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Bistro 44 - Toms River

bgut1 Mar 30, 2007 07:54 PM

I don't know how many of you get the chance to visit my little neck of the woods, but I wanted to let you know about this really solid restaurant on Washington Street in downtown Toms River. First and foremost, I have no affiliation with this place. I am just very happy lunch regular that wants to put the word out about the fantastic food being offered at Bistro 44. As many of you know we have been hit pretty hard in downtown TR of late when it comes to restaurants. Both Jeffrey's and the Downtown Restaurant closed several years back and now Slowly (the successor to the Jeffrey's) has recently closed. I don't want to see the last quality restaurant in town close. That being said, I know the Bistro does a decent business (I'm sure even better since Slowly closed) however, I'm sure extra business and word of mouth wouldn't hurt. Please check out their website at www.bistro-44.com and give the place a try. You will not be disappointed. By way of specific example, this afternoon, I had a phenomenal grilled tuna salad with mixed greens, snap peas, roasted peppers and mixed spring greens in a red wine vinaigrette. Everything was super fresh, the tuna was perfectly seared with a beautiful rare center and the salad was properly dressed. Commitment to quality like this should be rewarded. Otherwise without our support, these places will close down and we (at least us in TR) will be left with only McDonald's and Subway. Thanks.

  1. Njchicaa Mar 21, 2012 07:20 AM

    Just heard that someone new is taking over the Bistro 44 space and doing "Italian-American comfort food". Interesting that they are doing Italian-American right across from Capone's...

    1. s
      selenapuras Oct 18, 2011 12:28 PM

      Hello Bgut1,

      I am traveling from Long Island to AC, and my boyfriend and I are stopping in Toms River or nearby area on Friday night. Any other suggestions other than Bistro 44 (just to have options). It does seem like a lovely place but I can't find much info/website for it. I also noticed your post is a few years old so I would love to know of anything new in the area... thanks!

      Bistro 44
      44 Washington St Ste 2C, Toms River, NJ 08753

      8 Replies
      1. re: selenapuras
        bgut1 Oct 18, 2011 02:24 PM

        selenapuras - As you may have read in prior posts, Chef Erik sold B44 back in March and I haven't been back save for a lunch about a month ago. While the food was "okay", Chef Erik is sorely missed. As far as other notable restaurants, the sole shining star in the sea of mediocrity known as the Ocean County food scene is Siam Spice. If you are interested in Thai food, I strongly suggest you giving them a try. I would be interested to know if Tapas52 (another board regular from this area) shares my sentiments. If you do try B44 I would also be interested to know what you think.


        Siam Spice
        1174 Fischer Blvd, Toms River, NJ 08753

        1. re: bgut1
          selenapuras Oct 18, 2011 06:25 PM

          Thank you so much for your quick reply. Maybe I will still give it a shot. I myself do love Thai food, not sure how my boyfriend would feel about it but I will run it by him.

          Thanks again and I will keep you posted on the outcome.

          1. re: bgut1
            Tapas52 Jan 13, 2012 09:46 AM

            Bgut1 your right on the money.....+1 for SIAM SPICE....we love that place!

            1. re: Tapas52
              frank welzer Feb 4, 2012 08:11 AM

              I've eaten in some pretty good Thai restaurants and this is up there with the best. Nice people and pleasant atmosphere. Limited menu. However they will make items not on the menu. I usually have the pork with clear noodles which is terrific. This and Amathran are excellent ethnic restaurants that we are very lucky to have.

              1. re: frank welzer
                JerZ Wine Geek Feb 4, 2012 05:23 PM

                Bistro 44 is Thai now?

                1. re: JerZ Wine Geek
                  lividbeez Feb 4, 2012 05:58 PM

                  It was never Thai..and it's closed now I believe. The website is taken down and I drove past the other day and it appears that the restaurant is empty. Another user on here said the same thing.

                  1. re: lividbeez
                    JerZ Wine Geek Feb 5, 2012 06:18 AM

                    My bad entirely. I didn't expand the previous post(s) so I didn't see that Mr Welzer was referring to Siam Spice. Oops... sorry!

            2. re: bgut1
              selenapuras Mar 21, 2012 07:42 AM

              I thought I had replied to this and I just realized I never responded to your question. We did go to B44, but it was empty (only one other couple there). They walked us all through the restaurant and sat us right next to the only couple there (it was very uncomfortable.) You could hear a pin drop. We have brought a bottle of wine which got opened by the server, but the moment he walked away we felt so out of place, I felt if we had any conversation it could be heard across the room. So we felt bad, but we left the server a tip and walked out. Ended up going to a Japanese place that was awesome (those are usually always fun.) Next time I am in the area we will stop at Siam Spice.... Thanks for all your help!

          2. JerzeyShore May 15, 2011 08:52 AM

            Went last night and had two wonderful meals, North Atlantic wild salmon and a double cut pork chop. All new staff, which is very efficient and friendly. Nice to report that B44 lives on with the same quality, creativity and attention to detail...

            2 Replies
            1. re: JerzeyShore
              Tapas52 May 15, 2011 06:25 PM

              JS glad to hear the news...I still have a few Xmas Gifts certificates for B44...cant wait love that place we have always enjoyed dining there.

              1. re: Tapas52
                JerzeyShore May 15, 2011 06:40 PM

                Tapas52, by all means give them a try and let us know how you make out ...

            2. Angelina Jul 28, 2010 05:56 AM

              First off, we made it finally to Bistro 44!!!

