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Belford Bistro (Belford NJ)

val ann c Feb 20, 2008 04:51 AM

I was delighted to see an elegant bistro open up in Campbell’s Junction, Belford. We went on a Thursday evening. There were several tables occupied. The place was about 25% full. There was only one waiter. He was a bit rushed, but very professional and cordial. I was impressed that the service was well-paced, given that it’s a new kitchen with lots of customers and only one waiter.

Starters:
Cream of tomato soup. Husband loved it. I’m not a fan of tomato soup, but I found it tasty. My scallop appetizer was good. I would have like them cooked a minute longer. The presentation was very nice.
Mains:
NY strip steak, with a green sauce (pesto?) and fries. Cooked medium rare as requested. We liked it, but we couldn’t help comparing it to the steak at Drew’s. Drew has set a very high bar for cooking steak.
“The Bomberger” hamburger. I ordered it medium. It came rare. I was too hungry to request more cooking. It was a good burger. I really like the homemade fries. Perfectly cooked, nicely seasoned.

The décor is simple, monochrome, and well-thought out. Nice lighting.

I wish the young chef/owners much success with this restaurant. On my one visit, I felt they are talented and on a good path. The food was good, but didn’t quite thrill me. However, I’m very picky. I like their elegant simplicity with good quality ingredients. Fresh, clean, and simple. I’m looking forward to another try, and to see how the place develops.

Note to RGR: The bread and butter report. Very good fresh rolls. Butter, served in a ramekin, was good but quite salty. .

Chef/owners are Kurt Bomberger and Crista Trovato.

Belford Bistro
870 Main St, Belford (between Sissy’s and Naples Pizza)
732-495-8151

  1. bgut1 Feb 20, 2008 06:46 AM

    Thanks for the report val. The restaurant sounds promising and is the type of establishment I like to root for. Embarrassingly, I never heard of Belford before and had to look it up on Mapquest. Now I know. Those Northern Monmouth towns seem to fly underneath my radar for some reason. Not anymore. Thanks again.

    4 Replies
    1. re: bgut1
      s
      shesallthat Feb 20, 2008 06:55 AM

      buqut1 - don't feel so bad...I'm living here 25 years and have not heard of Belford till now. I was looking for a menu on line but couldn't find one...can anyone do this for me?

      1. re: shesallthat
        val ann c Feb 20, 2008 07:33 AM

        shesallthat -- There is no web address on their business card. The menu is American bistro food -- grilled chicken, pasta dishes, salads, steak, burgers. Nothing unusual. I think they are going for classic dishes made with skill. They serve lunch, dinner, and brunch.

        b - I'm eager to hear your opinion.

        P.S. All chowhounds are invited to the opening reception of my photography exhibit. See the link on my chowhound profile. (Please, no discussion on this board. I don't want to irk the moderators.)

        1. re: shesallthat
          w
          worldwindmedia Mar 15, 2008 09:33 PM

          The website is coming soon! Belfordbistro.com

        2. re: bgut1
          r
          RGR Feb 20, 2008 07:59 AM

          Hey, b.,

          We've been here much longer than shesallthat, going on 40 years, and Belford is a new one on me as well! I just Mapquested to figure out exactly where this restaurant is located.

        3. r
          RGR Feb 20, 2008 07:52 AM

          Hey, val,

          Thanks for reporting on this place. You know I'm even pickier than you are! lol But even though you said it didn't thrill you to bits, just because it's -- shock of shocks -- *not* Italian is reason enough for me to consider trying it. "Fresh, clean, and simple," "elegant simplicity with good quality ingredients," all work for me. Oh, and thanks also for the special bread and butter report. No dipping oil! Another excellent reason for me to check this place out! :-))

          1. val ann c Feb 20, 2008 02:02 PM

            Heard on the street today:
            Belford Bistro gets their desserts from the Flaky Tart.
            Two people told me the crab cakes are very good. (I don't eat crab.)

            1 Reply
            1. re: val ann c
              r
              RGR Feb 20, 2008 02:45 PM

              If the Flaky Tart info is true, that is definitely a major plus for Belfrod Bistro [says she who has not yet managed to get to Flaky Tart in person but had the opportunity to sample some of the fabulous goodies thanks to you, val. :-) ]

            2. val ann c Mar 10, 2008 10:52 AM

              Welcome bwjwsw, I'm glad to hear another report on Belford Bistro! Maybe I sounded critical in my first report, but I like the place and have every intention of going there often.

              We had our second visit there on a Monday evening and we were very pleased. I ordered the soup on special and a Bistro Salad. Mr C had the crab cakes entree.

              It was a vegetable soup with diced fresh bacon, spinach, tomato, and white bean. At $5, a good value. It came with a packet of imported grissini. The broth was delicious, based on well-crafted stock. I was so pleased to get a properly-made soup in a moderately-priced restaurant. How seldom that happens. I sopped up all that broth with the excellent fresh-baked olive rolls.

              The Bistro Salad was very good, and a generous portion. The greens were fresh and clean. They don't use pre-bagged salad.

              I'm told the crab cakes were very good. My husband did not speak while he was enjoying them. A definite sign of approval. He said the two large crabcakes were nearly all crabmeat.

              Our bill for 1 soup, bistro salad with chicken, and crabcakes entree was about $45, not including tip.

              1. bgut1 Apr 5, 2008 08:49 AM

                “Your reservation is confirmed, however please be aware that we only hold the reservation for 15 minutes and you have the table for two hours.” You must be kidding. Are you expecting someone to take the table at 11 PM (following our 9 PM reservation)? - I thought to myself. Either that or the restaurant closes promptly at 11PM. An inauspicious start to my dinner at the Belford Bistro last evening.

                Mrs. Bgut1 and I arrived timely for our reservation to find the restaurant less than half full. As we were being escorted to our table my DW whispered, “I was worried that they were going to give our table away.” A comment clearly warranted in light of the earlier admonition of the hostess/reservationist. Lest you think that we did not enjoy our meal at Belford Bistro, let me advise that we had a wonderful time. In fact, the décor, food and service exceeded my expectations and I would not hesitate recommending the restaurant.

                The room is pure bistro. Painted in a fresh yellowish brown, clean and crisp and not overly adorned with handsome lighting fixtures and a new gleaming kitchen exposed in the back of the room. A masterful job by the designer.

                The service by our waiter was top notch seeming to always anticipate our every need. In fact our server tried too hard at times, removing and replacing silverware and a water-filled glass deeming them unsuitable for some unapparent reason. Even the bus boy got into the act taking the time to recommend a few dishes prior to our order (BTW - he was in fact spot on with his choices). Having reviewed the menu online prior to our arrival, I knew exactly what I was going to order – the BBQ butcher’s bacon appetizer, the market salad and the rack of lamb (each of which sounding more appetizing than the other). Prior to walking into the restaurant, the wife and I noticed a chalk sandwich board outside proclaiming beautiful specials – tomato soup, a warm brie salad, sashimi grade tuna with mango salsa and braised short ribs with mascarpone risotto. Well, there goes my plan. Some last minute negotiations ensued with the wife and we decided to order the following: For her – the French onion soup and the crab cakes; For me – both the tuna and shortrib specials. We decided to split the market salad as a middle course.

                Having uncorked or in my case unscrewed the wine (a stelvin enclosure - thank you very much) and poured some still water, we waited an inordinate amount of time for some bread. Sensing our hunger and displeasure, the waiter advised that the bread would be out as it was still warming. Shortly thereafter we were presented with a basket containing two very nice and warm black olive rolls along with a somewhat incongruous package of bread sticks (like the ones given at your local Italian restaurant). Although I enjoyed the bread, my wife did not as she doesn’t like olives. It would have been a better idea to serve two different types of bread. The butter while of excellent quality could also have used a few minutes on the counter to reach room temperature as it was quite hard when it arrived necessitating some carving and chiseling.

                We were very happy with our appetizers. The tuna was perfectly cooked with a small band of searing on all four corners of the meat and a garnet colored flesh in the center. The tuna was balanced with a touch of spiciness from two small pools of wasabi aioli and the sweet/peppery mango salad. The French onion soup was perfect. Breaking through the bubbling cheesy goodness that crowned the crock, one was rewarded by a thick albeit ethereal onion soup. The only thing that would have made the dish any better would be more cheese overhanging the rim of the bowl as I love to peel off the crunchy bits. There was no let down with the salad course. Instead of presenting one plate, the kitchen appropriately split the portion topping each with a warm round of goat cheese studded with freshly roasted hazelnuts. A further nice touch was the use of golden as opposed to the usual red beets. Although my wife received the bulk of the beets, each plate was perfectly composed with the flavors of the greens, the goat cheese, apples, and the crunchy nuts playing off each other and then balanced by the champagne vinaigrette. Just a perfect salad.

                Admittedly, however, the entrees fell off slightly from the prior courses. Although quite good, they both didn’t evidence the thoughtfulness of the prior items. My wife’s entrée consisted of two huge crab cakes (be forewarned to order the appetizer portion instead) sitting atop whipped chive potatoes drizzled with a citrus aioli. Although it’s hard to find fault with crab cakes containing the size and quality of such crabmeat the filler/casing came off as being a bit too dry to both mine and my wife’s palate. My entrée also fell a bit short of expectations. It consisted of a large single “slab” of perfectly cooked beef shortribs sitting atop risotto. First, the dish was underseasoned (something easily remedied by the use of table salt). Second, I question the use of the tomato based sauce which covered the meat as it seemed to clash with the risotto. Third, while I liked the addition of fresh peas to the risotto I could not taste the mascarpone cheese. My criticisms aside, the dish was still very good.

                While I already knew that the baked goods came from the Flakey Tart, I felt the dessert menu was somewhat of an afterthought for this restaurant. I was however excited to learn that there was a special dessert for the evening; a bananas foster gelato profiterole with a caramel sauce. We decided to share one and were presented with three large profiteroles bursting with nice sized scoops of ice cream resting in a pool of heavenly buttery caramel sauce. Although the flavor of bananas could not be found in the ice cream, the dessert was a pure pleasure and a perfect way to end the repast. All in all, an excellent meal. I see good things for this restaurant and only expect it to get better and better. Thankfully, it’s located a half hour drive away or I would dine there once a week. My sincere thanks to Val Ann C who first reported about this gem. Good Luck.

                1. JerzeyShore Apr 6, 2008 08:34 AM

                  Well chowhounders the word is out - Andrea Clurfeld gave the Belford Bistro such a glowing review in the Sunday Press today that his will stamped all the local foodies to the place...

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: JerzeyShore
                    MGZ Apr 6, 2008 08:44 AM

                    I've actually started to wonder whether her choices for places to review are inspired by this list. Mi Mexico really seemed a surprising place for her to review.

                    1. re: MGZ
                      JerzeyShore Apr 6, 2008 11:19 AM

                      As a matter of fact my wife said the same thing this morning, that she has got to be watching this board and may be one of the chowhounds as well.

                    2. re: JerzeyShore
                      r
                      RGR Apr 6, 2008 12:43 PM

                      Here's the link to the review: http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080406/ENT05/804060311/1117/ENT05

                      And to the pertinent info: http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/arti...

                    3. t
                      tom246 Apr 6, 2008 12:07 PM

                      Well, just to pile on a bit, I want to report back on our meal last night. I had started another thread on The Belford Bistro but will write here to consolidate to one.

                      Arrived at 7:30 and were promptly brought to our table. The place was busy and a bit noisy but not overbearing.
                      The servers were very busy but never frazzled and everything at the tables seemed to be coming out on schedule, including what we ordered.
                      Water constantly refilled (we really like that) and the olive rolls with butter were hot from the oven.

