You've all chimed in with your "Must-Visit" restaurants in your respective homes—so here's my list for New Jersey, Part I. It'll be spread over several weeks, so stay tuned!
While there are plenty of great Mexican groceries and snack bars in the great state of New Jersey, restaurants are another matter. Tacos Bravos in Bridgeton stands out with what seems to be a unique combination: a comfortable dining room, delicious food, and reasonable prices. I wouldn't drive to Bridgeton from Hoboken for a bowl of menudo, no matter how good, but if you're down that way, here's where you should eat. (Tacos, less than $2.00 each; specials, $10.00 range)
Berta's Chateau in Wanaque specializes in the food of Piemonte. Here you'll find the sort of authentic and excellent cuisine that seems to be the holy grail of Italian food enthusiasts. Being Piemontese, it also has a superb wine selection. (Complete meals from $42.00 to $59.00, before wine.)
A Mano in Ridgewood makes authentic wood-fired pizzas—this is the place I'd take a homesick Italian expat. Don't expect anything that resembles American pizza here. (Individual pizzas, $9.00 to $18.00)
Tre Piani in Princeton is the sort of urban contemporary place you might find in a large, Italian city. Jim Weaver (pictured here), the chef, is a major force in central New Jersey's Slow Food movement. (Main courses, $20.00 to $30.00.)
Since New Jersey is home to the best Indian groceries in the country, you'd think that the same could be said for restaurants. Though this isn't necessarily the case, there are two that stand out.
Sri Ganesh Dosa House in Jersey City is the go-to place for those dosas, like South Indian crepes. If you've wondering just how good they can be, this is the place to come and find out. (Dosas are priced between $5.00 and $10.00.)
Hoysala in Somerset is a non-veg buffet with great chicken and lamb dishes. Come on a Friday or Saturday night when the buffet is freshest and the place buzzes with celebrating Indian families. (Weekend Buffet: $15.95) Is the Hoysala Uttapam (shown here) the best Indian restaurant dish in the state? Go and find out for yourself.
Sri Ganesh's Dosa House: 809 Newark Avenue, Jersey City NJ 07306 (map); 201-222-3883