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Mike Wolfberg's Guide to Other Restaurants

I will have more things to say here, but I wanted to unveil my web site before completing this part of it. This page is under construction!

I include reviews of restaurants in these locales:

Atlantic City, NJ

Since I get here about once a year for a Scrabble® tournament, I have gotten to try a few places, but I can only recall these places:

Little Saigon
2801 Arctic Ave, Atlantic City, NJ, 609-347-3577
  A review will be placed here.
White House Sub Shop
Arctic Ave. and Mississippi, Atlantic City, NJ
  Although this place gets rave reviews, it did not impress me as producing something I wanted to eat again. One time when I ordered a sub with extra meat, I found it was not balanced - it really had too much meat. I tried the regular on another visit. It was better, but not worth a return trip. It is an interesting place to visit to see the celebrities who have been there and left their photos for the walls.

The Berkshires, MA

I have visited this area a few times when going to a concert at Tanglewood. I have limited knowledge of restaurants in this area, but I may as well share what I know.

The Blantyre
Lenox, MA, 413-243-0535
  I have not been here yet. I merely saw it on a Great Inns TV show. It looked worth trying. It looked elegant and expensive. The show indicated their specialties are French Toast w/ Fruit Stuffing for breakfast or brunch, and Veal Chop with Fresh Truffles for dinner. If you stay at the Inn, the show recommended the Berkshire and Patterson Suites. If you go there, please let me know your reaction.
Cork 'N Hearth
near Lenox, MA, 413-243-0535
  This is a pleasant place on a pond on Route 20 on the way to Tanglewood, coming off the Mass Pike at exit 2. I think I ate here many years ago and found it adequate, if not quite good. I would go back. It has an inn-like quality, with low ceilings.
Gateways Inn
Lenox, MA, 413-637-2532
  The Mobil Guide gives this place four stars and they do not deserve it. I don't recall the specifics of what we had, but it had little to recommend it other than the setting. I would not go back and I cannot recommend it.
Lenox 218
218 Main St., Lenox, MA, 413-637-4218
  Starting out from Kendal Green T stop, it took about 2 1/4 hours to get here. We were seated at table 51 near the entry to the sun room. If we return, we should request window tables such as 73,83,64. The duckling w/ chambord sauce was quite good. The '93 Groth Cab (in August, 1996) was very good, but it had to be cooled down.

Charleston, SC

Magnolias Uptown/Down South
185 East Bay St., Charleston, SC, 803-577-7771
  According to a couple of the locals, this is one of the best places in the city. The menu reads very well. This is a chef-run establishment; you can purchase the Magnolias Southern Cuisine Cookbook by chef Don Barickman. We looked at the book to see their recipe for dinner grits. We were given a taste of these and were impressed. Perhaps the main reason is the use of coarse, stone-ground white grits. We ordered one of their signature dishes, a double-cut smoked pork loin chop, accompanied by excellent collard greens and so-so buttermilk mashed potatoes with mushroom (shiitake) gravy. The pork was interesting in that it was quite ham-like; I found this a tad too salty. A review on the wall had recommended the creamy tomato bisque with lump crabmeat and chiffonade of fresh basil; we got this and is was OK, but not particularly special. We were impressed with the appetizer, sauteed Carolina crabcake with sauteed spinach, black bean and avocado relish, and chive mousseline. The a la carte homemade potato chips with crumbled Clemson blue cheese and scallions were interesting in that it was reminiscent of nachos. A way to describe this cuisine is South meets both East (Asia) and Southwest US. Another signature dish was the egg roll appetizer which had a filling including collard greens. The impressive and award-winning wine list was more exptensiev than their cellar. They were out of the first two not-so-special wines we ordered. They had an impressive after-dinner drink list, which included Martell XO cognac.
Sermet's Corner
276 King St., Charleston, SC, 803-853-7775
  This was recommended by our bed and breakfast hostess and with good reason. It is a Mediterranean-influenced Southern cooking restaurant.

Newport, RI

My Place
Newport, RI
  We were here in the summer of 1993 and had a very good meal, soon after the place had established itself. We returned three years later to find it had switched to a Southwest US menu, but with a twist of East meets Southwest. Since I don't even care for East meets West, I did not appreciate the cooking. Furthermore, the chef got carried away and put far too many items on one plate. The wine list is extensive. I can no longer recommend this place.

New York, NY

Peter Luger Steak House
Brooklyn, NY, 718-387-7400
W-10, F-27, D-15, S-19
  This is one of the best steak houses anywhere. The beef here is unusually good and it is cooked correctly. You can get there by car by crossing the Williamsburg Bridge and taking an immediate right turn at the end of the bridge; you will then see it in a block. The neighborhood looks unsafe - it is best to get valet parking unless you find a space within eyesight of the front door. Reservations are necessary. On 31-Jul-98 I called around noon and was able to get only a 10:30 p.m. reservation; they have the last seating at 11:00, at least on a Friday. There is a stand-up bar where you can get a drink while you wait. In the bar you can see the various awards and reviews of the place.