                      For starters we had:
                      Grilled Shrimp Bistro Salad
                      baby arugula, watercress, candied cashews, peppers, mandarin oranges,
                      crispy wontons and soy ginger vinaigrette

                      Barbeque Butchers Bacon
                      braised red cabbage, cipollini onion and soft polenta

                      Both were delicious the grilled shrimp were a perfect compliment to the rest of the salad. The Butchers Bacon was also delicious but remember these are thick slices of essentially Pork Belly. They are full of meat but are also fatty (as they should be). If you are fat averse, I would choose elsewhere on the menu. For me it was great.

                      For entrees:
                      Sicilian Jumbo Shrimp with Fresh Gemelli Pasta
                      broccoli rabe, white beans, plum tomato, roasted garlic and extra virgin olive oil

                      Sesame/Nori Crusted Yellowfin Tuna
                      miso glazed eggplant, broccolini and sticky rice cake

                      My wife had looked forward to the Shrimp and Pasta dish last week but was informed it was made with farfalle. She opted for the Rack of Lamb which was awesome.
                      This week they had Gemelli and the dish was so flavorful, combination of grilled shrimp, pasta, beans, broccolini etc was masterful.
                      My tuna was no slouch, two large hunks of rare (as ordered) tuna, miso dressing that had a real kick of horseradish. Thinly sliced egglant and broccolini finished the dish.

                      We split the Key Lime Tart again this week and it was he perfect ending.

                      With the meal we had a 2001 Cuvee du Vatican Reserve Sixteen CdP which was sublime.

                      We've been here two weeks in a row, 4 different apps, 4 different entrees, all have been excellent. With confidence I can say this place is highly recommended.

                      Tom

                      14 Replies
                      1. re: tom246
                        w
                        wilmap Apr 7, 2008 07:31 PM

                        Four of us had brunch at BB. It lived up to my expectations after reading this board. We all did the "savory/sweet split." Sharing the eggs benedict, the lemon ricotta pancakes, the french toast and the chef's omelet (andouille sausage, feta, and spinach). Everything was delicious. We picked up a bottle of sparking and had mimosas. A large table behind us was ingenious and brought a thermos of Bloody Marys. Wish we had thought of that! Service was pretty good. The space was beautiful but a little spartan for my taste. Looking forward to trying it out for dinner.

                        1. re: tom246
                          c
                          charmel Apr 13, 2008 10:08 PM

                          Thought the food was good and fresh. The tuna was excellent although the crabmeat stuffed salmon was a bit unimaginative. It was on the bland side and could have used a more flavorful sauce of some kind. We were also a little stuck with a bit of a limited appetizer menu. Other than the salads, there was nothing that really tempted us as far as appetizers go and we thought a few of them were a quite pricey as appetizers. The salads, however (we had the grilled shrimp salad and the market salad) were delicious. Was troubled that on a Saturday night at 8:00 PM, they had already run out of the Tilapia special (only two specials to begin with) and the one thing that really might prevent us from returning was the noise level. The din was unbearable when we first sat down, but by about 8:45 some tables had left and it was more tolerable. The problem is that the restaurant is just bare walls with nothing to absorb any sound. We would love to give it another chance since so many of you reported so many other dishes you enjoyed, but my spouse was not so gung ho to return since he likes a more quiet atmosphere. May try it for brunch.

                          1. re: charmel
                            val ann c Apr 14, 2008 05:24 AM

                            charmel
                            Thanks for your report. Regarding your comment about the tuna being bland and needing a sauce... The APP review also opined that the kitchen is too restrained with seasoning.
                            I have never spoken with the chefs, but I suspect that the restraint is deliberate. They are using good quality ingredients and careful professional technique. Their primary "flavors" are freshness and simplicity. If they added complex seasoning and/or layers, the diner would be distracted from the important qualities.
                            It's like in music... the Belford Bistro gives you a trio or quartet so you can enjoy the individual threads. They don't offer a symphony.
                            I think BB's restraint is a good thing and I hope they continue to work this way.

                            1. re: val ann c
                              c
                              charmel Apr 14, 2008 04:27 PM

                              It was the salmon that was a little bland. The tuna was superb. I for one like a little sauce, but thats just me. All in all it is good food and kudos to Belford Bistro and if it were a bit closer to me I would definitely try it again on a quieter night. Next time I would order the tuna. The noise level on a Sat night, however, is a turnoff, unless you dine around 9:00, which was when it quieted down. RGR, I look forward to your review. I read many of them and my husband and I have tried many new places on the recommendation of regular reviewers like yourself. Please post after you have tried Belford Bistro. I just post what works and doesnt work for me personally, but we all have to keep in mind that everyone's palate is different.

                              1. re: val ann c
                                x
                                xny556cip May 17, 2008 03:35 PM

                                I tried it for dinner on Friday.It seeemed a little more like dining in a new boutique hotel restaurant than what I consider a Bistro - maybe too new and spartan fo me.A friend had booked the table and had got the two hour time limit warning,which I personally happen to find objectionable (though as it transpired, there were no more than a three or four tables occupied after 9pm.)
                                The service was relaxed,friendly and efficient.I was expecting bread to be provide immediately and eventually asked for it.I was told that it was being warmed for us.I'm from the school that prefers my bread cold after it has been out of the oven at least an hour or so,and do not happen to like it fresh warm,nor re-heated.I enjoyed the breadsticks however and so was not dissapointed by the lack of variety.I opted for a parsnip & leek soup,which looked delicious,but lacked almost any leek flavor and had a hidden bitter aftertaste?I guess this may have been due to the swirl of oil that it was finished with?My companion had the soft shell crab which i'm told was very good.We all chose a fillet steak and it was an excelent piece of meat cooked to perfection IMO.Unfortunately the onion and wine reduction (?) that came over it was far,far too salty and otherwise ruined it.This was the opinion of all three of us who ordered this dish.Seasoning is a very difficult balancing act for chefs,and i have always adhered to the fact that a customer can always add more,but not take it away.
                                The desserts were as expected-unanimously ample, delicious and well presented.Though my espresso tasted good,it lacked any crema and was served with the ubiquitous lemon rind draped over the edge of the cup.For me this totally ruins the drink and is not something that should be taken for granted by restaurants.It is totally unnecessary.
                                Though it has many thing going for it,I was somewhat dissapointed overall.However I would go back again as it is fairly priced and comparatively heads above most of what is on offer in this region.I hope they continue to improve and develop favorably.

                              2. re: charmel
                                r
                                RGR Apr 14, 2008 10:22 AM

                                Thanks for the report, charmel. I particularly appreciate your mention of the unbearably high noise level. Regulars on this board know that this is a *major* restaurant peeve for me -- the only issue that will keep me from going to a place regardless of how superb the cuisine might be. We generally dine out in NJ during the week or on Sunday (very rarely on Friday and Saturday), so when we go to B.B., I'm hoping it won't be so busy, and the noise level will be tolerable.

                                1. re: RGR
                                  seal Apr 20, 2008 12:05 PM

                                  OK, call me a follower...

                                  Took the family for brunch this morning. We arrived soon after they opened, which was perfect. The room is small, but really nice when it is quiet like that. For a while I wondered what my mother-in-law meant when she said it was very noisy at dinner Thursday night. Btw, she is very picky and ht short of it is she didn't care for the place.

                                  The brunch began with decent coffee and a glass of not fresh squeezed oj, after all, where do you get fresh squeezed around here anyway. Then things went uphill when the basket of fresh baked muffins arrived - excellent with butter and jam!

                                  We had some eggs with bacon, a frittata with shrooms and goat cheese, a bomberger, and a steak sandwich. By the time the mains arrived the place was mostly full and I realized what the comments about the noise level were all about. The food was all good, with the fresh cut fries a standout as well as the sauteed onions on my steak sandwich.

                                  Not that anything was wrong with our brunch, but by the time I paid the check I couldn't wait to get out of there. Maybe I am getting old, but I prefer a quieter atmosphere. And the food wasn't bad but not great to the point of me saying, "who cares how noisy it is".

                                  Also the fact that we drove all that way and Flaky tart is closed until Tuesday didn't help either ;o)

                                  1. re: seal
                                    r
                                    rnr Apr 23, 2008 01:25 PM

                                    Was the noise level really horrendous? We've been thinking about the Bistro for Mother's Day Brunch, but want to be able to converse with one another. Can anyone recommend a decent brunch location in the Middletown area other than Molly Pitcher?.

                                    1. re: rnr
                                      bgut1 Apr 23, 2008 02:42 PM

                                      It may not be a brunch per se, but you may want to inquire what Nicholas is doing for Mother's Day.

                                      1. re: bgut1
                                        r
                                        RGR Apr 23, 2008 03:26 PM

                                        Nicholas does not do brunch on Mother's Day, bgut. Starting at 3 p.m., they are offering their early spring dinner menus.

                                        http://www.wineaccess.com/store/nicho...

                                        1. re: RGR
                                          bgut1 Apr 23, 2008 06:21 PM

                                          R - I had assumed that they would be something for the occasion. Thanks for the clarification.

                                      2. re: rnr
                                        seal Apr 24, 2008 03:18 AM

                                        Well, if you go to Belford Bistro I suggest you get there as soon as they open. And I agree about the lack of good brunches in our area.

                                        You'd think with all the places we have locally by the ocean that somehow more than one would have a good brunch.

                                        1. re: seal
                                          b
                                          BernieMSY Apr 28, 2008 12:49 PM

                                          I finally made it to Belford Bistro last week. My wife and I both enjoyed it---thank you fellow Chowhounds for alerting me to it.
                                          We enjoyed the Five Cheese Agnolotti with
                                          peas, prosciutto and parmesan cream very much and The Bomburger was as good as previous posts have indicated., although I did find it troubling when they charged my wife for substituting spinach for the french fries. The pasta special was solid. Overall, a very nice experience. We were there early, so noise wasn't a problem.
                                          I would encourage others to give it a try. Keep your expectations reasonable. It is an earnest, pleasant BYOB that executes well and is a good value. Don't go expecting something more than what it is. Enjoy!

                                          1. re: BernieMSY
                                            s
                                            steakas Apr 30, 2008 10:24 AM

                                            I'm new here at chow. I saw this post and had to sign up.

                                            Anyway, I work in Beford and am a New Monmouth native. BB is a great addition to the area. They are in the early makings of becoming a well-known restaurant.

                                            So far I've been there 8 times; twice for dinner and 6 times for lunch. So far 8 for 8!

                                            I wish the owners lots of luck, keep up the good work, etc. I also want to thank the owners for bringing this Bistro to Belford. I no longer need to go to Red Bank as often. Thanks.

                              3. t
                                tom246 May 11, 2008 09:13 AM

                                Another great dinner last night for us, this is our 3rd visit here and the restaurant is very consistent.
                                Reservations for 7:30 and we were promptly seated to a nice table at the front looking out the window.
                                Adam, our server, was nice, efficient and eager to please.

                                Several special appetizers and entrees sounded good but I went for the Market salad and DW had the Shrimp Bistro Salad. Both nicely constructed and refreshing as salads should be.
                                I had the crabcakes which were plentiful and very good. Wife had the chicken which was moist tender and delicious.

                                We shared the chocolate torte which was rich and decadant.

                                Had a bottle of 2004 Alesia Sonaterra Pinot Noir which paired well with everything.

