Best Chili in Monmouth County?
Once again I seek your recommendations & opinions, hopefully this won't be as futile as a search for Chicago-style pizza in NJ.
Looking for good, hearty chili, preferably Texas-style (no beans) but will consider all. Spicyness not a factor (in fact, the spicier, the better).
I've seen differing views here, but I really like the chili at Boom. It is very flavorful and can be made really spicy. They sautee 5 different types of chile peppers with garlic and onion, and depending on how hot you want it they can vary the heat (OK, I prefer raging hot), but it does not hide the flavor....
I thought it was "three bean?"
BTW - I love the variable heat factor. The first time I was there, they let me have what could best be described as "dare" chili Also, for the other asbestos-tongued, it seems that the habanero wing sauce has gotten even hotter.
Finally, I don't have a worthy suggestion for this thread, but I await eagerly the responses. Surely someone out there knows a funky joint with awesome red!
Finally made it to Boom last night, based upon the buzz here I expected to see a much busier place, at one point my wife and I were the only ones in the place (beside the staff). We were there around 7-ish.
The burger - a cut above the rest (pun intended). Definitely warrants a return trip. Very tasty and the Pat LaFrieda grind/mix really makes a difference. Next trip I'll hafta go the purist route though and forgo the onions and bacon for a good old cheeseburger.
The chili, ordered 'semi-hot' not the offered 'hot-as-we-can-make-it', must have still been to hot. I couldn't really get must taste difference. Next time I'll have to try the non-spiced-up version.
Ocean Cafe in Long Branch & Shrewsbury usually has chicken chili on the menu that I consider pretty good.
My wife and I ventured out to a new place (for us) last night mainly to sample their chili. In the spirit of Chowhound I will attempt my first published review.
Let me start out with the disclaimer that I am by no means a connoisseur, I just know what I like. I firmly believe that "one man's feast is another man's famine" can certainly apply.
We headed out to Murray Macgregor's in Rumson which may be familiar to others as the former Briody's. I've been waiting for months for them to finally post their menu on their website instead of the very limiting "The bar is open". Macgregor's is apparently part of the Boathouse and 507 Main of Belmar family.
We ordered a crock of their "Station 42" chili and beer-battered onion rings to start the meal. I then ordered a "Hook Burger" while my wife ordered the Grilled Salmon.
The chili came in a good sized crock with a melted cheddar jack covering and a tiny dollop of onions in the middle. The cheese covered the entire top of the crock similar to a good onion soup. The chili was ground-beef based, with a few beans. I'd say that most spoonfulls had no beans but those that did only had a bean or two. The occasional stewed tomato, jalapeno pepper piece and diced onion added to the flavor and texture. The chili was not overly spicy, enough to moisten the brow, but in fact, my tongue suffered more from the heat of the chili than the spice. Flavor was good, a slight sweetness and amazing simliar to a recipe I had just used for the Super Bowl from someone on the 'net who had claimed to have won several cook-offs. In all, not a bad chili IMO but not necessarily worth making a special trip for.
The onion rings were fried golden brown in a light beer batter yet the onions were cooked well enough that your first bite didn't remove the entire onion from its coating.
The burger, ordered rare, came closer to medium rare with a good flavorful melted swiss cheese and a couple slices of Applewood bacon. I eschewed the bun, advertised as a "soft bulky roll" as just to bulky for me (and not real soft). Taste was good, char-grilled, standard burger fare, similar to the Pour House in their better days.
My wife's grilled salmon "with artichoke hearts and plum tomatoes in a white wine sauce" was very much to her liking with the wish that it had more artichokes. The rice accompaniment was very flavorful apparently cooked in some tomato base, something other than the "standard boiled in water".
Service was a little inattentive although that may have been due to that fact that we told the waitress that we didn't want to be rushed. We normally like to order our appetizers and wait before ordering the meal so that they don't come out on top of each other. When pressed to give our dinner orders at the same time as the appetizer we said that we could order dinner "as long as you don't rush us". Drink (soda) refills could have come a little quicker. The busboy had an annoying tendency to wander around every ten minutes or so to check every table.
All in all, although our exposure to the menu is limited, I they're think a worthy replacement for Briody's. I wouldn't put it at the top of my favorites but it is a nice addition to the list.
I must sheepishly admit (because it's within walking distance) that I tried Ocean Cafe's Chicken Chili for the first time a few days ago. I would have to say that the chili lives up to previous recommendations. Very tasty, fair amount of spice, a little on the sweet side (but not objectionable), with beans. Actually given their proximity, I'd say it's my new "go to" chili whenever the need strikes.
On a side, reminiscent note, I remember the Mexican restaurant (can't remeber the name) that used to occupy the building that is now Nicholas in Middletown/Red Bank used to make the most incredible chili, I've not yet found an equivalent.