The Blue Collar Foodie Stops and Smells The Roses

Sometime between 1440 A.D. and 1450 A.D. Mr. Johannes Gutenberg created the moveable type printing press, which in turn basically gave birth to advertising. So in theory you can thank Mr. Gutenberg for every pop-up ad you have ever clicked that gave your computer the internet clap. Since this invention, several key marketing and advertising innovations have emerged, in the 1730’s magazines were created, followed by posters in 1839. The 1860’s are responsible for our roads being littered with accident causing punny death boards, and the roaring 1920’s were aptly named due to the radio being invented. The idiot box or as I like to call him, Theodore, my BFF, entered the scene in 1941. The seventies not only invented Disco but also telemarketing so that decade is pretty much worse than a Justin Bieber and Macklemore movie entitled, “What the fuck is a Macklemore?

Somehow, through the cloud of smoke that was the 60’s and the disaster that was the 70’s, the scientific minds of those generations were able to create mobile phones and personal computers which forever changed the marketing world of today. Damn near all of us carry more information that could ever be housed in one single structure in our pockets, and this data can be accessed 24 hours a day with the swipe of a finger. This technology is continuously evolving and allowing marketing firms to bombard you with immersive advertisements that are harder to ignore than a crying baby on an international flight. So, even though my blog relies almost exclusively on the very same annoying devices that I just flamed, I am somewhat drawn to restaurants that ignore the last twenty years of innovation and much like the honey badger simply don’t care to be a member of the internets.

I think I am attracted to these establishments because I feel like they are shrouded in a cloak of mystery and mysticism as they operate in a world that needs no Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to survive like some sort of restaurant sorcerer. At first when I drive past these archaic relics of the restaurant world, I scoff, but with each pass, I begin to get just a little more curious about what is contained within those clandestine walls. My most recent ride on the crazy train went something like this:

Why don’t they need to embrace the limitless world of Social Media? Do they think they are better than the rest of us? That’s it; they are just pretentious smug jerks! But what if they are not? What if their food is so damned amazeballs that they know if they join the social media scene they would break the internets with their culinary genius? What if the Vincent Van freaking Gogh of Lebanese food has been cooking down the street from my house at Rose’s Place and I am missing it?

These rides on the insanity railroad are usually short, considering they always end the same way. That is, Kat and I visiting said restaurant to make sure I am not missing out on something simply because the googles doesn’t know about it. The most recent stop on the irrational rail line was as I mentioned in my earlier rant, Roses Place, located at 32-01 Broadway, Fair Lawn, NJ 07410.

Kat and I were accompanied by two of our gastrologist friends that were intrigued by Rose’s James Bond like internet existence as well. Although there are a few spots in the front of the building, if you are eating at Rose’s I highly recommend parking and entering in the rear. (TWSS) We chose this course of action, and parked in the back and walked to the back door.

Once we entered this fine establishment, we were welcomed by the friendly and warm staff that offered us our choice of table. We chose a table that had decent lighting for pictures, because my wife hates me, and we were offered menus. Rose’s is a BYOB establishment and even though we chose not to BOO, Bring Our Own, many of the other customers had.

With menus in hand, our attention was drawn to the extensive fare that Rose’s Place offers. We are not just talking your normal Hummus and Kebabs here people, we are talking snails, lamb brains, tongue, Frog’s Legs, and more slightly atypical dishes. Roses’ menu is so comprehensive that we had to ask the waiter for more time at least twice before deciding on what to share as appetizers and what to get for our entrees. For all the people that are not absolutely food crazy in the room, choosing a meal at a new restaurant for me is what I would imagine it is like for brides to choose a dress or for Lindsay Lohan to choose a new drug of choice, in other words it is not done lightly.

Rose's Pepper and Pickles

Pickle Plate

During this conversation, what I could only describe as a pickle plate was delivered to our table accompanied by a basket of pita. The pickle plate was full of vibrant colors thanks to the greens of the pickles, hot peppers, and olives, which contrasted quite well from the deep purple color of what I think was pickled horseradish root. I was happier than Katy Perry eating Kale when this arrived on the table because my Jewish roots basically define pickled anything as a food group all to itself.

After several minutes of discussion, debate, and several acts of flip-flopping, we signaled the waiter back to our table, and we rattled off a veritable laundry list of foodie fare that would make a stoned Shaggy and Scooby more jealous than they are of Colorado residents this week.

