It's been awhile since I did any reviews and so I thought I'd start with a recap of some of Skip's favorite places. It will be a two part series, starting with the local joints that Skip frequents.
While my companion and I are always on the look out for new and unique eateries throughout NJ and beyond, there are a couple of key local places that they rely on for a quick bite or low key night.
First up, Skip's go-to home town spots in Robbinsville. Centro, after a couple of other attempts, I'd like to think that this one will stick. Located on the corner of Route 33 and 526, as part of an attempt at a high traffic town center for Robbinsville, some of the previous inhabitants were missing the mark. But with a more balanced bar and dining room approach and family-friendly options, Centro seems to have become a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike. A relaxed bar scene, affordable menu items and good food are all part of the keys to success here. An outdoor seating area is a nice touch for the warmer months as well, especially if you like to watch the traffic go by. Skip and her companion can be found there on the weekend for a relaxing lunch, on a Friday or Saturday evening for dinner or a night cap. We've enjoyed their delicious appetizers, such as the calamari and the grilled octopus. They have great seafood entrees and the ribs are pretty good as well. They also often have creative specials in addition to the menu. And you can get just about anything under the sun to drink, scotch, wine, beer (decent selection of on tap stuff besides the usual) and of course they have their own specialty cocktails and martinis. If you happen to be there on the weekend and Dennis is behind the bar- ask for a chocolate martini- his are the best!
Next up, Ploy Siam- located in the Foxmoor Shopping Center (wish there were more exciting shops in there, I think the hidden gems in this center get forgotten because the shopping center as a whole lacks appeal) is Skip's go to local place for Thai cuisine. We've heard mixed reviews but we feel the food is consistently good. The service is admittedly hit or miss. Despite the fact that it is never overcrowded, the service is almost always slow. If you are willing to wait and are as lucky as Skip to have a companion you like to converse with, then don't let slow service stop you from visiting Ploy Siam. The Tom Yum soup is some of the best we've ever had. Their curries are always delicious and they really listen when you ask for a specific level of spice. As you may remember from past reviews, my companion likes it a little hotter than I do. The decor in Ploy Siam is very interesting and definitely can provide a distraction as you wait to order and wait for your food, they have a lovely fountain that has a stream-like design, as well as, lots of interesting statues.
Not to be forgotten of course is the ever popular DeLorenzo's Tomato Pie. If you did not have the pleasure of growing up in or around the Mercer County area, I feel bad for you that you have not been able to experience DeLorenzo's. Whether you are a Hudson St or Hamilton Ave fan, you know that tomato pie is really better than pizza. Skip and her companion feel very fortunate that the Hudson St family chose Robbinsville to open up their new home. There is consistently a long wait, especially on the weekend, but it is well worth it. It's BYOB and they will open it for you so you can drink while you wait :) They have great seasonal antipasto choices and of course the pizza pie is the main attraction, with or without toppings, this stuff is amazing. They have perfected the sauce to cheese ratio and that thin, crispy, charred crust is enough to make my mouth water as I describe it.
Staying with the Italian cuisine, Villa Barone on Route 130 is probably our favorite local, family owned Italian restaurant (and there are many in our area to chose from). Whenever my companion and I want to grab a bite to eat close to home and be low-key, we grab a bottle of nice red wine and head to Barone. Whether we are in the mood to splurge and go with the Tuscan Table, where the server brings you a selection of items from their antipasto bar which usually includes cheeses, meats and marinated veggies like roasted red peppers and olives or just go with the mussels in red sauce, we know we can start off the meal in a delicious way. Their entrees never disappoint either, my companion's favorite is the pappardelle bolognese, but they have many great chicken, meat and seafood dishes in addition to the great pasta. They always have specials too, my companion once even had a bacon wrapped Filet Mignon there. They have all the traditional Italian desserts too like tartufo, cannoli, triamisu and fruit sorbets. You can never go wrong at Villa Barone.
And finally, Daphne's. We all know NJ is the diner capital of the world, so it should come as no surprise that one of Skip's hometown favorite's is Robbinsville's diner, Daphne's. Great for breakfast lunch or dinner, Daphne's is no ordinary diner. On the smaller side as diners go, you always feel welcome at Daphne's. Breakfast is my favorite there, in addition to a great omelet selection and of course pancakes and waffles, they always have a list of breakfast specials that will knock your socks off, like "Jersey Eggs Benedict" which is Eggs Benedict with pork roll, I know crazy! Or bananas foster french toast! Yikes. They have great coffee too. Lunch and dinner are also good at Daphne's, a few times my companion and I have gone and are always amazed at how big and fresh their entree salads are. I just noticed on Facebook that once a week they have all you can eat mussels on Thursdays, we'll have to check that out.
There are more great local places, but this is a good start of Skip's favorite places to visit. Up next, we've got to check out the brand new Papa's Tomato Pies that just opened up, conveniently it is located near our beloved Ernie's :)