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Manow Asian Bistro - Thai in Lincroft

Recently heard about this place, and given it is only a few miles from my house and the curious lack of Thai restaurants on the Monmouth County Shore I figured it was worth checking out.

Located in the former location of the eminently forgettable King Wok Chinese Restaurant, this establishment has been open for about 5 months and has no connection to King Wok. It is a small well appointed dining room that seats about 50 patrons with semi-fancy wicher-ish place mats and linen napkins. The hostess was friendly, knowledgeable and seemed truly interested in what the place was doing.

I decided to start with the Spicy Mussels, Sautéed and served on the half shell with Thai basil and chili sauce. They were quite good. The only minor quibble I had was that the adductor muscle had not been separated from the shells, which resulted in a bit of wrestling. On the positive side the plate of condiments including chile pepper flakes, pickled chiles and Siracha chili sauce was brought to the table without having to ask for it. As an aside, one of the diners at the next table had noted that his Tom Yum Gai soup was excellent.

I then moved on to the Kra Prow with chicken, Sautéed with bell pepper, chili, onion, and Thai basil. It was also good, though it could have been spiced a little more aggressively (This is a common occurrence with my dining in Thai places. I usually have to go a few times to convince them to make it as hot as I like). The condiments solved this issue in the short run... The portions were good and I've got enough leftover for lunch today.

One other minor quibble, they didn't have any unsweetened iced tea, but this is not unusual in many Asian places. They seemed to be doing a steady take-out business and offer delivery of orders over $25.


All in all it seems like a good deal, and combined with Saigon II seems to be the beginning of a small focus of good Asian dining spots in Lincroft.

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  1. Mark - Thanks for the report. I will definitely have to give this place a try.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bgut1

      Mark thanx for the great review of Monoasian...I also will give it a shot next time I'm in the area for sure. I see its not to far off exit 109 GSP thats good also.

    2. Went to Manow for lunch. The food was very tasty and fresh. And a good value. For a nearby place, I like it very much. However, it's not the level of place that I would travel for.

      Also tried lunch at Royal Thai in Atlantic Highlands. The food was OK, nothing special. We don't plan to return.

      Both places have nice casual dining rooms and pleasant service.

      1 Reply
      1. re: val ann c

        Went back for dinner with a few friends last night. For apps we shared the Avocado Salad, Pra Koong (Grilled shrimp with lemongrass, onion, chili paste and lemon juice) and the Golden Curry Puff.

        For entrees we had Tamarind Duck, Grilled Salmon, Pha Ram (peanut sauce and broccoli.
        with shrimp) and chicken sautéed with bell pepper, chili, onion, and Thai basil.

        Everything was good and the portions were large. A couple of the guys had lived in NYC for a number of years and toured southeast Asia pretty extensively. They felt that it was good, though not spectacular. They still felt that it was the best Thai so far in Monmouth county so far (OK, that's not saying much). Better than Bamboo Leaf, Siam Garden and Royal Thai in Atlantic Highlands. It was agreed that Far East Taste in Eatontown when run by Richard was not so much a Thai place as it was Richards place.

        All in all, given it's only been open 4 or 5 months there is room for growth and improvement, but they seem off to a good start...

      2. Another visit, and the place still holds up!

        Had one of the best Thai dishes I've had in a long time. I'm not sure how authentically Thai it is, but the Peking Duck Salad was a genuine hit. I believe it is actually their version of Larb (go on, Google it...) using crispy minced duck along with red onion, ginger, chilis, roasted rice and peanut with lime juice.

        OK, so I hate a mystery. I just called and talked to Jessica, the owner, and that dish is based on a Thai/Laotian version of Larb, also spelled Larp or Laab.

        Whatever. It was great. Combine it with an order of Tom Ka Gai soup and I've got the perfect take-out dinner!

        2 Replies
        1. re: equal_Mark

          yes. i know what you are talking about lab ped (duck salad) .That you mean if you add roasted rice powder and wild lime leaves slice fine .The test absolutly authentically. we call ISAN LAB PED. IT 's NO_ 1 in Thailand. If you call lab They will add roasted rice powder . But if you call salad they don't.

          1. re: equal_Mark

            >>>OK, so I hate a mystery. I just called and talked to Jessica, the owner, and that dish is based on a Thai/Laotian version of Larb, also spelled Larp or Laab.

            Yeah, that sounds like a variant of a Lao dish called Larb Ped. Make sure you eat it with sticky rice, which is the traditional Lao way (i.e. larb + sticky rice).

          2. Armed with Mark's high praise, I enjoyed a late dinner @ Manow Asian Bistro last night. I started with a Thai Iced Tea while waiting for my dinner companion; super smokey and refreshing. Gal pal arrived and we shared the Manow Sampler appetizer consisting of two vegetable spring rolls (very tasty just the right amount of crunch, not greasy), a few shrimp dumplings moist and flavorful, chicken sate with a green curry glaze (which I took home). Moving onto the soup I asked the friendly hostess for a recommendation and was served Tom Ka Gai a blend of coconut milk, white meat chicken, lots of mushrooms and lime leaves in a red chili base. It was delicious and mildly hot. The Peking Duck cold salad did not disappoint but I only took two forkfuls with the intent of having it wrapped to enjoy today (which I did big time). For our entrees we shared an order of Kaeng Massaman  which was enough for two people and wound up being a delicious wok item with coconut milk, onion, potato, peanut, avocado and chicken. Very unique flavors and the addition of avocado was unexpected. With no room to move, I was determined to move onto the dessert menu with a pot of Jasmine tea and sticky rice with mango. At this point the dining room was empty. My friend and I took our time talking over hot tea and dessert. All total $60.00 (including tip) and we both left very satisfied with our first experience. I wouldn't hesitate to return and plan to next week with hubby and friends visiting from MA.

