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Porterhouse Grill Old Bridge, Opening August

Just read the thread on the New Brazalian place opening in Matawan, which got me thinking about this place that is taking the space of the forgetable Trabelli's. They have a website with a menu but no prices.

IMHO, the menu looks good, but there are many non-steak dishes, so will it be a true steak house? My gut says no, I hope I am wrong.


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  1. The above link is gone, but the menu link still seems to work


    20 Replies
    1. re: angelo04

      Hey, angelo,

      I pass that way regularly and have also seen the sign that Porterhouse Grill is taking the Trabelli space. That second link you've posted works for the entire site.

      On the homepage, they are describing it as a steakhouse. While it's not unusual for a steakhouse to have a number of non-steak items on the menu (all NYC steakhouses have them), what surprises is me what some of these items are. "Chicken Tagine with Israeli Couscous"?? Also, I'm surprised not to see whole lobster, which is a staple at many NYC steakhouses. Here, it's only lobster tails, and they are part of the "surf & turf," which made me laugh because it's so "yesterday," i.e., something one now finds only in places like the Buttonwood Manor. (I just checked the Buttonwood's website and, yup, it's still on the menu. lol)

      The "About Us" page says the chef, Keith Roybal, did "an apprenticeship at exclusive 4-star restaurant on UES of Manhattan under the direction of world-reknowned chef." The only restaurant that specifically fits that description is Daniel! Hmmm.... It also says he began his career at a 3-star in New Brunswick. Might that be The Frog and the Peach? Why not name names, so we don't have to guess? Chef bios normally provide that *specific* information.

      Frankly, I'm going to keep my expectations severely in check. If Porterhouse Grill turns out to be a winner, I will be thrilled to be pleasantly surprised.

      1. re: RGR

        cant wait to try the porterhouse and hope that its good....any word on the other place on rt 9 union hill road?..looks like building has stopped.

        1. re: karins

          The funny part about that building, if you look real close, they still have a small yellow sign about hand fed baby birds. Maybe the pet place is moving back there? Who knows. Time will tell.

        2. re: RGR

          Hey RGR - Agreed, expectation must be kept in check, At least it's not another Italian place.

          1. re: angelo04

            Hey angelo,

            Amen! to your comment re: Italian.

            P.S. Did you ever try Trabelli's? We did under the original management and, as expected, it was meh.

            1. re: RGR

              We did try it, it is so close to our house and I agree it was ah. My wife or I could execute better Italian at home. For Italian we head to Pauline’s on 34 in Matawan for typical red sauce fare. They make fresh whole wheat fettuccini which is a personal favorite of mine. But that maybe a thing of the past for us too, my wife wants the fresh pasta attachment for her Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer, so I will get that for the next gift giving occasion that presents itself.

              1. re: angelo04

                Our "go to" Italian in the area has been SamVera though it has been a long time since the last time. (These days, we've been doing our Italian dining, such as is it, in NYC.)

                I've passed Pauline's many times. I've never seen any cars parked there, so I figured how good could it be? Maybe I've been passing at the wrong time. What days are they open? And is it only for dinner? Given that you speak highly of it, the next time we're in the mood for Italian, perhaps we'll try it.

                P.S. Why wait for a special occasion to give your wife that pasta gizmo? Surprise her and call it an "un-birthday" or "un-anniversary" gift! lol

                1. re: RGR

                  RGR - My wife would love your suggestion!. Come to think so do I, fresh pasta sooner. YUM!

                  Pauline’s keeps somewhat strange hours, strictly dinner after 5:00, 5 days a week, possibly only 4 nights s week and they close for over a month in the summer. If you go, I would love for Pauline to be there, she is great to chat with and representative of the quintessential Italian Grandmother. They are actually only half Italian. The other half is French. When she mentioned that, we said we were interested in trying French food but as you know there is none in the area (That was Before I knew about the French Thai place) She started talking about some of her favorite French dishes that she prepares and how there isn't really a market for them in the area and went on to mention her Shrimp Perno, kind of a shrimp francese with a perno sauce. We said we would love to try it. Right in the kitchen she went only to discover they were out of Perno. She yelled at one of her sons to go to the liquor store and buy some. He returned shortly there after and we were in for a real treat. It was a really nice dish. She personally makes the fresh pasta, and as I mentioned I love anything she does with the whole wheat fettuccini and the black ink pasta was also very good.

                  The only downfall, compared to Sam Vera is the ambiance. It is a bit dated but the food is solid, further evidenced by the fact that the owner of La Strada, an excellent Italian place in Staten Island and whom lives in our area will only eat at Pauline’s. Pauline’s food in a Sam Vera setting would make it more of a standout.

                  Let me know if you go, I'd love to know what you think. Piacere!!

                  1. re: angelo04


                    While we welcome attractive ambiance, Mr.R. and I care first and foremost about the cuisine. If the food is outstanding, we could care less if the surroundings are plain, dated, etc.

                    Your story about the shrimp with Pernod is very telling. It shows that Pauline is an owner who cares.

                    I Googled and discovered she has a website. (Note: The music is really annoying!)


                    1. re: angelo04

                      WOW! Great review of Pauline's, Angelo! I too, like RGR, passed that place so many times and just thought, "another gross Italian restaurant!" After reading your review, we are going to try it!

                      Grazie! :)

                  2. re: angelo04

                    Nice to hear that Pauline's is still good. We use to live in East Brunswick and Pauline's was a weekly visit for us in the early nineties as was DQs for drinks just across the street. She and her family were all nice people willing to please.

                    1. re: JerzeyShore

                      I presume that "DQ" refers to Don Quixote? I was there quite a few years ago for a baby shower. One word describes the food: Horrible!

                      1. re: RGR

                        Yes you are right, the food was bad and that is why we did not eat there, we just went in for drinks as the crowd were all great people.

                        1. re: JerzeyShore

                          Actually, years and years ago, we would go to D.Q. for dinner very occasionally. I always had the same thing, shrimp scampi, and they managed to do a fairly decent job with it. But that was well before we became "foodies," and my palate was far less sophisticated. Not that there's anything wrong with a well-prepared shrimp scampi. But after the experience with the vile food at that baby shower, I could never be convinced to try a shrimp scampi, or anything else, now at D.Q.

                          1. re: RGR

                            R - I almost fell on the floor when I read that you had enjoyed shrimp scampi at Dairy Queen! That will teach me to read the whole thread. :)

                            1. re: bgut1

                              lol b., It never occurred to me that D.Q. could also stand for Dairy Queen. Truth to tell, I've never been to one.

                              1. re: RGR

                                Oh you gotta go R - at least once. Their frozen treats are things of childhood dreams: blizzards, peanut buster parfaits, slush floats, or just the basic vanilla cone with the signature curl (even better dipped in chocolate or cherry).

                                1. re: bgut1

                                  Hmmm... b., Do they serve regular ice cream, or is it like Carvel?

                                    1. re: bgut1

                                      I've never really cared for Carvel. However, I do adore the soft serve at Shake Shack, in NYC, which is in a whole other universe.

          2. angelo04

            not pre-judging the place - but I'm thinking not necessarily a steakhouse despite the name. Porterhouse & Porter House turn up often as names of non steakhouses. I've encountered a seafood place with that name in my travels and I know there's an Irish pub in North Jersey by that name. All I'm saying is wait & see - I'd hate you to have your heart set on a steakhouse & be disappointed if it isn't. Could be good anyway - right? You must live nearby so let us know - post a review. Thanks.

            1 Reply
            1. re: CompareFranco

              Like RGR, my expectations are always in check when it comes to new places in this area. I live a mile or so east of this place and will certainly post back when we give it a try.

            2. You can forget about Porterhouse Grill opening in August. Passing by this afternoon, I decided to stop and check on where things stand. The windows were covered with black cloths, but the front doors were not, and from what I could see, the interior still needs a lot of work.

              4 Replies
              1. re: RGR

                The website now says its opening in September of 2008, which probably means late October or November.

                1. re: angelo04

                  There's also "Illusions Steakhouse" on Tennent Rd. in Morganville, about a half mile past the post office, heading towards Rt. 79. Bizarre name for a steakhouse, if you ask me. They look nearly ready to open. It's also a bizarre location for a restaurant.

                  1. re: MarlboroMan

                    The sign by The Porterhouse Grill says Grand Opening on Oct 3rd!

                    1. re: MarlboroMan

                      I drove by there (illusion steakhouse) a few weeks ago... I am guessing the only reason it's located there is that it is close to the baseball fields...

                2. FYI - Looks like the Porterhouse Grillhad it's grand opening this past weekend. I did not get there but will post back when I do. Looks like they will be serving Lunch and dinner.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: angelo04


                    Porterhouse Grill has been open for a few weeks. I was doing some errands two weeks ago and stopped there briefly to look inside. The interior has been handsomely redecorated, white cloths on the tables, etc. One of the managers came over to chat. He said they were already open for lunch (though no patrons were in the dining room at that moment) as well as for dinner. I looked at the menus posted in the vestibule. While one would not expect prices at this type of restaurant -- an independently-owned steakhouse -- to be inexpensive (this is no Charlie Brown's), I don't recall them being outrageous. Unfortunately, the menus on the website do not include prices -- a huge negative in my book!

                    I look foward to your report.


                  2. Just ate there. Mediocre at best. 10 oz. Filet mignon $43.00, could have gone to Ruth Chris's for $45 and had a much better tasting steak. This filet could have passed for a sirloin in texture. Good prices for drinks. Very good service, but their food is lacking in wuality.for th price they charge. I was horribly dissapointed. We were going to have dessert, but after such a dissapointing dinner, decided to go elsewhere. 1 Star at best.

                    1. DH and I dined at Porterhouse Friday, November 14. We arrived early (6ish) to take advantage of the buy one get one half off happy hour. Unfortunately, it only included beer and mixed drinks. We had 4 mixed drinks, totalling $32. Pretty expensive for Happy Hour. We probably would have been better off with two $10 martinis. The bartender was knowledgable and pleasant and offered us a taste of their house Chardonnay as we were discussing which wine we would order with dinner.
                      For starters, we were served warm bread and butter, including on ham and pancetta roll. DH said the ham roll was very good. We had two servers who provided attentive but unintrusive service. However, their suggestions did lean towards the expensive side ($87 seafood bounty appetizer, anyone?). We ordered the fried calamari in some kind of sweet and spicy sauce as an appetizer. The calamari was good in texture and the sweet and spicy sauce was a nice twist on the classic. It could have been better if it were a bit spicier. The serving size was large enough for two people to split.
                      DH's entree was the 10 oz skirt steak ($24), which came with two sides (he picked mush/onions and creamed spinach). The steak came out the perfect.y cooked in its own juices. DH said the meat was "very good", like he "just bit into a cow". The creamed spinch was flavored with nutmeg, which was a valiant, it failed, attempt to make it a standout side. DH said it tasted "weird" and the server said other customers complained about it. We were not offered a substitution.
                      My dish was the homemade ravioli special ($18). It came with a butternut squash ravioli in cream sauce and an artichoke ravioli in a mushroom broth. Both were flavorful and well-seasoned.
                      Overall, the Porterhouse serves good, attractively-presented food in a nice atmosphere. However, the prices were a bit high. I would only return here if DH had a craving for steak. The other items could be found better and less expensive elsewhere.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: njchowgal

                        Thanks for the report, njchowgal.

                        First and foremost, a steakhouse should serve first-rate steaks and be able to cook them exactly to the requested doneness. So, your husband's experience is a good sign. However, in the category of standard sides, funny tasting creamed spinach -- probably due to overuse of nutmeng -- not so good! And the fact that there were complaints from customers and the management did not remove the cost of this offending item from the bill is -- to misquote Martha -- definitely not a good thing! I don't see the point of ordering ravioli in a steakhouse, but that's just me. However, I do often order lamb chops in steakhouses (think "steaks and chops"), so I wonder how good those would be. I guess we'll have to go to Porterhouse sometime to find out.

                        P.S. How full was the restaurant?

                        1. re: RGR

                          When we first arrived, the restaurant was mostly empty. By the time we left (around 8pm), it was about 2/3 full. Most tables looked like they were really enjoying their food. They were also setting up for live entertainment, which was supposed to start at 7:30. As for the ravioli, I don't eat steak, so my options were limited to non-steak dishes.

                          1. re: njchowgal

                            Thanks for the response and explaining about the ravioli. Sounds as though they were doing pretty well.

                            1. re: RGR

                              Hey RGR! - I hope this post finds you well. Just wanted to comment that while I haven't dined here just yet, a friend of mine did with his daughter. He gave high marks to the calamari dish. He and his daughter stuck to steaks and said they were excellent and almost comparable to a NY steakhouse. His only compliant was the sides were nothing to brag about, specifically the creamed spinach and the garlic mashed. He also felt it was a bit pricey for the area. I think his bill for 2 came to about $100 with a glass of wine and maybe one cocktail.

                              1. re: angelo04

                                Hey, Angelo,

                                Yes, we are well. :-) Sounds as though your friend's experience was much the same as njchowgal's and her husband's. As I said, first and foremost in importance are the steaks and chops. Therefore, that's good news about the steaks. However, I do like excellent sides, so the fact that they are "nothing to brag about" is distressing. That cost seems pretty fair to me. Since I'm still not rushing to go, you'll probably try it before I do. I look forward to your review.

                      2. I still haven't got around to trying this place however I did receive an email saying they are offering a prix fixe of aroound $20 and $30. The $30 has a ribe eye steak as one of the choices. Just thought I would ass it along.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: angelo04

                          A couple in my neighborhood went there and she said she could not believe how high the prices were. She said her rib eye was nothing special and she bought better ones from Wegmans. I have to ask her more on the place. I have no desire whatsoever to dine here, but I always trust this chick's judgement because we both like some of the same places.

