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Best Dishes in Monmouth County NJ

  • p

I am curious to see what Chowhounds call their top five favorite dishes in Monmouth County restaurants. I read a post like this a while ago on the Southwest board when I was planning a trip to Las Vegas. I'll go first:

---- not in order (that would be too hard) ----

1. Steak @ Copper Canyon (A Highlands)- always perfectly cooked with that delicious chimmi churri green sauce on top and excellent french fries.
2. Spinach and american cheese omelet @ Steve's luncheonette (Sea Bright). Greasy spoon but great eats.
3. Cheeseburger @ Barnacle Bills (Rumson). 10oz on a toasted hard roll.
4. Seared foie gras @ Fromagerie (Rumson). Cliche? Maybe, but they do serve a large well prepared and sauced portion.
5. Tandoori chicken (not from buffet) @ Neelam (Middletown). Not the best Indian in NJ and their buffet is lame but the TC off the menu is juicy and delicious.

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  1. That's tough Pete. I usually leave the county for noteworthy food. With that said, I like:

    Fish Tacos at 10th Avenue Burrito in Belmar.

    Spicy beef noodle soup at Shanghai Bun in Matawan.

    I'd be interested in any reviews/recommendations for Rasnoosh in West Long Branch

    1 Reply
    1. re: Lauren

      I loved the food (competing with what I tasted in Israel), but it took more than an hour after ordering our food. It was Saturday night and we didn't have a reservation for the belly dancing show, and I'm not sure if that impacted our speed of service. Worth a visit, but bring your patience.

    2. Experienced Monmouth County hounds - we need your input for this important survey.

      11 Replies
      1. re: Pete Sucato

        It's fun reading all the responses. I learned of some places I hadn't known about.

        I hope lots of people will post their "Monmouth County Best Dishes" -- even if it's only one or two items.

        1. re: Val Ann C

          1st post ever.1) steak at copper canyon(by the way it's not chimmi churra sauce it's pasilla(mexican pepper)and some crushed nut.
          2) Cheese steak at ciao bella navesink
          3) Chicken Giacomo @Jimmies
          4) extra cheese pizza @Nunzio's Long Branch
          5) Cowboy chilifrom Whole Foods Middletown with whatever toppings you like and the mini baguette they sell right near it.

          1. re: bjt

            Thanks for posting! Where is Ciao Bella? Is it near the A&P?

        2. re: Pete Sucato

          That's a hard one. Can't say that I go to any restaurant for any particular dish except maybe:

          pizza: Pete & Elda's, Neptune

          Ice cream: The Blarney Cone, Spring Lake

          Hot Dogs: The Windmill

          Tuna Steak (rare): The Shipwreck Grill in Brielle

          Pho Soup: Bamboo Leaf, Bradley Beach

          1. re: SusieQ

            Pizza: Feds in Freehold

            Ice Cream: Jersey Freeze Freeehold

            hot dog: Maxs Long Branch

            rack of lamb: Matisse Belmar

            Crispy shrimp Matisse Belmar

            Chinese Cystal Palace Marlboro

            Link: http://www.matissecatering.com

            Image: http://climate.rutgers.edu/stateclim_...

          2. re: Pete Sucato

            It really has been fun to think about it. Not so sure that I can come up with five, though.

            I loved, loved the grilled shrimp salad with avocado at Copper Canyon a couple of weeks ago. Not really a salad kind of gal, but the shrimp were so perfectly done, all juicy and crunchy with just a taste of grill. Plenty of avocado, too, it was a winner.

            The foie gras with quince at Indigo Moon is outstanding, really excellent. I remember another table sending over their unfinished bottle of sauterne and I will love them forever for it.

            Pete and Elda’s pizza, for sure, although I must say that I like Freddie’s in Long Branch and Luigi’s in Little Silver nearly as well (and Val’s in Rumson for sentimental reasons).

            The chicken tostadas stand out at Acapulquenos in Long Branch.

            And there is a terrific pastrami and chopped chicken liver sandwich at a deli in the Freehold area, but I’m darned if I can remember their name. Not Fred and Murray’s. Tennent Road? Yah!

            1. re: Deb Van D

              We've been to Acapulquenos twice recently. Good both times. I liked the beef tacos and the chicken tostada. Thanks to Deb, Bob, and other chowhounds for writing about this place.

              I'm always looking for good tamales and theirs are pretty good.