The decor is simple and seems tens of years old but maintained. Zagat's describes it as having "earthy, beer-hall ambiance and service". The main dining room has Tudor style walls. Tables and the floor are plain wood (no cloths or carpets). Dress is mostly casual, but shorts are not allowed.

They have been the top steak house in NYC every year from 1989, according to Zagat's. There is also a lower-rated branch in Great Neck on Long Island. There is a menu, but you get it only by request. The thing to get is "Steak for Two" when you are a twosome. When I went there alone, the "steak for one" was not as good as "steak for two", but it was still good. The single portion was just sirloin and cut thinner. "Steak for two" is porterhouse, I believe. When you order "steak for two", it can be a bit of a problem if you each prefer a different length of cooking, but you can ask them to cook a portion of it further. The meat quality is unusually high and it seems as if it is different than beef you get everywhere else. I certainly have enjoyed it, but I find it to be so different, it's like having a different meat. Perhaps it is more marbled than in other good steak houses.

A must-get à la carte veggie is the creamed spinach, which gets its creaminess from being made with chicken stock and not cream. A typical potato side dish to order is the hash browns. They serve a good beefsteak tomato and sliced onion "salad" which is great with the house steak sauce as a salad dressing. I prefer that sauce as a dressing instead of as a sauce. They sell their sauce by the bottle for taking home, but when you sit down a gravy boat of the sauce is set upon your table. Their homemade rolls are good. I preferred the non-onion rolls, which had a hint of onion, perhaps only because some of the onion rolls rubbed against them. The smallish wine list includes 2-3 half-bottles of reds; I found the half-bottle of BV Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon quite acceptable. The wines by the glass appeared to be of lesser quality, for example, Mondavi Woodbridge.

In July, 1998, the steak for one was $30 and the baked potato plus creamed spinach came to $7.20; the BV wine was $14.50. Taxes seemed to be nearly 10%. BEWARE - they do not take any credit cards but their own. I believe checks are accepted with adequate identification.

Other highly-rated NYC steak houses I have enjoyed are The Palm and Smith and Wollensky; Peter Luger has better steak. On a couple of the several visits I have made to Gene and Georgetti's in Chicago, I have had as good a steak, but they have not been consistent. I have also found various visits to Ruth's Chris in different locations to be of inconsistent steak quality. I am also satisfied with the consistently good steaks at Boston's Capital Grill.

Springfield, MA

Student Prince
Springfield, MA, 413-734-7475, open daily
  To get here take exit 7 off of I-91 from the North or exit 6 off of I-91 from the South. This is a German restaurant, which is well decorated for Christmas - the only times I have been here. The food is quite good; main courses feature hearty meats. I had a good smoked salmon appetizer here. From what I understand, this is this city's best restaurant.

Sturbridge, MA

The only places I know here are not worthy of visiting on their own merits. If you find this a convenient area to dine, this is what I can tell you.

Publick House
Springfield, MA, 413-734-7475, open daily
  I was here so many years ago, I cannot produce a reliable review. I recall finding the setting charming, with a cozy fireplace. At the time, I had a good meal, but I am so much more fussy now, I am not confident that I would find this acceptable. The last time I ate in this part of the state, I went to the Whistling Swan, and intend to try the Publick House again before returning to that place.
Whistling Swan
Route 20, Sturbridge, MA, 413-347-2321, closed Mondays
  This place seems to have a pretense about it which is unwarranted. They may be good for where they are, but they are not good compared to Boston restaurants. I wouldn't be surprised if this is the best Sturbridge has to offer, but I would try the Publick House next time.

State of Vermont

Church St. Marketplace, Burlington, VT, 802-863-1988
  We should have tried this the one time we had a chance. We went to the Shanty instead (see below), and it was poor. This is near Pearl St. on the Church St. Marketplace. Take the exit for Burlington off of I-89 and take Main St. West. Turn right onto Winooski Ave., which is Route 7 North. The fourth block on the left os Pearl. Sakura was closed on Memorial Day. We were told this was a good place for sushi.
3 Main St., Montpelier, VT, 802-223-0229
  Dinner is served here 7 days a week, and they were open on Memorial Day in 1996. This was a great place to stop along the way when travelling between Boston and Montreal. It is a very good place where I was surprised to find one. This is up-scale Italian, and I think it includes pizza.
Burlington, VT, 802-223-0229
  We chanced onto this place which had a nice view of Lake Champlain, but it turned out the view was better than food and drink. The food was mediocre, the drinks were weak, and the wine was poor. The next time I am in this town, I plan to try a Japanese place which had been recommended to us - Sakura (see above).

back to the top of this page This page, maintained by Mike Wolfberg, was last updated on November 06, 2007.