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Park Ave Seafood Bistro Freehold

  • seal Sep 15, 2008 05:36 PM
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Who knew?

My kids wanted to go to Chili's tonight and on our way I made a last minute decision to pull into Park Ave off old 33 across from Foodtown instead. One look at the menu and my 9 year old daughter telling me she wanted her own $30 filet mignon made me think maybe I made a mistake.

But, some very good biscuits and jalapeno corn fritters with addictive honey butter later I was feeling better about it. We all shared an app of mini beef sliders - a bargain at $7 for three teeny sliders and a full order of fries. The kids gave me all their carmelized onions, which I enjoyed, and we all liked the burgers. The fries were the batter coated non-fresh-cut type, but crispy and tasty.

My son's dinner caeser salad with grilled chicken was good, and enough for a light dinner on its own. I'm not sure if, at this point, my opinions were colored by my low expectations, but I was certainly eating my share.

I had the double thick pork chop with coconut rice for a main. The chop was perfectly cooked, not all dried out as some of the less informed and bacteria hysterical may cook it, but a little rare in the middle and juicy and good. I didn't care much for the coconut rice, but it's not because it was bad or dried out. I think that my proclivity for Thai food has spoiled me for all other forms of coconut rice is all.

We were all full at this point, but I had to at least peek at the dessert menu. It looked like it could be really good, with a few choices that I may want to sample in the future. I am looking forward to going back, maybe just me and my wife and having a few frou-frou drinks and dessert with our meal.

http://parkaveseafood.com

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  1. Seal - Thanks for the review. I had tried Park Avenue a few back as part of a birthday dinner for a friend. While I enjoyed the assortment of appetizers (including raw bar items, buffalo calamari, sliders, coconut shrimp and mini beef wellingtons), my undercooked ribeye with a side of oily creamed spinach (maybe two teaspoonfuls worth served in a small dish) were somewhat disappointing. I left feeling that it was a nice place to grab a drink and a few appetizers but not dinner. I'm glad you enjoyed it however. BTW, I agree that the biscuits and the corn fritters were in fact excellent.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bgut1

      I think there may be another Park Ave Seafood thread out there that I posted to earlier this year. My experience was similar to bgut's ... really enjoyed the soup and raw bar items, biscuits and fritters. Entrees were ok as I recall. I haven't returned and it fell off my radar, but I may give it another try.

      1. re: jsfein

        I thought I recalled a previous review of PASB but didn't remember it was yours, jsfein. Here's the thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/517856

    2. So, this place is called Park Ave. *Seafood,* and you guys ordered a pork chop and a steak?! lol

      Funny thing is, just yesterday, one of those adv. shoppers, Clipper Magazine, showed up in our mailbox, and Park Ave. Seafood had the entire front cover, describing itself as "Best Seafood Away From the Beach!" Actually, I've known about it being in Freehold for some time and seeing the ad started me wondering (again) if it was a restaurant worth trying, especially since there are several coupons -- 20% of entire check; Buy One Entree, Get One Free; and $50 off for parties of 4 or more. I think now I will try it, but I'll be sticking with seafood. :-))

      5 Replies
      1. re: RGR

        RGR - I would normally order a seafood entree however after having a bunch of seafood appetizers (shrimp, oysters, calamari, etc.) I was "jonesing" some steak. For your information, they do serve quite a few meat entrees including several cuts of steak, lamb and pork chops as well as chicken. The availability of that many "turf" items left me with the impression that they could cook them properly. In hindsight maybe I should've stuck with seafood. :)

        1. re: bgut1

          Got any extra coupons? ;o)

          1. re: seal

            We just came back from dinner at Park Ave. Seafood. I'll post a review soon, but for now, I'll just say it was good enough to warrant a return visit. We used the 20% off coupon, and they gave it back to us to use again. (It expires on Oct. 8th.)

            1. re: RGR

              R - Glad you enjoyed it and looking forward to your review.

              1. re: bgut1

                I used the $50 off coupon for party of 4 or more. We have 4 adults and 1 kid last night.
                We had so raw oyster as appetizer. They were good. My wife had the lobster bisque which was very good also.
                Salad and biscuit & fritter were good also.
                There was a party of about 20 at a table near us. I think there were some problem with the kitchen in timing when our entrees come out due to that large party. We waited quite a while after for our entree after we finished our salad.