              Second, if and when I meet bgut, I have to give him a big smooch for always suggesting this place! :) Muah :) soo good!

              We went last week and I am still talking about the place today, Wednesday! Everything from the service, the pace of being served, to the actual taste and quality of the meals......

              I started with the homemade chicken/goat cheese ravioli in a light cream mushroom sauce. (need I say more on that blend??) My husband started with the penne in a fra diablo sauce with shrimp and brocolli. Also, a great choice!

              Dinner, I had the special of a Corvina fish served with a black basmati rice, fresh veggies in a sweet and hot sauce. I eat my whole plate!!! I did not want to miss any morsel. My husband had the duck breast. I forget what his came with because I was too busy enjoying eveey last bite of mine!! I tasted his duck and he was just as happy as I was!

              For dessert, we shared the gelato. Lemon, cappucino, and pistachio. Nice ending to a perfect meal!!

              The total came for all that and a bottle of Pellegrino $ 98.00 pre tip. (Then we used the $25.00 gift card I bought a few months back.)

              This place was well worth every penny!! We were so pleased and cannot wait to return. It's not as close to me as we like, but I have not been that happy with a restaurant in quite some time now.

              The place was simply fabulous, bgut, and I am so happy you recommended this place!!! Thanks again!! :)

              Bistro 44
              44 Washington St Ste 2C, Toms River, NJ 08753

              21 Replies
              1. re: Angelina
                Tapas52 Jul 28, 2010 08:07 AM

                Angelina glad tyo hear you had a great time at one of our favorite restaurants also..bgut1 also turned us on to it...Chef Erik does an outstanding job there as well...always good ....always delicious...can't to return!

                1. re: Angelina
                  bgut1 Jul 28, 2010 12:55 PM

                  Angelina - I'm so happy that you enjoyed B44. It sounds like you had a fantastic meal. Chef Erik has been getting some much deserved attention lately due to his win on Chopped several months back.

                  1. re: bgut1
                    Angelina Jul 29, 2010 04:29 AM

                    Thanks tapas & bgut! I have to see if I find that episode of "Chopped". We truely were happy with everything! :) Can't wait to go back! (Especially since I am due in 2 weeks! I might be heading that way Friday again!!))

                    1. re: Angelina
                      Tapas52 Jul 29, 2010 04:35 AM

                      The Chopped rerun with chef erik was on the opther night!


                      1. re: Angelina
                        bgut1 Jul 29, 2010 08:03 AM

                        Congrats Angelina. You definitely deserve another dinner. :)

                        1. re: bgut1
                          MrsDaniels Mar 27, 2011 07:30 PM

                          Closed last night, restaurant sold.

                          1. re: MrsDaniels
                            DinnerChick11 Mar 27, 2011 08:36 PM

                            What happened?

                            1. re: MrsDaniels
                              Tapas52 Mar 27, 2011 10:35 PM

                              I'm shocked!!!! :(

                              1. re: Tapas52
                                Tay Mar 27, 2011 11:04 PM

                                Hmmmm....Their web site is still up.


                                1. re: Tay
                                  MrsDaniels Mar 28, 2011 04:51 AM

                                  He found a buyer and a "normal" hours job. Chef Erik has two small children, he wants to spend more time with them, owning a restaurant that is impossible. We wish him all the best, he can open another place when his kids have grown, but they will only be little once. I give him alot of credit for making this difficult decision and choosing to put his family first!

                                  1. re: MrsDaniels
                                    Angelina Mar 28, 2011 06:11 AM

                                    Is it going to re-open? Figures...another place I have a gift certificate to that went out of business! :(

                                    1. re: Angelina
                                      Tapas52 Mar 28, 2011 06:34 AM

                                      Angelina ......I still have a few GC's from Xmas presents also.......oh well!
                                      Toms River loses one of the few & possibly the only good fine dining restaurant in this area...... Bistro 44 will be missed.

                                      Bistro 44
                                      44 Washington St Ste 2C, Toms River, NJ 08753

                                      1. re: Tapas52
                                        big1515 Mar 28, 2011 02:01 PM

                                        Why do we not have more (fine dinning) in Ocean County ,we loss Bisto 44 and the chef @ Atlantic Bar and grill left .Why will good chefs and up scale restaurants not take a chance in Ocean county ? this amazes me ,does anybody know why !

                                        1. re: big1515
                                          bgut1 Mar 28, 2011 02:33 PM

                                          big1515 - That's a good question. It really comes down to demand. Diners vote with their pocket book and in Ocean County, the majority of diners don't want to dine at "fine dining" restaurants. The fine dining establishments do not succeed while chains and other pedestrian restaurants flourish. The above combined with the faltering economy does not bode well for "fine dining" in this county. As for ABG, I do consider their current chef, Mike d'Ennery, to be a "good" and talented chef. Lastly, I want to thank Chef Erik for the years of great food and wish his and the entire Bistro 44 family the best of luck in all their future endeavors. You all will be sorely missed.

                                          Bistro 44
                                          44 Washington St Ste 2C, Toms River, NJ 08753

                                      2. re: Angelina
                                        Tay Mar 28, 2011 03:03 PM

                                        "another place I have a gift certificate to that went out of business! :("
                                        If/when they re-open under new mgmt, by all means inquire as whether or not they will honor or at least partially credit you for the gc. It's happened to me several times and every time (With one exception) the new owners honored or gave a generous discount. It's something a savvy owner will often do to generate good will and possibly attract a new customer. Certainly worth a try.
                                        As for the "Normal hours job" and the growing kids reason he sold ... I hate to sound cynical but I just don't buy it. In this precarious economy no one would sell their children's legacy if it were doing well.
                                        It always comes down to the Benjamins

                                        1. re: Tay
                                          chefMD Mar 28, 2011 03:59 PM

                                          I must defend my peer here folks....