                          1. re: Angelina

                            I'm giving Porterhouse Grill a pass since I have not heard anything thus far which has enticed me to try it. And your friend's comment that she can buy a better ribeye at Wegmans is definitely not good news. With this kind of word-of-mouth, I won't be surprised if Porterhouse Grill becomes a victim of the current economy and doesn't make it.

                            1. re: RGR

                              I drive past that place at night sometimes (around 7ish) and there are never many cars outside of the place. Looks like that place will be doomed soon. Maybe someone will open a French bistro, there. ha ha ha!! Hey, I gotta have dreams! lol

                              1. re: Angelina

                                I had the porterhouse for two last week, and left unimpressed. The steak had no noticable char, and was devoid of any real flavor. And at $90, it was rather expensive for the area, though it did include four sides which were suprisingly excellent. If you're going to charge the same price as Peter Lugers,CraftSteak and Keens, I'd expect a porterhouse at least close to that quality. Sadly, the steak proved woefully mediocre.

                                Red wines by the glass were perfunctary at best, with the usual cheap california reds that every restaurant in new jeresy seems to carry. Service was excellent for the most part, which was a welcome relief.

                                I wouldnt say avoid the place, but I definetly wouldnt recommend ordering the porterhouse for two. The quality of the sides does lead sme to believe that there may be good dishes scattered around the menu.

                                1. re: quizkiddonniesmith

                                  I went to the porterhouse grill tonight and was pleasantly suprised. the place was packed which was a good sign to me, and once i was sat was ready to enjoy the experience. the food was great (i got the calamari and lamb),drinks tasted great and the service was attentive and very professional!! Plus I was very interested to see the two early bird options for week days. it seems like an amazing option and a great chance to try other items without digging far into my wallet. I'd say give it a try, I 'm glad I did!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                2. re: Angelina

                                  A French bistro, Angelina? Anywhere in this area? Definitely in your -- and my -- dreams!!!

                          2. Went to this restaurant this evening with the wife. In a word it was dissapointing. While it was decorated nicely inside, and the service was fine, the food was nothing to brag about. Fortunately we ordered from the prix fix menu so we didn't spend too much cash. The prix fix came with seafood corn bisque which was rather thin and had tiny traces of corn and seafood in it. While the flavor was OK, just again nothing to write home about. My wife had the salad which again was a nice mixture of greens, fruit and nuts but again, nothing spectacular. For entries we both had the rib-eye and were horribly disapointed. Rib-eyes should typically be fairly tender and nice and juicy from the marbling throughout the cut. This one was tough and dry. It was also done a little bit more than I had asked but by this point i wasn't going to complain, it was clear that it wouldn't have done any good. Add to that, the steak wasn't flavored with anything, no marinade, rubs, smoke flabor or spices. Just a grilled steak. Frankly I've had better steaks at Applebees. For desert the cheesecake was OK, but again nothing extraordinary.

                            I guess I'm sounding pretty hard on this place but for the prices they are charging the quality should be much better. If I had paid full price for the dinner I had (about $52 insterad of the $29 from the prix fix) I would have been ticked off instead of just disapointed. If you're looking for a really good steak, try someplace else.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: mtnbika

                              wow, I was thinking about giving this place a try since they have the prix fixe menu. I think I will pass on this place for now.

                            2. My family and I went there for lunch one day because they had a coupon for $8 half pound angus burgers in a magazine. We hesitated before we walked in because the parking lot seemed empty but when we opened the door we were greeted by the host. The restaurant itself is very nice and spacious. My family and I all ordered different kinds of burgers. We enjoyed them thorougly especially the seasoned french fries except that we waited about half an hour for our lunches when we were the only 4 customers in there for over an hour. Other than the wait, the angus burgers and fries were fantastic. Our server was very friendly and provided good service.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: dilosio7865

                                The Porterhouse Grill offers a substantial coupon on Restaurant.com. I just bought one for $50off when $100 is spent on food. The original cost on Restaurant.com would have been $20 but they always run promo codes. This weeks code is PALATE and you get a 70% discount, so the coupon actually cost $6. I am taking my parents there next week to celebrate birthdays.

                                1. re: awee

                                  EVICTED, drove by the place, sign said closed EVICTION... too bad...

                                  1. re: RUR

                                    i thought i just i saw a Under new management ad in one of those "Rt 9 shopper" booklet. I could be wrong.

                                    1. re: yCf

                                      Never made it there. Signed up for their emails and was turned off by what amounted to advertisement for a night club. Do one thing and do it good, be a true great steakhouse or be a great bar with good night life. Maybe its just me, but it was enough to turn me off form going along with the mediocre reviews here.

                                      1. re: angelo04

                                        yCf I saw "under new management" in a recent ad also.