Archive for South Jersey BYOB


Posted in Mirko's Taste of Europe, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on August 16, 2012 by ballymote

 While searching for a new BYOB in South Jersey, one that I had not yet experienced, I came across an unfamiliar name, Mirko’s A Taste of Europe. I checked the reviews and they seemed pretty good and then I paid a visit to their website. Their web page is worth visiting even if you have no intention of dining there (although, you probably would enjoy it). It turns out that Chef Mirko, aside from being an excellent cook, also has some unique marketing skills. Here is how the place works. There is a flag next to each appetizer and entree. The flag represents the country which is home to the particular food item represented. They have a dining program called “PASSPORT” and the following explains how it works:


Euro Travel Club


passportsAs a member of this prestigious club, you are entitled to travel to any European country, spend as much time as you like, and return as often as you like. Your luggage will be transported with no fees from destination to destination. We recommend purchasing additional club memberships for your friends or loved ones, since traveling with our Euro Travel Club is more enjoyable with company.

As a proud member, we will issue you your own passport, so no hassle for forms and fees are needed. The passport will also be your ticket to enter as many European countries as you wish, and there will be preferred seating for Club members in any country you visit.

We guarantee sunshine and lots of fun at any destination, and we encourage you to come with an appetite to enjoy the cuisine and culture of Europe.

Each time you enter a new European country you need to get flagged and stamped (in your passport, not you!) This is important, because we offer our club members free dining after every 6th country. So, every time you collect all 6 countries and stamps, you dine on us! Who needs reward points if you could have a great meal just like that?

The Club offers you additional great benefits not to be missed. You will automatically be registered in our Birthday club where we are honored to recognize your birthday with a “buy one get one free”, because we want you to travel with one of your loved ones.

As a Club member, you also have the benefit of having us organize a special occasion for your needs. Simply call us, make a reservation, and tell us the occasion and the country you’d like to visit. We’ll get your “luggage” ready by getting flowers, arranging for a special beverage we could pick-up for you, having a special ending dessert prepared, or any other needs for your event.

To recognize frequent travelers and club members we would also like to invite you and a guest to a private appreciation party in January designed to recognize all the miles you have shared with us, and to welcome you to a new year of traveling Europe. For an amazing price of $30 per person, we will be serving specialties from Europe in small bites, and then have a family style multi-course dinner, bringing great memories back from past travels. Live music and wine service will be just part of the evenings travel arrangements.

You can stay in contact with the club members via Facebook, Twitter, or just by visiting our web site.

Membership fees are $10 and do not include airfare at this time.

Happy traveling and thank you for joining one of the fastest growing clubs in NJ!

When the six of us visited there earlier this month they were celebrating Italy (each week is a new country). Italy Week would mean extra dishes representing the cuisine of that nation.

 Our server for the evening was, Tasha. She was charming and capable. She opened our wines and took the time to explain the Mirko’s concept. It was apparent that Tasha, and the rest of the wait team are enthusiastic and happy to be a part of all that is happening at Mirko’s taste of Europe. The service throughout the evening was excellent.

 My wine for the evening was a Spanish red, the 2009 “Petalos” del Bierzo. There was a nose of red licorice and camphor and in the mouth plenty of red berries and menthol. It had a medium body and a medium finish. A solid, if not exceptional wine. Joe B. had an interesting bottle, the 2011 Andean Vineyards, The Waxed Bat, Mendoza, Argentina. This was a unique blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Malbec. This wine was smooth with some nice dark flavors. It is reasonably priced and affords a good accompaniment to a wide variety of dishes.

 I had some camera problems this particular evening as I had damaged my regular lens and was awaiting arrival of a newly purchased replacement. I had to use a telephoto lens and this made it too awkward to capture all of the dishes. I only did my appetizer and entree and a small pizza appetizer that my wife selected. One of the evening specials was a fish that was served on a bed of Lobster Risotto. I wasn’t interested in the fish but I did ask Tasha if it was possible to order a portion of the Lobster Risotto as an appetizer. She checked with Chef Mirko and I was happy to hear that it wasn’t a problem. I was even happier when the dish arrived, complete with some crustacean shells. The rice as perfectly cooked and had an abundance of rich lobster flavor. It was delicious. Not quite the equal of the same dish served at Tisha’s in Cape May, NJ but certainly a fine effort that grabs second place in my Lobster Risotto world.

 Kathy’s Naple’s Pizza appetizer had plenty of cheese some fresh tomatoes and arugula and I was glad she offered me a slice.

 Although there were no pics of what our friends enjoyed, I know there were some orders of the Weiner Schnitzle and the Classic Goulash, so both germany and Hungary were well represented. I decided to visit Great Britain, as did my wife.