              1. re: Val Ann C

                "I'm always looking for good tamales . . ."

                There is a little Mexican grocery that recently opened on Route 71 in Manasquan - Sus Tiendos (I believe). Anyway, the guy that runs the place sells some pretty righteous homemade tamales out of a slow cooker on the counter . . . for a dollar, I think. Not really a selection available, just the flavor du jour, but good solid chow. Take heed, however, the jalepenos are the real deal, lip-tinging, hair on your chest variety.

                1. re: MGZ

                  MGZ - Thank you so much for mentioning the tamales. I have been to Sus Tiendos several times and never paid much attention to that crock pot. I was just so happy to find a local place with fresh Mexican products (Acme just doesn't cut it with its box of cilantro and limp veggies).

                  Decided to stop in tonight to pick up some tamales for dinner. They were delicious!! I can't wait to go back. It looked to me like they had some in the back refrigerator - couldn't tell if they were cooked already. I may have to keep a few at home for a quick snack.

                  I also picked up a "glass" of salsa de arbol. Yum!

                  1. re: missybean

                    They have a righteous salsa verde too.

                  2. re: MGZ

                    Thank you. This will be most definitely checked out.

            2. Steamed pork buns; Spicy slow-roasted beef noodle soup
              Shanghai Bun, Matawan

              Braised "Pulled " Suckling Pig, pureed parsnips, Cinnamon Jus, Beet greens.
              Restaurant Nicholas, Middletown

              Whole fish, cooked however Richard recommends that day
              Far East Taste, Eatontown

              Sunday lunch buffet (I've heard the Thurs evening buffet is even better.)
              Aangan, Freehold

              Italian hot dog -- easy on the mustard.
              Ricci D, Keyport (Thanks to John Fox)

              The very best:
              Dinner at home... Filet mignon purchased at Sabato's Prime Meats, Belford. Fresh vegetables from the Red Bank farmers market.

              1. Pete & Elda's for pizza (of course)

                Marinated grilled pork burrito with hot sauce from El Meson, Freehold

                Prime rib (on the bone) from Charley's Ocean Grill, Long Branch

                1. Doris & Ed's in Highlands makes a killer special Lamb -- I wish they served it all the time!

                  1. BBQ chicken salad - Salt Creek Grille in Rumson (or anything from Salt Creek Grille)

                    Water Ice or Italian Ice (whatever they are calling it) Lighthouse-Long Branch

                    Fins (only had a salad, but everything looks fantastic)- Bradley Beach

                    Pancakes with Granola and Cocount - Turning point in Little Silver or Long Branch

                    A Filet Mignon with mushrooms- Danny's Steakhouse in Red Bank

                    Grilled Stuffed Chicken (onions, asparagus and goat cheese with tomato risotto) - Nauvoo Grill in Fair Haven

                    1. I really like the idea of this post and I'm glad it is being revived.

                      I will second the fish tacos at 10th Ave Burrito in Belmar
                      Tripe soup at Diaz Flavor in West Long Branch
                      Grilled Bronzino at the Greek Grill (Niko's Trapezi) in Long Branch
                      Any taco at Mi Mexico in Point Pleasant
                      Sashimi Platter Deluxe at Sushi by Kazu
                      Fried Shrimp and Soft Shell Crab at Keyport Fishery

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: taste test

                        taste test -

                        I enjoyed your list. My attempt to contribute to it apparently overstepped something, so I will abandon the attempt.

                        Regardless, like you I am a Mi Mexico fan. I thus offer this treat. Should you find yourself in Red Bank, go down towards the train station to a hole in the wall called North of the Border. The menu is on the back of the wall over the entrance door. There is pretty much nowhere to sit, but the tacos are the best.

                        To illustrate: I recently had a full, elaborate dinner at Nicholas. I then proceeded to the station for the train home. I found myself with 10 minutes to spare and could not resist the urge to get a pair of tacos to top things off. El Pastor!!! They were finished before I boarded. Perhaps, I am a glutton, perhaps they're that good. You should go decide.

                        1. re: MGZ

                          I just got back from a taco run to North of the Border. I tried steak, carnitas and goat- all were great with cilantro, onion, some terrific hot sauce and a piece of grilled cactus. The cactus didn't have much flavor but I appreciated trying it.

                          I'm still trying to wrap my head around going from Nicholas to there- quite the contrast!

