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Moderately priced party resto near Long Branch?

My cousin is trying to plan a party at a restaurant near long branch for 16-30 people next month and doesn't want to break the bank.

I had suggested Red's in Red Bank and was wondering if anyone had any suggestions.

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  1. About 6 years ago I hosted a dinner for about 20 people at Tuzzio's in LB. I've catered food since then, but actually haven't returned for a meal in the restaurant since that dinner. Its a pretty basic red sauce Italian restaurant, but I always found it to be a notch above what you find on every other corner. The interior (at least 6 years ago) was pretty dated and drabby and may be more casual than what your cousin is looking for (certainly nothing like Red's). According to the website, you can do a dinner party for $18/pp. http://www.tuzzioscatering.com/lunche...

    6 Replies
    1. re: jsfein

      I was just there last week and can confirm that the back room continues to be dated and drabby. That being said, you can still do a lot worse and the food was very solid. The place is a throwback to the 50's/60's neighborhood red sauce joints. A real keeper if you ask me.

      1. re: bgut1

        Ditto dated and drabby, be we really like the food a lot. And the old-time neighborhood feel of the place, with its bar set for regulars, can be really pleasant. The staff is great and they serve my favorite steak sandwich anywhere. The back dining room, though, is pretty dismal.

        1. re: Deb Van D

          lol.

          I've been going to Tuzzios since I was a kid, and I still think it is one of the few old school jersey red sauce joints worth anything around here. Not quite what she is after though, but tyvm for the thought.

          She was thinking McLoone's initially, but thankfully I disuaded her from that.

          1. re: seal

            OH NO ... don't mention the M word !!! :)

        2. re: bgut1

          "The place is a throwback to the 50's/60's neighborhood red sauce joints. A real keeper if you ask me."

          Exactly right. The food is fresh and nicely made. Well executed versions of classic Italian American dishes. "Red sauce Italian" gets a bad name because we've all been burned so many times by tired restaurants churning out poor versions of things like chicken marsala. Tuzzio's, OTOH, gets these dishes right and reminds you of why you liked them in the first place. The portions are big and fairly priced and you can always take away what you can't finish.

          Best to eat in the lively front room with the pleasant booths. The back room seems somewhat grim. The do an excellent business and I'm surprised they don't spiff it up a bit.

          1. re: Bob Martinez

            Thanks Bob - I actually liked the back room as my kids can get a little noisey at times. In that instance, I appreciated the sequestration. I also agree with your comment about the portion size and the fair prices. My family ate the remnants of the large portions for dinner the next night.

      2. I have not had the best of luck with Tuzzio's lately. It really depends on what kind of food you would be looking for. If you really want Italian, Id venture down to Bradley Beach and go to Vic's.

        Sallie Tee's may be a good choice if you are into seafood with a nice location- could get a little expensive but not horribly. I would stay away from the Pier Village places and Rooney's in Long Branch, really just overpriced. Barnacle Bills in rumson?

        I havent had the best of luck with Red Bank, stay away from Basil T's please, I learned that the hard way recently.

        For the love of God, do not go to McLoone's.

        1. I'll toss in a few places to think about ...

          Murphy Style Grill
          Siam Garden
          Zachary's
          Inlet Cafe

          1 Reply
          1. re: tom porc

            I strongly back Zachary's.

            Top notch pizza and sandwiches. good call Tom.

          2. What about the Lincroft Inn? Its well priced, the food is consistent. You can also get an area to yourself. What time of day does your cousin want to have the party?

            7 Replies
            1. re: rosygogo

              Midday, maybe a late lunch. Great suggestions, ty both.

              1. re: seal

                Re: Lincroft Inn. For a relatively short period of time a few years ago, the food changed dramatically for the better when the owners hired Eric Hambrecht to take over the kitchen. When they enticed him to come there, he was the executive chef at The Frog and the Peach, so it was a major coup. We had dinner three times while he was in charge, and the cuisine was superb! Nothing at all remotely resembling the normally mundane fare that had always been served there. Sadly, after a little less than two years, Hambrecht left, and from what I've heard, the food has reverted to its former mediocrity. So, caveat emptor!