For our appetizers, we decided on the Hummus, the Falafel, the Armenian Salad for the table, and two Lentil Soups in an attempt to fend off the chill we had from dealing with the snow during the day. As far as entrees went, Steph went with the Inam Bayaldi, described as sautéed eggplant with tomato, onion, and garlic, Tara decided upon the Shawerma Platter defined as shredded beef marinated in seasoning, whereas Kat landed on the Kufta with Tahini, explained as ground lamb with tahini sauce. I however decided that I was feeling somewhat adventurous and threw caution to the wind by ordering the Frog’s Legs which were alluringly described as being sautéed in garlic & fresh cilantro.

With our gargantuan food order on its way to the kitchen, we started to discuss the interior of the restaurant since everyone at this table knew that I was going to be writing this review soon and wanted to make sure it was all inclusive. We agreed that the lighting was perfect, not offensively bright nor dive bar dark. The music that was playing not only set the Middle Eastern mood but was not loud enough to drown out our conversations but just loud enough to suppress our neighbors conversations. All in all the design of the restaurant’s interior was pleasant and conducive to eating and drinking.

When our appetizers arrived, I, of course, had to put everyone in a holding pattern while I took the compulsory pictures. I apologized to Steph and Tara, but informed Kat that she gets no apology because she married a crazy foodie, and the food pictures are exactly what the Mayor was talking about when he said for worse!

All of the food looked and smelled utterly fantastic. So much so, that I was unsure which dish to devour first. Luckily, our waiter brought several small plates to the table so we could share all the appetizers. We each shoveled portions of the dishes on our individual plates and began to try each and every one.

Rose's Falaffel

Falafel

The Falafel was beyond appetizing and was the perfect combination of crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. When this ball of yummy was paired with the sauce that came with it, it bordered on food pornography.

Rose's Hummus

Hummus

The Hummus which I believe was house made was just the right texture and full of flavor. The addition of the colorful spices that garnished the bowl made this dish, more attractive than Mila Kunis in Black Swan. Armed with the Pita that was already on the table, this hummus appetizer was simply flawless.

Rose's Salad

Armenian Salad

As for the Armenian Salad which was described on the menu and by the waiter as spicy, I guess they had issues in the past with people not expecting, and then not enjoying a zesty salad. However, that was the very reason I ordered it and subsequently enjoyed the hell out of it! The slight spiced nature of the seasoning combined with the citrusy dressing made for a delightful treat.

Rose's Soup

Lentil soup

The Lentil soup was like a warm blanket for my belly. I did not have much of this scrumptious liquefied beantastic concoction because I am not a huge soup fan, but from the small amount I did sip, I could tell it was quality soup. Kat was a huge fan and basically ate her portion and mine without a dispute.

Rose's frog legs

Frog Legs

After the appetizer round, I was somewhat full, but that feeling did not last too long because once the entrees hit the table it was game on. Sometimes you have to look at eating the same way you should look at running, when you hit a wall, and your body says stop, pay no attention. Your body is a bigger liar than Bernie Madoff, and that is the truth!
Once again I took my photos while my cohorts drooled over the dishes that were placed in front of them. After the photos were snapped, I dexterously picked up a leg of a frog which was lightly battered and then pan fried in an aromatic garlic sauce and brought it to my mouth. I was unsure what to expect as this was my first frog leg, but after the first bite, I knew that I was in good hands at Rose’s. The delicate white meat of the frog flaked off the bone and was extremely complex in flavor. The best way I can describe the way the meat tasted was somewhere between chicken and fish, which I found to be delightful.

Rose's Schwarma

Shawarma Platter

Slowly but surely, I walked my fork around the table, with permission of course, and tasted each of my fellow epicurean adventurer’s dishes. I started with Tara’s Shawerma Platter which was seasoned better than any Shawerma I have had in quite some time. The flavor was so impeccable that I did not even want to dip the yumminess into the sauce that was provided, and I am a sauce fiend.

Eggplant

Eggplant Plate

Steph’s Inam Bayaldi was also quite good. The best part about this dish was the texture. I find that eggplant has a tendency to become a mushy pile of tasteless goo in the wrong hands, but the Chef at Rose’s was able to keep the eggplant somewhat firm, without under cooking it. The flavors married well and when mixed with the rice that was provided with each of our entrees it was a very balanced meal.

Rose's Kufta

Kufta with Tahini

Finally, Kat’s Kufta with Tahini was nothing short of delicious. The Lamb was not gamey at all speaking to the profound skill of the Chef and his crew. Furthermore, the Tahini sauce was not overbearing, which I was concerned of, but complemented this dish faultlessly.

Rose's Beef Bite

A bite of Kufta

Rose’s Place was a great experience and I will return very shortly to try the Lamb Brains that were calling to me on this visit. Everything I ate was not only tasted wonderfully but contrary to other reviews that I read online. The portions were very reasonable when factoring in the price of the individual dishes. I still can’t believe the lack of their internet presence and could only imagine what a good public relations firm could do for their business, but I now understand how Rose’s exists in our post dial-up world. The answer is not that they are smug; it is that their food is the real deal!

