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New Restaurant - Vivas - Belmar

Hi Everyone
- I heard that Will Vivas -(former chef of Bistro Ole in Asbury Park) has opened up his own restaurant in Belmar in the old A&P shopping center...I believe the name of the establishment is Vivas and looks like it is about to open....they have been working on it forever!!! Anybody heard anything else about it? I am really really looking forward to this..I feel that Ole has gotten a little bland since he left the kitchen!!!

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  1. A&P?? Do you mean the old Acme shopping center perhaps?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Barbarella

      I was thinking the same thing, must be Acme...

      Any idea what kind of food "Vivas" will be serving?

      On a side not I took my girlfriend to OLE about a month ago, her "super rare sushi grade Tuna" was cooked so much it looked like it came out of a Chicken Of The Sea can. I had a seafood Mariscada (I beleive that was the name) dish that the server warned was a bit spicy and very popular. I have to say it was so bland I only ate about half, and no spice to it at all. Our appetizer was great but it left us hanging. We were very disappointed.

    2. It is open, I ate there last Friday and had a very good meal. It is in the old Acme Plaza at the 8th avenue end (it was Reggio's & then Big Joe's).

      Food is similar to what Ole offers in that it is labeled Spanish & Portuguese, but has a bit more South American flair. IMO the tables are spaced better than Ole.

      Can't remember what everyone had, but I had Guava Glazed Hanger Steak with blue cheese potato salad, and pork stuffed with manchengo (sp?)

      I know my wife enjoyed her food, shrimp app and filet mignon but don't recall prep on either.

      2 Replies
      1. re: PJS

        In todays APP there was an ad the rec. It is an Italian rec.

        1. re: Babs16

          Babs16 I am confused..they say it is Italian...i was under the impressiont hat it was as PJS said latin fusion...

      2. We went there on Friday night and I was not impressed as I thought I was going to be reading all the reviews on this resto. I ordered the shrimp seviche app.special and when the waitress returned I told her the truth, it did not taste like anyting. Disappointing. My husband had the house salad and it was lacking sufficent dressing. (oh well). I had the Chilean sea bass that was pretty good. He had the halibut and that was alright. I probably will return but have lots of other restos to try first, like the new one that just opened on Hwy 35 North in Wall.If I crave seviche again, I will go to Casa Solar in Belmar where it was very tasty.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Barbarella

          the new one on Hwy 35 North in Wall???

          1. re: tuxedo

            I was refering to the old Family Tree Tavern. It is now Debini's and is Italian.

          2. re: Barbarella

            Any other feedback on Casa Solar in Belmar? I've never been there (I didn't even know it was there until I walked by recently...).

            1. re: bnemes3343

              Small place. Great seviche, cannot remember what I ordered or my husband. I do keep a journal at home and will check it out asap. Liked the place, and hope to go back soon.

              1. re: bnemes3343

                Casa Solar has been open for about a year and a half. The food overall is very good. Service is fine and they do require a reservation. Favorite dish is shrimp. Favorite dessert is bread pudding (but they do not have it often.)

                My wife and I eat there every other month or so - I guess maybe 5-6 times in the past year. We have recommended it to others and always get positive feed back. Enjoy!

                1. re: bnemes3343

                  My family and I ate there back in October (party of 6). Everyone enjoyed the food. I had the Churrasco which was delicious! My husband had the Asopao De Marisco which was paella"esque". He enjoyed it very much. Other family members had the filet mignon, a salmon special topped with tons of fresh crabmeat, and a tilapia dish. We had the empanadas as an appetizer and my husband and I shared a house salad (which was great and plenty to share). We brought red wine which the staff made into sangria (actually at no charge - see their website). Everyone raved about the food. Fresh ingredients, nicely prepared. The service was a little slow but not terrible. The waiter did add 20% gratuity to our check on the total including tax, although they stated 18% would be added to large parties, which many times is 8 or more. We are generous tippers and would have left at least that amount so it was not a big deal. I was just surprised that they did not bring it to our attention, We easily could have double tipped. Also they do not take AMEX. We did not have desserts but they looked great and also are freshly made. We will definitely go back again.

                  1. re: bnemes3343

                    Casa solar in Belmar is a "GEM". Try it for yourself and find out.

                2. It's now been several months since Vivas has opened, and I'm wondering what the recent experience has been. We have only been once, pretty much the first week they were open. I thought the service was good and the food was ok, but not outstanding (I had a red snapper that was prettier than what I make at home, but not actually as good, so I haven't been that anxious to return). We use to love the food the chef made at Ole, so, now that they've had a chance to iron out any early kinks, is it a worthwhile trip? Thanks.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: bnemes3343

                    We ate their for the second time last night and we thought it was quite good. I had Salmon Romero which was grilled salmon over pureed lentils...really nice combination. I also liked the Cubano Salad. My daughter-in-law loves their blue cheese potato salad.

