| Marty's Media Stories
1/23/2014Dinner theater: Marty's
Blue Room brings New Orleans flavor to menu
By Kristen Gaydos (Staff
Writer) - Citizens Voice
Plenty of New Orleans flavor
on the menu means it's always Mardi Gras at Marty's Blue Room in Nanticoke.
restaurant, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, specializes in steaks
and Cajun cuisine. It also houses a microbrewery. Owner Jim Schonfeld said freshness
and innovation are the keys to a unique menu at the family run restaurant.
the freshest ingredients we can find," Schonfeld said. "We do everything
from scratch. Whatever's on the menu is done here."
son, Ben, runs Benny's Brewing Co. Patrons can view his operation through a glass
window in the bar area.
In addition to the year-round amber lager, Wit (Belgian-style
wheat) and Hopenstein (India pale ale), Ben Schonfeld concocts four seasonal brews.
His current brew is the Oatmeal Stout, a dark, full-bodied ale with hints of chocolate
"He's also brewing two ales that are going to be coming out
very shortly," Schonfeld said.
Sample the eatery's
New Orleans flavor with the Cajun crawfish - or shrimp, if you prefer. Both are
sauteed in a Cajun sauce and served with garlic bread.
Schonfeld said his seafood
supplier is his right-hand man when it comes to delivering the best fish and shellfish.
Whether it's swordfish, catfish or crab, the quick turnaround means a fresh foundation
for each dish.
"He picks everything up right from the docks for me,"
Schonfeld said. "He's my eyes down there."
lovers, rejoice. Top-quality steaks cut from Midwestern, corn-fed beef are a priority
at the restaurant. Order the Delmonico as an 18-ounce regular cut or a 36-ounce
"We dry age our own beef and we cut our own
steaks," Schonfeld said. "They're really impressive pieces of meat."
include two sides, with choices like Old Bay fries, jambalaya or made-to-order
"We mash the potatoes and mix in the cheese and spices,"
Marty's features bread pudding, a popular
dish in Cajun cuisine. They make desserts in house.
"We're known for our
bread pudding. It's traditional New Orleans-type fare," Schonfeld said. "We
do them with various sauces, like bourbon sauce or rum sauce."
lighter starters, try the soups made fresh every day, like the French onion, or
sliced Parmesan, Asiago, bleu or hot pepper cheese cut right from the wheel.
entree menu includes several preparations for fresh seafood, like honey-glazed
and southern-fried for catfish and haddock.
The restaurant features new items
every week, based on what ingredients are available. Recent dishes included Cajun
smoked meatloaf, Cajun chicken cordon bleu, and pork Delmonico.
like to introduce new items, if customers clamor for a dish, they'll bring it
back if possible, Schonfeld said. That happened with their homemade buffalo chips.
restaurant also offers selections for adventurous eaters. Recently, the menu featured
southern fried frog legs and turducken sausage.
Dinner Theater, a monthly dining
out feature, explores what's on the menu at local restaurants. Send suggestions
Marty's Blue Room
Location: 100 Old Newport
Hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 5-10 p.m.
Rhythm and food
Martys Blue Room mixes Cajun
cookery with style
By MARY THERESE BIEBEL - Times Leader
Chicken and pasta can be served mild or wild at Martys.
Martys Blue Room has been serving Cajun-style food since 1984.
prepares to dredge a steak in spices, Jim Schonfeld explains he buys the Cajun
blend he designed himself, 500 pounds at a time, from a spice company.
onions and fat-and-flour roux came from French settlers who were driven out of
Canada in the 1750s and didnt stop heading south until they reached the
While the Choctaw tribe knew how to turn dried sassafras leaves into
a thickener called filé powder, people from Africa planted okra, which
they called by a name that sounded like gumbo.
contributed the idea of adding fish to jambalaya stews, while sausage-loving Germans
may have been the first to craft andouille.
Put all those influences together
and you have the makings of Cajun cookery that smells and tastes as if it simmered
for hours in Louisianas bayou country, perhaps in a big, old, cast-iron
The food is just like the music, chef Jim Schonfeld
said as he dredged a steak in spices at Martys Blue Room in Newport Township.
It started with the French settlers who had violins. Then the Germans brought
their accordions, and the Africans brought their rhythms and the beat. Put it
together and you get zydeco.