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The Blue Collar Foodie Praises His Hometown’s Dish Eatery

As Elton John once sang, “It’s the Circle of Life and it moves us all, through despair and hope, through faith and love, till we find our place on the path unwinding, in the circle, the circle of life.” This strangely deep and poignant verse from a song that was created for a Disney movie not only describes the circle of life for living creatures but explains the development, growth, and eventual demise of eateries as well. As Simba learns through the Lion King, mourning cannot be perpetual and a time comes when one must end the lamentation phase and move on to the acceptance stage.

Dish Eatery

When a restaurant closes its doors for the last time, it is always a time full of melancholy and sorrow, but as many a Disney movie has taught us, that gloomy period will eventually give birth to a ray of hope, because as one chapter ends another one is sure to follow. The Brunch Club Café in Fair Lawn was a staple on Fair Lawn Avenue for as long as I can remember, so when the doors were closed for the last time, I, like most Fair Lawnites, were sad to see them go. Soon after though, as I drove, walked, or ran past, I noticed the resurrection had begun and after several weeks from the ashes of the Brunch Club rose the Dish Eatery located at 19-01 Fair Lawn Ave., Fair Lawn, N.J. 07410.

Kat and I watched this transformation while passing by a few times a week, waiting patiently for the open sign in the window to act as our Bat-Signal, calling out to us to join them for a meal. Once we saw that they were open for business, Kat opened her magical date book, yes she still uses a datebook and not a Google Calendar, and yes I have tried to modernize this process, but I am pretty sure that it would be easier to teach Chris Brown that punching people is bad than to pry this book of many dates from her cold dead hands.  Unfortunately our date book reads like The Silmarillion and is about as thick as well so we were unable to plan an outing to this establishment until October 29th in celebration of my Mother’s Birthday. I won’t tell you what milestone birthday she was celebrating because she reads this and would not be amused if I blurted her age from the internet’s rooftops, but let’s just say it starts with an S and rap rhymes with pixie.

Dish Radish

I broke one of my foodie rules for this restaurant because it is located in my hometown, and I wanted to try it very badly. Normally I would never stage a celebration meal at an eatery that I have yet to taste test first, but the Googles had nothing bad to say about Dish Eatery, so I figured the risk would be worth the reward. As we entered the newly remodeled eatery, I was enormously impressed by the transformation that had occurred with the confines of this establishment. As many former Brunch Club patrons would tell you, although they enjoyed the restaurant while it was opened, it always felt somewhat cramped when you were inside it. The Dish Eatery however, had a very open and spacious feel to it. Furthermore, the contemporary scheme that Dish Eatery decided to use as their interior design gives off a welcoming and fresh vibe.

Inside Dish

Once we were seated at our table, our server, Mike, asked if we wanted our bottle of wine to be opened, that is right, Dish Eatery is B.Y.O.B. which as you all know, this Blue Collar Foodie loves more than Richard Simmons loves exercise. With our wine opened, glasses full, and our menus in hand, we began to discuss the most important decision of the night, the food that would grace our table. Since this was my first voyage to Dish Eatery and it was a celebration, I figured that an appetizer for the table was in order, and with the help of our knowledgeable server, we decided upon the Mediterranean Platter which includes Hummus, Eggplant Caviar, and Shepard Salad served with warm fresh flatbread.

After ordering the appetizer, our focus once again turned towards the task at hand. While attempting to decide what we wanted to consume, our server brought over a basket of pita and a complementary dipping sauce. Since we were all somewhat starving, we tried this cream cheese like concoction while making our final decisions, and I was very impressed by it. The spices were subtle, yet flavorful and the consistency was perfect for spreading on the warm pita bread creating a perfect palate enhancing amuse bouche. With a few slices of pita down, we signaled Mike that we were ready to order our meals. My mother decided upon the Luleh Kabob on Flatbread, which was described as ground sirloin with a blend of spices, lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber on a flatbread with a side of yogurt cucumber dressing, Kat decided on the Grilled Chicken Skewers with Roast vegetables, and my father and I both chose to try the Broiled Trout, that was paired with diced tomatoes, Cucumbers, Capers, Black Olives, and Basil topped with a lime dressing. I also ordered enough Sour Cherry Rice for four serving to act as a side dish to our now ordered entrees.