                          Thanks for the rec MGZ, nice to know since Mi Mexico is pretty far from where I live.

                          1. re: taste test

                            Yeah, you should have seen the look on my wife's face when I said I was going in for tacos - sheer horror, like my face was melting or something. I couldn't resist the culiary juxtaposition though. I was, needless to say, rather conspicuous, while I waited at the counter. Regardless, good chow is always worth a brief moment of discomfort!

                            Sounds like a fantastic sampler. I've really enjoyed the tacos there. Soon, I want to try this crazy looking beef strip steak sandwich I saw them making. No idea what it was called, but it involved a large roll, a big slab of meat, string cheese. etc. If only they had a few tables!

                            1. re: MGZ

                              Funny how things have changed around here in 4 years since this was first posted...

                              Gnocchi - Nicholas
                              Halibut - Le Fandy
                              Fish Musuman (their spelling) - Manow
                              Do I really have to pick something at Flaky Tart?
                              Chicken Wings - Jack's
                              Smothered fried chicken - At The Table
                              Blueberry-Pomegranite Shake - BBP
                              Salt n Pepper Fish - West Lake
                              Falafel/hummus combo sandwich - Izzy's
                              Sausage pizza - Frankie Fed's
                              Avgolemono soup - Niko's Trapezi
                              Pernil - Diaz's Flavor

                              1. re: MGZ

                                Love it MGZ - that kind of move is straight out of my playbook!

                            2. re: MGZ

                              my husband and I LOVE that place! the tacos are the closest thing to northern California mexican, which we miss very much. and I love to hit the grocery store next door.

                              The other good mexican place is across from the long branch train station, don't know the name but they have really good tortas.

                          2. Pizza: Pete and Elda's
                            Pork Tenderloin at Clementine's in Avon
                            Dauphine potato pancake at Clementine's in Avon
                            Ceviche Tostada at La Hascienda in Bradley (when they have it, which seems to be never lately)
                            Paella at Vivas in Belmar
                            Seafood in garlic broth at Bistro Ole

                            1. Pizza at Vic's in Bradley.
                              Meatballs at Passione in Avon.
                              Pumpkin ravioli at Moonstruck in Asbury.

                              1. Some of my favorite favorite things......

                                Pizza - Vesuvio's Belmar
                                Filet Mignon - Mike & Nellie's Oakhurst
                                Braised Short Ribs - Bay Ave Trattoria Highlands
                                Baby Back ribs - Jameson's Neptune
                                Ginger Duck - Manow's Lincroft
                                Cheeseburger - Barnacle Bill's Rumson
                                Asian Salad - The Bistro Red Bank
                                Broiled Chilean Sea Bass - Whispers Spring Lake
                                Lazy Lobster - Brandl Belmar
                                Fois Gras - Brandl Belmar
                                Crab Cakes - Bay Ave Trattoria
                                Lobster Bisque - Harry's Sea Bright
                                Veal Francaise - Mike & Nellie's Oakhurst
                                Osso Bucco when they have it - Bay Ave. Trattoria
                                Seafood & Tofu Soup - Little Szechuan Little Silver
                                Soft Shell Crab in Garlic Sauce - Little Szechuan Little Silver
                                Tortolenni Gorgonzola, w/sun dried tomatoes cream sauce - Moonstruck Asbury Pk
                                Bayou Shrimp Appetizer - Langosta Lounge, Asbury Park

                                1. As a long time Monmouth County resident and lover of food...all kinds, LMAO. Hope you don't mind but rather than list just 5 I will try to list a variety. Enjoy!

                                  1. The Grill Chop at the Salt Creek Grille, Rumson
                                  2. The Burgers at Barnacle Bills, Rumson
                                  3. Espinacas Con Queso or The Nachos at Juanitos In Red Bank
                                  4. Pulled Pork or Baby Back Ribs, Big Eds BBQ, Old Bridge
                                  5. Pu pu Platter, Ruby Palace, Holmdel
                                  6. Plain Slice, Joey Tomatoes, Point Pleasant, NJ

                                  And for dessert, soft serve Ice Cream at Delicious Orchards, Colts Neck

                                  Would like to say that I have not had really good Italian (Except at home) since Focacceria closed in Leonardo a few years ago. It was like eating Sunday dinner with your family.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: mfalcone77

                                    I loved joey tomato a few years back...but lately it just hasn't been the same.