                1. re: RGR

                  RE Lincroft Inn. I'd suggest having a meal there before inviting a large group. I ate there 2 years ago. It was mediocre.

                  1. re: val ann c

                    I would say keep out of Red, I love the place, but it gets expensive.

                    Siam Garden - although BYO, you will get better food at Far East Taste, at almost half the price.

                    Why not the Portugese restaurant in Long Branch?

                    1. re: aacharya

                      The Portugese Restaurant (Pearl of Lisbon) is a great recommendation based on what seal has described. I ate there once (about a year ago) and had a very enjoyable meal. Its nicely decorated and intimate. They also have a full bar.

                    2. re: val ann c

                      Val,

                      Obviously, your experience at Lincroft Inn was post-Hambrecht because he's been gone at least two years.

                      1. re: RGR

                        R - My dinner at Lincroft Inn was around Christmas 2005. It was a large group in private room with a pre-planned menu. The room and staff were nice. The food was disappointing enough to deter me from returning. It was like bad catering hall food.

              2. What kind of atmosphere are you looking for? For me 16-30 people at Red would break the bank. :) If I had to treat that many people to dinner I'd probably head over to Far East Taste.

                12 Replies
                1. re: joonjoon

                  joonjoon, Have you been to Far East Taste since Chef Richard retired? If so, how's the food?

                  1. re: RGR

                    Oddly enough, a co-worker was speaking fondly of this place today. This isn't a personal rec (and I've never been a fan), but I trust this co-worker's palate. He was there last night and was enthusiastic about the food.

                    1. re: Deb Van D

                      Latecomers to Far East, we had lunch there twice last year. (There would have been a third time, but we left because there was no a.c. on a very hot summer's day.) Ironically, we discovered that previous to opening Far East, Richard had owned a Chinese restaurant right in our town. We tried it once, found it disappointing, and never went back. At Far East, even before we learned about Richard's "past," we stuck with Thai and Malaysian dishes, which were quite tasty.

                  2. re: joonjoon

                    I've eaten at Far East Taste a few times in recent months. When I go, I usually do take-out. I've found the food is the same as when Richard was there. It may even be more consistent than before. I think the new owners are sticking to Richards recipes and methods.

                    1. re: val ann c

                      Thanks, val. Richard's fried dumplings were sensational, so the next time we go, I think I'll try them to see if they hold up.

                      1. re: RGR

                        Oh my god, I was there with a group of friends last week and yes, the dumplings are fantastic!!

                        I don't notice a difference in food at Far East Taste - good thing, but for me the place isn't the same without Richard, he was a character. :)

                        1. re: joonjoon

                          I ordered General Tso's chicken and was disappointed. Never have I had it with carrotts and other vegetables. Did not have much taste either. This was last summer.

                      2. re: val ann c

                        I agree val. I also only do takeout and its usually the same things - Tom Yum and Basil Shrimp. Always very good.

                        1. re: bgut1

                          >> Tom Yum and Basil Shrimp. Always very good.

                          LOL! That's what I ordered on my last takeout. Except mine was Basil Fish. :-)

                          1. re: val ann c

                            was there last night and Frank (the new owner) always serves us his special (not on the menu) Vegan options... d.c is a veg....I got the basil shrimp last night very tasty but my fav is still Tracy's special shrimp in spicy sauce..similiar but sweeter and VERY spicy! But his special soup last night was awesome! all sorts of root veggies in an amzing broth! can't get enough of the place

                            1. re: stack_c

                              Sounds great stack. I will definitely try Tracy's shrimp next time. Thanks for the recommendation.

                              1. re: bgut1

                                Tracy's shrimp and Richard's fish are two of my favorite things there.

                                The fish is a take on a traditional tamarind sauce and the shrimp are different enough to go well with the fish.