                                We now have had just about all the apps and entrees off the regular menu and there is not a cluncker in the bunch. Only one left to try is the steak which looked awesome coming out.
                                I wish the hard working owners all the best as they have made this place a nice destination.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: tom246
                                  s
                                  steakas May 11, 2008 02:35 PM

                                  I brought 18 of my coworkers there this past Thursday for a going away party. They handled us great - all meals were coordinated perfectly and all came within 2 minutes. Nothing was cold, nobody had any complaints everyone was happy. The guy sitting next to me had the pork chop, it looked great – a massive double-cut on the bone. I cannot wait to try that chop. This place is a must-go.

                                  1. re: steakas
                                    h
                                    highlandsnj May 11, 2008 03:56 PM

                                    Ha! I was there last Thursday night right next to your table with 18 of your coworkers! It was the 2nd time I had been there last week. I was with 2 others and we were noticing that they brought all of your meals at the same time. Very well coordinated! I also saw that pork chop -- unbelievable! I have to try that next time. The filet they had that night looked great, too. At my table, we all had burgers and they were hot! Molten lava hot.

                                    I only wish this place was quieter. Your table with 18 was surprisingly quiet, but the other table of 3 ladies, and the table next to them, made the place loud.
                                    I was there last Sunday around 7pm, and although 1/2 the tables were empty, the high ceilings contribute to the noise level. I could barely hear the people I was with. We also had to strain to hear the waiter. Food is great, but VERY loud.

                                2. t
                                  tom246 Jun 29, 2008 10:18 AM

                                  We went back to BB last night, mainly to try the new Summer menu. Turns out my wife did the new items while I went back to some standbys.
                                  The evening had an ominous start as our 7:30 reservation could not be found. I blame myself as I had a poor connection when I had called a couple of weeks ago.
                                  No problem as there was a table for two available. Very warm olive rolls with softened butter started the meal.

                                  DW started with:
                                  Duck Spring Rolls
                                  asian pear, watercress and sweet chili sauce
                                  While I had:
                                  Grilled Shrimp Bistro Salad
                                  baby arugula, watercress, candied cashews, peppers, mandarin oranges,
                                  crispy wontons and soy ginger vinaigrette
                                  The spring rolls which are new were filled with tasty duck and the chili sauce was perfect.
                                  Also a large portion, more than enough for two to share
                                  My salad is a favorite and was very good.

                                  Entrees were:
                                  Jumbo Shrimp and Scallops
                                  marinated tomatoes, olives, capers, basil and broccoli rabe
                                  Grilled Double Cut Pork Chop
                                  broccoli rabe, gorgonzola cheese, yukon potatoes and zinfandel sauce

                                  The shrimp and scallop dish is new and was nice and light in style and dw pronounced it a winner. After a few tastes, I agree.
                                  My pork chop was double cut and prepared just right, juicy and moist. The potatoes and cheese are an indulgent treat.
                                  For dessert we split the trio of gelatos (chocolate, peanut butter and coconut) which was a nice way to end the meal on such a warm night.
                                  Besides the new items on the menu there were also a few appetizers and entrees specials that were recited.

                                  Had a great pinot, 2004 Macphail Sonoma Coast which we shared with the table of 4 next to us who we made friends with.
                                  Only downer of the evening was our server who was invisible most of the evening. Had to continually ask for water, knife missing for entree etc. Thank god for the bus boy who was there to save the day.

                                  The cooking from this young talented pair in the kitchen is very very consistent and the newer items show versatility.

                                  1. t
                                    tom246 Aug 3, 2008 07:49 AM

                                    I know I know a broken record but I think if one does not report on both the good and bad then your doing others who read this board a disservice.

                                    We took some very discriminating foodies from up north here last night and enjoyed a delicious meal and excellent service.
                                    For apps:
                                    Five Cheese Agnolotti
                                    peas, prosciutto and parmesan cream
                                    Butchers Bacon
                                    grilled corn, grape tomatoes, baby arugula and gorgonzola ch
                                    Jumbo Lump Crab Cake
                                    citrus aioli, mache and fresh herb salad
                                    Duck Spring Rolls
                                    asian pear, watercress and sweet chili sauce
                                    All were winners and shared amoung the 4 of us.

                                    For entrees:
                                    A special of soft shell crabs, sorry I don't remember what else was in the dish but it was great.
                                    Roasted New Zealand Rack of Lamb
                                    grilled summer vegetable and goat cheese tart
                                    Grilled Double Cut Pork Chop
                                    broccoli rabe, gorgonzola cheese, yukon potatoes and zinfandel sauce
                                    Sicilian Jumbo Shrimp with Fresh Gemelli Pasta
                                    broccoli rabe, white beans, plum tomato, roasted garlic and extra virgin olive oil

                                    Each was beautifully presented and prepared exactly as ordered. The lamb and pork came out medium rare as ordered.
                                    For dessert we shared:
                                    Key lime tart
                                    Chocolate peanut butter cheesecake
                                    Both were excellent and a great way to end the meal.

                                    Would make a great choice for all the "Central Jersey hounds" to get together one evening to meet and share some good conversation.
                                    After several visits The Belford Bistro gets my highest recommendation.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: tom246
                                      r
                                      RGR Aug 3, 2008 10:10 AM

                                      We have not been to Belford Bistro. I've been hesitating mainly because of reports that the noise level is extremely high, and I avoid restaurants with that kind of ambiance regardless of how good the food might be.

                                      With regard to a CNJ Hound get-together, the few times we've arranged them, including one announced earlier this year, the response has been quite disappointing.

                                      1. re: RGR
                                        t
                                        tom246 Aug 3, 2008 03:16 PM

                                        We have been there several times and if the room is full the noise level is moderate, you can have a conversation but you are aware of the noise around you. Much like many other restaurants that are full.

                                        Last night (Saturday) the room was half full and it was not only quiet, I would call it cozy.
                                        If you go on a Saturday in prime season (Fall-Winter-Spring) between 6:30 and 8:30 the room might be full, other days and times I would bet you would have no problem at all.

                                        Maybe toward the end of summer I'll throw out some suggestions for a hound get-together and see what kind of response we get.

                                      2. re: tom246
                                        h
                                        HillJ Aug 3, 2008 12:14 PM

                                        tom246, since it's so rare to find a place that you not only enjoy but enjoy enough to want to share it with friends and fellow 'hounds I say go for it. If as RGR stated, haven't had great attendance it doesn't mean (and I'm sure RGR was not implying it should) you shouldn't try. Belford Bistro is a lovely local spot and just the right size for a "takeover." If you're willing to set the dining date/time--by all means go for it.

                                        My dh & I took family visiting from GA there last month and we all left very happy with our meals. That night we ate early and had the dining room to ourselves. But the noise level, although reported awful by others, hasn't been an issue for us the last few times we enjoyed dining there. On this particular night, we took a burger home for my son who raved about it for days.

                                        btw-tom246-thanks for all the great reviews on CH.

                                        1. re: HillJ
                                          t
                                          tom246 Aug 3, 2008 03:22 PM

                                          Thanks HillJ, I agree, noise has not been a big problem when we have been there.
                                          Maybe in a few weeks I will post to see who might be interested in a get together there or another popular place.

                                      3. c
                                        cantkick Aug 21, 2008 06:58 PM

                                        We finally went there, and it certainly met all our expectations. Rather than repeat all the accolades, I'll just add a few new ones.

                                        The special salad was pear, gorgonzola, walnuts, cranberries, and lots more. Superb. Everyone tasted everyone else's entree, and we were unanimous that everything was excellent. A big plus was that the server gave the prices when she recited the specials. We will return, frequently.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: cantkick
                                          bgut1 Sep 6, 2008 07:51 PM

                                          We enjoyed another fantastic meal at BB. The DW and I had commented that it was quite some time since we returned and decided to give it a try on this rainy and miserable evening. The weather must have kept people at home as the restaurant was more than half empty when we arrived at about 8 PM (in fact we closed it down when we left at 9:30 PM). Everything we ordered was fabulous and the meal was even better than our first back in April. Here is what we ordered: the DW started with the Market Salad while I had a half portion of the five cheese agnolotti (I never order pasta so I must have been feeling it); for entrees I had the rack of lamb with the grilled summer vegetable goat cheese tart while the wife had the sesame crusted tuna atop soba noodles. All I can say is that every dish was just perfect from the expertly composed and flavored salad to the luscious cheese stuffed pillows in a cream sauce with pancetta to the tuna counterbalanced with the sweetness of the soba noodles to the perfectly cooked lamb chops. Desserts of flourless chocolate cake and cappuccino gelato rounded out a perfect meal. The cost for two excluding gratuity was $95. We left the restaurant commenting that we need to make an effort to return more often and bring friends. My highest recommendation. Good Luck and Enjoy.

                                        2. Angelina Sep 21, 2008 06:44 AM

                                          I just want to give you a big SMOOCH, val ann c! We wnet here last night after the numeorus posts I read about how great the place is!! Wow...you were all so right! I could not be happier. We started with a shared appetizer of the 5 cheese agnollotti...sooo great! Not too creamy, just perfect!

                                          For dinner, we both ordered pastas, which, we never order out because we are always extremely dissappointed when that mush comes to our table! The waitress was a sweet young girl and told me the pasta is in fact made in house. The menu alone was so wonderful and great choices!

                                          My husband had the gemelli pasta with shrimp and broccolli rabe and cannelli beans (my spelling is off this morning...sorry). I had the tagatelle pasta with grilled veggies and grilled chicken in a pesto sauce. The dishes were fabulous! We were both so full, and took 1/2 home. I was quite impressed. I loved those rosemary dinner rolls as well!

                                          We rarely ever order dessert, so we skipped it. I only wish the place was closer to me, but I will definately drive back and recommend this place.

                                          So, thanks again, val ann c! Great pic!

                                          1. t
                                            tom246 Oct 20, 2008 09:56 AM

                                            Sunday night 12 of us descended upon Belford Bistro to sample the expanded Fall/Winter menu and meet new and old friends.

                                            Serving a party of 12 is no simple chore and our servers did a nice job of spacing the courses well, filling water glasses (I’m the camel of the group) and replacing silverware as well as serving several other tables in the restaurant.

                                            Warm olive and rosemary rolls with fresh butter was a nice way to start things off. The new Fall/Winter menu included several new items as well as a fresh take on the Summer menu. My wife started with:
                                            Poached Pear and Brie Salad with candied walnuts, dried cranberries, mixed greens and sherry vinaigrette. This was a new addition and Denise proclaimed it a winner. After tasting, I agree. I had:
                                            Shrimp Spring Rolls, Mango dipping sauce. This was a variation of the Summer Duck Spring Rolls and was equally good. Lots of shrimp in a very crisp roll with a tasty mango sauce.

                                            Entrees were Red Wine Braised Boneless Short Rib, Gnocchi, butternut squash, mushroom and sage. Delicious short rib, gnocchi were light and tender with cubes of butternut squash and mushrooms. This is a new Fall item for the regular menu

                                            Also had the Grilled Double Cut Pork Chop, Spinach Polenta, diced apples and mission figs. The dinosaur sized chop was tender, spinach polenta was addictive and the apples and figs rounded off this very good dish.

                                            We split an excellent Key Lime Tart with whipped cream but my understanding is that it pales in comparison to the version of the person sitting across from me :)).
                                            The wines flowed during the evening and included a couple of excellent Rieslings, Turley Zin, Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc, 2000 Bordeaux, Sojourn Pinot Noir and topped off with a Magnum of Viader Propriatary Red Wine and a delicious Eiswein for dessert.