 We both ordered the Fish and Chips, beer battered cod served with Fried Potatoes and malt Vinegar dip. There was plenty to eat as each order contained not three or four but FIVE nicely coated pieces of fish. There was plenty for the present and plenty for another meal the next day. I did not care for the potatoes. I am just not a fan of this type of spud. Give me the all-American steak fry any time. These potatoes also did not re-heat well at all in the microwave. It’s OK, the fish was good and I can forgive the fries which are a personal taste sort of thing.




Overall, the six of us enjoyed our meal at Mirko’s. I would certainly recommend the place to everyone. They are located in the Ritz Plaza in Voorhees and judging from our experience, they appreciate your business and make every effort to make certain you have a great dining experience.


Posted in A Little Cafe, BYOB Restaurant Reviews, South Jersey BYOB Reviews, Wine Dinners with tags , , , , , , , on September 20, 2009 by ballymote

IMG_2801Last night we had five couples drive up to Voorhees to a popular BYOB that I have wanted to try for some time. Chef-Owner Marianne Powell is justifiably proud of her award-winning Zagat rated EXCELLENT restaurant and I was anxious to see why it was so well acclaimed. A Little Cafe is located in the Echo Plaza, at 118 White Horse Rd in Voorhees.

The first thing you notice upon entering A Little Cafe is that it is a little cafe. Our table for ten in the center of the floor dominated the room dwarfing the smaller tables. It has an interesting eclectic decor and on this particular evening, which Chef Powell described as “insane”, she was also serving as a very competent “wait person”. As she scurried from one table to the next she never lost her composure and maintained her smile.

The menu and pricing at A Little Cafe is a bit unusual but perhaps something other places might try. You get to order 3 items for a fixed price of $30. For instance, you might choose, the soup, salad and an entree, or salad, appetizer and entree, or appetizer, entree and dessert; well, you get the idea. Whatever combination you settle on the choices are enticing. More than that, the bread, butter, garlic spread and fried tomatoes with pesto sauce that come to the table gratuitously prior to ordering are enough to insure that no one goes away hungry.

With ten diners it was impossible to keep track of everyone’s order. I love a menu where there are so many appealing entrees that you have trouble deciding on your choice. The menu here is one of those. I opted for the french onion soup, an appetizer of crab cigarettes and the peach habanero chicken. Tom T., who was sitting next to me, also ordered the french onion soup and we were in agreement that although there was plenty of gooey mozzarella cheese the actual soup was a bit bland; passable but hardly exceptionable.IMG_2800

 The crab cigarettes got much higher marks from me. Two tender crepes filled with succulent jumbo crabmeat accompanied by a red chilli pepper dipping sauce proved to be an excellent starter to my main dish. There was even a pickled mango on the side. When is the last time YOU had a pickled mango?


I was torn between the peach habanero chicken and Marianne’s Meatloaf (I’m a self-confessed meatloaf freak and this one sounded yummy) All veal meatloaf stuffed with roasted red peppers, spinach and Provolone cheese topped with a wild mushroom Marsala demiglace. When Joe B. announced he would let me try his meatloaf entree I chose the chicken. Both choices turned out to be delicious. The sweetness of the peaches offset by the spicy tang of the habanero sauce was a mouth-watering treat.IMG_2804 The meatloaf was every bit as good as the chicken and should assure that another visit is needed to sample other inviting entrees. Joe and Carol B. were at A Little Cafe for the 3rd time this month which is probably equal to the number of meals I have had at home during that time span. Suffice to say they are big fans of this little place.

Although I am not going into what others had for their meal I will say that Sue C. had the duck. Let me repeat that, Sue C. had the duck. If we are lucky she will do her own review of her duck in the “comments” section at the end of this post. Sue was nice enough to post a comment on our last BYOB review (The Station House) pointing out that hers was the ONLY meal I failed to review. It won’t happen again, Sue.

As usual we all got two or three desserts and passed them around. The two standouts were Marianne’s special white chocolate bread budding and a pumpkin cheesecake with a caramel drizzle.IMG_2805IMG_2806

Both of these tempting dishes drew raves. I was especially drawn to the pumpkin cheesecake which was absolutely delicious.

My wine for the evening was a 2000 Freemark Abbey “BOSCHE”a cabernet blend that went well with my spicy chicken dish.IMG_2793

Overall, A Little Cafe turned out to be a wonderful dining experience. Only the french onion soup failed to meet expectations. Jerry C, undaunted by the absence of bruschetta on the menu, had a mushroom soup that was outstanding; so they DO turn out some fine soups. It’s nice when a chef-owner makes herself a part of the dining experience and Marianne does that well. A Little Cafe is on our list for a return visit in the not too distant future. It should be on yours, too!