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Feb 27, 2008 03:39 PM

Sienna Grill, Red Bank (formerly Two If By Sea)

I drove by the former Two If By Sea tonight and it's opened as Sienna (Sierra?) Grill. I believe a sign said something like "fine Italian cuisine."

Has anyone been there yet?

I'll try to get there soon and post.

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      1. Ate at Sienna Grill last night. Will not return. We had panzanella salad ($9) for an appetizer. It was ok but bland. The tomatoes were the rock hard supermarket variety. I would have used cherry or grape tomatoes for better flavor. My husband had penne vodka with chicken ($17). It was fine but nothing inspired. I had fusilli with eggplant, caremlized onions and riccota salata. My dish was poorly executed. The onions were steamed, not carmelized. The eggplant was soggy and bland. The pasta was overcooked. Overall the dish was inedible. It had no flavor and was visually unappealing. Our dessert, white chocolate lemoncello cheesecake with blueberry compote ($7), was better. The cheesecake was light and had a nice white chocolate flavor without being cloying. The lemoncello was no where to be found though. Beware wines by the glass ($7 - $10). The portions are extremely stingy. There are many better restaurants in the area such as Dish, Table, San Remo...I can't recommend Sienna.

        4 Replies
        1. re: grinder

          Thanks for the detailed report, grinder. Sorry that Sienna Grill turned out to be a disappointment. To be honest, I didn't have high hopes for it, and your experience confirms that it's one more addition to the long list of mediocre Italian restaurants in our area. :-(

          1. re: grinder

            Is San Remo on Newman Springs Rd and how do you find the food and service there?

            1. re: JerzeyShore

              It's still there. I've enjoyed the food and service every time I've been there though it's been a couple of years. Almost went last night but ended up at Felicia's in Little Silver. San Remo remains on my to-do list.

              1. re: fershore

                I second that. Never disappointed in the least. Food is excellent, portions probably too large, price is very reasonable, service excellent. And if you're lucky to get the older gentleman as your server, he's a hoot.

          2. Took one for the team.

            The correct name is Siena Grille: The menu is not on the website. Hopefully, they'll have the sense to add it.

            Met Mom early on a Monday night for a drink at the bar and dinner in the dining room. The place is lovely but I miss the creaky old floors of Sal's Tavern. They have a bar menu and a dining room menu. Though they describe their menu as modern Italian, I would say it's more in line with an American grille. No chicken parm to be found.

            They offer two tiers of wine: either $7 or $10 per glass. I think happy hour is a flat %25 off except for top shelf. The bartenders were knowledgeable and enthusiastic. I enjoyed the $10 pinot noir at one bartender's recommendation. An owner/manager scolding a bartender for making a joke at his coworker's expense turned a convivial atmosphere to an awkward one. The nature of the bartender's ribbing was far less unprofessional than the manager's rude verbal whipping. Irony.

            We moved to the dining room, where we were seated next to the kitchen even though only one other table had diners. There were a lot of servers with nothing to do and they gathered in the kitchen entryway. I found their conversations distracting because the place was so quiet.

            We were asked whether we wanted bottle water or tap and served warm roles and tasty olive oil. Mom ordered the same dish that grinder ordered, the fusilli with eggplant. She said it was good but too salty. I ordered day boat scallops over blood orange risotto. The scallops were wrapped in proscuitto. The risotto was surrounded by a nice light sauce with a dark sauce drizzled through it to make a very attractive presentation. The scallops were delicious as were the sauces. Sorry, I don't remember what the sauces were made of but they complimented the dish perfectly. I didn't love the risotto. I often don't care for citrus in my entree. Mom thought it was good. Our server was pleasant and attentive. The place was completely empty when we left.

            There were some blips typical of a newly opened restaurant. I wish I could say I was thrilled and dying to go back, but the slightly high prices for the small to average portion sizes and management by intimidation style make me hesitant. I may gather up the DH and try some of their appetizers and the bar menu some day.

            A friend who traditionally went to Two If By Sea for Easter is considering trying it with her family on Sunday. I'll report back on her experience if she does.

            7 Replies
            1. re: fershore

              Have you been back recently? I understand there were management changes on the front end and in the kitchen. (I'm interested in feedback for a freelance article I'm working on.)

              1. re: gottaknow

                Thought I would join and add my remarks about Sienna Grill....I have to agree when I went to the restaurant when if first opened I did not like the food or the service...then they had a 1/2 off promotion and I decided to give it another try.....the service had improved....the young lady at the door knows my name...the waitress remembers me and the food is good, warm and presented do youself a favor and give it another try....unlike most restaurants that are good in the beginning and then go downhill.....this restaurant has gotten better and I have introduced it to many other people and everyone that has joined us for dinner there has enjoyed it. Oh , they have introduced some other less expensive items on the menu......sausage and brocoli rob wrap...$7.99...delicious and well worth the price. Although for my dollar they could have left the higher prices and I still would enjoy going there....but that's just me.

                1. re: grealtor

                  My husband likes this restaurant for the casual feel at the pub tables (and especially for the bolognese sauce). The bar has TVs with sports on, so we can watch the games while eating a nice meal at a table. I am not a huge fan. I think the food is mediocre and the wine quite expensive. We usually bring our pre-teenage kids who are welcomed at the pub tables and on most visits there has enough activity at the bar to 'complement' our own noisy family conversation

                  I agree with grealtor, that since this thread was first posted, the food has definitely improved. Last time we went, the place was packed. Luckily, the owner remembered us from our frequent visits and gave us the next available table. That was nice.

                  1. re: McSmith

                    Sienna like most new places it can sometimes take a while to hit your stride. They are an above average neighbor hood friendly place. The burgers arre delicious the menu should be explored but you'll be hard pressed to find a better value then on their half priced Wed. Heidi, the bartender is one of the greatest ever and you should see her bartend.. love her!! Jimmy the owner is a salt of the earth nice guy who is approachable and trying. Give it a shot.

                    1. re: livingloving

                      Drove by it tonight.....lights off.....parking lot empty......I stopped got out read the sign on the door "Sienna Grill in now Closed". I never particularly liked the place so it's not a big loss for me.

                      1. re: jrvedivici

                        SIENA GRILLE CLOSES, FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY (Sorry, from the website, not my caps):


                        1. re: jfedorko

                          San Remo was going to move into the old Little Kraut space several months ago, but never did. (Don't know why.) Maybe they'll take over here.

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