                                            It was great meeting, conversing and making new friends, for us it made the evening special.
                                            Special thanks to The Belford Bistro whose food and service was again excellent.
                                            The chef team of Kurt and Crista have a passion for what they do and it shows on every plate they serve.
                                            I’m sure my other 10 partners in crime last night will chime in with their experiences.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: tom246
                                              r
                                              Rosie Saferstein Oct 20, 2008 11:47 AM

                                              Everything was excellent. Thank you Tom for organizing this "field trip." How delicious it was to meet everyone. I also had the short ribs which melted in my mouth. And the spinach polenta was so scrumptious that the extra order was inhaled within seconds by everyone. Now I am not sure about the wines. I may have to taste them again to make a decision! ; )

                                              Rosie

                                              1. re: Rosie Saferstein
                                                bgut1 Oct 20, 2008 01:06 PM

                                                My thanks also to Tom for coordianting the fabulous event. My wife and I truly enjoyed the evening. Even better than the food and wine (which BTW were fantastic) was meeting our friends both new and old. I hope we do this again real soon if nothing more but to give me an opporunity to present to the uninitiated what true key lime pie is all about :)) Regards.

                                                1. re: bgut1
                                                  seal Oct 20, 2008 01:14 PM

                                                  Just a quick note to add that my wife and I also thought the food, wine, and company were all first rate!

                                            2. t
                                              tom246 Jan 4, 2009 06:08 AM

                                              We had not been back here since the Chowhound get together in October. Last night we enjoyed another delicious meal. Seated promptly for our 7:30 reservation we munched on olive rolls with butter looking over the menu. Our server Marissa told us that the menu would be changing in a week or two.

                                              Started with and split two apps. First was a special salad of arugula, crispy pancetta, hazelnuts, a crostini smeared with fig jam with a wedge of mild stilton on top, all dressed lightly in a balsamic vinaigrette. The other app was the Prince Edward Island Mussels with chorizo, fennel, tomatoes and herb croutons.
                                              Both were excellent starters, the salad was a wonderful mix of flavor and texture while the mussels were tender and the pesto glazed crostini on top was put to good use sopping up the tasty broth.

                                              Entrees were equally good. Jumbo lump crab cakes with whipped chive potatoes and citrus aioli with mache and fresh herb salad. Also had Sicilian Jumbo Scallops and Shrimp with Fresh Gemelli Pasta with asparagus, oven dried tomato and basil butter.
                                              The crab cakes were light but so flavorful and satisfying and DW thoroughly enjoyed the seafood and pasta dish which is one of her favorites here.

                                              We split a generous slice of date toffee cake with coconut cream cheese icing with a dollop of whipped cream. This cake had great flavor and after asking we were told it is straight from Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts cookbook.
                                              That cookbook is now on my wife's list to buy to try to make that cake :)
                                              Coffee and tea finished us off and we enjoyed a 2005 Freeman special cuvee pinot with dinner.
                                              When we arrived the place was full except for our table. A few more tables came in after us making it a very busy evening, which was good to see. I realize it was a Saturday and it should be busy but hopefully places like Belford Bistro can weather the tough economic climate we are in.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: tom246
                                                r
                                                RGR Jan 4, 2009 07:13 AM

                                                Thanks for the review, Tom. I didn't post at the time, but Mr. R. and I thoroughly enjoyed that Chowhound get-together. It was our first time at Belford Bistro, and we thought the food was very good. We haven't returned mainly because the menu hasn't changed and at that dinner, I had pretty much all the dishes that appealed to me most. I thought the menu might not change until spring, so I'm really pleased to hear that changes will be coming much sooner. Hopefully, they will entice me to go back because I do think Belford Bistro deserves our support during these harsh economic times.

                                                1. re: RGR
                                                  t
                                                  tom246 Jan 4, 2009 08:50 AM

                                                  RGR, it was a fun evening and we should think of doing it again at another place now that the holidays are over and once the weather stays a bit more consistent.
                                                  We were also surprised when our server told us about the menu changes as the current is the "Fall/Winter" menu and started a few days before our hound dinner.
                                                  Instead of totally changing, it may just get tweaked with different preparation, sides, sauces etc.
                                                  BB has become a favorite of ours.

                                                  1. re: tom246
                                                    bgut1 Jan 4, 2009 10:06 AM

                                                    Tom -Thanks for the review. We were just there on New Year's day and the restaurant was understandably a bit slow. To be honest, I was happy that they accommodated those few customers that wanted to dine out that evening. I wont bore you and the other posters by repeating earlier comments. Instead, I will just report that everything was great as usual. Regrettably, the date toffee cake wasn't available that evening as I would have gladly ordered some. Like RGR, I'm happy about the forthcoming menu changes. The DW and I dine there regularly and would appreciate a change of pace. Be well.

                                                    1. re: tom246
                                                      r
                                                      RGR Jan 4, 2009 12:29 PM

                                                      Tom,

                                                      Different preps and sides would be fine with me.

                                                      Another get-together is already in the works. It will be at Steakhouse 85. bgut and I have discussed it, and as soon as we pick a date, I will post an announcement.

                                                2. t
                                                  tom246 Mar 1, 2009 05:27 AM

                                                  Continuing our "tour" of going to our favorite restaurants, Blackbird a few weeks ago, Belford Bistro last night, Blue Bottle next week.
                                                  We also wanted to try the tweaked winter menu at Belford Bistro.
                                                  Started with the poached pear and brie salad with candied walnuts, dried cranberries, mixed greens and sherry vinaigrette. Other started was goat cheese ravioli with pancetta, golden beets and crispy shallots.
                                                  We shared both and thoroughly enjoyed the flavors of each.

                                                  Entrees were a special of poached halibut over a risotto of asparagus and sun dried tomato. Tender, mild flavored fish over a perfectly done risotto, yum!
                                                  Also had a tweaked version of my wifes favorite, Sicilian jumbo scallops and shrimp with fresh gemelli pasta with asparagus, oven dried tomato and basil butter. This version was every bit as good and satisfying as the previous preparation.
                                                  We skipped dessert and sipped tea and a cappuccino. Our server Davina (sp) took good care of us during the evening.

                                                  As good as the meal was, the best part of the evening was seeing fellow hound bgut and his lovely wife walk in. The host graciously set up a table next to us and we spent the next 90 minutes chatting and catching up.
                                                  We all shared some nice wines including a tasty riesling, valpolicella and August West Graham Vineyard Pinot. Thanks bgut!
                                                  From our meal last night BB is hitting on all cylinders.
                                                  PS: bgut's special of lamb shanks over creamy polenta looked awesome :)

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: tom246
                                                    njfoodies Mar 1, 2009 06:27 AM

                                                    Great notes Tom! Thanks for posting! Zelda and I need to try this place! -mJ

                                                    1. re: tom246
                                                      bgut1 Mar 1, 2009 06:55 AM

                                                      Tom - It was nice seeing you and your wife last evening. Our meal was as excellent as yours. I ordered both appetizer and entree specials; a very nice pan fried quail over an arugula salad and a duo of braised lamb shanks over polenta with braised red cabbage. The lamb was as awesome as it looked and I'll be enjoying the leftovers for lunch today. Thank you for the excellent company as well as that very special Pinot Noir. I'll also try the Leitz Riesling shortly and let you know what I think. Be well.

                                                    2. t
                                                      tom246 Apr 12, 2009 07:05 AM

                                                      A quick report on dinner here last night which was excellent. DW is stuck on the poached pear and brie salad appetizer and Sicilian Jumbo Scallops and Shrimp with Fresh Gemelli Pasta entree. Both were great as usual.

                                                      Having had most of the menu, I went a different route. Started with the Meat and Cheese app. which was 3 large smokey, spicy pieces of chorizo, slices of bra tenero cheese, a crispy seasoned cristini with a side of marinated olives and greens. I found myself making mini layer sandwiches of the ingredients. This new app with its varied flavors is terrific.
                                                      My entree was even better. A generous portion of tasty medium rare duck breast with a side of Swiss chard and cranberries brought together with a nice dollop of pureed roasted cauliflower accented by a port wine reduction. Just a fabulous entree.
                                                      Lent is finally over :)), we shared a really fun dessert, Baked "Colorado" which was a bowl containing a fudge brownie, dark chocolate gelato topped with marshmallow topping. The marshmallow topping was bruleed with a torch to make it toasted. It was as good as it sounds!
                                                      Service was great as always and in fact is actually getting more refined.
                                                      This young couple manning the kitchen can flat out cook. If you have not been, give it a try. It has become one of our favorite restaurants anywhere.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: tom246
                                                        r
                                                        RGR Apr 12, 2009 10:39 AM

                                                        Hey, Tom,

                                                        Thanks for the report. Just looked at the menu on Belford's website, and I see no changes since we were there for the Hound get-together. To be honest, I've been holding off returning, hoping they will make substantial menu changes in line with the season. The duck is not on the website menu, so, perhaps they have not updated the menu? I adore duck. However, the accompaniments are rather wintery rather than more appropriately springlike. Did you note anything else that's new?

                                                        1. re: RGR
                                                          t
                                                          tom246 Apr 12, 2009 05:22 PM

                                                          Hi RGR
                                                          There have actually been substantial changes to the menu, some new items and some new preparations.
                                                          Last night was a good example. The meat and cheese is new and the duck was a special. Last time we were there I had a great poached grouper. That was also a special. Dessert last night again totally new (and delicious!)
                                                          Even my wife's entree last night was tweaked with added bread crumbs which added a nice complimentary flavor and complexity to the dish.

                                                          I think BB changes or modifies their menu more than most places we go to including Drews, Blackbird or even Lorena's.
                                                          Thats why we tend to go there more frequently than most places As for the winter like menu, did you notice the temperature last night :)) Can't believe its the mid April.

                                                      2. m
                                                        metalrat Apr 14, 2009 11:48 PM

                                                        I LOVE the Belford Bistro. These kids have talent and we enjoy the byob as well. Loved the scallop app, the soups are good, desserts, its all good and One should reccomend people to go there.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: metalrat
                                                          s
                                                          steakas May 13, 2009 01:53 PM

                                                          Zagat just gave BB a 28. They deserve it! I hope it doesn't go to their head :)

                                                          1. re: steakas
                                                            bgut1 May 13, 2009 02:28 PM

                                                            Well deserved. Congratulations to Crista and Kurt :)

                                                            1. re: bgut1
                                                              t
                                                              tom246 May 13, 2009 03:38 PM

                                                              Could not have happened to a nicer or more talented couple. Of course bgut1 and I have known this for a long time :))

                                                        2. t
                                                          tom246 May 17, 2009 06:15 AM

                                                          New menu at BB is out and based on dinner last night is a great follow up to the previous one.
                                                          Sat down at 8:00 and tried to decide. From the new menu, organic heirloom tomato panzanella salad with feta cheese, pine nuts, english peas, mint, mesclun greens and sherry vinaigrette caught my eye as did crab & chorizo stuffed shrimp with mango coulis and petite herb salad but we actually decided on two other new appetizers.

                                                          Wife had Duck Confit with pineapple, baby arugula, peanut brittle and spicy lime vinaigrette. Rich array of flavors that combined beautifully.
                                                          I had the Seared Filet Migon Carpaccio with shaved pecorino romano, rocket, sun dried tomatoes and truffle vinaigrette. A substantial piece of filet, melt in your mouth texture and nice mix of flavor brought together by a touch of the truffle oil. Just superb.

