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Yakitori combo with oshinko (left), grapefruit chu-hai (top left) and green tea chu-hai at Raku Izakaya.
Yakitori combo with oshinko (left), grapefruit chu-hai (top left) and green tea chu-hai at Raku Izakaya.
Posted: Friday August 19, 2011, 1:51 PM
Restaurant Reviews: Raku Izakaya, Nicole's, Chengdu and Ho-Ho-Kus Inn & Tavern
By The Record

RAKU IZAKAYA ** 1/2

Conceived as a Japanese izakaya drinking lounge, this Main Street spot offers a variety of small and large Japanese and Korean plates and a coffeehouse-like atmosphere.

Prices: Soups and small plates $1.50 to $14, entrees $10 to $19. Hours: 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. daily (kitchen closes at 2 a.m.). Liquor, wine: Full bar, sake list with detailed descriptions, shochu, chu-hai cocktails made with shochu. Noise level: Music is low enough for easy conversation but high enough to provide some atmosphere. Louder later at night. Credit cards: AE, MC, V. Reservations: Recommended for Friday and Saturday nights. Accommodations for children: Items available on request, highchairs. The restaurant suggests bringing children before 9 p.m. Dress: Casual. Early-bird specials or deals: Happy hour 5 to 8 p.m. daily includes discounted drinks and discounted appetizers. Takeout: Yes. Parking: Small lot in rear of restaurant (entrance is off southbound Lemoine Avenue, just before Main Street), nearby paid municipal parking lot, street (the restaurant says street parking is not allowed after midnight in the winter). Reviewed: March 18, 2011.

* 209 Main St., Fort Lee; 201-585-0707, rakuizakaya.com.

NICOLE'S **

A welcoming dining room in a small strip mall off industrial River Road, Nicole's offers upscale but familiar Italian-American dishes.

Prices: Appetizers $5 to $10, entrees $14 to $24. Hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., dinner 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 4 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, 4:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, 3 to 9 p.m. Sunday. Liquor, wine: BYO. Delivery available from nearby liquor store. Noise level: Generally tranquil - may be louder when restaurant is full. Credit cards: AE, D, MC, V. Reservations: Recommended for Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Accommodations for children: Menu, highchairs. Dress: Casual. Early-bird specials or deals: $9.95 prix-fixe lunch special, $15.95 prix-fixe dinner available between 4:30 and 6 p.m. includes house salad, choice of selected appetizers and entrees, and cheesecake or tiramisù. Takeout: Yes. Parking: Lot. Reviewed: May 6, 2011.

* 10C River Road, Bogota; 201-880-7270; nicolesristorante.com.

CHENGDU 46 ** 1/2

A landmark Chinese restaurant that opened in 1983, Chengdu 46 still appeals to those willing to pay its high prices for friendly service, superior ingredients and beautifully presented renditions of familiar dishes.

Prices: Appetizers $7 to $11 ($22 for a pu-pu platter for two), entrees $13 to $46. Hours: Lunch: Noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Dinner: 5 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 5 to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 1 to 9 p.m. Sunday. Liquor, wine: Full bar, familiar wine list with no bottles under $40. Noise level: Fairly loud when busy, which is the norm on weekends. Credit cards: AE, D, DC, MC, V. Reservations: Highly recommended on weekends, and for parties of three or more every day. Accommodations for children: Half-portions on request. Dress: Neat casual. Early-bird specials or deals: Order for 3 or more from lunch menu and one is free as a token of appreciation. $14.95 Family Luncheon Special every Sunday 1 to 3:30 p.m. includes triple appetizers, soup and entrée. Takeout: Yes. Parking: Lot. Reviewed: June 3, 2011.

* 1105 Route 46 east; 973-777-8855; chengdu46.com.

THE HO-HO-KUS INN & TAVERN ** 1/2

The newest concept in the centuries-old landmark puts two restaurants under one roof. In the tavern, innovative and beautifully presented salads, and in the five high-end dining rooms, a contemporary American menu full of naturally raised meat and regional produce.

Prices: Appetizers $6 to $15, entrées $13 to $29. Tavern prices $6 to $19. Hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sunday brunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., dinner 3-10 p.m. Liquor, wine: Full bar, wine list, custom beer. Noise level: When the library and tavern are full, the entire floor can be extremely loud. Credit cards: AE, D, DC, MC, V. Reservations: Recommended Friday and Saturday, no reservations for tavern. Accommodations for children: Children's menu. Dress: Smart casual in dining rooms, casual in tavern. Early-bird specials or deals: No. Takeout: Yes. Parking: Lot, street; valet Friday and Saturday. Reviewed: April 2, 2010.

* 1 E. Franklin Turnpike, Ho-Ho-Kus; 201-445-4115; hohokusinn.com.