                The entree was a bit disappointing, i must say. I had a basil & parmasean encrusted grouper. It was nothing special, I don't think they have enough seasoning. The cream spinach side was good, though. Wife had the Bistro Bake which has shrimp, clams, mussels, and a whole lobster. I had a taste of some of it. Shrimp and lobster were a bit overcooked. The mussels and clams are decent. My wife thought it's not bad. My in-laws were ordered a mix seafood grill and a flounder fillet. They weren't too impressed but my mother in-law thought the grilled scallops were good. They have weird taste in food so I can't take their comment into account ;-)

                Overall, it's consistent with the other review. Nice restaurant, good appetizers, soup, bread, etc.. Entree is a bit disappointing.

                The bill come out to be $80 before tips after the $50 coupon. So it was a great deal but even if it is at $130, i thought their price was fair.

                I think I would give this place another shot, preferably with another coupon.

      2. After reading seal’s positive review, factoring in bgut1’s mixed experience, taking into account that it’s not yet another in the long line of red sauce Italians which over-populate our landscape and, finally, my inability to pass up a 20% discount coupon, I decided Park Avenue Seafood Bistro would be worth a try. So, last Tuesday, we had dinner there. It’s a quick 15-minute drive from our house to the restaurant’s location on Route 33 (aka Park Ave.), in Freehold. The building, which has nothing to commend it architecturally, is set far back from the road and might easily be missed if not for the large signage at the foot of the property.

        Upon entering, we were greeted by a very pleasant hostess who led us to a table in the almost empty dining room – only one table occupied -- not surprising since it was only 5 p.m. Several tables did fill up during the time we were there.

        The dining room is not very large, and two giant fish tanks act as a “wall” between it and the bar area. Thus, while there were sounds of activity there, I couldn’t see what was going on, though from where I was seated, I did have a partial view of the two wide-screen t.v.’s hanging above one side of the bar. Overall, the décor was nondescript but pleasant.

        After we were seated, menus in hand, a young man approached and we got the “Hi, I’m Greg, and I’ll be your waiter this evening” routine, which does happen to be one of my restaurant peeves. That aside, Greg was very pleasant and, more importantly, he gave us excellent service.

        There are several soups on the menu. Both Mr. R. and I decided to start with the New England clam chowder. (There is no Manhattan-style.) We chose to go with a cup ($3) rather than a bowl ($5). When the chowder arrived, we were surprised to see it served in a good-sized crock, not a cup. This led us to question Greg as to whether there had been a mistake. No, he said, this was the “cup.” If this was considered the smaller of the two sizes, that bowl must be something! We dug into the soup, which was piping hot and contained lots of small, tender pieces of clams in a thick – though not too thick or gummy -- and very flavorful broth. A truly superb New England clam chowder!

        While we were enjoying our chowders, Greg brought us a basket of biscuits and hush puppies, along with a dish of honey butter. The biscuits, flavored with garlic, were falling apart fluffy with a bit of exterior crunch, and the hush puppies were crunchy with corny flavor. These were both addictive made even more so with the addition of that butter.

        Next up, we had decided to have shrimp cocktail. The shrimp are priced by the piece ($2.50 each), so we ordered six. Here occurred the only glitch during our meal. It was a runner, not Greg, who brought the shrimp to our table. The plating was interesting. A metal plate sat atop a tall metal stand and the entire plate was covered with a layer of ice into which the shrimp were immersed, tails sticking upward. Sitting on the ice were two small dishes, one containing cocktail sauce, the other, horseradish. In the center, sticking out of the ice was a teensy bottle of Tabasco. All very appealing except for one major problem: there were only 3 shrimp. It took some time for us to get this mistake sorted out, but after a few minutes, the runner came back with a carbon copy of this first plate. So, instead of sharing one plate, we each ended up having our own. Greg later explained to us that there was a mix-up with orders at the raw bar because there was another order for just 3 shrimp, and the runner accidentally brought us that order.

        Back to those shrimp. All I can say is, “Holy Oxymoron!” I’ve had many a shrimp cocktail in my time on this earth, but never have I encountered shrimp so gigantic both in size and thickness. The operating manager, who stopped by our table later to chat briefly, told us they were u-8’s. Whatever their “u” number, they were delicious. The cocktail sauce had just the right level of bite for me. Mr. R., who likes things really spicy, added horseradish and Tabasco.

        While deciding what to order, I had asked Greg how many pieces came with the fish and chips ($15). When he said there were two, we decided to share one order, which turned out to be a smart move. (Have you gotten the impression by this time that portions at Park Avenue Seafood are BIG!?) Greg had the kitchen split things onto two plates, and each of us ended up with a huge piece of fish along with a substantial amount of fries. The oblong-shaped pieces of cod were perfectly deep-fried so that the coating was crispy with not a hint of oiliness. Very tasty, especially with the addition of some malt vinegar and good tartar sauce. The fries were hot and extra crispy. There was also a side dish of mixed vegetables -- strips of zucchini, carrots, and red and green peppers -- which I think were lightly sautéed and were nicely prepared.