                                                          Several new entrees added including a lamb loin preparation as well as a roasted duck prep. Both sounded and looked great but we went with a couple others.
                                                          DW had a special (from memory) Pan Roasted Grouper over whipped potatoes, with artichokes, herbs and a light beur blanc sauce. Fresh grouper is a favorite and this was well prepared.
                                                          I had the Pork Osso Buco, which was a large fork tender shank with spaetzle, apple wood bacon, carmelized brussel sprouts, cippolini onions and a light madiera sauce. Pork shank, spaetzle, apple wood bacon... do I need to comment on how delicious this was :).

                                                          While we all like rich desserts, I always think the simplest desserts are often the most tasty and satisfying. We shared such a dessert, the Berry Napoleon was pastry layered with fresh whipped cream, topped with vanilla gelato ringed with fresh berries with some splashes of fresh berry sauce.

                                                          Service from Davina was great and we enjoyed a nice aged 1999 Kay Brothers Hillside Shiraz as well as a couple of glasses of delicious St Urbans Hof riesling courtesy of fellow hound bgut1, also enjoying dinner.

                                                          Lots of new menu items, same great results. Would be a great place to take your hard working dad to on Fathers day. Kids, are you listening :)

                                                          13 Replies
                                                          1. re: tom246
                                                            bgut1 Jun 14, 2009 07:17 AM

                                                            I enjoyed another fantastic meal at BB last night. A few new additions of note were the scallop ceviche appetizer and desserts of an almond cake with strawberry sauce and whipped cream (yum) and a deconstructed napoleon (puff pastry topped with pastry cream and marscapone ice cream (a triumph of a dessert). It is amazing to me how this place keeps on getting better and better and has become one if not my favorite restaurant in New Jersey.

                                                            1. re: bgut1
                                                              t
                                                              tom246 Jun 14, 2009 08:29 AM

                                                              Bgut, thanks for the report and very happy to hear you guys had a great meal. The key to a great restaurant is that they constantly strive to improve and "tinker" with the menu. BB certainly does that.

                                                              We are going there with friends tonight, your report is making me hungry :)

                                                              1. re: bgut1
                                                                r
                                                                RGR Jun 14, 2009 09:33 AM

                                                                ",,,how this place...has become one if not my favorite restaurant in New Jersey.

                                                                O.K, b., so which is it? Drew's or Belford Bistro? *big grin*

                                                                We've been on restaurant hiatus for about a month after completely over-dosing on dining out from January through the beginning of May (some in NJ but mostly in NYC). Now that we're getting back in the swing, i.e., our dinner at Elements earlier this week, I'm going to add Belford Bistro to my "go back to" list.

                                                                1. re: RGR
                                                                  Tapas52 Jun 14, 2009 10:09 AM

                                                                  hey what about TRINTY? lol

                                                                  1. re: Tapas52
                                                                    bgut1 Jun 14, 2009 07:06 PM

                                                                    Tapas - I know this may sound crazy but I've yet to try Trinity for dinner. I went for lunch once and enjoyed it. However, due to its proximity to Drew's we some how never get the chance to go to the "other" restaurant next door.
                                                                    RGR - I know. This is a tough toss up. Let me correct my earlier statement by declaring them both co-best restaurants. BTW, how was Elements? It's on my try list.

                                                                    1. re: bgut1
                                                                      t
                                                                      tom246 Jun 14, 2009 07:38 PM

                                                                      Another great meal at BB tonight with friends who are very fussy, eat at the very best places in NJ AND NY. They have now been to BB twice and its their new favorite restaurant.
                                                                      The Pork Osso Buco, Crabcakes and Halibut special were standouts tonight.

                                                                      Having both BB and Drews within reasonable distance to us is a real treat and going to both on a somewhat regular basis, you get to enjoy the changing menu, specials, hospitality of the servers etc.

                                                                      1. re: tom246
                                                                        bgut1 Jun 14, 2009 08:07 PM

                                                                        Hey Tom. I'm happy you enjoyed your meal at BB. The pork osso bucco is one of my favorite dishes. I've now had it twice since the menu change. That along with the rack of lamb and the short ribs are IMHO the best entrees on the menu (while the filet carpaccio and agnolotti are the best apps.). My regards to your DW.

                                                                      2. re: bgut1
                                                                        r
                                                                        RGR Jun 14, 2009 09:05 PM

                                                                        b.,

                                                                        I didn't realize you'd been to Trinity. We haven't tried it yet.

                                                                        Re: Elements. I'm in the process of writing up my review. Not to give too much away, but I'll put it this way: You can keep it on your try list. :-)

                                                                        1. re: RGR
                                                                          bgut1 Jun 14, 2009 09:44 PM

                                                                          R - Looking forward to reading your review.

                                                                          1. re: bgut1
                                                                            bgut1 Jun 21, 2009 05:24 PM

                                                                            I know I must be sounding like a broken record but we enjoyed another fantastic meal at BB last night. Of particular note were two specials we tried; an appetizer of homemade duck pate with grilled country bread, coarse grain mustard and cornichons and an entree of pan fried soft shell crabs atop oven dried tomato risotto with what I assume to be a truffle sauce of some kind. Both dishes (especially the crabs) were over the top. In fact, I wanted to order that dish but my DW beat me to it :(. She was hoping to bring one of the crabs home for the next day but I couldn't stop picking at the dish it was that good. The pate was also exceptional rivaling some of the best I've ever eaten. I wolfed it down so quickly I wasn't able to discern the item that studded the slices (I assume raisins?). Everything else including the service was excellent as always. We left the evening feeling both proud and lucky to have such a stellar and dependable restaurant available locally.

                                                                            1. re: bgut1
                                                                              t
                                                                              tom246 Jun 21, 2009 06:07 PM

                                                                              bgut, you are making me hungry, those two dishes sound fantastic.
                                                                              When a great restaurant like BB can be so creative I think its the duty of the board members like yourself to report on it. Gives perspective diners some additional insight to their menu.

                                                                              Hope you had a nice Fathers Day

                                                                              1. re: tom246
                                                                                bgut1 Jun 21, 2009 06:56 PM

                                                                                Tom - I had an excellent Father's Day and I hope you had a fine one as well. I actually hesitated reporting about those items as both are specials and I have no idea how long they will be available. It is evident that Kurt and Crista have found their groove and seem to be quite comfortable with their cooking. As I'm sure you agree, it is a distinct pleasure to dine there.

                                                                                1. re: bgut1
                                                                                  t
                                                                                  tom246 Jun 22, 2009 09:27 AM

                                                                                  Bgut, totally agree. Nice room, very good service, superb cooking skills. BB is the whole package.

                                                              2. t
                                                                tom246 Jun 28, 2009 05:30 AM

                                                                4 of us had a great meal last night panzanella salad, scallop ceviche and two special salads of arugula, strawberries, brie, other greens and balsamic vinaigrette to start. Entrees were scallops, special grouper, rare tuna and I had a fantastic duck breast preparation. Had some fun with the server and learned something. When asked how I wanted the duck prepared, I said "how the chef likes it" knowing it would be medium rare.
                                                                I then kiddeningly asked what if Kurt wanted it med rare and Crista wanted it med well, what would happen. Found out Kurt does all the grilling, Crista does all the sauteing, no wonder this kitchen works so well. Oh, and if there is any doubt the woman in the kitchen always wins out :)

                                                                We split a berry Napolitan and a delicious almond cake with strawberry rhubarb jam. Yum
                                                                Everything during the evening was excellent and thoroughly enjoyed by all.

                                                                8 Replies
                                                                1. re: tom246
                                                                  bgut1 Jun 28, 2009 08:11 AM

                                                                  Sounds like a great meal Tom. We also had a very enjoyable meal at Daniel's. BTW, did you have anything interesting to drink?

                                                                  1. re: bgut1
                                                                    t
                                                                    tom246 Jun 28, 2009 09:37 AM

                                                                    We did. Our friends brought a New York riesling which was nice, a bit more dry than usual. We opened a 2005 Rudius syrah that was great. The young winemaker, Jeff Ames, makes wine for several top wineries. Rudius is his own first label. When out in Ca in May we barrel sampled with him.

                                                                    Nice to hear about Daniel's. Good potential for being open less than a month.

                                                                    Just back from a tough bike ride to work these calories off :)

                                                                  2. re: tom246
                                                                    r
                                                                    RGR Jun 28, 2009 06:01 PM

                                                                    Re: "As the chef prefers." Imo, any chef who does not prefer a duck breast (aka "magret") cooked medium rare should turn in his or her saute pan or grill tongs toot sweet!

                                                                    1. re: RGR
                                                                      Tapas52 Jun 30, 2009 07:11 AM

                                                                      Question....isn't med rare chicken or duck an unhealthy thing to eat?

                                                                      1. re: Tapas52
                                                                        r
                                                                        RGR Jun 30, 2009 08:24 AM

                                                                        You are right about chicken, which should always be cooked completely through. Duck breast, on the other hand, can safely be eaten rare or medium rare. In fact, if you cook it well done, it gets dry and tough.

                                                                        1. re: Tapas52
                                                                          equal_Mark Jun 30, 2009 08:26 AM

                                                                          Unlike chicken, salmonella has never been as much an issue with duck. Keep in mind that salmonella is not a poultry disease per se, but is related to unsanitary farming and processing conditions. Many of the recent outbreaks involving produce bear this out.

                                                                          The majority of farms raising ducks are much smaller and more easily managed than chicken and turkey facilities. Also, one most remember that as this contamination is generally introduced during processing after slaughter, and is not endemic to the living population. As with much red meat, whole cuts and muscle groups are unlikely to contain salmonella in the interior, and any exterior contamination will be killed during grilling or sauteing.

                                                                          Salmonella is more likely to be spread from mishandling and cross contamination from raw poultry to utensils, cutting boards and unwashed hands that are then used to prepare items to be served uncooked.

                                                                          1. re: equal_Mark
                                                                            Tapas52 Jun 30, 2009 09:53 AM

                                                                            RGR, Equal Mark, thank you for the education I appreciate it and also learned something I didn't know.

                                                                        2. re: RGR
                                                                          shorebilly Jun 30, 2009 12:52 PM

                                                                          LOL!

                                                                      2. m
                                                                        Mr. Bingley Jun 30, 2009 05:43 AM

                                                                        Gosh, i really need to get here; i only live 10 minutes away.

                                                                        1. t
                                                                          tom246 Jul 11, 2009 06:29 AM

                                                                          After being too late with for a reservation at Drew's, we came here to another favorite last night.
                                                                          Lot's of tweaks and changes to the new menu. We spoke to our server who said if the item does not sell real well, the chefs modify or replace it. That is smart thinking, never letting your menu items become "stale". The inability to adapt to the consumer or market conditions often kills any business, especially restaurants.
                                                                          Started with fresh cherry and goat cheese salad, baby arugula, candied walnuts and aged balsamic vinaigrette.
                                                                          Also had Applewood bacon wrapped scallops with mango salsa. Both apps are new additions and were delicious starters. Another new app, Grilled shrimp with roasted corn, poblanos and chorizo also looked great coming out. Always a next time :)

                                                                          Entrees were Roasted natural chicken which had a yummy crispy skin with wild mushrooms and creamy asiago polenta. This is a new preparation.
                                                                          I had a special. Large double cut Berkshire pork chop topped with carmelized onions over gorgonzola polenta and ringed with white peaches.
                                                                          Both entrees just full of flavor and perfectly prepared.
                                                                          Shared an almond torte which was topped with diced peaches with a large dollop of fresh whipped cream. Ah, so simple but so good. Could have eaten two of these.
                                                                          Washed it all down with a nice 2005 Carlisle Syrah. BB continues to deliver at a very high level.