Dish Mediterranean Platter

Shortly after ordering our entrees, the Mediterranean Platter arrived at our table and it looked and smelled enticingly beautiful. Armed with a new basket of bread, I tore a piece of pita off and dipped tried each potion separately. My first victim was the hummus, which I have become quite a connoisseur of since Kat and I embarked on our health food mission, and I was very impressed. I find that some establishments that construct homemade hummus add entirely too much Tahini and fail to get the perfect consistency, but I can assure you that Dish Eatery does not fall into these conventional culinary snares. The hummus that Dish is churning out has an impeccable balance of spices and calmness that pairs flawlessly with the pita and leaves you wanting more and more.

After two trips to the hummus fountain, I turned my attention to my second prey, the Eggplant Caviar. I assumed that after tasting the hummus, the rest of this platter was going to pale in comparison.   Hello wrong, nice to me you again, I don’t know if you remember me but I am The Blue Collar Foodie, and my wife simply loves when we meet up. The caviar, which contains no fish eggs but utilizes the word caviar loosely, was divine. Dish Eatery once again found the faultless symmetry between flavor bomb and subtle texture to create a bowl full of yummy that harmonized with the Pita almost better than Peanut Butter does with Jelly.

Last up in the Mediterranean Platter was the Shepard’s Salad which was a wonderful palate cleanser that prepared us for the meal that was imminent. The freshness and quality of the produce was evident with each forkful of this vibrant and bright salad. The light and airy dressing added to the almost thirst quenching element of this delightful mixture.

After our appetizer delivered several blows of “wake the hell up” to our taste buds, we started to get the idea that Dish Eatery was not a light weight in the realm of gastronomic fight club and waited eagerly to taste our main courses. We did not have to wait long, before our meals were delivered and if the smell was any indication, we were in for one hell of a round two.

Dish Broiled Trout

After taking the compulsory snap shots for your reading enjoyment, I compiled the perfect bite of fish and garnish on my fork which I slowly conveyed to my mouth.   One bite after another, I found myself in flavor country. Even though the preparation of this dish seemed fairly simplistic, the flavor was extremely complex and deep. As I striped my trout to nothing more than a skeleton and a head, I savored each and every morsel while I peppered a bite of sour cherry rice in the mix to shake it up a bit.

Sour Cherry Rice

The rice was ordered as an afterthought honestly, just something as a placeholder to represent a starch to create a healthy balanced meal, but I am exceptionally pleased that I ordered it. It was the first time I have ever tried Sour Cherry Rice, but it most certainly won’t be the last. The rice itself was flavored and cooked to the standard I now expected from Dish Eatery, but I fell in love with the Cherries that were mixed in the rice something fierce.

Chicken Kebob

As for my tablemates, I can only guess that they loved their meals as much as I did because, Kat who seriously never forgets to let me try her meal was too busy enjoying it to save me some. As for my mother and father, they were singing the praises of this new eatery throughout the meal and both seemed extremely pleased with their dinners.

Dish Steak

Since we were celebrating my Mother’s birthday, after we finished eating our main courses, we decided that dessert was simply a must. Mike, our server, cleared our table and delivered the dessert menus with a caveat. He informed us that all the ice cream that is served at Dish Eatery was homemade and tonight’s was Saffron Pistachio. I immediately was intrigued by the thought of homemade ice cream and made a motion for the chocolate brownie with the aforementioned ice cream, a point which was acknowledged and seconded by my mother. Kat and my father however were enticed by with the Fresh Sugar Donut Bites served with a trio of dipping sauces. Unlike the United States Government, we were able to come to a compromise and decided to get both desserts and share them amongst the four of us.

Dish Donuts

This was the best decision I had made since I said I do and married my wonderful wife. I was torn between which of the two desserts I, as a sixteen year old girl would say, hearted more, but I assure you I could not have lived without either one. The ice cream had the consistency that only homemade ice cream can deliver, and it was just the right amount of sweetness to compliment the brownie instead of over power it. As for the light and fluffy donut bites, I loved the playfulness of the several dipping sauces that were provided allowing us to create our own flavor amalgamation.

As I stated way back when you started reading this review turned novel, it is always depressing when a restaurant closes its doors, but it makes it much easier, when a foodie hot spot such as The Dish Eatery is born from the vestiges. I implore every foodie that lives in the vicinity of Fair Lawn, NJ to pilgrimage to this shiny new epicurean delight as soon as your date book will allow it. Dish Eatery must have consulted some sort of mad Gastronomic Algebra Professor before opening their doors because they have achieved the perfect foodie formula; A relaxed modern atmosphere + Superior Service *Food that is so fresh it would get slapped by its own mother/Flavor explosions larger than those in a Michael Bay Movie = Dish Eatery.

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