Sunday, November 22, 2015

In Westfield: A $150 dinner for three, first Trader Joe's in New Jersey

Lamb Chops, above, and Charcoal Grilled Mediterranean Sea Bass, below, are two of the entrees at Limani Seafood Grill, a pricey Greek restaurant in downtown Westfield.
On Saturday, the restaurant listed a whole farmed sea bass or branzino as one of the diner specials for $35, but my waiter cut me a break and charged me by the pound. At $26 a pound, my 1.2-pound fish cost $31.72.


On a visit to bustling Westfield, leave it to this fish lover to find one of the priciest restaurants in a downtown that is the envy of officials in many other New Jersey communities.

I'm no stranger to Westfield, which I visited when I lived in nearby Elizabeth, and since then to shop at the first Trader Joe's to open in New Jersey more than 20 years ago.

On Saturday, we drove to Union County to pick up our son, who had caught a ride to New Jersey with another college student for the Thanksgiving break.

I couldn't get an early dinner reservation at my first choice, 100 Steps, a raw bar and supper club in Cranford, so searched for something in neighboring Westfield.

Limani Seafood Grill seemed like a good restaurant for me (I eat only seafood); my son, who is a meat lover still experiencing growth spurts; and my wife, who eats both meat and fish.

$9 cup of bisque

But once we were seated, a glance at the menu showed dinner would easily exceed $100.

My son wanted to order Lobster Bisque, but skipped it when I told him a cup of the soup was $9. The restaurant also offers caviar for $69 to $149 an ounce.

We ordered a cold appetizer to share, Pikilia Spread ($19), with tsatziki (yogurt-cucumber-dill-garlic), skordalia (whipped potato-garlic) and taramosalata (fish eggs whipped with lemon and oil), plus spring mix, olives, beets, feta cheese, herbed crostinis and Greek pita.

Our entrees were Greek Style Lamb Chops for my son ($36), a misnamed Jumbo Shrimp Scampi over linguine for my wife ($28), and a whole charcoal-grilled Branzino for me ($26 a pound).

I asked the waiter to hold the potato that came with the fish, and he doubled the other side, sauteed escarole.

The food was delicious, the service efficient and we left stuffed.

With a 20% tip, our total bill with two iced teas ($2.50 each) was just over $150.

Sauteed escarole came with my whole grilled fish.
Jumbo shrimp with linguine dressed in a sauce made from olive oil, fresh garlic, lemon juice and white wine.
Fresh whole branzini are nestled in ice in a display case near the front of Limani Seafood Grill.
Limani Seafood Grill is a BYO at 235 North Ave. West in Westfield (1-908-233-0052). Parking in rear, and metered parking on street and in large nearby lot.
The first Trader Joe's in New Jersey opened about 20 years ago at 155 Elm St. in Westfield, above, and the store is one of only two in the state that sells wine, beer and spirits. Open daily 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Red wine, uncured meats

After our big dinner, we drove over to Trader Joe's to buy preservative- and antibiotic-free hot dogs and bacon for my son, and red wine for me.

I picked up six bottles of Charles Shaw Wine at $2.99 each, and a bottle of D'Aquino Chianti Reserva for $5.99.

I also got a 5-pound bag of Organic Sweet Potatoes for $4.99.

A 12-ounce package of naturally raised bacon was $5.49, and a 16-ounce package of uncured beef hot dogs was $5.99.

Trader Joe's Charles Shaw varietals -- Shiraz, Merlot, Nouveau and Cabernet Sauvignon, plus three whites -- are only $2.99 a bottle, but the store also sells red wine for $40 and more, below.


  1. Why is it ok for your family to eat artery clogging meat but not for anyone else. You freak off on your other blog anytime the record writes about meat.

  2. One thing has nothing to do with the other.

    You can eat any crap you want.

    But at home, my family eats naturally raised chicken, beef, pork and so forth.

    The Record promotes steakhouses and other restaurants that charge high prices for low-quality meat, and the paper's chief restaurant critic throws around the word "quality" without ever backing it up.

    She also never eats salads and vegetables, because she leaves room for dessert.

    Most of her readers are baby boomers and seniors who can ill afford to eat the way she does.


Please try to stay on topic.