Cajun fare tends to be hearty, Schonfeld
said, explaining it was designed to feed hard-working people who lived off the
land growing vegetables, fishing and hunting game.
A lot of times,
they had one-pot meals, he said. You could take one duck, put it in
a pot (with other ingredients) and stretch it to feed the whole family.
At Martys Blue Room on Old Newport Street, some of the larger steak entrees
in particular a cut of aged beef Schonfeld calls the tomahawk
do look as if each piece by itself could feed a family.
a ribeye steak, attached to the rib bones, he said, brandishing one of those
big boys. Take the rib bones away, and you have a regular Delmonico steak.
Estimating the hefty tomahawk weighed three pounds, Schonfeld said,
I had a guy come in here the other night. He said he traveled the world,
and it was the best steak he ever had.
Indeed, a glance at the Martys
Blue Room website reveals the customer reviews are filled with such adjectives
as fantastic, fabulous and marvelous.
Schonfeld, who established the restaurant in 1984, used to travel to Louisiana
as often as he could to attend hoedowns and shrimp boils and learn more about
Cajun cuisine in the land of its birth.
In recent years he hasnt visited
that often; hes been too busy cooking up a storm of steaks and jambalaya,
catfish and crawfish, as well as chicken, pasta, wings, barbecue and plenty of
other dishes both mild and wild.
A lot of people
think Cajun means fiery. But you can have a dish with or without the heat,
said Schonfeld, who buys a spice blend he designed himself, 500 pounds at a time,
from a spice company.
On a sweltering afternoon last week, the chef and a
young assistant, Ricky Kinder, whipped up a Cajun steak, Cajun crawfish and a
dish of chicken with pasta.
The kitchen was hot and would get hotter before
the day was out, Schonfeld predicted. Perhaps it would even reach a heat and humidity
similar to the bayou.
Just wait until this oven is full of steaks,
Cajun: A style of cooking that developed in Louisianas bayou
country. The name is derived from Acadia, an area in Canada from which French
settlers were driven in the 1750s.
Andouille: Coarsely ground pork sausage.
Jambalaya: A stew of meat, fish, rice and vegetables.
Gumbo: A strongly flavored
soup whose name might derive from the Bantu word for okra or the Choctaw word
Filé: A thickener made from sassafras leaves.
Etouffée: Seafood over rice. It literally means smothered in
Roux: A thickener made from equal parts flour and fat.
Heavily syncopated dance music from Louisiana.
The Weekender - Wednesday,
June 13, 2012
M. Mascali - Weekender Editor
IM SO BLUE
about it for so long, I finally had the opportunity to dine at Martys Blue
Room (100 Old Newport St., Nanticoke) when my mom took me there to kick off my
birthday weekend Friday night.
Having been there many times (without me, mind
you), Mom suggested not getting an appetizer because the dinners come with two
sides, so I bypassed starters like Martys famed jambalaya or catfish fingers.
But I did make up for my loss by choosing farm-raised catfish crazy
(as opposed to grilled, pan-seared, honey-glazed, etc), which was blackened and
served over jambalaya. For my side, I chose a salad to counteract the Old Bay
fries I couldnt resist (it was my birthday weekend, after all). Mom went
with her usual: Crazy haddock, a salad and a side of broccoli.
Both fish were
served as four sizeable pieces over a mound of jambalaya, which was fantastic.
The fries could arguably be the best Old Bay fries Ive had golden-fried
and crunchy and dusted liberally with the salty mix.
Just when we thought
we had no room, our affable server ran down the list of desserts, including a
chocolate bread pudding sprinkled with bacon crumbles. Immediately in, Mom, however,
took some coaxing, declaring shed take just one bite, but we both pretty
much devoured this perfect concoction. The bacon on the chocolate bread pudding
was incredible, and, mixed with the creamy vanilla ice cream, stupendous.
I havent shut up about my excellent experience at Martys since and
cant wait to go back. Hint, hint.
Martys is open Tuesday-Saturday
from 5-10:30 p.m. For more info, call 570.735.7028. To stalk the menu, visit martysblueroom.com.
Nanticoke brewing company eyes expansion
Benny Brewing Company, the Nanticoke
microbrewery inside Marty's Blue Room, is one step closer to expanding its distribution
beyond Luzerne County.
