Rt 33 (Exit 8 east off NJT)?
Business takes me along the subject route toward Tinton Falls every once in a while. Anything along the way worth stopping for? For example, along the way I pass something called the Lobster Shanty, and a little further along there's some sort of "Country Italian" place, both on the north side of the road. Just from the outside, either one looks like it could be either a "destination" type place, or a disappointing dive. I'd rather not find out the hard way.
Any comments on these or other places?
The Lobster Shanty (or, more specifically, Jack Baker's LS) is pretty typical "chain" seafood (albeit a rather small chain). OK prices, unusually, one or two interesting bottled beers IIRC. It's near a number of large retirement "villages" in Monroe, so is often crowded at dinner time/early bird special time. They've been advertising a few specials on banners outside ("All you can eat shrimp on Thursdays" kinda thing, but I can't recall the specifics even tho' I drive by everyday ).
Lucento's (the "country Italian" place) IS pretty interesting- it's BYOB (with a nearby liquor store with an "OK" selection). As noted elsewhere, it also features Cajun specialties, but we usually get Italian. I like the White Clam sauce and everyone else has usually been very happy with their entrees. Get EXTREMELY crowded on weekends, long lines, etc. For the area (which, amazingly, for NJ, is still quite rural----for now---) it's the best you're gonna do once you leave Freehold back towards Hightstown and the Turnpike (especially now that the Chinese place at the junction of Rt. 33 and Business 33 burnt down).
There's also a hotel restaurant on RT 33 East, just after the Exit 8 that gotten good reviews for it's Greek food (tho' ambience is lacking). Never tried it, tho'. You may have seen the marquee about "World Famous Lambchops" or something like that...
Neither Luchento's nor The Lobster Shanty is a dive, but....
No Cajun cuisine at Luchento's that I've heard of. Just Italian food. It's been around for a long time. We had dinner there a couple of times many years ago but concluded that the food was just so-so. Italian restaurants of this mediocre ilk over-populate the landscape in this general area of NJ. Fortunately for us, there is one which we have found to be superior. That would be SamVera, in Marlboro. Unfortunately for you, it's not located near Route 33.
The Lobster Shanty has also been around for a long time. It's been probably 15+ years since we last ate there. Again, we stopped going because we felt we could eat better seafood elsewhere. As was mentioned, they tend to get an older crowd.
Presuming that you always pass via 33 through Freehold Boro, you should make a left onto Main St. and head a couple of minutes ride into the center of town.
El Meson is at 44 West Main St., at the corner of Main & Throckmorton (just past the not-in-use railroad tracks). Delicious Mexican food. Excellent service. Pleasant interior + a large outdoor patio for warm weather dining.
Citrus, at 32 West Main St., is a relatively new, upscale restaurant serving fusion cuisine in a beautiful space. We had dinner there and, though not perfect, it showed a lot of promise. We haven't had a chance to get back, but I definitely plan on doing so.
Federici's, at 14 E. Main, is famous for their very good thin-crust pizza.
New owners have taken over the lovely Victorian house at 75 South St. (formerly named after the address) and have re-christened it South Street Victorian Restaurant. It just happened, so I haven't tried it yet. Acc. to the ad in our local paper, they are offering fresh seafood, organic chicken, hand-cut free range steaks, homemade pasta and homemade desserts.
In another direction....
For very good Indian food, go to Aangan. Take 33 to Route 9 South, and the restaurant is just a hop and a skip away. You will have to jughandle around because it's on the north side of the road, in the Chester Lighting strip.
If you're willing to drive about 10 minutes further south on 9, just past W. Farms Road, there is Fritzy's, an absolutely terrific German restaurant.
I second the recommendation for Aangan. The chef has a wonderful hand with spices and seasonings. Really delicious. However, the dishes are not very spicey. If you like spicey, you might tell them when you order.
It's convenient to RT 33. Aangan Restaurant, (732) 761-2900
[not chow related: If you have pets or livestock, the Hungry Puppy Pet and Feed Supply store on Rt 33 is really good - great selection and service. ]
Phil wrote: > "Mom's is maybe the worst food I'd ever had."
Yeah, well, he didn't say the food was good, he only said the place "rocks". (I figured he was referring to the restaurant's close proximity to the New Jersey Turnpike and the possibility that the traffic rattles the foundation. After all, he couldn't even get the name right.)
I've only had the breakfast at Mom's (with one expection*) and it was just...OK... on the low side of "typical diner". I would normally continue to Rt. 130 and go to the Americana or, after a long re-due-, the USA Diner. Even the in-town Hightstown Diner is a better breakfast, but service was the type of "friendly" that means if you're a stranger, you're gonna get poor service while the help talks and serves friendly to the locals.
* Mom's does have Cuban Sandwiches altho' I didn't care for the taste of the pickle on mine (I bought one to go...), and it kinda ruined it.
Always wondered why they sorta dropped, or at least downplay, the "Pepper Mill" part of their name- that's a pretty neat peppermill-shaped sign they have and is a semi=famous landmark as seen from the Tpk...
Lucento's (country italian place)has very good homemade italian food. It's a great place to eat and gets very crowded. On the other hand, the Lobster Shanty is not the place you want to stop. The food is not very good.