        There were two losers. Each main course comes with a salad, either the house or a Caesar. We chose the latter. Again, Greg had the kitchen split the salad onto two plates. I’m not sure, but I have a feeling we each got a full-size portion. The romaine was fresh and crisp. However, the creamy dressing was missing the “Caesar”-like flavor. It could certainly have used more cheese and, if not anchovies, perhaps, more Worcestershire. To add insult to culinary injury, the croutons were tasteless. No sense filling up on such sad rabbit food, so I ate only a few forkfuls.

        After the fish and chips, we were at the brink of being full; however, the frozen Key Lime Pie ($7) piqued our interest, so we decided to share it. It turned out to be not a pie at all. Instead, scoops of ice cream were sandwiched between squares of pastry with raspberry sauce zig-zagged across the top and two dollops of whipped on the sides. The major problem was that pastry. Not thin, flaky layers but, rather, more than a ¼” thick and almost as hard as a brick. When I managed to break off a piece and taste it, it was devoid of any discernible flavor. So, we pushed the pastry aside and concentrated on the ice cream. While it tasted like lime, the flavor was not nearly assertive enough. In short, this dessert was a disaster!

        Mr. R. ordered a glass of Deloach Chardonnay ($9).

        The bill before tax, tip, and 20% discount for food only was $53.50. We left a tip on that amount.

        There were enough very good to excellent dishes during our first dinner at Park Avenue Seafood Bistro to warrant a return visit. Greg gave us back our coupon so that we could use it again (though the October 8th expiration date makes that iffy). Even without the coupon, prices are pretty reasonable, especially if you share things, which is not a bad idea considering how generous the portions are.

        Park Avenue Seafood Bistro
        618 Park Av. (Route 33), Freehold, NJ
        Tel.: 732-761-1300
        http://www.parkavenueseafood.com

        7 Replies
        1. re: RGR

          R - Thank you for the excellent review. It was a pleasure to read. I'm happy that you enjoyed your meal.

          1. re: bgut1

            Thanks for the compliment, b. As you know, I feel one of the problems too many restaurants suffer from is inconsistency. First time, promising; next time, disappointing. So, it remains to be seen if the second meal will be at least as good as this one.

          2. re: RGR

            Hey RGR,

            Where does one obtain these coupons?

            1. re: Barbarella

              Barbarella,

              As I mentioned in my post upthread, these coupons were in the restaurant's adv which appeared in the Clipper Magazine (in this case, on the front page), one of the many admags that stuff mailboxes.

              1. re: RGR

                Thanks. Guess I do not get them as I reside in Wall.

                1. re: Barbarella

                  we just got a 20% coupon and plan to try this place in the next few days. will let you know what we think. I know it's been inconsistent but maybe they can work that out. I could walk there so I hope it makes it!

                  1. re: mbw1024

                    My wife and I were in the neighborhood and gave it a try. I don't have time for detail at the moment, but I'd give it a B+.
                    We were there early (just after 5:00). They had a happy hour menu whereby if you order two meals from that menu, the cheaper of the two is free. That's a pretty good deal.

          3. Returned for a second visit and had another mixed experience. The soups and raw items remain very good. Started with raw oysters and they were pristine and very well presented over ice with lemons, tabasco, horseradish and cocktail sauce. Whoever is shucking the oysters knows what he/she is doing. The soups (New England clam and lobster bisque) were also very good. The entrees didn't stand up to the apps (same as my first visit). My wife's stuffed shrimp were pretty good as were the homemade potato chips, except the juices/oils from the stuffed shrimp saturated (and ruined) most of the chips (next time we'll order the chips on a separate plate). I had a chicken caesar salad for my dinner that was just awful. Usually, caesar salads are so overdressed that they are offputting. This one was way underdressed. I could have asked for more dressing, but it wasn't very good. (Now that I reread this thread, I see that I should have heeded RGR's advice and stayed away from the caesar). And, for those with kids, the $7 kids menu is not a very good value. My kids had the chicken fingers and fried shrimp. There was a generous portion of fries, but a measly amount of chicken fingers (2-3 small strips) and fried shrimp (2). At $7, most places would include a beverage and/or dessert, but neither was included. I'll order them their own apps/mains next time. I think we had the same server as RGR, and he was very friendly and pleasant. Our 20% off coupon (accepted on a Saturday night) was returned to us to use on a future visit. I could do without the valet parking (maybe its only for Saturday nights?) in such a small lot. I will return for the raw bar and soups, and will keep hoping to find a winner for an entree.