The Luzerne County zoning board voted 2-0 - one member
was absent - Tuesday evening to allow a use variance that would permit the microbrewery
at 100 Old Newport St. to expand its building to allow a 900 percent increase
in its production. Benny Brewing currently has a single 31-gallon barrel to brew
its three year-round beers and one revolving seasonal beer; the building expansion
would allow for 10 31-gallon barrels.
"I want to look into Lackawanna
and some up north as well," said brewmaster Ben Schonfeld, adding that about
10 locations currently carry its beer. "Maybe we'll go down to the Allentown
area. I guess it depends on what distributor I choose."
are many other steps left for construction to begin - getting the OK from the
USDA, Liquor Control Board and planning commission - Schonfeld and his father,
restaurateur James Schonfeld, hope to open the expansion by the spring of 2013.
At first, the Schonfelds would simply like to produce more of their three trademark
beers: amber lager, india pale ale and wheat. As time progresses, brewmaster Ben
might experiment with limited-edition beers, such as those aged in wooden barrels.
"We can't keep up with the demand we have right now," said James Schonfeld,
owner of Marty's Blue Room. "We can't make it fast enough."
Schonfeld said the microbrewery is already permitted to sell anywhere in Pennsylvania
but, once the expansion is built, it will be a while before local residents spot
the beers in a city like Philadelphia.
"We'd like to hit other markets
slowly but surely," he said. "It's a slow climb, and it's something
where you have to crawl before you walk. People enjoy it, and then you take it
to another place.
brewer’s business needs a bit more elbow room
Ben Schonfeld’s Benny Brewing
Co. is looking to expand to meet demand.
A thirst for Ben Schonfeld’s beer has led the aspiring brewer
from Nanticoke to expand capacity as he looks to become a microbrewer.
32, through his “Benny Brewing Co.,” has been brewing about a half-barrel of beer
per day since August 2010 inside Marty’s Blue Room, his family’s Newport Township
restaurant and bar. With three year-round varieties and a rotating seasonal brew,
he said business is good and getting better.
About 10 bars throughout Luzerne
County carry his beer on tap and 22-ounce bottles are sold at Marty’s. While he
hasn’t run out of beer, supplies have been tight. So he made the decision to invest
a lot of money, which will mean the investment of a lot more of his time, into
expanding his brewing capacity to 10 barrels per day. Just how much money, Schonfeld
isn’t saying, but he expects it to pay off.
He said if the plan is approved
by government officials, work will start on a new 2,607-square-foot building adjacent
to the restaurant. He hasn’t purchased equipment or hired a contractor because
he first needs approval from the Luzerne County Zoning Hearing Board.
request for variances is before that body Tuesday night.
on hold until this hearing,” Schonfeld said.
The Schonfelds purchased an adjoining
property and home a decade ago with the idea the lot could one day be used for
expansion or overflow parking. The house was razed but the property hasn’t been
used … until now.
The new building will be dedicated to brewing equipment
and the brewing process.
Schonfeld’s father, Jim, who owns the property and
Marty’s Blue Room, also is requesting approval to build a 455-square-foot addition
to the restaurant itself. The two buildings will be attached but there will be
no public access to the brewing area, though tours may be given.
A glass wall
will be installed so people in the restaurant will be able to see the brewing
process take place.
Schonfeld said his current brewing capacity is about 60
barrels a year. With the new equipment and space, he said he will be able to brew
up to 1,400 barrels a year. That will result in his beer being sold in a 10-county
radius as far away as the Lehigh Valley, Bloomsburg and the Northern Tier.
While half-kegs and sixtels – a canister that holds about two and a quarter cases
- will still be sold, 12-ounce bottles will replace the 22 ounce size sold now.
If business continues to boom, Schonfeld said expansion on the property is not
“If I decided to go larger, I’d probably move,” he said.
Kochanski, a bartender at JJ Bankos, said the Benny Brew Amber Lager has been
selling well since it entered the draft offerings at the West Nanticoke establishment.
She said customers seem to be ordering it again and again. Once they learn it’s
from a local brewer, she said, they’re impressed.
In the past week, the Oatmeal
Stout has been added to the draft lineup at JJ Bankos, but it hasn’t been as popular
as the original lager.
