Sunday, December 16, 2012

Drink the zin, forget the burger

At Garden State Plaza, Zinburger replaces Napa Valley Grille.

Editor's note: I went to the mall to see the Tesla electric car and came across two new eating places.

The ground beef that goes into the standard hamburgers at Zinburger in Paramus is nothing special, but the soon-to-open restaurant has plenty to offer non-meat eaters and wine drinkers.

On Saturday, shoppers at Garden State Plaza saw a lot of activity at Zinburger, which is set to have its grand opening on Jan. 15.

A group of workers were at orientation, a chef was having a bite to eat at the cluttered counter and a manager was working on her laptop.

A copy of the menu shows hamburgers will be made with Certified Angus Beef ($9 to $12) or "American-style Kobe" for $5 more.

Certified Angus Beef is raised with harmful animal antibiotics and growth hormones, though there is a natural line without those additives.

Zinburger will be serving the same low-quality ground beef used by celebrity chef Bobby Flay at his misnamed Burger Palace in another Paramus mall, Bergen Town Center.

The Zinburger menu says nothing about how the "American-style Kobe" is raised.

Despite the name, none of the burgers are actually made with red wine.

But wine drinkers are offered glasses for as little as $5 and bottles for only $20.

And for $9, there is a veggie burger with smoked mozzarella, avocado, pea shoots and mayo that can be made "vegan" by substituting a green salad for the bun. 

What's in that bun?

Non-meat eaters also can enjoy a seared ahi tuna sandwich or salad, zucchini fries and low-fat cottage cheese.

The Zinburger logo shows a steer sniffing a glass of red wine.

That would be a good bet. Drink the zinfandel ($9 a glass and $38 for a bottle), but don't bother with the burger. 

Zinburger is opposite California Pizza Kitchen.


Aroma Espresso Bar brings the outdoor cafe indoors.

Not far from Zinburger is Aroma Espresso Bar, which has a full menu of breakfasts, sandwiches and  salads.

The Garden State Plaza outpost also serves Turkish Coffee ($2.25), something I haven't seen at Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts. 

On Saturday, shoppers lined up to place orders, pick up drinks and food, and then grab a seat at one of about two dozen tables.

Service was slow.
A 12-ounce cup of brewed coffee was $1.85, but it came with a small piece of chocolate and customers can drink free ice water with lemon slices from a dispenser.  

This is the only Aroma Espresso Bar in North Jersey. Others are located in Manhattan and Miami.

According to its Web site, Aroma is "the largest and most successful espresso bar chain in Israel," with more than 90 branches. 

A small slice of nature between the parking lot and the mall.



  1. Milk in the bun.

  2. So the smoked mozzarella with the veggie burger would have to go, too.


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