                                          This is a hard job we chose. The hours, the stress, the profit margins, not to mention the strains on all relationships, makes the life of a chef very difficult. I applaud Eric for doing what I'm sure had to be one of, if not the hardest thing he's ever had to do as a business owner. Working 60+ hours a week not to mention the work when you're not at work does allow much time for family and friends. Trust me here folks, I know!

                                          BTW, just because a restaurant is "doing well" doesn't mean there is a healthy profit. While some people cringe at the sight of prices at fine dinning establishments, there isn't much money being made. Finer dinning means finer china, glass, silver, linen, better quality staff, rising taxes, rising costs of food due to energy crisis, better quality food, more up-keep, nicer menus, etc, etc... Why do you think there are sooooo many pizza places out there? Small footprint, no hood needed, high profit, high demand, no need for culinary schooled cooks who need to make 15-20$ an hour, simple menu, simple ingredients, etc, etc...

                                          We are thrilled when we turn a profit but most of the time, for most fine dinning restaurants, there just simply is not much left over. Chefs like Eric do it out of a labor of love and passion.

                                          If you remember the end of the "Chopped" episode when he dedicated it to his father, that says it all. Eric, you truly are a true champion and we wish you and the staff of Bistro 44 the best of luck. Thanks for the great meals and enjoy your family, it only comes once...

                                          Bistro 44
                                          44 Washington St Ste 2C, Toms River, NJ 08753

                                          1. re: chefMD
                                            lbm Mar 28, 2011 10:11 PM

                                            So yes the bistro has sold, not closed. They will be open for lunch tues. 3/29/11, same staff. All the girls are staying. As for the kitchen well I haven't been behind the stove in 7 months,. those of you who know me , know the passion that i put forth everytime I walked through those doors, Making this decision was not an easy one. It pains me to see how people that dont know the aspects of the business or even the drive a chef has to do what he loves, make a decision to actually be there for his family, no one knows what goes on behind close doors. I love my family, my wife my Mom, my children and yes MY BISTRO!!!! I want to say thank you to everyone that supported us over the past 5.5 years, you made MY dream come true! Thank you Toms River and Ocean county for your hospitality ! I will miss you!!!!!!! Please remember to give all restaurants a chance, change is good, never judge a book buy its cover -- it may just be a pretty good read. Hey you never Know I may pop up in someones kitchen for a cameo ????????

                                            THANKS TO YOU ALL
                                            CHEF ERIK WEATHERSPOOL

                                            1. re: lbm
                                              Tay Mar 29, 2011 08:34 AM

                                              " As for the kitchen well I haven't been behind the stove in 7 months,. "

                                              If that is the case and whoever has been there is still there then the restaurant should continue to maintain it's stellar reputation
                                              I'll curtail my cynical nature to sincerely wish Chef Erik and family all the best

                                              1. re: lbm
                                                Tapas52 Mar 29, 2011 10:39 AM

                                                I feel much better now that I can still enjoy Bistro 44 ....Eric good luck to you!!!
                                                BTW...will the menu remain the same also/.?

                                                Bistro 44
                                                44 Washington St Ste 2C, Toms River, NJ 08753

                                                1. re: lbm
                                                  sbier Mar 30, 2011 01:39 PM

                                                  And thank YOU, Erik, for 5.5 years of superb food! Can you tell us anything about the new owner/chef?

                                  2. re: bgut1
                                    JerzeyShore Mar 29, 2011 11:54 AM

                                    Thanks to bgut1's glowing recommendation a few years ago we discovered what was to become our favorite restaurant at the Jersey shore. Yes there are a few other excellent bistros up and down the coast but nobody seems to put together a dinning experience like B44 under the ownership of Chef Erik. We can only hope that the new owner continues with a similar experience at this Toms River establishment.

                                    Thank you Erik ...

                            2. Angelina May 1, 2010 09:09 AM

                              I am sure you got this email bgut, but I always think of you whenever this place is mentioned! (I have to try this place in the near future!!!)

                              A coupon for $ 25.00 worth $ 50.00! Great deal!


                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Angelina
                                Angelina May 1, 2010 09:17 AM

                                Just bought one bgut, so now I WILL get there!! :)

                                1. re: Angelina
                                  Tapas52 May 1, 2010 09:39 AM

                                  Great Deal Angelina ...it's my favorite place to dine.... enjoy!

                                  btw how do you get the coupons after purchase ...printout or?

                                  1. re: Tapas52
                                    bgut1 May 2, 2010 10:50 AM

                                    Thanks Angelina. I appreciate the association.

                              2. JerzeyShore Apr 25, 2009 05:03 PM

                                Went to Bistro 44 this evening and in a word (EXCELLENT.) Thanks to bgut1's constant encouragement concerning this place we decided to try it and sampled several dishes which included the chicken, veal chop a special caesar salad, fried oysters and a delicious peacan pie with vanilla gelato. The service was both friendly and efficient making the overall meal a very nice experience. The bill came to $73 before tax and tip as we shared the apps and dessert. This makes for a great meal at a very attractive price point. I would recommend to other chowhounders to take bgut1's advice and give this place a try - you will not be disappointed.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: JerzeyShore
                                  bgut1 Apr 25, 2009 08:45 PM

                                  Thanks JerzeyShore. I'm happy you enjoyed it.