            1. Manow is absolutely delicious and by far one of my favorite restaurants in Monmouth County. The food is outstanding and Cindy, the owner, is a real pleasure to see every time you are there. She actually remembers everyone's name!

              I would highly recommend trying the Curry Puffs as an appetizer, and their Red Curry is outstanding. Their Curry Noodles are also delicious. Portions are very generous (I always have plenty left for a nice sized lunch the next day) and they will make the food however you like it. Their Thai Iced Teas are very sweet, yet slightly smokey and like their food, delicious!

              Definitely worth checking out. Don't let the outside deceive you!

              1 Reply
              1. re: ellinj0206

                Odd, whenever I've been there the lady that owns the place was named Rebecca...

              2. I finally tried Manow Asian Bistro. The server Gaby is really nice and professional, offered me the menu and ice cold water right after I was seated. I had the curry puffs for appetizer since I remembered someone on this broad highly recommended that. They were good, there were three of them and they were fried but not soggy! The fillings were chicken, onion and perhaps potato…just tasted wonderful and that should had been my lunch! Of course, I ordered something else other than the appetizer. I had the kra prow and I had the shrimp. Basically, it is chili, pepper, onion, thai basil and shrimp stir fry, it was wonderful. The curry puff was $8 while the kra prow was $9. The decoration on the restaurant is simple and comfortable; while the food is really great. I was really shocked that I was the only customer there for lunch!

                4 Replies
                1. re: HelenB

                  I was alone for lunch also which was surprising....maybe they need to advertise more?.......they are in a good college area and business also. I enjoyed eating there.

                  1. re: Tapas52

                    Got take out there last night and there was only one table at 6pm...

                    1. re: equal_Mark

                      Could it be people still relate it to being a chinese take out which it was before Manow......maybe they do more in the way of take out vs sit in dining?

                      1. re: Tapas52

                        I think that the take out is slow too. I was advised that there were only 2 orders of on Tuesday(I ate there on Wed). The location is quite easy to miss if you are not paying attention. I think that they needed to have more local marketing. By the way, I was also told that they deliver to quite an extensive area.

                2. We went there for the second time to give this place another try. Our memory about our prior visit was that the food was rather average six months ago. We expected better this time around and was again disappointed. We had basil chicken and a shrimp noodle dish along with a few apps which were all OK but no stand outs. Although everything was requested Thai hot it was not served that way.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: JerzeyShore

                    JerseyShore, sorry to hear that you were not having a great treat with this place. I was advised by the server that they can adjust the intensity of the food but apparently, that did not happen for you! The sad thing about many places here is that they "tamed" the dish down so much that the favor is lost. On the other hand, the dish that I had was quite hot. I travelled to Thailand numerous time and compared to what I had in Thailand, the taste was a bit milder but still acceptable to me!

                    1. re: HelenB

                      HelenB, glad to hear that you enjoyed your recent experience here. And yes you are right that many of these places tame the heat in the food and in doing so the flavor is lost in the translation. My wife calls it Irishing it up for the taste buds of the Jersey Shore folks.

                      1. re: JerzeyShore

                        JerzeyShore, love your wife's saying --- "Irishing up"! I have not been to any Thai place in Monmouth/Ocean that serves really "spicy & hot" Thai food. Any suggestion from your experience?

                        1. re: HelenB

                          Sometimes you have to "train" the staff over a couple visits that you actually want it hot. I've witnessed macho idiots who brag "They couldn't make it too hot for me!" and end up turning red, sweating and having to send it back to the kitchen. The staff just wants to avoid this. I like hot (If you Google "Hot Spicy Food" I'm usually in the top two hits) and have had them serve some blistering dishes. Your best bet is the get to know the owner, and if she isn't there when you are ordering, invoke her name and tell them she said it's OK. I've done this at Mie Thai, Far East Taste and Thai Chiles too.

                          Also, when eating in, don't forget the condiment tray...

                          1. re: equal_Mark


                            Good recommendation...thanks!

                            1. re: equal_Mark

                              ROFL yeah the fools who think macho = how hot can you eat it?
                              Sadly, I've taken a few dates to good places where they pulled that" Give me as hot as you can make it!" crap And got it. Funny and it was always our last date too....hum...

                    2. Does Manow serve this dish...I like it hot also..


                      or does anyone know who does?

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Tapas52

                        I don't recall seeing on the menu. I do however remember reading a post on Chow from someone looking for Phaal in NJ. If I recall, one of the few places in the area serving the dish is Brick Lane Curry House in NYC, the restaurant which was featured last season on Man vs. Food. Good Luck.

                        1. re: bgut1


                          funny you mentioned that show I saw it a few weeks ago on TV also....the chef had to wear a GAS mask for the fumes just to cook this dish!!! It's in the East Village NYC.. I must try it sometime.


                            1. re: bgut1

                              Thanx bgut1 ....I didnt say I'd finish it just a small taste lol !!

                            2. re: Tapas52

                              good luck, tapas53. i was once in restaurant when a presumably very spicy dish came out. it was so spicy that all of the diners in the restaurant started to cough and their eyes watered. we almost had to leave.

                              1. re: njchowgal

                                WOW!! maybe I should bring a gas mask also lol