F*# k - Marry - Kill - Restaurant Edition, New Jersey

Ok my Jersey Friends, let’s play a little game of F*#K - Marry - Kill Restaurant version. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this game, it’ s pretty simple. Generally reserved for celebrities you along with your friends have to pick a celebrity that you would like to do one of those three options with. But for our purposes here we are going to pick restaurants we just can’t keep ourselves away from, We know it’s not the best for us, or even the best food or service, yet something just draws us back, we can’t help ourselves. You just have to do it, no matter what your better judgment or friends think. That’s the F’ Category.

The Marry Category is your “go-to” place. It doesn’t matter if it’s just meat and potatoes every day, it’s the best dam meat and potatoes you’ve ever had, and you can and will continue to dine there for the rest of your life.

The Kill Category is just that…what restaurants that have been around awhile can you just not stand. If they were to close tomorrow it wouldn’t be soon enough and the world would truly be a better place without them.

So let’s play Restaurant F’ - Marry - Kill !!! I’ll go first.

My F’ restaurant is Raven and Peach in Fair Haven. (I was just there on Sat.)…this place is well past it’s prime, it’s truly over priced, and I can’t say it’s worth the money, but I just can’t help myself. Dear God like a mistress she just keeps calling me…sweet whispers in my ear and I come running…and yes in the morning I’m ashamed and I can’t look myself in the mirror. But I just can’t help myself. No matter how often I say, this is the last time, I always find myself back. The Raven and the Peach Fair Haven, NJ.

My Marry restaurant is probably Jimmy’s in Asbury Park. From Pizza to Pasta to Seafood, to the BEST Chicken Scarp and one hell of a good Steak - EVERYTHING I have ever had is is good. The place has -0- ambiance…the service is adequate but far from formal, but if I had to pick one place to come home to every night it would be here. I just love this place and it is like “home” to me. I would Marry you Jimmy’s and thankfully in today’s world I could without shame!!

My Kill restaurant is anything associated with the name Mc Cloone’s. I’m sorry, I spent my youth and many years of my adulthood dining at Rum Runners, one of the few “formal” Jersey Dining locations…and I truly loved that place. At some point Tim Mc Cloone decided quantity over quality and completely sold out his name. I mean for Christ sake he runs the concession at the OTB in Woodbridge NJ. WTF is that all about. CJ Mc Cloones? Really? Tim how do you sleep at night? I"m sorry but I would like to Kill the Mc Cloone restaurant brand.

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I’ll play.

“F” restaurant - Moore’s Tavern in Freehold. I can walk here from my house. There’s nothing on the menu I actually like, but find myself back all the time, usually on a Monday or Tuesday night when there’s no food in the house. I’d be better off eating cold cereal. Why oh why do I keep returning?!?

“Marry” - my true Marry joint is an Italian place on Long Island I’ve been going to since I was a kid. Keeping this on point in NJ, I’d have to say Chickie’s and Pete’s in Bordentown. I will gladly drive 35-40 mins for crab fries and snow crab legs drowning in their oil and garlic concoction. They also make a solid Philly style hot roast pork sandwich. I’d go weekly if I lived closer.

“Kill” - while JR’s McLoone’s restaurants are an excellent choice, I’ll go with a restaurant group closer to my home – Great Restaurants NJ which include in Freehold and Manalapan Metropolitan Café, Tre Pizza, Nonna’s and Rosalita’s. All these places suck. Don’t go to any of them. I’ve regifted countless gift cards I’ve received over the years.

Chickie’s and Pete’…interesting. My father was in a rehab facility in Lawrenceville so I use to pass that place on my way to/from his facility…it looked interesting and I think I inquired on Chow about it and someone said it was actually a chain out of Philly (I think) so I didn’t bother. There was an Italian place up the road from it (same side of highway) just before the 195 entrance that was excellent. (name escapes me) Also Toscana in Bordentown was a favorite.

I didn’t know The Metropolitan was tied to all those other restaurants. Nonna’s…did they recently acquire them? Nonna’s had changed names at one point, had an ex-felon running the show, David Findel, but he was soon removed, and the place became Nonna’s again, not sure what the story was there. I don’t mind the Metropolican it is normally my “go-to” place while in Freehold, I like the American Hotel too, as long as they don’t have that guy…(name escapes me) singing. Little guy…bad voice. lol

I’m guessing the Italian place is Spigola in Hamilton. I’ve been twice for business dinners and had two very nice meals. It seemed pricey for what it is and the area, but I wasn’t picking up the tab. Chickie’s and Pete’s is a Philly based sports bar with six or so locations I think. There’s nothing particularly special about the place, but those crab fries and snow crab legs are delicious, comforting and keep me coming back.

I’m pretty sure that Metropolitan Café, Nonna’s, etc. have been under a single umbrella for a number of years. I can’t stand the crowd at the bar at Metropolitan (think Buona Sera in Red Bank), Rosalita’s is Disneyfied Mexican, and Tre is a poorly executed clone of Porta in Asbury Park. Haven’t been to Nonna’s in too many years to comment. I also like the American Hotel, but it’s sometimes hit or miss if you vary from basic steak and chops like dishes.