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: tom246
                                                                            bgut1 Jul 11, 2009 09:25 AM

                                                                            Tom - Sounds like it was a wonderful meal. I'm happy you and the Mrs. enjoyed it. I hope I have as good a meal at Daniel's this evening. I feel like I deserve it after running the Belmar 5 in the heat this morning. :)

                                                                            1. re: bgut1
                                                                              t
                                                                              tom246 Jul 11, 2009 10:01 AM

                                                                              B, it was excellent and hope you and Mrs B enjoy Daniel's. Thats a good run, it is more humid today. I know, just back from a bike ride :).
                                                                              You and the other hounds hold down the fort for a few days. I'm off to the land of Feijoada and Caipirnha.

                                                                              1. re: bgut1
                                                                                r
                                                                                RGR Jul 11, 2009 11:27 AM

                                                                                Congrats, b., on running what I presume is a five-mile race! Looking forward to hearing how Daniel's stacks up the second time around. Enjoy! :-)

                                                                                Tom, Have a great trip! :-)

                                                                                1. re: RGR
                                                                                  bgut1 Jul 11, 2009 01:53 PM

                                                                                  Thanks Tom and R. Yes, it was a 5 mile run. Although the distance was fine the heat was tough. I'll be sure to report back on Daniel's x2.
                                                                                  Tom - Have a great trip and be careful with those Caipirinhas. They have a way of sneaking up on people. :)

                                                                            2. t
                                                                              tom246 Aug 23, 2009 09:01 AM

                                                                              Friday night we had soul food, last night we had food for the soul. It was old friends night as friend and fellow hounds bgut and spouse were at one table and other family friends at another.

                                                                              A few thoughts about dinner. Delicious special app. of duck pate with grilled country bread, whole grain mustard, cornichons with a small salad of mixed greens and dried cranberries.
                                                                              Grilled shrimp with roasted corn, poblanos and chorizo is a study in flavor. Yum
                                                                              Mains of day boat scallops with black truffle risotto and a huge fork tender pork osso buco with spaetzle were perfectly prepared with rich flavors.
                                                                              No meal is complete without dessert, we comply by having two ;) first was a favorite, almond cake with marscapone cream and sliced figs graciously sent over by bgut, the other was also a treat, a bowl contained a blondie, covered with peanut butter ice cream and topped with toasted marshmallow, this was compliments of the phenom chef owner team Kurt and Crista. A very special thank you to bgut, Kurt and Crista for two wonderful desserts.

                                                                              BB was hopping last night with people still arriving at 9:30 but the servers really work well together and provide a most pleasurable dining experience. Our server Tracy was alaways a step ahead and has a great sense of humor.
                                                                              For those interested, we passed several wines between tables. They included a 2005 Kosta Browne Pinot, a yummy Darting Pinot and a sublime Monchhof Riesling.

                                                                              New Jersey, Monmouth County in particular has two of the finest restaurants within 5 miles of each other, Belford Bistro and Drews Bayshore Bistro.
                                                                              And both are BYO to boot.

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: tom246
                                                                                r
                                                                                RGR Aug 23, 2009 02:50 PM

                                                                                Hey, Tom,

                                                                                You and bgut have got to stop meeting like that! lol

                                                                                Seriously, though, I'm happy to hear that you had another excellent meal at Belford. We had that almond cake when we had dinner there several weeks ago. In our case, it was axxompanied by a Bing cherry compote. Yum! Everything else we had -- scallops wrapped in bacon to start, then tuna for Mr. R. and magret for moi -- was also delicious. And iirc, Tracy was our server. Yes, a true gem!

                                                                                1. re: RGR
                                                                                  t
                                                                                  tom246 Aug 23, 2009 05:18 PM

                                                                                  RGR, I think bgut is officially stalking me now :) Yes, another excellent meal and terrific service. Very happy to hear that you and Mr. R also recently had a great meal at BB.

                                                                                  1. re: tom246
                                                                                    bgut1 Aug 24, 2009 08:21 AM

                                                                                    Hey Tom - Who is stalking whom? :) Let's just say that we both have excellent taste in restaurants. It was a pleaseure seeing you and the Mrs. the other night and thank you for the Kosta Browne as it was the hit of my table. Also please thank the Mrs. for her recommendation of the chicken entree. I rarely if ever order chicken in a restaurant as I eat it too much at home and find it quite pedestrian. Here however, the dish was fabulous. The chicken had a nice crispy skin, moist and flavorful meat and accompanied by a delicious and creamy polenta with mushrooms. It was a complete success and rivals my other favorite chicken dish at Oliver a Bistro (the Crispy Chicken). We also had a chance to try the blondie variation of the Baked Colorado dessert and were favorably impressed. Necessity is in fact the mother of invention as Crista advised that they ran out of chocolate for the brownies and therefore had to make blondies. Instead of peanut butter gelato, we had ours with the cappuccino flavor as Mrs. Bgut1 loves coffee ice cream. It was a marvelous evening. I guess we'll see you next weekend. ;)

                                                                                    1. re: bgut1
                                                                                      t
                                                                                      tom246 Aug 24, 2009 03:19 PM

                                                                                      Always great seeing you guys and Denise is glad you liked the chicken, especially after her recommending it. No surprise on the quality of the dessert variation, that is the dynamic duo in the kitchen.
                                                                                      The Kosta Browne may have been a hit at your table but for us the Monchhof riesling was awesome, a real treat.

                                                                                      1. re: tom246
                                                                                        bgut1 Sep 6, 2009 10:27 PM

                                                                                        The Mrs. and I enjoyed another perfect meal at BB on Saturday night. I know this may sound corny but I feel we are all truly blessed to have such a fantastic and dependable restaurant in our area. From the service to the chefs, nothing could possibly be better. I wont bore all of you with the redundant adulation for the previously described food, however, I do wish to draw your attention to the maturity and confidence of the kitchen. Most of you will recall that in the beginning, Kurt and Crista brought in their desserts from Flakey Tart. While the desserts were most assuredly good, they weren't "homemade". As time has gone by, the chefs have started to make their own desserts including the famous Baked Colorado (which is now made with a blondie). Another new addition tried last evening was an excellent flourless chocolate cake which I paired with the peanut butter gelato. The cake was nice and fudgy while the a la mode created a Reese's peanut butter effect. I keep coming back to Belford and instead of it getting old, it just continues to impress. Soon comes the Fall Menu and I can't wait to discover what Kurt and Crista have in store. Belford is a true gem and I for one count my lucky stars. BTW, tom246 and Mrs. tom246, you were both missed last night.

                                                                              2. t
                                                                                tom246 Sep 20, 2009 06:33 AM

                                                                                Our good friends have proclaimed BB their favorite restaurant so we met them last night for dinner. A couple of specials of note were the special salad of mixed greens, candied walnuts, dried cranberries, chunk of brie in a light balsamic vinaigrette.
                                                                                A special macadamia crusted mahi mahi with a tarragon beurre blanc sauce drew a big thumbs up and the pork osso buco and crabcakes were stellar, as usual. We shared a tasty cheesecake for dessert.

                                                                                Service was excellent throughout the evening and the room filled up quickly. A very enjoyable evening with great food and good friends.

                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                1. re: tom246
                                                                                  r
                                                                                  RGR Sep 20, 2009 01:42 PM

                                                                                  So, Tom, after a little side trip to Trinity, it was back to the old restaurant stomping grounds for you and Mrs. Tom. lol Glad to hear that your meal at BB was, as usual, excellent.

                                                                                  1. re: RGR
                                                                                    t
                                                                                    tom246 Sep 20, 2009 02:52 PM

                                                                                    Yea, can't teach an old dog new tricks :) Dinner was excellent and our friends really enjoy BB.
                                                                                    We convinced them to give Drews a try with us when we get back from California.

                                                                                    1. re: tom246
                                                                                      r
                                                                                      RGR Sep 20, 2009 03:04 PM

                                                                                      I presume you will be visiting your son and taking in some wonderful CA cuisine.

                                                                                      Safe Landings and Bon Appetit!

                                                                                      1. re: RGR
                                                                                        t
                                                                                        tom246 Sep 20, 2009 03:12 PM

                                                                                        Yes, tasting his first vintage, eating and drinking very well and taking in some great weather. Leaving next Sat. Can't wait!

                                                                                        1. re: tom246
                                                                                          bgut1 Sep 20, 2009 10:42 PM

                                                                                          Tom - I hope you and the Mrs. have a great trip. Enjoy!!

                                                                                          1. re: bgut1
                                                                                            r
                                                                                            rickster71 Sep 26, 2009 05:04 PM

                                                                                            We've heard about this place many times, but have never been.

                                                                                            I have to say there no hype when it comes to this place, it's all substance!
                                                                                            Unlike other places mentioned in Chow that are a case of 'The Emperor's New Clothes' and touted as being so good; this place is the real deal.

                                                                                            There were four of us, our wine was opened (Our server was named Mike.)
                                                                                            and house made rosemary dinner rolls placed on our table.

                                                                                            Recalling some of the poor excuses for rolls we've been served in other places (I won't name), these were warm and fresh.

                                                                                            We started off with two orders of:
                                                                                            Prince Edward Island Mussels w/chorizo, fennel, tomatoes and herb croutons. Very good.

                                                                                            Entrees:
                                                                                            I had the Yellow Fin Sushi Grade Tuna w/ eggplant & roasted pepper caponata and pinenut cous cous. Also Very good!

                                                                                            My wife had the Seared Day Boat Scallops w/ black truffle risotto, melted leeks and asparagus. Also excellent.

                                                                                            Our friends had Roasted Magret Duck Breast w/ parsnip, crispy shallots, baby spinach, fresh cherries and port wine sauce

                                                                                            Also a 'fish of the day' that I don't recall. Though I tasted it, and wished I'd ordered it too.

                                                                                            After dinner My wife and I split a flourless chocolate cake, very very good.

                                                                                            I don't know what was better the food, or the service. Our server Mike did a flawless job.

                                                                                            1. re: rickster71
                                                                                              bgut1 Sep 26, 2009 09:44 PM

                                                                                              Rickster - I'm happy that you enjoyed your meal. Thanks for your review.

                                                                                2. e
                                                                                  ejdb Oct 13, 2009 07:46 AM

                                                                                  Reposting from a different thread:

                                                                                  Let me preface this by saying I like to eat good food, not necessarily review it, but will give it my best shot.

                                                                                  Went to Belford Bistro fairly early on Sunday (6pm). Pulled up and was a bit hesitant as we were greeted by a pizza place on our left and a gang of teenagers on our right. But, once we were inside all doubts were gone. After much deliberation (we wanted to make sure we had all our bases covered) we ordered the Butchers Bacon and the Crabcake for apps. The Butchers bacon was fabulous. It was crispy fatty thick bacon on top of, what was akin to, a mildish sauerkraut with whipped sweet potatoes topped with tart apple matchsticks on the side. The mix of fatty goodness,sour and sweet was excellent. My husband's crabcake was very good as well. It was probably the best crabcake I have ever eaten. It had a nice crispiness on the outside and a crunch on the inside. Not a whole heck of a lot of filler.

