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Any info on Brandl in Belmar?

  • h

Friends and I were thinking of a get together. One suggested Brandl, any thoughts/reviews would be great!

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  1. Only second hand, but have heard good things. It is one of those places keep meaning to try. PLease post a review if you go.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Patrick

      Definately worth a visit. We really enjoyed our meal there. Go on line and look at the menu. It changes seanonally. I think more restaurants should do this. Order an appetizer because the main dish is on the small side.

    2. bring lots of money $$$. entre was very good, but small. Crab cake was excellent, but you only get one for $15.

      Souflee was nothing special and they charged $24 ouch.

      My dinner for two with no drinks was $150.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Ken the Eater

        Brandl is a little bit of a sore subject for me. I used to adore the restaurant and dined there quite regularly (at least once a month) about a year back. Chris Brandl used to (and I'm sure continues to ) serve some of the best food in the county if not the state (his lazy lobster and risottos are to die for). However, about a year back I noticed that the portions got smaller and the prices inched ever so higher to the point that appetizers and entrees averaged $15 and $37 respectively. I felt a little insulted by the changes and have refused to return. For the same money I could enjoy a three course meal at Nicholas.

        1. re: Ken the Eater

          I made the comment recently on a thread that I think was deleted by the admins that the cost for dinner for two with no drinks at a growing number of Monmouth County restaurants is in the $150 ballpark (2 apps, 2 entrees, 1-2 desserts, plus tip). Brandl certainly falls in this category. Table in Little Silver was the subject of the earlier thread. I also believe Le Fandy falls in this group and I'm sure there are many others. I agree with bgut1 that at this price point choosing the $55 price fix at Nicholas is a better value.

        2. I went there a couple of years ago and just didn't find it to be worth the money. Try Moonstruck or Matisse instead.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Peaches13

            Being dragged to Brandl tonite for a birthday dinner. Notwithstanding my earlier comments, I am looking forward to trying Chis' food again. While obviously the pricing is giving me pause, I keep saying to myself that its not my dinner and hopefully the food will be worth it. I'll let you know if my earlier position has changed.

            1. re: bgut1

              Please report back. I've been sitting on a $25 gift card I was given by the restaurant on my last visit more than a year ago due to a dinner mishap. I've been reluctant to return (not because of the mishap), but because of the ratio of value to price.

              1. re: jsfein

                Well it looks like I'm closing the book on Brandl. While we had a great time (due to friends and an excessive amount of really good wine), the food was very disappointing. The quality of the food has really gone down since my last visit over a year ago. We ordered quite a bit of food for our party of four in celebration of my DW's birthday (she chose Brandl BTW). We started out with the following appetizers: tuna carpaccio (horrible - we sent it back as it didn't taste right - something I rarely do), crab/corn risotto (normally a kitchen standout, it was woefully under seasoned), timbale of beets and goat cheese (didn't try but my DW like it), foie gras (good but a very miniscule portion), various raw items (clams and oyster shooters - both were good and fresh). Next came the entrees: both the ladies had the lazy lobster and the men had the buffalo steak,. These items have been on the menu for quite some time so they were a good reference point for guaging the kitchen. While I didn't taste the lobster, my wife was not happy with it. She felt it too lacked seasoning and flavor. Not the dish she recalled enjoying on countless visits in the past. My buffalo was okay, the demi-glace was too overpowering. It hid the taste of the meat. The fries were horrible; greasy and limp. We would have ended the meal there and gone home to have some chocolate pie I had made, however we had already ordered the chocolate souffle earlier. The souffles were okay - a little overdone and dry especially on the edges. The cost for four without tip was about $320. A huge price for pretty bad food. Had it not been for the company and the wine, I would have been very disappointed. Please people, seriously rethink your decision to dine at this establishment. While this may have been an off night for the kitchen, the fact that Chris Brandl charges those prices for the food of this qualiity and size is unconscionable. Regrettably (considering the fine meals I have had there years prior), I will never dine at Brandl again. To quote the the great Roger Daltry, "I wont get fooled again." Good luck.

                1. re: bgut1

                  Hey, bgut1, I'm so sorry that the food was this disappointing, especially so since it was a special occasion for your wife.

                  A few weeks ago, when we were at Lorena's, another couple who are regulars there told us that they'd been to Brandl for the first time and didn't think the food measured up. We've never been to Brandl, but after reading the negative comments on this board, I'd already pretty much decided that we'd manage to exist quite nicely without ever eating there. Not that I needed any further convincing, but I think your report seals it.

                  Btw, I guess I'm showing my age once again since I was not familiar with that line from Roger Daltry. So, via Google, I boned up: http://www.thewho.net/discography/son...

                  I'm guessing he based that line on what is actually a well-known Chinese proverb: http://www.santacruzpl.org/readyref/f...

                  1. re: RGR

                    Wow RGR ... that's a pretty old song. :) Thanks for your thoughts. I keep telling my DW that we must try Lorena's.

