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recommendations for birthday dinner in monmouth county

mfp79 Jan 27, 2008 01:12 PM

my birthday is on friday and my husband and i want to go somewhere new. although i love fooding and dining out, we always end up at the same places (due to laziness mostly!). i have a few places in mind including drew's and table. table is a little pricey for us, but hey, it's my birthday! looking for somewhere with delicious food including dessert. no particular cuisine. thanks in advance for any suggestions!

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  1. m
    mmgpsych RE: mfp79 Jan 27, 2008 01:22 PM

    You can go to Nicholas, or . ....uh..... Nicholas. Or maybe ...um... Nicholas?
    (Splurge! You deserve it!)


    1 Reply
    1. re: mmgpsych
      foodie28 RE: mmgpsych Jan 31, 2008 10:19 PM

      I agree, Nicholas...Nicholas!, in Middletown, rt. 35.

    2. Angelina RE: mfp79 Jan 27, 2008 02:17 PM

      What about Le Fandy in Fair Haven? The place is just delicious!!! (The desserts are fabulous!) It is a small BYOB and so good. Quaint little French restaurant. Look at the menu, the food is very good. Chef Ong puts his heart into everything!

      Happy Birthday!!!


      1. val ann c RE: mfp79 Jan 27, 2008 02:58 PM

        How important is the atmosphere for this birthday dinner?

        I love Drews, but I might not go there for a special occasion. The room and service are very nice, but a bit pared down for a romantic evening. Drew's food is great! BYOB (Any other evening, however, Drew's is way high on my list.)

        IMO, Le Fandy has a bit more romantic atmosphere. Casual, elegant bistro. A few chowhounds have reported negative experiences there. We've dined there twice, on weeknights, and were very pleased. I intend to go again. BYOB

        You can't go wrong with Nicholas. Superb food and service. Some find the rooms a bit stark, but I find them relaxing and sophisticated. And the bar is beautiful, if you want to hang out before or after your dinner.

        Enjoy your birthday!

        1. r
          RGR RE: mfp79 Jan 28, 2008 09:08 AM

          Hey, mfp79,

          As far as delicious food is concerned, in my view, both Nicholas and Table would both be the top choices. But the atmospherics are quite different. Service in the dining room at Nicholas, while certainly cordial, is formal and polished. At Table, service is friendly and capable but more relaxed. At Nicholas, the decor is what I would call sophisticated contemporary with a cool feel; at Table, the space is nicely divided into section, the decor is very pleasant, and there's a cozy, warm feel.

          A *major* difference between the two is that Table is BYO, so wine at Nicholas can really boost the bottom line. Another is menu price structure. At Nicholas, the dining room menus are prix-fixe, though at the bar, it's a la carte. If that more informal way of dining, it is a great alternative and will not be as expensive as the main dining room. At Table, the menu is a la carte. Portions at Table are very generous, so you can keep the cost down by sharing. (The cowboy steak is gargantuan!) Also, if you will be celebrating during the week, Table offers a special 3-course menu for $34.95, a terrific value for food of this high quality.

          Wherever you decide to go, I wish you a very Happy Birthday and Bon Appetit!


          3 Replies
          1. re: RGR
            jerseygurl RE: RGR Jan 30, 2008 03:09 PM

            Yes, Table is super, but not necessarily very festive. I have found late lunches there to be delicious, but the atmosphere a bit gloomy. I love Moonstruck in Asbury for special occasions...always a lot of fun on birthdays, anniversaries, etc...i think they leave out their Christmas twinkle lights all year and the white tablecloths and austere atmophere has a kind of quiet elegance to it. Some will disagree as I've been blasted by some who hate the management, but go for the FOOD and don't let anything get in your way of a great time. If you're up for seafood, the combination - baked or fried is especially good as are the salmon specials...and sparkling blanc de noir.. don't forget to share a salad and save room for the super desserts. The waiters are pleasant, especially Tom, and will make sure that everything is just right.

            1. re: jerseygurl
              RGR RE: jerseygurl Jan 30, 2008 03:26 PM

              I had dinner at Moonstruck once while they were still in Ocean Grove. Frankly, I couldn't figure out what all the hype was about because I thought the food was fine but not in any way rave-worthy. I will agree, though, that we couldn't ask for better service. Our waitress went out of her way to see that everything went smoothly for our group. But for me, since it is all about the food, which, in my view, didn't measure up, I've not had any desire to try Moonstruck again in its Asbury Park location.

              1. re: RGR
                bnemes3343 RE: RGR Jan 30, 2008 03:45 PM

                Wow, Moonstruck hasn't been on OG for many years. The place in AP is very nice (actually it's better than that), but not even close to Nicholas. If the budget will bear it, I would def. do Nicholas. And I would do the tasting menu with wine pairings. This will probably set you back about $300 for two (I think that's accurate), so this is not an every weekend experience, but one you will not regret.

          2. crzldy RE: mfp79 Jan 31, 2008 08:29 AM

            I do not think that anyone read the question right." table is a little pricey for us," then Nicholas would be completely out of the question.

            1 Reply
            1. re: crzldy
              fershore RE: crzldy Feb 1, 2008 11:53 AM

              It seems to me that everyone here read the sentence correctly and responded to the phrase that followed: but hey, it's my birthday!

            2. Pink Pepper RE: mfp79 Jan 31, 2008 09:56 AM

              I'll stick with my favorite, Brioso. IMO, they have the best Italian food in the area. The place might be chaotic for some, service is ok, but the food is excellent. It's a BYO. Try to get Patrick as your waiter. He's good.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Pink Pepper
                RGR RE: Pink Pepper Jan 31, 2008 10:09 AM

                I would never, ever recommend Brioso, let alone a special occasion celebratory dinner. We gave up going there several years ago. While the food was pretty good, I still wouldn't classify it as anything special. But more importantly, service left a whole lot to be desired, and when we ran into a major problem the last time we were there, management did absolutely nothing to address it in any way that made sense. I would avoid the place like the proverbial plague.

                1. re: RGR
                  Angelina RE: RGR Jan 31, 2008 10:21 AM

                  Well said, RGR!! Once again...(I will use the new term..) I.A.W.R.

                  ha ha...

                2. re: Pink Pepper
                  Angelina RE: Pink Pepper Jan 31, 2008 10:31 AM

                  I can't stand this place!! Brioso has horrendous service, food at one time..maybe 6 or so years ago was good, but I sill never step foot in that place. The food quality has certainly declined. I had a black spaghetti with seafood dish a few years back, the fish smelled so fihy, only to br drown in white wine. When I TRIED to send it back, they refused and told me it was fine. We paid and left. (We had been going there quite frequwntly at that point of time.)

                  I would'nt send a stray dog to eat there.

                  1. re: Angelina
                    RGR RE: Angelina Jan 31, 2008 11:44 AM

                    We ordered very expensive veal chops that turned out to have practically no meat on them. Plus, one of the sides on the plate bore no relationship to what was listed on the menu. And had I known that, I wouldn't have ordered the chop in the first place. Our waiter turned our complaints over to the manager who basically dismissed them, not even offering to replace the veal with something else. Iirc, he offered to comp us dessert, but that was useless to us since we didn't want dessert. And, to top it all off -- Surprise! Surprise! -- we were charged full price for both veal dishes!

                3. m
                  mfp79 RE: mfp79 Jan 31, 2008 03:55 PM

                  We decided on Table. I'll let you know how it goes. :) Thanks for your help!

                  1. shorebilly RE: mfp79 Jan 31, 2008 05:18 PM

                    Enjoy your night at Table, Happy Birthday!

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