            6 Replies
            1. re: jsfein

              jsfein,

              I am sorry you got stuck with the awful Caesar salad. While it may be little comfort to you, at least it confirms that I was right about how worhless it is. Since you don't mention dessert, it seems you did avoid the Key Lim Pie abomination.

              I think at this juncture, those of us who have been there agree the soups and raw bar are excellent. In your search for a more winning main course, you might try the fish 'n' chips, which we thought were more than passable. And in the non-seafood category, seal did praise the pork chop.

              I still have our coupon which states, "Mon.-Thurs. only." Presuming yours is the same, interesting that they accepted it on a Saturday. The exp. date is 10/8. I wonder how firm that is.

              1. re: RGR

                Can't say that I remember which circular our coupon came from, but it has no restrictions and no exp date.

                1. re: jsfein

                  we went last Thursday and used our 20% coupon which was returned to us. We had mostly what was recommended here so not a lot new to tell you. Chowder was good but I'm not convinced that it was made fresh and not from a can. Fish and chips passable but I would guess the fish was frozen - anyone else think that?
                  Beers were cheap at $4 but DeLoach Chardonnay at $9 seems high to me. But it was a nice glass and nicely chilled.

                  Shrimp cocktail was very good.

                  I would not make a "plan" to go to this place but we will likely go there again on a week night with a coupon to avoid cooking. That's my overall impression.

                  1. re: mbw1024

                    There's a new set of coupons in the Clipper Magazine I got last week.

              2. re: jsfein

                My wife and I went for the second time to Park Avenue Seafood Bistro on Saturday. We had a fantastic time. We went with another couple who had not dined there before. While we were waiting for them, we went to the bar and had a couple of drinks. Vinnie, the bartender, was professional and fast, even though I saw that he had a lot of drinks he was making for other tables in the restaurant. We had an Alaskan Sunset Martini (pomegranate flavor) and a Coconut Mojito. There were both very good. Our friends then arrived and we were seated against the wall in the main dining room. Iris was our server. The place was almost full. There were maybe three empty tables left at around 8:00 p.m. We order a LOT of food between the four of us, so I have a lot to review. For starters, we had 8 shrimp from the raw bar, which were HUGE. RGR was correct about that. The presentation was really neat, on ice, with cocktail, horseradish and a little bottle of tobasco sauce. For hot starters, we had the Calamari tossed in a Sweet Thai Chili Sauce, the Bacon Wrapped Shrimp and a special Scallop starter that Iris told us was not on the menu but was a special for the evening. Now, I have eaten at the Metropolitan Cafe a number of times, and I love their Sweet and Spicy Shimp and Calamari, but this Calamari was better, I have to admit. It was crisp and whatever sweet thai sauce they are tossing it in should be bottled and sold. It was that good. The bacon wrapped shrimp were served in a maple syrup sauce, which is how they serve it in Maine (the wife and I go every year). Somone has obviously done their research here. Finally, the special scallop appetizer was served over a corn and bacon risotto that was out of this world. We did not have any soup, but were told when prompted that all soups were made fresh daily on premises.

                For entrees, I ordered the Pork Chop based on some reccommendations from this board, and I was not disappointed. I was told I had the option of a temp on the meat, which I took Medium Rare. Many restaurants will not do this, but I first had a Pork Chop this way at Catherine Lombardi's in NB a while back and I will never go back to eating dried out well done pork again. It was served on a sizzle plate with the slightest bit of butter on the bottom and sliced apples on top. A definite winner. My wife had the seafood mixed grille and commented about how much food she had to eat. She said it was good. Our friends had the NY Strip Steak, which also came on a sizzle platter (for a seafood joint, this place knows meat - Iris told me that the chef was formerly from the Manhattan Steakhouse in Oakhurst), and the Sea Bass (another addition to the menu) with a honey soy glaze. I tried some of the sauce and it was really good. So by now I am ready to burst, although nobody finished their entrees.

                Iris sold us on desserts even though there was no room. She said we had to try the two newest additions to the menu, the Bread Pudding and the Warm Brownie and Cookie Dough Sundae. Let's just say we all found room for these delicious desserts.

                There were only a few negatives. There was a lighting issue where we were (it was very dark along the wall. And it was a little bit noisy. I was told that both of those issues are being taken care of in the near future.

                We had a 20% coupon from the "Best of Freehold" magazine. We used it and were given it back (who does that nowadays), so we will definitely be going again soon.

                1. re: cnjlove2eat

                  My sister and I had dinner here recently. We both thought the place was pretty darn bad. My fish was over cooked. Her seafood mixed grille was under seasoned and she said was not too tasty....We also thought the wine pour was cheap. Next time we will stick to the seashore for seafood.