                                  1. re: bgut1
                                    bgut1 Jul 20, 2009 08:51 PM

                                    Congratulations to Chef Erik and Chef Peter Fischbach coming in 2nd Place in the 2009 Great American Seafood Cook-off this past weekend in NOLA.

                                    1. re: bgut1
                                      Tapas52 Jul 21, 2009 07:38 AM

                                      Great News Congrats!!!

                                      1. re: Tapas52
                                        bgut1 Oct 2, 2009 11:10 PM

                                        Its been a while since I've posted about my favorite Ocean County restaurant. Today however I had the chance to sample two new appetizers on the Autumn menu; the grilled oysters and the pork belly. Both were exceptional. The grilled oysters reminded me of the rendition served at the Acme Oyster Company in NOLA. The oysters were perfectly cooked and served bubbling with melted butter and herbs. I implore Chef Erik to serve it next time with bread to be able to sop up the buttery goodness (as well as to avoid my embarrassment in being seen licking the shells). As for the pork belly, it was of ample thickness, had a great sear and just the right combination of pork and fat such that it melted in my mouth. I can't wait to go back for more.

                                        1. re: bgut1
                                          JerzeyShore Feb 27, 2010 04:21 PM

                                          Another GREAT meal at B44, this place has become one of our favorites. Not sure if anyone has been there recently but chef Erik is still doing his thing. Pork belly, pork chops with sweet potatoes and mustard greens, cod fish and we finished with chocolate lava cake - all DELICIOUS.

                                          Superior service and ambience combined with the food make this a special place and very good value in Toms River.

                                          1. re: JerzeyShore
                                            Tapas52 Mar 5, 2010 02:42 AM

                                            Congratulations to Chef Erik for Winning first place $10,000 on Food Tv's show "Chopped" this week.....we were all rooting for him, great restaurant Bistro 44, great chef !

                                2. shabbystorm Apr 1, 2009 02:09 PM

                                  Just tagging this as a must try for a lunch road trip :)

                                  12 Replies
                                  1. re: shabbystorm
                                    Tapas52 Apr 1, 2009 02:13 PM

                                    shabbystorm its on my top 5 list also very very soon.....awaiting your review also.

                                    1. re: Tapas52
                                      bgut1 Apr 1, 2009 02:49 PM

                                      What are you guys waiting for? .... Please go!!! :)

                                      1. re: bgut1
                                        BernieMSY Apr 6, 2009 01:16 PM

                                        bgut1, Chef Erik tells me that he will be switching to a new spring menu this week. i'm going for the first time on Friday evening with a group of friends. Any ideas or tips?

                                        1. re: BernieMSY
                                          bgut1 Apr 6, 2009 03:16 PM

                                          Bernie - I will try to stop in sometime this week for lunch and pick up a copy of the new menu. Not knowing what's on the menu precludes me from giving you any ordering advice. However, I will say that I have yet to be disappointed with anything that Erik has served me. Of late, I've been blown away with how perfectly his fish dishes have been prepared. Bring a nice bottle of wine and don't forget to order dessert. I'm sure you will not be disappointed. Have a great time and please let me know how it went. Good Luck.

                                          1. re: bgut1
                                            rutgers2 Apr 7, 2009 09:48 AM

                                            I am finally having lunch at Bistro 44 next week. I emailed Chef Erik because I have a special diet and he emailed me within moments and basically said "No problem." Thanks for the great reviews/comments, I have learned so much and know this will be a great experience.

                                            1. re: rutgers2
                                              bgut1 Apr 7, 2009 11:47 AM

                                              rutgers - You wont be disappointed. I just came back from lunch at B44 and thoroughly enjoyed an excellent piece of tilapia over field greens, toasted cashews, mandarin oranges with a honey vinaigrette.

                                              1. re: bgut1
                                                rutgers2 Apr 7, 2009 12:15 PM

                                                Thanks so much, bgut1! I am already impressed with B44.

                                                1. re: rutgers2
                                                  bgut1 Apr 7, 2009 12:32 PM

                                                  Always welcome. Enjoy.

                                                  1. re: bgut1
                                                    Tapas52 Apr 8, 2009 06:48 PM

                                                    Thanks so much for recommending Bistro 44...... I was finally able to have dinner there this evening and I am so glad I did it was wonderful.
                                                    The atmosphere, candle lit tables & smooth Jazz music was very relaxing. The service was excellent and very attentive & also very informative as it was my first time there I had a few questions about the selections, which BTW was the first night of the new menu by chef Erik. Hot assorted rolls with an infused side of olive oil helped sooth my anxiousness, as did my Passion Fruit fresh brewed Ice tea, which was continually refilled.
                                                    I decided for my first time there to try something called the "Econo Buster" which for a fixed price of $30.44 included a few choices of Appetizers, Salad, Main Course, & Desert.
                                                    I started with the BBQ Shrimp & Grits the presentation was so appealing and it was absolutely delicious, bbq sauce had just the right amount of spices sweet & savory on a bed of the most delicious creamy cheesy grits I ever had also the texture & perfect grittiness complimented the whole experience of the dish topped with a little Frisse`.
                                                    Next a Spinach & Mixed fresh greens salad topped with roasted peppers & very tasty and just enough vinaigrette to coat …my friendly server were always attentive to ask if I needed fresh cracked pepper which was nice.
                                                    My main course was served and it was visually stunning on the triangle plate…. I had ordered the Crab Cakes, which were recommended by my server, & I’m glad she did for sure. Three lightly breaded fresh cakes on each corner of the plate on top of a creamy savory sauce, which really complimented the crab, surrounded a bed of assorted julienne vegetables with a mound of whipped mashed potatoes …Excellent dish!!
                                                    I was offered two deserts and opted for the home made melt in your mouth Brownie light and very tastey topped with a Vanilla Gelato, fresh blueberries, pineapple, & drizzled with I think was a strawberry sauce underneath, also for a nice touch a powdered Sugar Dusted Basil leaf on top to complete the dish.
                                                    Let me say that I enjoyed this meal so much & I am so glad it’s nearby so I may return often. I would recommend dining at Bistro 44 to anyone who enjoys a fine dining experience for sure.