Marty's menu full of unusual items
Marty's Blue Room in Nanticoke is full of surprises, from three-pound
porterhouse steaks and ostrich salads to in-house brewed beer.Location: 100 Old Newport St., Nanticoke
No one named
Marty works at the restaurant now - the name refers to former owner Martha Jones.
However, owner Jim Schonfeld was born a Gemini, and jokes abound that Marty is
his not-so-gregarious other half.
Schonfeld bought the restaurant 28 years
ago and put to work his knowledge of Cajun cuisine from numerous family vacations
to Louisiana. The former pipe fitter and welder desired a job that would allow
him to spend more time with his family.
"I had two little children and
didn't want to travel anymore, so we found this," he said.
restaurant is now a family affair. Schonfeld's wife, daughter and son all chip
in to manage the wait staff, clean and run the restaurant's brewery.
son, Ben, is brewmaster of Benny's Brewing Co. Restaurant patrons can view the
microbrewery's operations through a glass window in the bar area.
offerings include Hopenstein, an India pale ale; Amber Lager and Wit, a Belgian-style
wheat beer. A summer ale will be introduced this month.
"I've been doing
it for years, and I decided to bring it out to the restaurant (in August,)"
he added. "It adds appeal."
The restaurant's regular features include
quality items that may seem a little unusual - for example, the ostrich filet
salad, which contains ostrich meat from Australia.
Fresh ingredients are the
only way to go, Jim Schonfeld said. He makes all his own sauces, and grows his
own seasoning in a herb garden behind the restaurant. Everything is about quality,
from choice cuts of meat to gourmet cheeses, he added.
out of a box or can," Schonfeld said. "We don't hold back on anything."
Many of the dishes feature Cajun food with a northeastern Pennsylvania flair,
Schonfeld said. Some eye-openers on the menu include the two-and-a-half-pound
caveman pork chop and the three-pound porterhouse steak, served vertically for
maximum impact. Patrons' inevitable reaction to the meal can be summed up in three
words: "Oh my God."
Contact: 570-735-7028, www.martysblueroom.com
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday,
The interesting thing is Marty's
is so simple. You could pass them out as you're driving along Old Newport Street.
Big mistake. Don't ever pass these guys out. If you do, you miss an incredible
meal. First of all, Marty's starts each and every day with fresh food. Nothing
complicated, just basic, consistent, good quality food - something you can count
on. They pride themselves in offering the freshest food available, and they've
earned a reputation they look forward to keeping for years to come.
you have to make reservations. But, once you get there, you can sit back and enjoy
your dining experience. If we had to describe the atmosphere to you, it would
be nothing special. It's clean, neat and cozy. There are hundreds of pictures
covering the walls. All pictures the owners feel important in their line of work.
They've served so many - including the famous and elite. It's simply a place you
have to drive to and experience and , you'll never be sorry you did.
with an appetizer. We decided to share an evening appetizer special. The crab
dip done in cream cheese and spices was incredible and served with a selection
of crackers. Every one of us had an extraordinary experience ($6.95). Really,
it was so wonderful, we could have eaten this dip forever. And, we mean that,
sincerely. It was warm and spicy and a perfect start to any meal. They were thrilled
we were so enthusiastic about their dip.
As part of our dinner, we received
a house salad. We chose both the house salad dressings. One was a creamy Italian
and the other a lighter Italian version. Both were outstanding. The salads contained
only the freshest ingredients and the best dressings possible. We only could wonder
about our other side dishes.
dinners arrived promptly after our salads. With our dinners we received an Italian
garlic and cheese bread that could knock out some Old Forge pizza restaurants.
Yes, it was that good. We also went with the twice baked potato. Again, there
was nothing phony about this potato. It was stuffed with cheese and incredibly
delicious. Once again, we were impressed.
dinner included the fresh jumbo lump crab cakes ($19.95). It was worth every penny.
Every bite was just another example of how wonderful seafood dishes can be. Another
dish we sampled was the New Orleans bourbon trio ($16.95). If you can't decide,
then try this dish complete with shrimp, scallops and chicken. We ordered it exactly
as we liked, with linguini and all, and we weren't disappointed. Our dinner was
served perfectly. And, we also tried the blackened haddock with their own Cajun
spices ($14.95). Anyone who appreciates blackened food will truly appreciate this
dish. They do it perfectly. We were amazed that a restaurant so far away from
the Scranton area could produce dishes so worthy of travel through Wilkes-Barre
all this food? Of course, because we planned on taking food home with us. Yes,
they laughed at the fact we couldn't finish our meal, but saved room for dessert.