                                                                                  Main courses were the sea scallops with risotto and the strip steak. The scallops were cooked almost perfectly (did notice that the underside was not as nicely seared as the top)and the risotto was flavorful and creamy. The steak was probably the low point of the night (if there had to be something considered "low"). It was cooked perfectly, however, the cut of meat was a bit tough. I didn't order it or eat much of it, my husband did, and his tolerance for meat tenderness is a bit different than mine. In any case, it did taste delicious and he seemed to enjoy it.

                                                                                  After that we were too full for any desert.

                                                                                  I will say that the service was spectacular. There was one waitress for the entire restaurant. At one point she had six tables at various stages of their meals and not once did I feel that she was anything short of extremely attentive. Refilling water, answering questions, chit-chatting etc...And the chef came out to meet and greet as well.

                                                                                  It was a most enjoyable meal.

                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: ejdb
                                                                                    t
                                                                                    tom246 Oct 25, 2009 09:57 AM

                                                                                    ejdb, great report, glad that you liked BB and hope to hear more reports from you.
                                                                                    We had another great meal at BB last night, struck up a conversation with a couple who were there for the first time and they could not believe the mix of flavors and refinement of the food.
                                                                                    We started with two salads, a special salad with arugula, sliced pears, figs, chopped bacon, manchego cheese and dressed with a apple cider viniagrette.
                                                                                    Also had the Goat Cheese salad with beets, sliced apple, pecans, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, mesclun greens and aged balsamic viniagrette. Both salads had great flavors from totally different ingredients.

                                                                                    Entrees were Double Cut Pork Chop on bourbon sweet potatoes with applewood bacon cippolini onions, brussel sprouts and black currant glaze. Huge chop, moist and tender with delicious flavor nicely enhanced by the other ingredients.
                                                                                    Other entree was Red Wine Braised Boneless Short Rib with gnocchi, butternut squash, spinach and pine nuts. Another hearty and delicious entree.
                                                                                    We finished by sharing an excellent Apple Spice Cake with Caramel gelato. A nice finish to a delicious meal.
                                                                                    A 2002 Guilliams Cabernet was excellent and our good buddy bgut sent over a very nice Italian wine that I'm guessing was a syrah.
                                                                                    As you might expect BB was very busy on Saturday night but our server Davina and staff were more than up for it and made it a most enjoyable evening.

                                                                                    1. re: tom246
                                                                                      m
                                                                                      Mr. Bingley Nov 9, 2009 03:45 AM

                                                                                      Finally got to Belford Bistro this past Saturday at 7pm. They were pretty packed, which is good to see. Unfortunately the room gets pretty loud as folks get further into their wine, so I would suggest that they hang some short heavy curtains from the ceiling to dampen the sound a bit, as the room is very 'live'. Anyhow, the food: Daughter had the Five Cheese Agnolotti as an app, which was tasty and had a nice balance of cheese flavors that didn't over power the sweetness of the peas or the salty tang of the prosciutto. My Bride had the Bibb salad which I'm fairly sure she enjoyed as it disappeared quickly enough. I had the Bacon Wrapped Sea Scallops which were very tasty; the bacon was perfectly crisp, salty and smokey and the scallops were sweet and fresh BUT you've got to be kidding me: $14 for <i>two</i> scallops??? That seemed a bit much...

                                                                                      For entrees my Bride had the double cut pork chop which was as delicious as tom246 described above; Daughter had Papperdelle Bolognese which was pedestrian: the pasta was excellent and fresh but the sauce was bland and relatively tasteless (she remarked that Basil T's bolognese is much better and I would agree). I had a sliced lamb tenderloin special which was quite good, tender and with nice mild lamb flavor and cooked exactly as I had ordered it.

                                                                                      Every thing was washed down with a bottle of Conundrum for starters and then a 2005 Mondavi Cab. All in all a very pleasant meal (the waitress was very nice and though busy had a proper amount of attention to us) and we will go back (but dang give me at least 4 scallops!).

                                                                                      -----
                                                                                      Belford Bistro
                                                                                      870 Main Street, Belford, NJ 07718

                                                                                      1. re: Mr. Bingley
                                                                                        r
                                                                                        RGR Nov 9, 2009 05:29 AM

                                                                                        Interesting about the scallops. When we were at Belford in July, there were three. Considering their size, I thought that was fine for an appetizer portion. They and the mango salsa were delicious.

                                                                                        Photo here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                                                                                        1. re: RGR
                                                                                          m
                                                                                          Mr. Bingley Nov 9, 2009 05:47 AM

                                                                                          nice photo! yep, only two, and instead of the mango salsa it was almost like a dill potato salad in the center, which provided a nice contrast.

                                                                                        2. re: Mr. Bingley
                                                                                          bgut1 Nov 9, 2009 06:52 AM

                                                                                          Mr. Bingley - The last few times that I've had the bacon wrapped scallops app they had come three to a plate. It sounds like it was a mistake in the kitchen. Otherwise, I'm happy you enjoyed your meal at Belford.

                                                                                          1. re: bgut1
                                                                                            m
                                                                                            Mr. Bingley Nov 9, 2009 08:37 AM

                                                                                            ah well, my bad luck i reckon.

                                                                                            Maybe next time I'll get five to balance things out :)

                                                                                          2. re: Mr. Bingley
                                                                                            t
                                                                                            tom246 Nov 15, 2009 02:47 PM

                                                                                            Great report Mr. Bingley, sounds like you ate and drank well!. On Friday we enjoyed another steller meal at Belford Bistro. The butternut squash soup is rarely mentioned but is a flavor and textural delight. A great soup, especially on such a dreary night. The special salad with arugula, sliced pears, figs, chopped bacon, manchego cheese and dressed with a apple cider viniagrette was also delicious.

                                                                                            Entrees were the chicken which is a favorite of my wife and I had the tuna prepared rare. Both entrees were excellent.
                                                                                            Split the blondie brownie sundae with peanut butter gelato and toasted marshmallow which is a nice take and a familiar dessert.
                                                                                            Had a nice 2005 Sojourn Pinot Noir with dinner. Service as usual was top notch.
                                                                                            Nice to see a mostly full dining room on such a miserable night.

                                                                                      2. s
                                                                                        stickman731 Jan 1, 2010 08:40 AM

                                                                                        During this holiday season, we decided to try the restaurants that we have been reading about since moving to Monmouth County seven years ago but found little time to visit them. Belford Bistro was our choice on Wednesday evening (they are closed on Tuesday). I made a reservation but they had no record of it – they however accommodated us. It is small intimate place that reminded us of some of small Hudson County establishments that we miss.

                                                                                        For starters, I had the Butternut Squash soup that was excellent. My wife had an Argula Salad special that contains figs, walnut, pears and “I think” Gorgonzola cheese that she devoured (she barely offered me any which is atypical – telling me that she truly enjoyed it.) For entrees, I had the Double Cut Pork Chops based on some chowhound recommendations and they did not disappoint, particularly the bourbon sweet potatoes. My wife had the crab cake appetizer portion and a side of potato – I did not get any of these either J. We finished by sharing a crème brulee. It was good but not as good as Moonstruck’s Black and White Crème Brulee.

                                                                                        Service was very good to excellent – never overbearing exhibiting the correct level of interaction and conversation that I very much appreciate.

                                                                                        We will definitely be adding this BYOB on our restaurant rounds. Next stop Drew’s.

                                                                                        1. t
                                                                                          tom246 Mar 15, 2010 03:16 AM

                                                                                          We ventured out on a dreadful Saturday evening but the combination of the food and service at The Belford Bistro made it all worthwhile. BB has spruced up the interior, new paneling, wallpaper and chair rail gives it a warm inviting feeling.

                                                                                          We started off with a couple of salads, The Boston Bibb Salad and The Goat Cheese Salad are about as different as can be but both are an array of flavors and textures.
                                                                                          DW had a special of Oven Roasted Cod over horseradish mashed potatoes with a chorizo, fennel chili broth which was actually more a sauce than broth and so delicious. Thought I also tasted a bit of saffron in the sauce.
                                                                                          I had the crabcakes which I love here. Nice lump crabmeat, flecked with diced peppers over whipped mashed potatoes with a ring of lemon scallion aioli and a small herb salad. Why did it take me so long to reorder these :)

                                                                                          Very full, we passed on dessert but relaxed over a cappuccino and tea. Service from Davina was superb all evening as usual. Friendly, good sense of humor and always helpful with the menu.
                                                                                          A 2007 Rochioli Special Cuvee was a nice match for the food.
                                                                                          The weather was awful but The BB was the perfect remedy.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: tom246
                                                                                            bgut1 Mar 15, 2010 08:57 AM

                                                                                            Nice review Tom. What's been going on. For a while we would run into each other every weekend and now we never see you. I couldn't agree more about the comforting and welcoming feeling at BB. Combine that with the excellent service by Davina and Tracey and and the great food and I could eat there every weekend.

                                                                                            1. re: bgut1
                                                                                              t
                                                                                              tom246 Mar 15, 2010 01:58 PM

                                                                                              Bgut1, I think your trying to avoid me :) Yes, a nice comforting place to dine. Off to California next weekend but hitting another BB, Blue Bottle on Thursday for plate of that fabulous gnocchi.

                                                                                          2. chefMD Mar 15, 2010 07:55 PM

                                                                                            i can certainly see why this is a fav..... just finished a very nice meal there with another chef. Davina was all she was hyped to be even when she could have used another set of hands. all around food very solid especially the steak, cooked exactly as ordered(which believe it or not, seems difficult for most places to do. we are talking almost raw btw). enjoyed a Bandol 2000, wooden Nickel Petit Syrah, a Ribera del Duero i do not recall the vineyard, a 'Ten Fidy' Stout and a Duck Pond Late Harvest Gewurtztraminer. not a bad night...... Thanks Kurt! glad i finally made it in....

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: chefMD
                                                                                              j
                                                                                              jerseygurl Mar 26, 2010 09:09 AM

                                                                                              If you chose this place often, it can be a tad boring as the menus don't change. yes, the waitstaff is deligtful, but the 'older' hostess can be somewhat 'rough' and standoffish. Please make a reservation; othewise you will be frowned upon. Value for the dollar is good and the seafood is always fresh. You will be rushed if you make an early reservation...aim for 6:30 or later for a better paced meal.

                                                                                            2. t
                                                                                              tom246 May 30, 2010 02:44 PM

                                                                                              It had been awhile since we were last at BB and after our meal last night I'm wondering why. From start to finish, it was a melange of flavors and textures.
                                                                                              The menu changes or is tweaked often. Last night DW started with a special salad of arugula, toasted hazelnuts, strawberries, golden beets, cucumbers, Humboldt Fog cheese and dressed with a sherry vinaigrette. Very fresh tasting and the cucumbers made all the difference.
                                                                                              I had the Spring Vegetable Gnocchi with asparagus, mushrooms, pine nuts, artichokes, shaved pecorino cheese and a touch of sage brown butter. Delicious and a decadent starter. I'm a sucker for good gnocchi.

                                                                                              Entrees were excellent. DW again went the special route and had the Oven Roasted Halibut, with mushrooms and corn, sitting on a a bed of parsnip puree dressed with a chorizo emulsion. One of the best preps of Halibut we have tasted.
                                                                                              I had the Seared Day Boat Scallops with creamed corn, whipped mashed potatoes and homemade applewood bacon. Loved where the applewood bacon took this dish, adding that savory touch to the sweetness of the scallops.

                                                                                              Stuffed but could not pass up dessert which are new on this menu. We split the Bananas Foster Blondie Sundae with toasted marshmallow on top. Do I need to tell you how good this was :)
                                                                                              Will be sure to get back here soon. Would not be fair if I did not mention the fine service by our server Davina and the busy staff.