                                                    Chef Erik is to be commended…Bravo!

                                                    1. re: Tapas52
                                                      bgut1 Apr 8, 2009 07:20 PM

                                                      Tapas - Thanks for the excellent review. I'm so happy you enjoyed your meal. I had heard that Erik was toying with the idea of doing a prix fixe and it sounds like a phenomenal deal. I hope to give the new dinner menu a try very soon.

                                                      1. re: Tapas52
                                                        HelenB Apr 15, 2009 06:21 AM

                                                        Tapas, thanks for the great review! The Econo Buster you mentioned sounds like a good deal, I will have to go and try it! The dessert you wrote about was appealing too, especially the mix of pineapples and blueberries! I had their brownie before and it was heavenly!

                                                        1. re: HelenB
                                                          Tapas52 Apr 15, 2009 06:31 AM

                                                          Helen.....Im sure you wont be disappointed...Chef Erik's new menu is wonderful. I can't wait to go back for more. Awaiting your review also. have fun & enjoy your experience at Bistro 44.

                                    2. njfreqflyer Feb 18, 2009 08:01 AM

                                      Bistro 44 continues to please… I had another fine meal there Tuesday night; selected both courses from the specials of the day:

                                      Started with a half portion of the goat cheese and mushroom ravioli, topped with sliced mushrooms and spinach, and in a light mushroom reduction. Very nice, creamy, delicious, rich.

                                      Then onto the crabmeat stuffed flounder with roasted root vegetables, served in a whole grain Dijon cream sauce and with whipped potatoes. The Dijon sauce was light, and with good flavor. The crabmeat was sweet and the fish was done right. The root vegetables were diced, simply presented, and had a nice firmness and flavor. The potatoes were potatoes (and coupled nicely with the Dijon sauce). Overall, the dish was very tasty and enjoyable. Also a bit rich.

                                      Because of their rich flavors, both dishes held their own against my bottle of Franciscan Magnificat, 2007 (a California meritage).

                                      For desert, I had the warm pecan pie, served with a scoop of vanilla gelato, assorted berries, and some diced pineapple. I liked the surprise of the pineapple. Good, although I’m not much of a desert person, so probably am not doing it justice.

                                      With tax, but not tip, the bill was $48. Service was fine. I arrived a little past 7 PM, and I think there were 3 or 4 other tables already into their meals, and a two-some came in a little after me. Mostly just a quiet Tuesday night in Toms River. It’s so nice to be able to get consistently great quality meals at B44. Every time I go, I tell myself that I need to eat there more frequently.

                                      Bistro 44
                                      44 Washington St Ste 2C, Toms River, NJ 08753

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: njfreqflyer
                                        tom246 Feb 18, 2009 08:53 AM

                                        NJ, nice report. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to B44 last August and plan to get back there within the next couple of weeks.

                                        1. re: tom246
                                          bgut1 Feb 18, 2009 10:55 AM

                                          nj - Thank you for the excellent report. Coincidentally, I ate lunch there today and enjoyed what I would characterize as one of the best pieces of fish I've ever had (halibut in the daily chef salad). I can't say enough good things about this restaurant and it makes me happy that others feel exactly the same way.

                                      2. k
                                        Kathy T Jan 17, 2009 01:13 PM

                                        We are looking for place to hold my Mom's 80th birthday party in June about 30 people. Toms River area.
                                        Is Bistro 44 a good place to look into?
                                        Any other suggestions are welcome.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Kathy T
                                          bgut1 Jan 17, 2009 02:22 PM

                                          Absolutely. Please take a gander at the above posts.

                                        2. t
                                          tom246 Aug 15, 2008 03:07 PM

                                          Yesterday (Thursday) wife and I had a chance to head down to Bistro 44 and we enjoyed a very good dinner.
                                          It was our second time there, last time was about a year ago.
                                          All the servers and helpers are very friendly, our server April was great as she was attentive, friendly, knowledgable and has a good sense of humor.

                                          Attractive and varied menu, for starters we tried (and shared):
                                          Seafood risotto which had some crab, a large grilled scallop with herb risotto.
                                          Also had Bistro salad which had mixed greens, balsamic marinated strawberries, almond crusted goat cheese with a balsamic vinaigrette.
                                          Both very good and combo of seafood risotto and salad hit the spot.

                                          Entrees were; Sauteed Sea Scallops whic were several large scallops nicely cooked with a light ginger citrus sauce and cashew infused rice, although I swear I could also taste some coconut which added to the complex flavors.
                                          Also had the Grilled Prime Pork Chop which was a double cut that had been butterflied into two large chops. Again nicely cooked to medium and came with apple cherry chutney and that cashew infused rice. Two nice entree's.