Dessert consisted of a pastry puff with vanilla ice cream smothered in chocolate
sauce. It was surrounded by fresh whipping cream. We just had to laugh because
you couldn't take this home. You sure had to finish it and appreciate what dessert
is all about.
final to the evening was a cup of coffee ($1.75) and a cup of house coffee ($4.95).
House coffee came complete with a dash of this and a dash of that along with a
topping of Crème de Menthe. We could only wonder at the calories we ingested
in one night. But, it was worth every last one of them.
you need a place to go where the food is fantastic, Marty's won't let you down.
We never expected a restaurant so off the beaten track to be so wonderful. Really.
Truly. Travel there for a great fine dining experience in the back of a bar.
Accessible/Full Bar/Casual Attire/Expensive
barbecue benefit Newport Twp. police
Kalinowski , Citizens' Voice Staff Writer 06/28/2004
Members of the Newport
Township Police Department were winners and losers on Sunday.At a basketball tournament/chicken
dinner fund-raiser held at the Wanamie Recreation Park, they were defeated on
the court, but won where it counted, as they were the beneficiaries of the day's
Approximately 400 barbecue chicken dinners were prepared and served
from the Marty's Blue Room mobile cooking station by a hoard of volunteers.The
police department will use the money raised to replace an outdated computer system
at the police station in Wanamie.
"New computers weren't in the budget,
so they asked us if we could do something," said Jim Schonfeld, owner of
Marty's Blue Room, Newport Township, who catered and hosted Sunday's event.
While Schonfeld and staff were busy cooking the chicken, there was some basketball
to be played. Being the host team of a three-team tourney, Newport Township police
secured a bye into the 'championship game'.
The first game featured a team
from Fox 56, which films a cooking show for Marty's Blue Room, versus a team assembled
by Larry's Pizza, Nanticoke. In that contest, Larry's Pizza rallied to win in
the fourth quarter and went on to face the rested Newport Township police team.Though
the police officers held their own throughout the game, in the end, it was the
Larry's Pizza team that was crowned champion.
.Newport Township Police Chief
Carl Smith said the fund-raiser was a necessity because the department simply
cannot function effectively with the computer system it currently uses."We
needed the equipment and the township can't afford it," he said. "It
was a tremendous turnout. It went better than anyone would have thought."
Some of the sponsors for the event were Quality Gas, Eastern Fuel Oil, Lee's Oil,
Hazle Associates Custom Builders, RK Furs, Attorney Patrick Aregood and Marty's
Blue Room, and State Rep. John Yudichak (D-119) donated a bike that was raffled
with a real bite to it
By MARY THERESE BIEBELemail@example.com
To see Jim and Ben Schonfeld
cooking on television, tune in to "Pennsylvania Outdoors" at 6:30 p.m. Saturdays
on WSWB, Channel 38. Father and son often demonstrate how to cook some Pennsylvania
fish or game on that show.
The chef grinned, relishing the compliment from
a guy on the phone.
"He wanted reservations," Jim Schonfeld said. "He said,
'I heard you make the meanest catfish in town.' "
Now, how do you make the
meanest catfish? Why, Cajun style, of course. With spices and flair straight from
Schonfeld, who owns Marty's Blue Room on Old Newport Street in
Sheatown, cooks the Louisiana way all year round.
But, in Mardi Gras season,
or, as he calls it, "Marty Gras," he suspects amateur cooks might want to try
to blacken their own fish at home. So, on a recent Thursday afternoon, he agreed
to a demonstration, complete with a pep talk.
"Some people become intimidated
by a stove," he said. "Don't be. It's your friend. Cooking is nothing but your
imagination running wild. You see a recipe that calls for rosemary and you don't
like rosemary? So substitute basil."
Even if you absolutely hate a dish, he
said, "You have nothing to lose but a few dollars."
| While Schonfeld dredged
catfish filets in a dish of Cajun spices and put them on a grill to sizzle, his
24-year-old son, Ben, made a roux of equal parts flour and clarified butter, then
whisked in cream and chicken broth.
