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Aug 24, 2007 05:21 PM

Filipino Food in Red Bank/Middletown

Hey all,
I feel cosmically compelled to plug this restaurant. It's called Bistro San Miguel and it's off 35 in Red Bank/Middletown (on the northbound side between the bridge and Whole Foods). I went there a couple 3 weeks ago (returning 2 times since) and had a great experience. The owner and her daughter are two of the most gracious people you'll meet. My friends and I sat down and told her that we wanted an authentic meal. She asked us what we couldn't/wouldn't eat (nothing), and then proceeded to make us a delicious 4 course meal (Cow's Foot Stew, Fried Milkfish with vinegar, Stir Fried Vermicelli Noodles, and some okra and pork dish). At the end, she gave us all a half mango and asked for 10 dollars per person, for a meal that would have probably rounded out to 15 at any other place (four dishes for 3 people).

Turns out she's rated in Zagat's but had no idea what that was. We called them and got them to send her the sticker. Also, she got a great write up in the Asbury Park Press that was copied here:

No, I don't work for the restaurant and I don't normally do this, but 2 out of the 3 times I went in there to eat, my party was the only one in the place. Central Jersey isn't the best place for adventurous eating. Check it out for yourself if you're feeling up for it. My only caveat is to get your bill from either the owner or her daughter, because some other schlub tried to charge us a 5 dollar a head cover charge one night, which I would normally be okay with, since there was a band playing, but it was sprung on us when the bill came. Spoke to the owner and got it taken off. Like I said, nicest people in the world.

Bistro San Miguel
273 Highway 35 North
Middletown NJ 07701

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  1. Thanks for posting your comments. I had been curious about this place. Must try it.

    1. Wow, I'm impressed. I've never had the guts to go in there even though I check it out every time I drive by. I've eaten in plenty of dives so I'm not sqeamish but that place looks awful from the outside. How is the interior? I was never even sure that it was a restaurant. They had a sign up for a while- upside down I think- but then it disappeared. I'll have to give it a try.

      4 Replies
      1. re: taste test

        Every time I drive by I can't figure out where the entrance is! Help me out here. Why am I'm not seeing it? ;)

        1. re: DJMarilyn

          Okay, so if you're heading up from Red Bank, after the bridge, it's RIGHT after the 2nd light. It's pretty much at the 2nd light. There's a laundromat, a deli a few paces away, and it says "Filipino Restaurant" on the board, though one of them says Filipino Market. You see Filipino, just turn in. Coming from the north, going south, it's like 1 or 2 lights after the whole foods (you need to make a jughandle).

        2. re: taste test

          I agree with you with the exterior, but the interior is actually really nice. They set out tables with candles on them (sometimes). It very much has a cantina feel to it. I talked to Rory (the owner) and she said that she gives it sort of a quirky (which isn't at all dingy looking) feel so as not to intimidate Filipino people, who would mistake it for a pricey joint. It makes sense, I guess. Given the economic state of the country and that the Filipino population (I suppose) don't demand restaurants. Still, it's very nice on the inside. A hell of a surprise, I promise you.

          1. re: BlueLineSwinger

            I too have passed bye daily and thought it was a Grocery store.I love the idea and un-pretentiousness behind her thinking (wouldn't it be great if she became so sucessfull that she could continue the concept and take over a store next door to Wholefoods / Starsucks ! ) sadly I don't care for Philipino so have never ventured in.We need more restaurants like this in Monmouth Co.!

        3. A group of us went there last night - I was unable to eat but brought back th eleftover pork knuckles. I'm eating it right now and it's friggin delicious! Who knew fried knuckle could be so delectable?

          1. and yes, the people there were so so nice!!! I can't wait to go back for a real meal.

            1. My wife and I decided to stop in here for lunch on Saturday based on the recommendations on this board, and we’re very glad we did! Rory immediately welcomed us and brought us to our seats. She didn’t give us menus, but rather asked if we had ever had Filipino food and if we could we eat pork. It was our first experience with Filipino food but we do love pork, so she promised to “bring us something special”.

              Rory then set off to the kitchen and later returned with a dish of Palm Boxes. Each small box contained a mixture of rice, broccoli, and shrimp. This was followed by a bowl of pork soup served with rice and then another appetizer of noodles, pork, and cabbage. We were already beginning to feel full when Rory brought out the Crispy Pata – deep fried meaty pork shank with the knuckle attached. It had a crispy exterior, but the meat inside was tender, juicy, and flavorful, not greasy at all. This was served with a tart garlic vinegar dip that perfectly matched the fried flavor. Each dish was expertly prepared, but the pata was especially good. We ended up eating much more than we had planned on, and still ended up taking home food. The bill was even less than I had expected, another pleasant surprise!

              We’ll be heading back for dinner in the very near future. I’m looking forward to trying some of the other dishes mentioned by other diners. Thanks to my fellow Chowhounds for bringing this gem to our attention!

              2 Replies
              1. re: Mumps

                Now I'm jealous. joonjoon and I had the same meal as Mumps, but we were not given the pork soup. We did, however, get tempura 'spinach'. Fantastic.

                1. re: aacharya

                  I guess that just means we'll have to go back for the pork soup!