                                          We were pretty full but ignored our stomach telling us no :) and we split a special dessert, a Peach-Blueberry cobbler with a scoop of vanilla gelato.
                                          Great way to end the meal. Wine for the evening was a 2005 Sojourn Pinot Noir.
                                          The dining room is long and fairly narrow, plenty of room between tables and I doubt noise would ever be a bad problem.
                                          Bistro 44 is a nice destination restaurant in Toms River which combines solid food and friendly service.

                                          1. 7
                                            78044993 May 28, 2008 09:38 PM

                                            The Bistro really is consistently the best restaurant in this area. My wife and I dine there about once per month, and are looking forward to trying the lunch menu soon. We held our daughter's christening luncheon there last year. Kelly and Erik opened the restaurant for us on a Sunday, served a spectacular meal, and impressed our entire crowd of guests. We really hyped it, and they delivered, giving us a memorable day with family and friends.

                                            One great touch - we had dined there many times before, and always commented on a special dessert they served back in '06 - chocolate pots du creme - garnished for the holidays. Without our asking, they served chocolate and vanilla pots du creme for each of our guests! They remembered our comments from months prior, and prepared the dessert for us for our daughter's special occasion. Needless to say, after a gesture like that, we are patrons for life.

                                            I hope to see them succeed downtown. They offer a superb menu, expert presentation and quality, and a NYC experience all the way. Beyond the technical, these are kind, warm and caring people who want you to enjoy your time in their restaurant, and their enthusiasm shows.

                                            Last night, my wife and I dined there for her birthday. We were the only table seated (it was a Tuesday night), and they treated us as though we were visiting their home. No rush, just kind, patient service. This place is a gem.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: 78044993
                                              bgut1 Jul 11, 2008 05:43 PM

                                              Another great lunch at Bistro 44 this afternoon. Chef Erik out did himself with an expertly prepared Kobe hamburger topped with truffle cheese. It was one of the best burgers I've ever had bar none (Corner Bistro et al. included). Too bad the burger was only a special.

                                            2. MartiniQueen Apr 22, 2008 12:37 PM

                                              After working 2 blocks away from this fabulous place for 3 years, we FINALLY had dinner at Bistro 44 this past Friday. Bgut1, everything you've said about the bistro is true! We started off with the duck trilogy - a spring roll, smoked breast with a cherry chutney, and silky smooth rilettes. Absolute heaven. Next came a special salad with red watercress, tomatoes and yellow wax beans topped with 2 pieces of barbecued short ribs - amazing. My main course was a special of roasted monkfish with basil-flecked jasmine rice and my SO had the roast duck - both dishes were outstanding. We ordered several desserts, one of which was a creamy smooth goat cheese cake. I can't remember the others as by that point my senses were overloaded - in a good way. :) Service was polite and attentive without being intrusive. We'll be going back very soon!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: MartiniQueen
                                                bgut1 Apr 22, 2008 01:54 PM

                                                Martini - I'm so happy you enjoyed your meal. I just came back from an office luncheon there this afternoon and also enjoyed the short rib salad (prepared with the addition of some sliced steak) which came with mixed greens, yellow wax beans, a huge slice of an heirloom (?) tomato and dressed with a perfect pepper ranch dressing. The pièce de résistance was a mixed berry cobbler with vanilla gelato - warm melange of fresh berries, toothsome homemade cobbler crust and cool ice cream. A perfect dessert.

                                              2. a
                                                Alexvamike Apr 16, 2007 03:05 PM

                                                Thanks - bgut1. I am straying from my home site in DC because I have a business trip to Toms River area later this week. Looks like Bistro-44 will be one of my stops. I feel better now...I went to trip advisor and The Olive Garden was rated the best restaurant in town. If you have any other sugggestions please advise. Always looking for good seafood and I don't mind driving 10-15 miles for it.

                                                10 Replies
                                                1. re: Alexvamike
                                                  bgut1 Apr 16, 2007 03:51 PM

                                                  Hello Alexvamike. The Olive Garden comment gave me a chuckle. Its pretty bad in TR but far from a culinary wasteland. You just have to now where to go. Here are couple more suggestions. I like Basil T's on Hooper Avenue right near the Ocean County Mall. Its a brew pub with solid continental fare, salads , pizza etc. A good comfortable place. Another fun casual place is the Labrador Lounge in Normandy Beach, NJ (about 10 miles out of down town). As far as Italian is concerned, I would try either Villa Amalfi or Caffe Italia. For very good colombian/mexican try La Familiar in the Stella Plaza. For Indian cusine try Aamantran. Even though we are right next to the Atlantic, I can't recommend a seafood in the direct vicinity. The closest I can think of is Spikes in Point Pleasant Beach (very basic seafood shack decor). The food is very fresh (right off the boat) simply prepared and fairly priced. Spikes is located about 15 miles from TR. Although I've never been, friends recommend the Shipwreck Grille in Brielle (about 17 miles out of downtown) for seafood in a "nicer" surrounding. Good luck and let me know where you went.

                                                  1. re: bgut1
                                                    Alexvamike Apr 19, 2007 06:06 PM

                                                    Good on you bgut1. I dined last night at Bistro-44 and what a pleasant meal at a bargain price compared to what I am used to paying. The BYOB thing through me a curve ball but the helpful staff sent me out ...I got a beer and a nice wine and was right back. I usually prefer to select my entree and then pick my wine so I grabbed a NZ White and crossed my fingers they had decent fish or chicken...they did...and it worked great. Funny, I stayed at the Ramada Inn. I asked Where is the B-44? "Never heard of it" was the response. Had to dig it out of the yellow pages on my own...but glad I did. Thanks.

