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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Market Basket -- Local NJ High End Specialty Food

The Market Basket in Franklin Lakes, NJ is a fairly small, densely packed, nearly 50 year old gourmet and specialty food store that has some very good strengths, and a few weaknesses, that people in our area should be aware of.

According to the web site, they have recently enlarged and expanded the store, and I have not seen it in the newest incarnation. Have you?

When I first discovered it, I was quite taken with the very fresh, extensive, and pricey seafood, the nice and unusual bakery section, the range of prepared foods, and the many specialty items offered, including smoked meats from their own smokehouse, and interesting cheeses.

They do have reasonably priced specials on seafood, deli, meats and produce and you can see their ads in local papers such as the Suburban News or the Argus, which many of us get. The many items not on special will quickly carry you to another price point should they prove irresistible.

Their prepared quiches are very good, as are some (not all) of the soups. I especially like the sushi grade peppercorn tuna, seared outside and rare inside and very expensive all the way through, and the smoked pork chops and sausage are yummy.

It is often quite a crush on weekends, and god help you if you get in the way of a Franklin Lakes matron and the object of her desire; nevertheless, the many unique items and the store itself are worthy of inspection. Go during the week if you can.

The staff is pleasant and helpful, and many of the customers are unobjectionable, but I have to admit I have encountered more frayed tempers amongst the clientele here than at other local stores.

It is worth noting that The Market Basket is just around the corner (well, 5 minutes down the road with one left turn) from Zeytinia, previously described in this column, and has a substantial overlap in offerings, and which is more price friendly.

For those of us in the Kinnelon area, Zeytinia is closer, and probably a better deal most of the time, but I do recommend that you go take a look at Market Basket if you have not already, and I am sure you will be entertained.

Other posts in this series:
+ BJ’s (Cheap) Gourmet Food Store in Riverdale NJ
+ Corrado's in Wayne, NJ -- Foodie Destination
+ Zeytinia -- NY Specialty Foods in NJ

~Ted

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