                    1. re: bgut1

                      You haven't been to Lorena's yet? :-( :-( Since I think you normally dine out on Saturday evening, if you want to go then, keep in mind they're generally booked for that night about two months in advance! Only 34 seats, you know. We're pretty much through the current basic menu though Humberto is always tweaking and making seasonal changes. :-)

                      1. re: RGR

                        Since we have kids and therefore limited babysitter time, we rarely get up that way. For us we normally don't go outside of Monmouth county. Therefore, I have to save it for a special occasion and at the appropriate time I will definitely seek your advise regarding the best dishes on the menu.

                        1. re: bgut1

                          Understood. I just wanted to make sure you give yourself sufficient lead time. And, of course, I'll gladly help with suggestions. :-)

          2. I forgot all about this post that I started quite a while ago, and guess what? I still haven't tried Brandl. The menu reads great on the website, sorry to hear all the poor reviews.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Herm

              Here's what I said about Brandl in another topic:

              Is Brandl really worth trying? I would only recommend people to stay away. The management there is incredibly rude. I have been a guest of others choosing to dine there three times, and every time I reminded myself never to choose to go back. In fact, I can't even remember what I ate there, only that the staff and management were snobs and that the prices were exorbitant by Belmar standards. I seem to recall two of the incidents having to do with accommodating children's dietary needs. Once, all we asked for was a dish of pasta with a little olive oil drizzled on top, and they charged us $20 for the pasta special.

              For an old-word storefront trattoria experience right in Belmar try Antonio's on Main St. around the corner from Bar A. You could drive by it a thousand times and not know it is there. It's a good BYOB red-sauce joint with fresh manicotti made to order."

            2. This is the letter that I recently sent Brandl about our dining experience:

              I wanted to let you know about the experience my husband and I had on our 12th anniversary at your establishment on 2/6/08. Not only did we pull a bottle of 96 Chianti from the top shelf of our collection; we chose Brandl to dine at.

              We are residents of Belmar and frequent this establishment for the great food and atmosphere. On nights like this, we like to take our time; we order our appetizer, enjoy the wine, and hold off on reviewing the entrees. This was a Wednesday, 8:00pm and the only other table was getting ready to leave. I ordered the risotto as an appetizer. For my entrée I ordered the Lazy Lobster, which I did not realize was served over risotto and requested potatoes instead, since I was not interested in eating another serving of risotto. We were dumbfounded that, without even flinching and with a touch of pretentiousness, our host/server declined the request stating that it this was a signature dish and it would not be altered in any way. Needless to say, we requested the check, paid and left. I could have been offered a side of the potatoes,
              and I may have even suggested it if not for the server’s delivery. He handed us the check without a word and let us walk out.

              To be honest we will most likely go there again as the location is too convenient to our home. Yet, something has been lost since this simple special request was refused to a Belmar resident in the dead of winter without another patron in the establishment.

              24 Replies
              1. re: Carvelli007

                We have been invited to be guests at Brandl tonight for the prix fix menu. Consequently, I searched for and reviewed this post earlier this morning. Needless to say it did not fill me with excitement about our dinner. Now this latest post has made me even less interested.

                I am trying to decide if I can ask our hosts to select another restaurant without it being rude. (I'm not sure if they will understand that a group of anonymous food geeks made me think it was a bad choice . . . then again, nobody wants a bad experience.)

                1. re: MGZ

                  Hey MGZ - "anonymous food geeks"? .... I resemble that remark :)

                  1. re: bgut1

                    I.A.W.B! lol


                    Whether you can suggest an alternative depends on how close/friendly you are with your hosts. I'm sure if you explain to them that there have many negative reports from "those in the know" (aka us "food geeks"), your hosts will appreciate you saving them from a possible disaster. However, before you decide to do so, I think you should come up with an alternative suggestion -- same price range -- and also see if a table is available.

                    1. re: RGR

                      Good suggestion RGR. Always have a plan/recommendation before you throw something out there.

                    2. re: bgut1

                      Hey, bgut1 and RGR, did you know that one of the meanings of 'geek' is "a carnival performer who performs sensationally morbid or disgusting acts, such as biting off the head of a live chicken"? OK, so it has other meanings too! LOL, LOL.

                      1. re: ambrose

                        Actually, my dictionary lists only two meanings -- exactly the one you cite and the second, an eccentric person. When it comes to bgut and me, neither is a good fit! lol

                        1. re: RGR

                          That's funny. Thanks for coming to my defense RGR. :)

                          1. re: bgut1

                            Due to the fact that last night was psychic night, we were able to move dinner to the Shipwreck. Tragedy narrowly avoided.

                            1. re: MGZ

                              Awesome powers of persuasion, MGZ! Glad to hear that our input helped you out.

                              Btw, I've never been to Shipwreck. What is psychic night?

                              1. re: RGR

                                Brandl had psychic night last night. 3 course dinner with psychic readings for $60 per person. No one in our party had any interest in such dinner distractions.

                                The Shipwreck, as you may have read in other posts here, is probably the best restaurant in Southern Monmouth or Ocean Counties. Although not perfect, its worth a try for any food geek.