                                                    1. re: Alexvamike
                                                      bgut1 Apr 19, 2007 07:26 PM

                                                      Alexvamike - Your welcome. I am truly happy you enjoyed it. Doesn't surprise me about the Ramada folks. Don't tell me ... the white was a Kim Crawford SB? BYOB's are great. It keeps the cost of dinner down and nothing bothers me more than paying up to a 300% markup on wine I can get around the corner. I hope you had a decent time in TR.

                                                      1. re: bgut1
                                                        bgut1 Apr 20, 2007 11:39 AM

                                                        Alexvamike - I ate lunch there this afternoon. My favortie waitperson Judy recalls you coming in Wednesday night and had nothing but nice things to say. Again, I am very happy you enjoyed your meal.

                                                        1. re: bgut1
                                                          bgut1 Jul 16, 2007 02:42 PM

                                                          Having never actually eaten dinner at Bistro 44, I decided to put my money were my mouth was and dine there this past weekend. Considering how good the lunches were, I had quite high expecations. While I wasn't blown away by the meal, it was quite solid. We ordered as follows: a grilled quail with homemade BBQ sauce special (okay but nothing to write home about), their signature shrimp appetizer (my wife raved about it - the one bite I had was very good), the gazapacho soup with shrimp (excellent although the serving was a little miserly for the price), a cowboy steak on the bone and potato puree (excellent flavored butter on steak made the dish, large size steak, very well prepared and properly cooked) and grilled opakapaka (hawaiian pink snapper) with coconut jasmine rice and pineapple salsa (perfectly cooked, a well conceived and beautiful entree - the best of the nite), lava chocolate cake (standard but good) and various gelatos (good - but not homemade - ciao bella I understand). Price for the above excluding tip was about $125. I would have been more enthused had not had the mind blowing meal for the same price at One 53 the week prior. All in all, however, a very good meal and clearly the best your going to get in Ocean County. Good Luck.

                                                          1. re: bgut1
                                                            bgut1 Jan 9, 2008 06:03 PM

                                                            As many of you know I'm a big fan of this restaurant and while I eat there regularly for lunch, I don't have occasion to eat dinner there that often. In fact, my last post reminds me that I haven't had dinner at B44 in almost 6 months. This evening however myself and several colleagues had a business dinner at the restaurant. As usual the food was excellent. My meal consisted of the "duck trilogy" appetizer which comprised of an exemplary duck spring roll (perfectly crisp and greaseless), a generous scoop of duck rillettes with toast points (better then your mom's chopped liver) and slices of smoked duck breast over a diced red fruit of some sort (just a spectacular app). For the entree I choose the short ribs (2 nice sized chunks) with collard greens and cheese grits. While I've had short ribs in every kind of configuration, this combination was probably the best I've ever enjoyed. On paper it didn't sound like it would work, but the flavor combination was perfect. The collards were a nice consistency (toothsome - not to mushy but not too hard) and lacked any bitterness while the cheese grits were the best I've ever eaten. Too bad it was unseasonably warm this evening as the dish would have been perfect for a cold night. The only slight disappointment was the dessert. Staying in a southern mood, I decided to order the warm pecan pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Instead of the ideal slice of pie (topped with a layer of large pecans and a buttery crust), it was more a slender and thin tart with very little crust and crushed pecans. While decent it wasn't what I was expecting. The saving grace for the dessert however was the excellent scoop of vanilla IC. I am happy to report that for a Wednesday evening, the restaurant was pretty full. If located in Monmouth County I would eat dinner at B44 every week. Good Luck.

                                                            1. re: bgut1
                                                              bgut1 Mar 14, 2008 10:53 AM

                                                              I just wanted to let everyone know that Chef Erik has just changed his lunch menu (and is about to do the same with the dinner one). Two new notable additions to the lunch menu are the trio of sliders (kobe burger, pulled pork and crab cake) with sweet potato fries and homemade coleslaw with grapes and mandarin oranges - (my tablemates raved) and the ahi tuna salad with jicama salad and peanut dressing (perfectly seared tuna atop a melange of field greens with a slighty spicy dressing). Chef Erik continues to amaze. Good Luck.

                                                              1. re: bgut1
                                                                alielle Mar 23, 2008 03:09 PM

                                                                Thank you so much for recommending places down here in toms river, bgut1. It's always hard to find places near this neck of the woods. Every time I see this post resurrected, I keep reminding myself to go try out Bistro 44. In fact, I even have a gift certificate to it. I just keep forgetting. :( On another note, have you tried the mexican-columbian place on route 166? It's called el familiar.

                                                                1. re: alielle
                                                                  bgut1 Mar 23, 2008 06:55 PM

                                                                  alielle - It's my pleasure to help. I hope you enjoy your meal at B44. Please let us know what you think. Yes, I have been to El Familiar. It's very good as well. Good Luck.

                                                                  1. re: alielle
                                                                    newfie29 Mar 25, 2008 08:24 AM

                                                                    El Familiar is excellent - super clean, super fresh, very reasonably priced - we've been going there since it first opened, and it seems to be growing in popularity as word of mouth spreads - always a good sign. The menu is quite extensive, and I've yet to order something in which I found myself disappointed.

                                                  2. k
                                                    k8t13 Apr 10, 2007 10:59 AM

                                                    Hi, it's my birthday on Friday and my husband told me I can pick the restaurant. I saw your post on Bistro 44 and it looks really good. Do they have a liquor license? Also, what is the dress code (I never know what to wear)? Thanks!