                    1. re: SusieQQ

                      Thanks for the review. I really wish they took reservations, but I suppose we will try a mid-week, fairly early time and give it another show.

                      1. re: bnemes3343

                        you can call ahead...that will cut down on your wait time. they do that now.

                  2. We were at Vivas last friday, food was great, but their policies reflec a very poor managment, making customers wait for more than 2 hours to be seat just because we were waiting for one more person to complete our party was totally no right. I sugest them to review this policyand improve the service and hospitality

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: jalurco

                      I'd probably be more upset with the member of my party that showed up 2 hours late.

                      I've experienced good service and very good hospitality every time I've been there (I think 4 times). The only thing that annoys me is I can't order "tapas" in more than 3 courses.

                      Solid food. The train pulling into the station can be a bit much... or is that part of the charm?

                      1. re: jalurco

                        This is SOP for the business. Suggest that you get your friends to show up on time and you will not have to wait...

                        1. re: jalurco

                          You're joking right? You didn't really expect them to seat you and tie up the table while you waited 2 hours for your friend?

                        2. We have eaten there about six times since it opened last summer and each experience was positive. The food, serivce and ambience are all first class.
                          Overall - four (****) stars out of five. Not bad for a local shore joint located in
                          Belmar.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: bjsimmons

                            I just returned from a pretty decent meal at Vivas. There are couple of definite winners and some so-so dishes. Here is what our group of four tried: (tapas) - empanadas (shredded beef filling - good but not enough filling), albondigas (dry meatballs but a nice sauce), polenta with shrimp (nice garlic suace), and the spare ribs (yummo); lentil salad (pretty good - lentils in a mayoniase dressing topped with a fried egg - think a lentil/egg salad); (entrees) lobster and shrimp in garlic sauce (I didn't taste sorry), willie willie chicken, peppercorn encrusted tuna and the potato wrapped halibut; (dessert) bread pudding and chocolate mousse. The winners were the spare ribs (fantastic sauce) and polenta and shrimp appetizers along with the tuna entree and the bread pudding (one of the best preparations I've ever had - banana bread pudding drenched with chocolate sauce with a scoop of vanilla ice cream). The others however fell a little short of the mark either in preparation (both the halibut and the chicken were over cooked) or in composition (too much going on in the plate with flavors clashing - a criticism I had with Chef Will over at Bistro Ole). All that being said, I wouldn't hesitate going back if only to try the ribs and bread pudding again. Total cost for the above exclusive of gratuity was $220. Good Luck.

                            1. re: bgut1

                              Vivas fell a bit short of the mark last night. As I posted back in March, the baby back rib appetizer, the lentil salad and the bread pudding dessert were all still excellent. However, the rest of the items we ordered were not good. We tried: calamari (a mess of dry and chewy rings tossed with goat cheese with a cilantro pesto and floating in a brown sauce of some kind - not very good), a tuna entree special (coated in crushed pepper and served quite rare atop blue cheese risotto, a yellow sauce of some kind and two more "lines" of different sauces - just way too many flavors going on in this plate - a criticism I had of Chef Vivas' food during his days at Bistro Ole), and the skirt steak Cubano (this entree was a joke - a minuscule piece of meat 2 inches wide by 5 inches long and maybe a quarter of an inch thick - stringy and tough - topped with grilled onions and accompanied by a mound of decent black beans and rice and an equal size of julienned squash and zucchini). I barely ate a quarter of the steak and left the plate. Apparently, not everything on Chef Vivas' menu is a "winner". Good Luck.

                              1. re: bgut1

                                We had an enjoyable dinner at Vivas Monday night as a result of stumbling upon the $30 prix fixe dinner. Its only available from 4-5:30. It includes a full-sized appetizer, entree, and dessert. There are several choices for each course.

                                I agree with some of the other posts here that some of their dishes can be "busy" with flavors, but at least they're not boring. At $30 a person, I submit it's a great option for an early dinner at the shore.

                                As an aside, we really enjoyed the calamari and found the pieces to be tender and perfectly crisp. Additionally, the combination of chile spice and goat cheese tang was a refreshing break from marinara sauce. (I've agreed with several other of your reviews, bqut, so I was surprised to have had such a diametrically opposite reaction to this dish.). I would note that we were there when it was not busy and our food took very little time to go from kitchen to table. I am of the belief that certain dishes just cannot stand up to "resting."

                                1. re: bgut1

                                  We joined another couple at Vivas this past Saturday and I'm happy to report that the food was much better than my last visit back in May. I did have a chance to re-try the calamari which was improved this time around. Particularly remarkable was the lamb chop appetizer as well as my entree of a whole pan roasted red snapper (perfectly cooked accompanied by a nice Mojo sauce).

                            2. Has anyone been here in recent months? The last several reviews were less than enthusiastic...