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June BYOB – Collingswood, NJ

June BYOB – Collingswood, NJ

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French food can be very time consuming and intricate to prepare and serve. This is one of the many reasons I don’t even attempt to make it. Fine French food is also a perfect combination and setting to celebrate those special moments in life. This is how my visit to June BYOB came about. My wife wanted to celebrate our anniversary dinner there. It turned out to be an absolutely blissful experience. The ambiance was immediately set hearing the music playing. The song wafting through the restaurant was a classical version of the Philadelphia Phillies team anthem song ‘Dancing on My Own ‘, but this version was from the Vitamin String Quartet. Talk about the perfect mix of Philly Fever and chill mood music. The service was also impeccable. From start to finish it was sheer joy watching, interacting, and being served. Most important though the food was superb. There is no doubt why June BYOB was voted one of Philadelphia Magazine 2022 Best Restaurants around Philadelphia and ranked by New Jersey Monthly Magazine as one of the Best Restaurants in ALL of New Jersey for 2022. They are putting the work in and it shows. We went with the Tableside Canard à la Presse Voyage which is truly a dinner and a show. A whole Muscovy duck is marinated in red wine. The duck is then presented, roasted, and carved tableside. The duck’s sauce is made from its own natural juices by pressing the carcass in an antique French duck press. Shallots and herbs are flambéd together with cognac, and added to the sauce as well. It is a must to experience especially if you enjoy duck. The duck was cooked wonderfully and was not fatty or chewy at all. We were able to cut into the duck meat like it was butter and so flavorful with just the right amount of char from the fire. Everything we had was Scallop Ceviche – Chardonnay gelee, shaved pink radish, shaved celery, lemon verbena, blood orange vinaigrette, amuse-bouche lobster bisque, Chef Pierre Calmels’ Escargot – escargot, sauce bordelaise, royal trumpet mushrooms, haricot verts, tarragon, crab salad covered with warm pumpkin, crab meat, caviar, and shaved truffle, Duck confit, foie gras parfait, warm potato, purple mustard, Duck à la presse served with seasonal accompaniments and duck presse jus, and Crêpes Suzette.

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Bistro di Marino – Collingswood, NJ

Bistro di Marino – Collingswood, NJ

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Sometimes you want to have a meal with friends and family for an special event or holiday, but don’t feel like cooking or dining out. Well Bistro di Marino has a take-out menu to make it as easy as 1-2-3. Everything we had was good and the value was very reasonable for the size of the portions and quality of food. Ordered was Antipasto Marino Freddo, Pollo Saltimbocca, and Orecchietti con Broccoli Rabe. Would definitely order from them again and if you haven’t tried them you should.

As usual don’t forget to listen to the #1 listed “Food Radio Show Philadelphia” and the #1 listed “Food Radio Show South Jersey” Small Bites Radio on Sundays at 635pm on Wildfire Radio. For list or guests who have appeared on the show and more information click below:

Small Bites Radio Show

#FoodRadioShowPhiladelphia

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#TopHospitalityShow

#FoodRadio

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Porch and Proper – Collingswood, NJ

Porch and Proper – Collingswood, NJ

The building sitting directly across from Joey Baldino’s award winning Zeppoli at 619 W Collings Ave, Collingswood, NJ has had quite a storied past in a very short period of time. It ranges drastically from the disgraced Chef Alex Capasso’s Blackbird all the way to amazing Indian cuisine coming from Chef Rakesh Ramola’s mind when Indeblue was there. Well now Jason Simkins is looking to put his legacy in the history books of this location with his creation and vision as owner of Porch and Proper with Chef Anthony Marini at the helm showcasing an exquisite and delicious menu. They are doing a fabulous job and are proving that Haddon Ave isn’t the only place great dining can be had in Collingswood and maybe awards will continue on Collings Avenue. I had a great meal and will be interested to see how the menu grows and changes through the seasons. Below is listed what is in the pictures of what I had to eat, and don’t worry, everything was great and I would eat it all again in a heartbeat.

House-made bread

Proper shrimp with persillade, tarragon caper mayo, and lemon

Black Chittara with Maine lobster, truffle butter, and chilies

Soft shell crab with Jerusalem artichoke puree, kohirabi slaw, and chow chow vinaigrette

Icelandic cod with farro, blue crab, mushroom conserve, and crab veloute

Black Sesame Cheesecake

Homemade strawberry candy

Hearthside – Collingswood, NJ

Hearthside – Collingswood, NJ

You are wondering about Hearthside, but you can’t ever land a reservation even though you check dates for a possible reservation three months in advance. They have received quite the press and accolades from being named one of the top 50 restaurants in Bon Appetite, rave reviews from Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Magazine, other local media and blogs singing their praises, and also being known as a hot destination to see many Philadelphia Eagles players dining there regularly.

Well here the meal I had there:

1

Gulf Prawns with garlic, chili, lemon, and parsley with homemade grilled bread

2

Orecchiettee with fennel sausage, broccoli rabe, and roasted long hots

3

Campanelle with san Marzano, baby octopus, pepperoncino, and black olive

4

40oz 30 day dry-aged porterhouse with salsa verde, fried potatoes, leeks, and mixed mushrooms

5

Carrot cake

Here is what I can tell you. The food was phenomenal. The service was out of this world. By far one of the better dining service experiences from the staff I have had in South Jersey in quite some time and on par with high end Philadelphia and NYC dining destinations. Sadly, I forget her name, but our server stated she was there since they opened, and I can see why. She was definitely a great asset to the team. The ambiance is really tastefully done. Sleek and modern, but not being too over the top. Last but not least, the hearth is wide open for all to see and it was an enjoyable time watching the cooking brigade prep and prepare the meals. The highlights for me were the Orecchiettee and Campanelle, both being top notch in every way. It was an enjoyable night out and a well-executed meal. Give them a try yourself and let me  know your thoughts at smallbitesradio@gmail.com

Nunzio Ristorante Rustico – Collingswood, NJ

Nunzio Ristorante Rustico – Collingswood, NJ

You already know that MANY – MANY restaurants line Haddon Avenue in Collingswood, New Jersey. Some are better than others, and some have been in business much longer than others. During a lunch time visit to this town, I would end up in Nunzio Ristorante Rustico (NRR) one of the restaurants that have been there the longest. The interior of NRR is very formal and I did like the feel of walking into an European neighborhood with NRR’s décor, but it did feel a bit dated and stale. I would start things off with the lobster bisque with lump crab.

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The soup was a little thinner than I enjoy my bisques, and it was a tad salty, but it did have many nice pieces of lump crabmeat throughout which always helps. For my entrée I would have Ravioli alla Aragosta.

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The Ravioli alla Aragosta in easier terms was lobster ravioli in vodka sauce. I had high hopes for NRR with the semi-upscale setting, staff dressed to impress and proper, and price points setting the stage for something special. Sadly NRR, did not impress. The presentation of the dish was a mess, the sauce and raviolis were bland, and service was sometimes non-existent with drink and bread refills. The service also disappointed when I asked for the check, I had to ask for it again fifteen minutes later, and it finally arrived past the twenty minute mark of my first request. NRR may have tried to recreate that European atmosphere and flair in their dining room, but the meal and service need to take a trip back to basics.