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Archive for the ‘restaurants’ Category

As Red Bank Green so eloquently reports, The Red Bank River Center is sponsoring Dine Downtown, a restaurant promotion in cooperation with 16 downtown dining establishments that feature prix fixe menus (ranging in price from $15-$35) on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings throughout the month of April.

This may be an excellent opportunity not only to try a restaurant I’ve never been to before, but perhaps make it an official Bayshore Friends gathering!  Please post if you’re interested, or better yet… join Bayshore Friends and let us know there!

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The Original SoupMan in Red Bank, NJ

It would figure I move out of town and the Original SoupMan(tm) moves in. I love soup, especially in the colder weather months. I will have to make a special trip back to Red Bank to check this place out. I’ve never tried OSM ever, so I’m going in with an open mind.

The Original SoupMan in Red Bank, NJ

Read official press release after the jump…

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If you’re looking for tasty casual Italian cuisine, then Gaetano’s is for you.

Before we were seated, we were first shown some of the available specials that were on display. They all looked very good. We were very impressed with the black fettuccini with swordfish and cockle clams, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever seen that on a menu at any restaurant I’ve ever been to.

The only disappointment for me was the inability to order Sangria by the glass. They only sell wine by the bottle or you can bring your own. I couldn’t justify buying a whole bottle as I’m not that big of a wine drinker nor is my other half.

Our first appetizer choice, Calamari Calabrese, was not available, so we went with the traditional fried calamari. No biggie. Either way we were set on having squid, so we were just glad to have at least one squid option available to us. The spicy Mediterranean Caponata sauce that comes with the calabrese version sounded really good, though. So I guess we’ll just have to go back and try that another time.

I chose their signature dish Lamb Osso Buco as my entree. It took a while to prepare, as the server warned me, but I was patient. Good things come to those who wait, right? In this case, yes! The lamb was succulent and tender while the pappardella pasta was right on. Together it was a hearty, satisfying dish and worth the $24.95. It was a lot of food so I needed a box. It will be a great lunch tomorrow.

He ordered the stuffed flounder special. Stuffed with all the seafood he loves – lobster, shrimp, scallops, and crabmeat – it was a hit! He noted the crispy potato “cake” that came with it was also very good.

It was a lot of food, so we could not even think about dessert. I’m sure they are wonderful, though.

In summary, we enjoyed our first dining experience at Gaetano’s and will definitely go back some time.

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We decided to try the Front Street Trattoria last night. Overall, it was fair, but there were some minor flaws. We went a little late (a bit after 8pm) thinking it wouldn’t be crowded and we’d have better service then. I don’t know what I was thinking. 😉 There was barely anybody in there, in fact only 2 other tables. And I believe 2 or 3 servers on duty. Our server while pleasant, was rather unhurried.

OK, I used to be a server, so I’m not coming down on the person. I know by that time of night, perhaps after a long shift, anybody would be tired and not quite 100% attentive not to mention prepping to close. So I will certainly forgive the slow service.

Food-wise, it was passable. Our bruschetta appetizer was a bit of a let down, though. The olive tapenade was quite delicious, but they only gave us two small rounds of toasted Italian bread. So I requested additional bread. The focaccia we were given was very good.

I was not wowed by the chicken & pineapple salad I had selected for my entree. The chicken was almost non-exisitent. Otherwise, it was just OK. His seafood medley with pasta was good, though.

While it was not a outstanding dining experience, I think I would go back and try again — especially for a focaccia sandwich. 🙂

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After reading some decent reviews on Chowhound, we were encouraged to try Fune, in Ocean Township, for our 2 year anniversary dinner tonight.  It is predominantly a Japanese restaurant, but some Korean dishes are available as well.

They started us out with some great Korean banchan (little side dishes) before our main appetizers arrived. This included some kimchee, which my fiance loves. Well, he is Korean after all. 😉

For appetizer, I had the simple, yet delicious eel box (eel sushi and rolls), and he had the Red Devil roll (tuna, avocado, salmon) which was quite yummy. For main course, he enjoyed the bibimbap, while I could barely finish my panko-crusted chicken. I forget the Korean name for it.

Service was quick and friendly.

They definitely seem to have an acceptable selection of Japanese fare and sushi/sashimi. The added Korean dishes give them bonus points. We liked it!

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This review is actually written by my honey, but I’m in agreement with everything he said:

If you’re looking for a nice, quiet evening of fine dining at an affordable price, you’ll want to stay away from McLoone’s Pier House in Long Branch.

As its name implies, McLoone’s overlooks the Atlantic and sits on the boardwalk adjacent to the mind numbingly trendy Pier Village shops. Yes, the ocean’s pretty. But once you get past the view, there’s not much to recommend.

McLoone’s was jammed packed on a Friday, though it’s hard to see why. The configuration of the dining room and the acoustics combine to make it very noisy; it is difficult to have a normal conversation without shouting. As for ambiance…well, you could always make your way to the bar and listen to investment bankers sing Don Henley karaoke.

McLoone’s lack of charm is well-matched with its mediocre food. Our spicy tuna roll appetizer was positively yummy, if lacking a bit in the tuna department. But Marilyn’s Cajun blackened tilapia was average at best; no taste buds could discern the fish’s delicate flavor underneath this avalanche of spice. My peppercorn calamari salad was tasty, but the calamari was served lukewarm and a bit rubbery, not hot and crisp as I prefer.

Service was mostly fine, but we had to ask for a candle for our table as every other table had one. Marilyn also noted while walking out every other table had a bread basket, but we were not provided one nor asked if we wanted one.

Due to location, the entrees are somewhat pricey, and would-be diners checking McLoone’s online menu will find it out of date.

Click image for more pix:
Pier Village Long  Branch NJ Jersey Shore picture

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My guy and I consider ourselves sushi connoisseurs as we try to go at least once a month.  We like trying new sushi places and this was our first time at Ichiban in Ocean.  Well let me just say we were considerably impressed!

For starters we had a curry scallop with mango rice appetizer. I’m not a huge fan of mango, but they were perfectly chopped (small pieces) and integrated nicely with the rice providing a more aromatic effect than anything else. The scallops were succulent. Additionally, we consumed an order of gyoza which were perfectly made. I also had some salad, too.

For our main course, we shared a sashimi deluxe platter, special eel roll (eel, tuna, avocado), rock n roll (whitefish salmon, crab, scallion, caviar), “mysterious” roll (lobster, tuna, spicy mayo), and rainbow roll (california roll topped with salmon, tuna, whitefish, and yellowtail).

The sashimi platter came in a large bowl filled with ice. We think this was the key to why it was so delicious. The fish was ultra fresh! The rolls were out of this world. Immaculately made. I regret not having my camera with me – as you must see (and of course taste!) to appreciate.

We now think that Ichiban is our new favorite sushi restaurant. So run, don’t walk, to Ichiban. You’ll love it! 🙂

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