Monday, March 9, 2009

South Jersey Restaurant Week: Why You Should Go

By Pat Tanner

Here we are barely into 2009 and we’ve already seen what has to be a record number of multi-course, fixed price, geographically-based restaurant weeks – a sign of the times, no doubt.

From March 22 to 27, South Jersey will take its star turn. Below are my Top Ten Reasons why you should head south (or west, or possibly even slightly north) during that week, when upwards of 60 restaurants will be featuring four-course dinners for $35.

1. You meant to take advantage of one of the restaurant weeks that have already come and gone, but somehow never did.

2. You’ve read favorable reviews of several South Jersey restaurants - maybe even cut out the reviews - but the clippings are just yellowing on your fridge.

3. You’re always on the lookout for a good, new place that’s midway between your house and friends or family and this is the perfect way to check one out without committing a lot of cash.

4. About those same friends and family: Maybe they keep taking you to places in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester counties that are awful and you would like nothing more than to be able to suggest a different one. Or two.

5. Your wallet could use a break right now and you wouldn’t mind a fine four-course meal without the attendant I-shouldn’t-have-splurged guilt.

6. You’ve been meaning to head down that way anyway, to shop at Trader Joe’s in Marlton, say, or tour historic Mount Holly, or go antiquing in Mullica Hill. (You get the idea.)

7. Spring arrives March 20th and you simply must celebrate!!!!

These final three reasons are really just my personal favorites:

8. BLACKBIRD DINING ESTABLISHMENT Alex Capasso is, in my book, South Jersey’s leading culinary light for his accomplished New American cuisine - and his stylish Collingswood cafe is the beacon.

9. MAX’S SEAFOOD CAFÉ This historic saloon within sight of the Walt Whitman Bridge in Voorhees won me over with its laid-back attitude and gorgeous 1912 oak-and-mahogany bar piece. Its simple seafood and Italian dishes aren’t bad either.

10. THE CHOPHOUSE I am not customarily a fan of steakhouses but this one, with contemporary Craftsman styling and lake views in Gibbsboro, 10 minutes down Route 73 from Trader Joe’s, impressed me with its succulent steaks, savory seafood, and deep wine list.

For the full list of restaurants visit Bon appetit!

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