly surprised.

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