There’s a Chickie and Pete’s at Parx in Bensalem. Makes a nice, if greasy and bad for my diabetes, dinner and gambling combo within an hour of here.

Seal, you can’t comment without playing the game! Party foul!

Guess I am out ;o(

Sorry, I love food as much as (more than) the next guy but I am unwilling to do any of those things to a restaurant.

At Parx, my feel-good eats after dropping a few dollars is the roast beef with horseradish sandwich at Earl of Sandwich. Yum.

F: Porta. Octopus. Enough said.
M: Shanghai Bun. Every Sunday. A few wks ago I wound up getting stuck at work & cldnt sneak out. The following wk they jokingly reprimanded me for standing them up. I go there for the food and the food is good. Via 45 is a close second in this category. Honestly have never ordered anything there that I haven’t enjoyed. Never feel rushed & they’re always willing to accommodate diners.
K: Undici. Have some friends who love this place…especially the octopus. :rage: (See F) I’ve not thought the quality of food justifies the cost and found the staff pretentious & untrained when it comes to pronunciation & knowledge of the menu.

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You are correct the Italian place was Spigola! I don’t know much about the area except I was looking for a good meal and they provided it so for me it was worth the price.

You familiar with Toscana in Bordentown? They serve some great steaks. I’ve gone back just for the hell of it I enjoyed my meal so much.

I’ve been giving this serious thought…

F*#k - has to be Ani Ramen in Montclair. I’ve had the hots for this place since they opened, and I didn’t go enough before moving out of NNJ but I’ll get back in there. On a chilly Sat or Sun afternoon, I’d pop in and have the same thing EVERY time–a bowl of the house ramen. SIGH…

Marry - without a doubt, it’s Porta in Asbury Park. I ended up there tonight b/c I was going to go somewhere else in AP and that place was closed, but in giving my NNJ friend the AP tour, we had driven past it, and I said “There’s my beloved Porta…it’s probably my favorite restaurant in all of NJ.” So when we didn’t have the other option, that’s where we landed, and she loved it from the moment she set foot in the place! I love the (non-rave) vibe, I love the decor, and I love the food. It’s still my favorite octopus dish anywhere.

Kill - this was the toughest one for me to come up with, but I think I’ll have to pick 10th Avenue Burrito in Belmar, and it’s truly because their ‘service’ sucks, plain and simple. It’s SO easy to change this, but they haven’t (for years!), so now the only time I’ll have food from there is if I order in advance and pick it up–and even then, there’s b.s. – not going to waste the time to type it out here, but suffice it to say the people who work the FOH there don’t have a clue. But I love their sweet/spicy corn chowder, and somehow it pulls me back in once or twice a year.

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Curlz…if you Marry Porta don’t invite me to the wedding. Uggghhhhhhhhh

I am going to make a point of going back though…now that I’ve burst my grilled octopus cherry, I’ve got to see what all the hype is about Porta’s grilled octopus. To be honest though, ocotopus seems very dense, so I’m not sure the meat itself is going to take in any flavor(s), I assume it’s just whatever they pair it with. I dunno, but I’m willing to give it a try.

I take back my Kill. That honor goes to the Harvest Restaurant Group, and a conversation with a co-worker who went to one of their restaurants last night reminded me of how angry I’ve been every time I’ve left one of their restaurants. So 10th Ave Burrito can live on with the knowledge that they’re my 2nd choice to kill. McLoone’s wold be my 3rd. :slight_smile:

Curlz…do tell…what was the experience that earned HRG this dubious honor?

I started a whole thread about it on CH, and if I can find it I’ll post the link here or at least copy and paste some of the text. In a nutshell though, they try too damn hard (without succeeding) and they’re selling nog overpriced food it just doesn’t wow me. I don’t need someone to “walk me through a menu,” thank you very much!

Was doing a search for Via 45 and this thread came up in the search so now I’m bumping it up since we have so many newcomers.

F Nicholas
Marry Fernandes 2
Kill Robinsons ale house

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F%<>* Pascale & Sabine, we make trips there just for the dessert. Did it two weekends ago during an afternoon pub crawl and spent the rest of the afternoon there

Marry, probably The Grand Tavern

Kill: Porta. They used to have many options for me 4 years ago. A gluten free pasta option, then they would make any pasta as a risotto. Not any more, most of the salads I liked are off the menu, the double portion of the one risotto they offer was tiny.
I didn’t find the octopus to be as good as it once was. But sadly I live one block from it so friends want to go there and I reluctantly have to go at times.

Sadly I have seen this happen all too often. When a place does the bar business Porta does, the restaurant becomes secondary. A “Chef” is going to cost you a lot more, for less return, then a few line cooks who you can teach your recipes to. That’s my opinion of the place at least.

The original executive chef from Porta is one of the partners at Cardinal Provisions and she created that octopus dish, which I must admit I haven’t had in many months. But as recently as today, there was octo on a salad at CP. JUST. SAYIN’. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold