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Sirena Long Branch Review

t
tom porc Mar 12, 2007 02:38 AM

We had lunch at Sirena on Saturday. Sadly, it was all show no substance. Attractive dining room and bar. Ocean/beach views were beautiful. The meals were lacking although the prices were OUTRAGEOUS. We had the scallops and strazzopretti (sp?). The scallops were chewy and stringy, For $16 you only got 3 scallops and it was served with one piece of artichoke and 2 stems of asparagus.. Never saw such an empty looking plate. My pasta was unevenly cooked and covered completely in pesto like green soup. The basil was overpowering ... my mouth puckered. And the portion was small ate it in 5 minutes ...$14. We didnt order an app or dessert. The lunch prices for them were the same for dinner. A lunch salad for $9? BTW, their online menu is not exactly the same as what's presented in-house and the prices are higher. Rather small menu and it seemed most things came with broccoli rabe which I dont care for ... forced upon me as a child.
Sorry, I cannot recommend Sirena although maybe the dinner cooks are more competent.

Afterwards, we picked up some chocolate and truffles at the Rocky Mtn Chocolate Factory for later, took home a napoleon and tiramisu from Carmella's (both absolutely delicious) and grabbed some fresh pasta and sauce at Ceriello (bachelor food). Frozen raviolis BOGO.

  1. Deb Van D Mar 12, 2007 10:38 AM

    Ouch. Thanks for the report. It's not a surprise, certainly, and I am utterly convinced that Pier Village is all blow and no go; small portions of thoroughly mediocre food at ridiculous prices. Predictable, but I would have wished you a better experience. What is it about wonderful views that curses cuisine? I have a date tomorrow night at McLoone's which was arranged over my dead body and I am already feeling the gathering dread.

    At least your desserts on the go sounded good. Nice retrieve.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Deb Van D
      r
      RGR Mar 12, 2007 10:52 AM

      tom porc's review seems to indicate that things may have changed dramatically vis-a-vis the food at Sirena's since it opened. Most of the first reports I read were positive -- some even glowing. But over time, some dissent started to creep in. And now, there have been a few, like tom porc's, that would qualify for a full-fledged downhill alert.

      There are some people who still feel that Avenue has something going for it, but I've never been and still have no desire to try it. I've never heard or read anything positive about McLoone's. And we all know about the situation at the much older, not-so-reliable Rooney's.

      I'm not sure I'd make a totally blanket statement about views and lousy cuisine. We had lunch for the first time last summer at the Boathouse, in Central Park. The lake view is fabulous, and we were pleasantly surprised to find that the food we had was actually very good. Our server, on the other hand, mostly mia.

      1. re: RGR
        Deb Van D Mar 12, 2007 12:04 PM

        Yes, it is a blanket statement about fine views and bad food, and it is not necessarily the case (although one's chance of a great meal in a Room With a View seem proportionately slim). Your point about your meal at the Boathouse is well taken, and there is enough information about recent fine dining at The River Cafe in Brooklyn, for instance, to convince me that anything is possible.

        I fell victim once to an appalling restaurant at the very top of the rim of the Grand Canyon du Verdon, and I have never forgotten it. It was a set up, very much the only game in town and they had us. Wretched food (this was France, after all), it left several of us hurtling thereafter into the bushes on the side of the road. Hence my jaundiced view of views.

        But Pier Village is another matter. There were enough murky doings in the genesis of this project that one might have hoped for some really decent dining, even at a price, to help throw people off the track. But it seems that this is not to be. Alas, the only thing positive that I can say about McLoone's is that I ate the macaroni and cheese there once and it didn't kill me, although the noise and the price bruised me up some.

        1. re: Deb Van D
          t
          tom porc Mar 13, 2007 02:39 AM

          Yes, Deb it's all blow. It appears that the Turning Point is the best option for lunch at Pier Village and dinner go elsewhere. I even tried the pizza at Michaelangelo's last year and its only fair. There is always Stewart's .. LOL.
          Browsing through the shops and boardwalk then finishing with coffee and dessert/gelato at Carmella's is enjoyable. I'm trying real hard to like Pier Village.

          I'll let you know how the food at Ceriello's turned out. I picked up a jar of their vodka sauce. Cant wait to try it. Made just for non-cooking bachelor's.

          Also, which McLoone's? Riverside or Pier House? And I hope its early enough while its light out so there is something to see. I mean do they lower the prices after the sun sets since the restaurant's main attraction is not visible.

          RGR, dont forget I went for lunch. Dinner may be a totally different animal. I assume the more proficient cooks do dinner. However, what we saw wasnt encouraging. Cant believe what they charge for a "casual" italian joint. My jaw is still on the floor.

          1. re: tom porc
            Deb Van D Mar 13, 2007 07:20 AM

            We'll be at the Pier House location, not that that is any improvement on my outlook for the meal. And now that we have changed our clocks for better or for worse, I will be able to enjoy the view at least, albeit with bags under my eyes.

            "I mean do they lower the prices after the sun sets since the restaurant's main attraction is not visible."

            Ha, oh yes, I'm SURE they do.

            For what it may be worth I remember stopping for a drink at Pier House not too long after it opened, and had a nicely made martini at a realistic price; not cheap but not extortionate. And if I must go, I prefer to go before the summer crowd sets in, with its wash of bermuda shorts, black knee socks and greek fisherman's caps.