                                                                                              The evening was made even better when Bgut1 and his lovely wife came in and were seated next to us. Good conversation just added to the fine food.

                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: tom246
                                                                                                r
                                                                                                RGR May 30, 2010 03:54 PM

                                                                                                Excellent report, as usual, Tom. Nice that you were able to share the evening by happenstance with the bguts.

                                                                                                We finally made it back to Belford in April. The stellar crab cake was one of the best I've ever had, Mr. R. loved the crispy striped bass, and my magret was excellent. I did find the cheesecake a tad disappointing, Nevertheless, looking forward to going back in the not-too-distant future. Perhaps, we can meet up there sometime.

                                                                                                Belford Bistro photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                                                                                                1. re: tom246
                                                                                                  bgut1 May 30, 2010 07:24 PM

                                                                                                  tom246 - It was a true pleasure being seated next to you and your lovely bride. With regard to the menu, in the two years we have been dining at BB, this is by far the best we have encountered. The place is clicking on all cylinders: food, service and recently revamped decor. Not to sound like a broken record, but in my book, it is one of the best and most well rounded restaurants in the state.

                                                                                                  1. re: bgut1
                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                    sockster May 30, 2010 07:28 PM

                                                                                                    Bgut- how does this compare to Bay Ave Trattoria?

                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                    Bay Ave Trattoria
                                                                                                    122 Bay Ave, Highlands, NJ 07732

                                                                                                    1. re: sockster
                                                                                                      bgut1 May 31, 2010 04:54 PM

                                                                                                      sockster - Don't get me wrong, the food at BAT is very good. However, BB kicks it up another level. The decor at BB is also a bit nicer while the service is more professional. While I wouldn't hesitate to recommend BAT, BB is definitely my "go to" place.

                                                                                                      1. re: bgut1
                                                                                                        s
                                                                                                        sockster May 31, 2010 05:46 PM

                                                                                                        Wow- High praise indeed. We'll check it out in the next week or so and let you know our thoughts. Thanks for getting back to me.

                                                                                                        1. re: sockster
                                                                                                          bgut1 Jun 1, 2010 05:08 AM

                                                                                                          You're welcome. Enjoy and please let us know.

                                                                                                          1. re: bgut1
                                                                                                            m
                                                                                                            Mr. Bingley Jun 1, 2010 07:05 AM

                                                                                                            i live so close...i need to go there again as well!

                                                                                                2. s
                                                                                                  sockster Jun 4, 2010 07:57 AM

                                                                                                  I have to start this post with this statement: I know that Chowhound is about individual tastes, and takes of different restaurants, so here is my take of Belford Bistro...from last night. Arrived on time for our reservation. We were seated by an unsmiling hostess at a table by the wall. Took about 10 minutes for the server to arrive to open our wine. In the meantime, we looked around at the very mundane decor of this restaurant. It was plain and simple with not much going on. When the waiter opened our wine, there were two mismatched wine glasses on the table. His response- oops, and replaced it with a matching one. Opened the wine, poured almost one full glass, left got the other glass, then spilled some of the wine while resting the bottle of the glass while pouring the wine. A less than stellar start for sure. We ordered the tuna tartare and the duck spring rolls for apps. But first, out came two semi heated rolls with ultra soft butter. Yuck. In fact, the woman sitting next to us refused the bread all together. The tartare came out three small helping on the plate. While nicely plated, all you could tasted was the beet on the bottom, and the wasabi caviar on the top....no tuna taste at all. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of ordering tuna tartare?? The spring rolls were tasty, but the sauce served with it, mundane. Nothing special. For dinner we had the scallops which frankly, were fine. The smoked bacon to me was the best taste on the plate. The other main course were the crabcakes. Full of lump crabmeat, these were good. To me, there was still not much happening on them to make them great. We waited almost 20 minutes for them to clear our table- and let me make it clear, the restaurant was less than half full. We were basically done at this point, and asked for a check. I have to say here how disappointed by this restaurant we were. After reading all the raves here on CH, this experience was a huge letdown. Also, Bay Ave. Trattoria's food blows this place away- not even on the same planet. Now as I started this long post with, this is our opinion only.....but we'll never go back to BB.

                                                                                                  12 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: sockster
                                                                                                    bgut1 Jun 4, 2010 09:14 AM

                                                                                                    Sockster - You are 100% correct. It all comes down to individual taste. I adore the tartare appetizer that you didn't enjoy. As far as the crabcake entree, the simplicity of the dish is what makes it special to me. As for the decor, it is also a matter of personal taste. I find it to be much more comfortable than BAT. As my good friend RGR would say,Chacun ses goûts ("to each his own"). Differing opinions are always welcome. This site would be so boring if we all shared the same views and observations. Thank you for your review.

                                                                                                    1. re: bgut1
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                                                                                                      RGR Jun 4, 2010 10:29 AM

                                                                                                      b., I completely agree with you that opinions about a restaurant's cuisine boil down to individual taste.

                                                                                                      We've only been to Bay Av. Trattoria once for lunch, and while the food was fine, imo, Belford Bistro's is superior. Plus, the plating is far more attractive. With regard to ambiance, BB's, albeit being rather plain, is more appealing to me than BAT's (though I recall you mentioning that in the evening, BAT breaks out tablecloths).

                                                                                                      I do hope you won't take offense if I correct you with regard to my oft-made assertion. :) It's "Chacun à son goût." The exact translation: "Each to his own taste."

                                                                                                      1. re: RGR
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                                                                                                        Mr. Bingley Jun 4, 2010 10:35 AM

                                                                                                        To each his own gout?

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                                                                                                          sockster Jun 4, 2010 11:08 AM

                                                                                                          Oh please don't mention gout. I have it and it HURTS!!

                                                                                                          1. re: Mr. Bingley
                                                                                                            r
                                                                                                            RGR Jun 4, 2010 01:19 PM

                                                                                                            For those not familiar with French, "goût" is pronounced "goo," and it means "taste."

                                                                                                          2. re: RGR
                                                                                                            bgut1 Jun 4, 2010 11:55 AM

                                                                                                            Sorry R. I stand corrected. :)

                                                                                                            1. re: bgut1
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                                                                                                              RGR Jun 4, 2010 01:19 PM

                                                                                                              No apology necessary, b. :)

                                                                                                        2. re: sockster
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                                                                                                          LarryLg Jun 7, 2010 08:30 AM

                                                                                                          I like Belford Bistro, and I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy it Sockster. Here's where I'd like to pose a question though. If you were so unsatisfied with your visit, I'd like to ask if you made the owners aware of your disapointment? After all as you replied to me in reference to Ama, 'they can't fix what they don't know about'.

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                                                                                                          Belford Bistro
                                                                                                          870 Main Street, Belford, NJ 07718

                                                                                                          1. re: LarryLg
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                                                                                                            sockster Jun 7, 2010 12:17 PM

                                                                                                            Larry- Truly there was nothing wrong. Personally I didn't care for the entire experience. That's what makes CH so good and horse racing.

                                                                                                            1. re: sockster
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                                                                                                              Tay Jun 7, 2010 03:39 PM

                                                                                                              I just read...and reread your detailed posting of 6/4...."truly nothing wrong?"
                                                                                                              Could've fooled me!

                                                                                                              1. re: Tay
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                                                                                                                Gold Jun 9, 2010 05:06 AM

                                                                                                                I have to agree with Tay. If there was nothing wrong you would at least give it another shot.

                                                                                                                1. re: Gold
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                                                                                                                  sockster Jun 9, 2010 06:07 AM

                                                                                                                  I'll pass, thank you.

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                                                                                                          stickman731 Jun 29, 2010 06:56 AM

                                                                                                          When last night to celebrate my wife's birthday - this has become our go to place for great food in Monmouth County. Surprisingly, only 5 tables were occupied, but as always the food was outstanding. We started with the salad special that had arugula, cucumbers and cherries with a balsamic vinaigrette and a`crab cake. I never pass up the crab cake. My wife and I both had the fish special Mako Shark with a mild wasabi undertone. We both loved it. I have come to the conclusion that their fish specials are always top notch. No dessert this time around.

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                                                                                                          Belford Bistro
                                                                                                          870 Main Street, Belford, NJ 07718

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: stickman731
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                                                                                                            sockster Jun 29, 2010 07:22 AM

                                                                                                            And that, ladies and gentleman, is what makes horse racing...to each their own.

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                                                                                                            tom246 Nov 14, 2010 04:44 AM

                                                                                                            Several new items on the menu to try and they did not not disappoint. Belford Bistro was bustling when we arrived for our 8:00 reservation.
                                                                                                            Though busy, service was prompt and efficient.
                                                                                                            DW started with a special salad of mixed greens, dried figs, pecans, sliced apples, all with a nice wedge of Humboldt Fog with a balsamic vinaigrette. I had the butternut squash ravioli which were filled with pureed spiced squash, diced roasted beets and pancetta. A very nice savory preparation.

                                                                                                            Entrees were a pan roasted cod with butternut squash risotto and flecks of bacon mixed in to tie the flavors together. Other entree was a medium rare veal loin over root vegetables, marscapone mashed potatoes with a port reduction. Two totally different entrees that showed the talent of the kitchen. Both were perfectly prepared and delicious.

                                                                                                            Shared a version of an old standby for dessert. Chunkey Monkey Plus was a chocolate brownie, vanilla gelato, sliced bananas, Meyer rum all covered with toasted marshmallow topping. Washed the whole meal down with a 2006 August West Pinot Noir.

                                                                                                            The evolution of Belford Bistro into a top notch restaurant is quite remarkable. Going on three years old, owners Crista and Kurt started BB at the beginning of our worst fiscal crisis. Add in two children during this time, you know how difficult running the restaurant can be.
                                                                                                            Based on our meal last night and the satisfied people around us, BB has maintained the high level of quality and service.

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                                                                                                            Belford Bistro
                                                                                                            870 Main Street, Belford, NJ 07718

                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: tom246
                                                                                                              Pink Pepper Apr 30, 2011 06:25 AM

                                                                                                              I see this is an older discussion. How did I never hear of this place! I'd like to try it tonight. It's our anniversary and I always come here to browse around and see what I can find. You guys have never let me down.

                                                                                                              1. re: Pink Pepper
                                                                                                                angelo04 Apr 30, 2011 08:57 AM

                                                                                                                Went there recently for the first time and really enjoyed it. We opted to not order entrees and instead made our own tasting menu by ordering about 6 app's. The seared scallops, the bibb salad, the crab cake, the agnolotti, duck spring rolls and something else. All were excellent. Enjoy and it is BYOB.

                                                                                                                1. re: angelo04
                                                                                                                  Pink Pepper Apr 30, 2011 10:18 AM

                                                                                                                  Angelo, plans have changed and we are going to The Black Trumpet tonight. But definitely keeping BB in mind for another time. I loved your idea of all appetizers.

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                                                                                                                  Black Trumpet
                                                                                                                  7 Atlantic Ave, Spring Lake, NJ 07762

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                                                                                                              stickman731 Aug 21, 2011 06:09 AM

                                                                                                              I cannot say enough good things about this BYOB restaurant. We went to celebrate our 11th anniversary on Friday. We started the clam appetizer and spring vegetable gnoochi - both excellent but the gnoochi was the best I have in some time. We both had the Monk Fish special over lump crab risotto - all I can say is WOW. We finished with the chunky monkey dessert - a perfect ending. The service was once again perfect with Danielle proving the correct level without interruptions. It made for a perfect evening.

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