A roux can include any kind of fat from
butter to oil to lard, Jim Schonfeld said. His son likes to use butter, because
he prefers the taste.
No matter what kind of fat you use, father and son warned,
try not to let the roux splash onto your skin.
"They call it Cajun napalm,"
Jim Schonfeld said. "It can heat up to hundreds of degrees."
And, if you don't
want to smoke up your house, Ben Schonfeld said, consider doing your Cajun cooking
"in a cast-iron frying pan on a grill outside."
If you stay inside, his father
added, "It can set your smoke alarms off, for sure."
While Jim cooked the
catfish until it approached "the fine line between blackened and burned," his
son reduced (heated until it partially evaporated) the roux until it was "thick
enough to coat a spoon" and added crawfish.
Soon the crawfish-studded sauce
topped the catfish, and Jim Schonfeld completed the picture by adding a side plate
of raw oysters.
"This is the best time of year to get them from Louisiana,"
he said as he pried open the stubborn shells. "For about the next month, the water
is the coldest it's going to be."
For those who never tried a raw oyster before,
Jim Schonfeld offered this advice:
"First, I like to put some lemon juice
on them. Then some Tabasco or cocktail sauce. Women can use these little forks.
Men usually take them right off the shell."
"They're so sweet," Schonfeld
said. "They're incredible."
While he's not Cajun himself, Schonfeld admires
the lifestyle that developed when French, Spanish, black and American Indian cultures
intermingled in Louisiana. "They fished and farmed and hunted ducks and geese
in the wilderness."
On various trips to Cajun country, Schonfeld has learned
tips on "downhome goodness" from generous Louisiana chefs who share his passion
for cooking, eating and experimenting with recipes.
"Nothing is more intimate
than a person cooking for other people," Schonfeld said, insisting that visitors
try a spoonful of his latest version of spicy, homemade barbecue sauce.
like to put the food in your mouth," he said with a chuckle. "And I like the food
to bite you back."
You'll most likely need reservations to get a table at
Marty's Blue Room. (The number is 735-7028.) If they run out of room next Tuesday,
the official Mardi Gras, you might want to try this recipe at home while you wait
to eat out another night.
salt and pepper, to taste
Cajun seasoning, to taste
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
3 ounces chicken stock
4 ounces crawfish tails
and pepper the catfish filets. Dredge them in Cajun seasoning on both sides. Blacken
on both sides in hot cast-iron frying pan. Remove and place on pan in oven at
300 degrees while making roux.
roux, mix together the flour and the butter. Add three ounces chicken stock and
three ounces heavy cream. When thickened, add the crawfish tails and Cajun seasoning
to taste. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Pour sauce and crawfish over blackened catfish.
Ben Schonfeld ladles Cajun sauce with crawfish over blackened catfish
Jim Schonfeld dredges a catfish filet in Cajun spices
Leader - Posted on Wed, Aug. 06, 2003
Room a cheerful place to be
By S.J. MUNCH - Times
Leader Food Critic
easy to please. Call me easily sold. Call me what you wish, but I call Marty's
Blue Room, circa 1984, darn nearly perfect.
OK, maybe I was just a mite disappointed
the place wasn't blue. (It was woody and wainscoted and quite comfy, though.)
Perhaps the "blue room" bit derives from the fact that any meal served here is
sure to chase the blues away. OK, I'm hokey. What of it?
About the food: Marty's
bills itself the "home of the cattleman's steak," which weighs 2-plus pounds,
but lovers of all things Cajun will find themselves happily transported to southern
Louisiana, albeit just outside Nanticoke. Creole's a house specialty here, and
dishes come in mild, wild and anything in between.
Fare runs the gamut, with
the commendably creative menu offering everything from fried chicken wings and
artistic sandwiches, wraps and burgers to gussied-up seafood, poultry and almost
a dozen varieties of steak. And, so you know, the house specialty is the prime-rib
sandwich. Trust me, this is one of those places you can take absolutely everyone
in your motley crew and endure no protests.
My companions for a recent Thursday-evening
foray were my parents, an adventurous mother who'll try just about anything and
a more particular (read fussy) father. I'm somewhere in between, so we covered
The house starter special was a double order of steamers for
$8.95, a fresh and savory mountain of extra-large clams my parents chose to share.