            McLoone's Riverside, well, another pretty place with a decent brunch, but I Don't Brunch. We had a poor dinner there several years ago, and even though we enjoyed sitting outside overlooking the river we wouldn't be tempted back. I ordered a steak sandwich because it was a relatively inexpensive choice, but it was still too much to pay for that fatty, gristly tug-of-war on bread. It was a small sandwich, too, which turned out to be a mercy.

            I think that you and OGguy are on to something; stop at the Windmill and grab a bench, with gelato from Carmella's or The Lighthouse to follow. Mmm, I do love their blueberry ice.

            1. re: tom porc
              r
              RGR Mar 13, 2007 08:27 AM

              Hey, tom, I'm pretty sure the recent poor reviews I've read were for dinner, not lunch.

              A diner going for lunch should expect -- and receive -- the same top quality execution as at dinner. There are many restaurans where my husband and I enjoy going for lunch and dinner, and I've never seen one iota of difference between the two.

              It makes no sense for a restaurant owner to *purposely* serve inferior food at lunch, so I wouldn't presume that the cooks at lunch at Sirena's are less proficient than those who cook dinner. My (educated) guess is that the quality of the food there is no better at dinner than what you experienced.

      2. o
        OGguy Mar 13, 2007 05:41 AM

        The best retail opportunity at Pier Village is Shore Runner, the running store. They do sell water bottles and those bars and gels you consume on long runs, so this comment qualifies for Chowness.
        My take on the restaurants in PV is the same as most comments I've seen - they are overpriced and underwhelming.
        If you want lunch, go to the Windmill and bring the dogs back to a bench on the boards....

        3 Replies
        1. re: OGguy
          t
          tom porc Mar 14, 2007 02:03 AM

          Good idea, OG. I was even thinking of doing a burger and rootbeer at Stewart's.

          Has anyone tried the mousaka at The Greek place?

          1. re: tom porc
            r
            RGR Mar 14, 2007 09:27 AM

            Presuming you mean It's Greek to Me, it's a chain. We tried the one in Holmdel, and the food was revolting. The mezzes we ordered were so bad that we cancelled our main courses, paid for what had already been served, and left. It is possible that things might be better at the Long Branch location, different cooks, etc. But, "Caveat emptor!"

            1. re: RGR
              val ann c Mar 14, 2007 01:43 PM

              RE "Greek to Me", I agree with RGR. I've only been to the Holmdel location. Whenever I have to go there, I stick with soups. The soups are ok.

        2. seal Mar 13, 2007 01:58 PM

          I stand by my initial assessment that the best food at Pier Village are the assortment of gourmet caramel apples at Rocky Mountain candy. The plain caramel ones are mediocre, so avoid them and get the more expensive, but worth it, dipped ones.

          1. karins Mar 13, 2007 02:30 PM

            those apples are pretty darn good..i agree...its such a shame cause i really really wanted and hoped pier village restaurants would be great..they are very cool looking and yes the view is terrific...i wish the food was up there...its amazing how they pack em in tho!...mobbed in the summer and from what i understand you still cant get into the avenue on the weekends now... the short ribs really werent too bad....

            1 Reply
            1. re: karins
              t
              tom porc Mar 14, 2007 02:02 AM

              Anyplace that has music and serves alcohol does well these days. Frankly, the Avenue intimidates me.

            2. t
              tom porc Mar 14, 2007 01:57 AM

              Those caramel apples looked like works of art. Shiny colorful apples. Didnt even look real. I'm glad to hear they taste as good as they look.
              I couldnt resist the truffles and orange creams.

              1. n
                nyebaby37 Mar 14, 2007 06:30 AM

                what is the avenue?

                1 Reply
                1. re: nyebaby37
                  r
                  RGR Mar 14, 2007 09:19 AM

                  As I noted above, the correct name is actually just "Avenue." It's an upscale restaurant which also has a club upstairs. Here's a previous thread about it: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/30953...

                2. t
                  thunderkoda Nov 12, 2007 04:33 PM

                  Let me start out by saying the view is wonderful. After that it’s a down hill experience. I arrived a few minutes early for my 8:00pm reservation on a Saturday night. I was told very rudely that I could not be seated until all of my party had arrived and to move off to the side of the hostess stand immediately. As I stood to the side and waited I could not believe how unprofessional the two older woman were, not only to the customers but to the others working with them. Very unprofessional. Less then ten minutes later my other dinner guest arrived and we were seated. We were greeted by a waiter who was friendly and knowledgeable of the menu. I thought this could turn into a good dinner experience (so I thought.) After waiting 15 minutes for drinks to arrive, we placed our order. We ordered Cozze (steamed mussels) $12 one Arugula salad $10 and one Caesar salad $8. Our appetizers took over 40 minutes to get to us. When the appetizers made it to our table the mussels were cold and had a horrible smell. Needless to say we lost our appetite for the mussels and asked them to be removed from our check. When our entrées arrived two out of three were not what we ordered. The waiter was very apologetic and would look in to our order. Going on 45 minutes the entrées finally arrived. The Rigatoni Vodka ($18) looked like a kids portion. The “Diver” Scallops ($26) was very good but you only got to enjoy a whole four of them! Lastly, the Filet Mignon ($29) came out bloody rare when I asked for it medium rare. I asked the waiter to sent it back thinking it would only take 10 minutes but after 25 minutes I was furious and lost my appetite. About the only thing going for this place is the location. If it was not for the location this miserable restaurant would be out of business. I did find out from the waiter who and why these older ladies where at the host stand. He smiled and told me they were the owners wives. Don’t waste your money on small portions, bad seafood and attitude. Joseph, Michael Cetrulo and Kenneth Mansfield shame on you.

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