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: k8t13
                                                      bgut1 Apr 10, 2007 11:15 AM

                                                      Happy Birthday!! It is BYOB. As far as dress is concerned, casual is fine but for dinner I would recommend anything except jeans. Enjoy your meal ... have a blast.

                                                      1. re: bgut1
                                                        k8t13 Apr 10, 2007 12:06 PM

                                                        Thank you so much. BYOB-even better!!!

                                                        1. re: bgut1
                                                          k8t13 Apr 16, 2007 05:15 AM

                                                          Thank you so much for recommending Bistro 44. My husband and I had an excellent dinner. We started with the Duck Spring Rolls-yum and we had the corn and crab bisque (a special that night). Both were outstanding! For our entees, we both had specials. I had scallops, asparagus and mushrooms over Linguine with a dijon white wine sauce. It was very good. The scallops were cooked to perfection and the sauce was excellent. My husband had Soft Shell Crabs. It came with a ham and sherry sauce which he didn't eat and asparagus and Basamati rice. The seasoning on the crabs was wonderful. We shared a Molten Lava cake for dessert-WOW! It had cookies and cream gelati and fresh strawberries on the side. Everything was delicious. The waitress was so nice and helpful. We were surprised at how empty it was for a Friday night. There were only maybe 5 tables seated. I would definitely go back again though. Thanks again for telling me about it!

                                                          1. re: k8t13
                                                            bgut1 Apr 16, 2007 09:10 AM

                                                            k8t13 - I am so happy you enjoyed your meal. The food there is fabulous. I agree it should be more crowded considering the quality of food and service. That is why I'm trying to drum up support. I too enjoyed the soft shell crabs for lunch on Friday in the daily special chef's salad.

                                                      2. Angelina Apr 3, 2007 09:15 AM

                                                        I did not know Slowly closed? I really enjoyed my meals there. What a shame.

                                                        I feel your pain. Nothing in your area. I will give this place a shot. I will post when I do!

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: Angelina
                                                          bgut1 Apr 3, 2007 10:54 AM

                                                          Angelina - Over the past year, the food at Slowly seemed to trail off. I also felt bad dining there prior to their close as the place was always empty. I should have known things were in bad shape when about 6 months ago they started to advertise a $14.95 early bird dinner special (first sign of trouble per Bourdain in Kitchen Confidential). I hope you do in fact try Bistro 44 as Chef Eric is quite the talent. Please let us know what you think. Good Luck.

                                                          1. re: bgut1
                                                            goose9280 Feb 12, 2009 06:55 PM

                                                            I went there for the first time for a nice romantic dinner two weeks ago. First impression was a quaint, quiet little joint, but we were about to be pleasantly surprised. My tastebuds had a field day. The menu was small but there was something for everybody. While we waited we got warm bread and olive oil to dip in. We started with fried oysters with black-eyed peas. Delicious! I got the Long Island roasted duck breast with pearl onions and cardomom and mashed sweet potato. That dish was delectible and probably the best duck I've ever had. Lastly, and the best part of the meal was cappuccino and rosemary crem brulee with fruits. It was so sinful and the rosemary was surprising but tied everything together. It was a memorable meal to say the least!

                                                            1. re: goose9280
                                                              bgut1 Feb 12, 2009 06:58 PM

                                                              Goose - I'm happy you enjoyed one of my favorite restaurants. B44 is an oasis in the desert that is the Ocean County dining scene. Good Luck.

                                                        2. b
                                                          Babs16 Apr 1, 2007 08:52 AM

                                                          I too live in this area and have a hard timing finding a decent restaurant for lunch let alone a great dinner. Do you know if they take reservations for a large party (8 or 10)? A group of us try to get together every month or so and are always looking for a new place to dine. I am going to suggest Bistro-44. I will post after dining there and give my opinion.
                                                          Thanks again and if you have any other suggestions, please let us locals know.

                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: Babs16
                                                            bgut1 Apr 1, 2007 10:41 AM

                                                            You should have no problem with a large party reservation. They have a nice size room off to the side that is perfect for large parties. We have had some nice office luncheons there with about 20 people, so 10 should be fine. Have a great time and please don't forget to let us know how you liked it.

                                                            1. re: bgut1
                                                              lividbeez Jan 13, 2012 05:15 AM

                                                              The chef of this place actually appeared and won on Chopped on the food network. I haven't gotten a chance to try it yet, but if he withstood that, I have to think he's at the very least creative and has good flavor :)

                                                              1. re: lividbeez
                                                                JerZ Wine Geek Jan 13, 2012 05:54 AM

                                                                You are probably getting confused with the previous chef and owner, Eric Witherspoon, who won chopped back in 2010 (?). He has since sold the restaurant and moved on. Unless you mean the current chef has won Chopped as well?

                                                                1. re: JerZ Wine Geek
                                                                  lividbeez Jan 13, 2012 02:16 PM

                                                                  I wasn't aware that he sold honestly as I don't get there that often but within the last six months they were still advertising at the restaurant and on their website that the chef had won chopped. I haven't checked recently to see if they still are

                                                                  1. re: lividbeez
                                                                    Jerseygirl111 Jan 13, 2012 11:47 PM

                                                                    I think this is closed. I'll drive past tomorrow and let you know.

                                                                    1. re: Jerseygirl111
                                                                      Jerseygirl111 Jan 14, 2012 03:12 PM

                                                                      Yeah, pretty sure its closed.

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