Best Hamburger Nominee
Stage Left might be in Middlesex County, New Jersey--less than 10 minutes from the town that gave the world Bon Jovi--but it can take on most New York restaurants.
A mix of well-heeled locals, septuagenarian theater-goers, in-the-know college kids and an occasional famous traveling actor gather for several-course- meals or a quick snack and glass of wine at the bar. The candlelit dining room provides plenty of dark corners in which to cozy up with a date. A local artist's industrial-atmospheric paintings hang on the walls and a charmthg sidewalk cafe sits out front.
One of New York's-er, New Jersey's Best
Stage Left's menu declares its nominated burger "The Best Cheeseburger in the World"--and that might not be too far from the truth. The meat is Angus-grade; the cooling medium is an apple-and-cherry-wood-laden grill; the bacon slices are almost a centimeter thick, the huge steak fries are crispy and sea-salt encrusted. A bargain at $12.95, it makes the trek down the Turnpike worth it. Need we say more?
The Wine List
Think of Stage Left as New Jersey's answer to Veritas. It's difficult for most places in Manhattan to lay claim to a more impressive arsenal of German and Australian wines. But Stage Left's wine list isn't about size alone--for every California cab, there's also a relatively unknown Austrian white.