The accompanying butter was appropriately warm and plenty enough to cover the
whole big batch, which contained but a single unopened dud.
I'm a clam fan
myself but passed this time to sample one of Marty's more imaginative "app" offerings.
How do crawfish ciabatta bread or catfish fingers grab you? The latter sounded
especially intriguing, until I noticed the evening's special: eggplant rolls,
fresh eggplant stuffed with ricotta cheese and fried, then tucked into a succulent
bath of marinara for $6.25. Precision eggplant, without question, and a delight
from first bite to last. The dish looked a tad heavy but somehow tasted amazingly
light, with the breading just right and the sauce as zippy as zippy gets.
With so many enticing descriptions, dinner was a tough call. Mom chose a special,
Orleans-style ahi tuna for $27.40. A fresh, firm yellowfin steak situated in a
basin of rich brown sauce supported about a skiff's worth of sweet crawfish atop,
which could easily have been mistaken for lobster. Sides were two substantial
slices of crunchy yet airy garlic bread topped generously with melted cheese and
a humongous dish of Cajun pasta, all in all much more meal than one person could
polish off. (But a fine next day's lunch.)
Dad chose Italian wedding soup
for $3.95 (which our otherwise impeccable server initially forgot) and a $20.45
combination called The Broadway, a crab cake and a 5-ounce filet mignon. The menu
noted the dish as a favorite of one Mr. Joe Waiter, owner of The Broadway Garage.
I believe we have a second, Mr. Waiter.
Dad called the crab cake just super
- reminiscent of one fresh out of the Baltimore Harbor - and the steak so tender
and tasty he had no need for his old-standby, A-1. Diners can dress up their steaks
with sauteed onions or mushrooms or oven-roasted garlic, but Dad went the plain
route and was no less satisfied.
His only complaint - a minor one - was that
his entree cooled off while he sampled his late-arriving soup, which, incidentally,
was well-seasoned and served at a perfect temperature.
The number of dishes
containing scallops, my favorite offering from the ocean, pleased me like a spiked
punch. I opted for a "Chef's Favorite": Cajun scallops and pasta for $15.95. The
enormous dish made me briefly consider requesting a shovel, but, again, plenty
for lunch. Like buried treasures, the plump and prolific scallops rested under
an avalanche of angel hair coated in a just-hot-enough wash of orange-brown spices
and spiffed up by a dotting of colorful pepper strips.
On the side, I chose
Marty's Cajun Tater and fresh vegetables, two A-plus accompaniments. The Cajun
potato was mashed but arrived baked into a ramekin, with the top spilling over
to resemble something not unlike an oversize pumpkin muffin. One dip of the fork
and ... oh joy! Crispy on the outside with a delectable menagerie of Cajun influence
on the hot, velvety inside ... More, Marty, more!
The fresh vegetables - zucchini,
squash, broccoli and cauliflower - thrilled more than expected as well. Not parcooked
but not mushy. A perfect compromise seasoned perfectly as well.
passed on the dessert tray, but ... the readers, the readers. (Would we cheat
you?) My father managed a $3.95 sundae glass of apple-pie ice cream, vanilla festooned
with apples, cinnamon and bits of pie crust that could have masqueraded as pie
a la mode. A playful palate cleanser to be sure.
My mother and I shared a
"Peanut Butter Explosion" for $5.95 and were astounded at the gargantuan slice,
which could have served three or four. Layers of whipped yet firm peanut butter
and rich, fudgy chocolate made the delightfully cold treat a true deal-sealer.
Even the coffee was art, and refills were quick and fresh.
So there you have
it. Very nearly a perfect 10 for the Blue Room. Had we any grievances at all?
Yes, my father did let me in on one: I'll have to bring your mother back.
Right you will, funny guy.
EDITOR'S NOTE: In the interest of integrity,
Times Leader restaurant critics remain anonymous to the establishments they review,
and their bylines are pen names.
IF YOU GO
What: Marty's Blue Room
Where: 100 Old
Newport St., Sheatown
Credit cards? Yes, major
accessible? There are two steps at the bar entrance and three at the dining-room
Smoking/nonsmoking? Yes, sectioned
Reservations necessary? Recommended,
especially on weekends