                                1. re: MGZ

                                  Obviously, I thought it was Shipwrechk that was having the psychic night, so thanks for the clarification. Also obvious, then, was that your own powers of persuasion were not what did it. :-)) At some point, we will have to get to Shipwreck. I presume the menu does not include live chickens with heads in need of being bitten off.... lol

                                  1. re: RGR

                                    No live chickens, but you can usually find cougars at the bar.

                                    1. re: MGZ

                                      Color me stupid, but can you please explain "cougars at the bar"?

                                      1. re: RGR

                                        old chicks looking to "hook up" with some young meat!! (sorry to put it so blunt!!!) :)

                            2. re: bgut1

                              bgut, I was defending *both* of us! Eccentric and/or willing to bite the head off a live chicken? I hardly think so. :-)

                    3. re: Carvelli007

                      What was the outcome? Sorry you had a bad time. I still have not used my $ 100 gift certificate here....I simply dread the place after all these reviews...but hey $ 100 bucks is 100 bucks!!

                      1. re: Angelina

                        No outcome yet, I'll keep you posted.

                      2. re: Carvelli007

                        I'm not sure I understand what happened here. You said that when the server turned down your request for the substitution, you asked for the check and left. Does that mean you didn't eat there? If so, since it's a BYO, what Iwas the check for?

                        1. re: RGR

                          my post indicated that we ordered appetizers first. Once we ate them, then we were ready to order our main courses and were basically shot down when we requested a little change based on the fact that the app had risotto and so did the entre that I chose.

                          1. re: Carvelli007

                            "Little change" is subjective imo. Personally, I feel a restaurant doesn't have to cater to everyone's whim. That being said, there's no excuse if they gave you a bad attitude about it.

                            Sorry about your experience though. How were the apps?

                            Happy Anniversary btw!

                            1. re: Carvelli007

                              Oops! I did miss that part. Too bad that you did not order your apps and mains at the same time because if you had, then, perhaps, the waiter might have have warned you that both dishes involved risotto. But considering the attitude exhibited by this waiter, who knows? In any event....

                              I do not agree with white light's view of how restaurants should respond to patrons requests. This is a service industry, so unless a demand is totally unreasonable, restaurants should be willing to try to meet patrons' requests. In fact, many restaurants now ask diners if they have any allergies so that dishes can either be adjusted accordingly. or the diner can be advised to order something else.

                              This was definitely not a "whim" situation. The waiter should have checked with the kitchen, and his "attitude" was unacceptable.

                              1. re: RGR

                                I agree with the attitude being unacceptable. Admittedly, I'm taking a position of the devil's advocate here, but part of me respects an establishment for not wanting to alter their signature dish. It's a service industry and all, but a line has to be drawn somewhere (not to mention it was an error on the customer's side).

                                While on the subject... We went to Brandl's a month or so ago to give the prix-fix menu a go (tending to think they've outpriced themselves too much lately we've been staying away). Overall, it was a pretty positive experience. The only thing I remember putting me off was they tried to pass a mini-potato roll as a crostini for my soup (they could have at least tried toasting it or something). Both mains (a chicken and a beef) were good, though a little over-salted. They were out of the one dessert we wanted but were pretty accommodating about it and said we could have anything off the regular dessert menu as a substitution. Wasn't bad at all for $30 per person.

                                1. re: white light

                                  Even if, in this case, the customer made a mistake, the waiter didn't make even the slightest effort, i.e., checking with the kitchen, to see if the request could be accommodated. And since the requested substitution concerned an accompaniment, not the lobster itself, it seems to me that standing on some ridiculous principle, i.e., it's a signature dish, which then leads to the customer leaving in a huff, makes no sense whatsoever to me.

                                  Unlike Carvelli007, who said he would probably go back, if this situation had happened to me, the restaurant would never again see a penny of my money. "The customer is always right" is an old adage for a very good reason. Losing future business when it could easily be avoided isn't very savvy business practice.

                          2. re: Carvelli007

                            Why would you go back there again after being treated the way you were? I live close by as well and have never gone there based on the consistent poor reviews of the place over the past few years and I not just talking the Chowhound...

                          3. Here's something I posted previously about Brandl. In sum, I'd rather be branded with a hot iron than be insulted by Brandl's service and prices again:
                            Brandl? An excellent restaurant? With all due respect I'd rather be waterboarded than dine there again. Six of us were seated in the near right corner of Brandl under a blaring stereo speaker, and it took three requests and a hissy fit to get them to turn the music down low enough so we could hear each other. The service in general was either indifferent or snotty, and there were several times during the evening when we sure that our wait-person had run off and enlisted in the French Foreign Legion. The time between appetizer and entree was so long that we considered changing our order and asking for the breakfast menu. And when the entrees finally did come, they apparently had been sitting somewhere unattended for some time and were icy cold. The maitre d' shrugged it off with minimal apology and returned some ten minutes later with what might have been nuked versions of those same entrees. Waterboarding anyone?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: mmgpsych

                              well written. I actually laughed out loud,