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Mar 19, 2009 07:13 PM

Spargos Grille in Manalapan

I must say....I am really in shock that there is not already a thread regarding this restaurant on Route 33 in Manalapan (in Andee Plaza).

I was there tonight for their Game Tasting Menu, and as soon as I got home I rushed to this board to see what was already said about Spargos Grille. Since I was not able to find a post Spargos, I was behooved to start one. The 4 course game tasting was $48 with an additional first course which was $12 as listed below....

The optional first course...Steak Tartare....succulent chopped up steak placed over peasant bread, with capers and red onions as an was delicious! I never had steak tartare before and this was a great standard to set my first taste of it on. This wasnt just ordinary steak, but quite flavorful...I suggested to the chef that he put this on his daily menu as everybody who had it was raving about it.

Appetizer...pan seared foie gras served over a venison sausage.....served with port pears and a balsamic reduction. I wanted to lick the plate! The foie gras was seared to just right, placed over a nice slice of this salty, well seasoned venison sausage, the port pears on the side added the right amount of sweetness needed to cut the fatty richness of this dish.

Then we had a salad with a grilled quail set over baby green, which also had roasted apple and bacon that was crisped up just right. The dressing on this salad was rich yet tangy....I never had quail before, even tho I had plenty of opportunity to do so...and I was did I never have quail before?? This quail was grilled to perfection, every morsel a delicious treat!

Disclaimer...Spargos Grille is a BYOB restaurant! lol...I had a nice bottle of rioja to accompany all this gamey goodness!

For the entree we had rack of wild boar with caramelized onions and tangy red cabbage, it was great! The boar had a subtle smattering of rosemary and it was tender and delicious...Ive had wild boar before at such places as D'artangan grill and never really liked it...yet this wild boar was delectable!

Chef Tim does a cooking class the first Tuesday of every month and it is always a fun time where we drink and have great food....Lobster night is next Friday! I urge you all to consider visiting this is a great value for the quality and the service is great! Do not pass this one up for a great meal out.


ps...plz pardon any spelling errors, I had most of the bottle of rioja by myself! lol

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  1. The game night was indeed fantastic. The only thing I would add is that I believe they said the Lobster night was next Thursday.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bossa_Nova

      Bossa Nova,
      You are right, it is on Thursday March 26. I called about the menu it sounds great!

    2. Mishy, nice report and good to hear about Spargos. We had been a couple of times and thought the food was good but had other restaurants we liked better. I will admit that was a few years ago and they may have raised their game.
      Nothing would please me more than going to Spargos more as it is only 10 minutes from our house. Nothing is 10 minutes from our house :))
      Will give them another try soon.

      7 Replies
      1. re: tom246


        We crossed Spago's off our list a long time ago. We really wanted to like it, so we had dinner several times, thus giving it more opportunities to impress us that we normally do. Unfortunately, each time, we came away with the same disappointed feeling about the food, which never rose above being just so-so.

        From what you say here, you had pretty much the same reaction to Spago's as we did. Since we generally agree about restaurants, when you do try it again, I'll be very interested to hear what you think.

        1. re: RGR


          I have to admit, your opinion about Spargo's from your past experiences is probably quite accurate, but I have noticed recently that the quality as well as the service has gone way up. I hope Tom does try it again soon, and comes away with the same feelings I have about my recent dining experiences there.

          I also have attended a few of the cooking classes that Chef Tim offers on the first Tuesday of every month, and in the past I was unsatisifed w/ the offerings at these classes....I started going back again recently for a fun girl's night out, and was so very happy w/ what the chef had for us in the past few months. I really think he has upped his game.

          I am sticking to my guns about the game night...last night, Thursday 3/19.
          Every course was excellent . I was really happy I went.


          1. re: MishyPoo

            What a nice meal I had Friday night at Spargo's.
            My in laws were in town so we had them watch the girls and my wife & I went to visit Chef Tim.
            Pleasant young lady at the front door that greeted us.
            They sat us right away with our last minute reservation.

            Byob so we brought and 2007 Cakebread Chardonnay. we started with the Surf and Turf Tartare, but it was Good Friday so we asked if they can only make it a Turf Tartare. Spicy tuna with a crisp rice cracker, nice and light, good flavor and not to spicy, just the right amount of heat to not over power the Chard.

            I went with the Tilapia special, pan seared and perfectly cooked(most chefs over cook this delicate fish) with Ratatouille the veggies were nice rustic cuts with nice amount of garlic and herbs tossed in . Dont know what to call the topping but it was superb, crabmeat with tomatoes and white wine butter.
            This was a special, but I think he should put this one on the menu.

            My wife went for the 7oz Brazilian tail over Angel Hair. The lobster was poached in butter and Champagne, which made it pretty tender. The Angel hair was simple and sweet, EVOO fresh tomato garlic and basil.

            We will be back here. next time we will bring friends to we can share this place with them.

            1. re: NJDolfan

              Spargo's next cooking class is May 5th
              I will C&P the menu I received in an email last week....

              WINE, DINE, & LEARN!

              COOKING CLASS
              May 5, 2009

              $40.00 PER PERSON
              plus gratuity & tax

              Class Begins at 6:30

              MENU FEATURING:
              Soup: Warm salad of Mortadella, Frisee, Artichokes and Parmigiano-Regiano
              Appetizer: Crab Cake with Roasted Corn, Tomato Salad & Fresh Horseradish Sauce
              Entrée: Asparagus Risotto with Veal Medallion
              Dessert: Spring Panna Cotta with Fresh Strawberries and Balsamic Syrup

              Call to make a reservation
              732 294 9921

              Remember we're a BYOB restaurant

              I will be there!


              1. re: MishyPoo

                The cooking class last Tuesday was excellent. The salad course was surprisingly delicious! I never had mortadella in a salad nor have I enjoyed it as much! This was a warm salad and the mortadella was cooked a bit. I really enjoyed it! The risotto w/ the Veal cutlet was veryyyyyy great! and the dessert was light and yummy. I am so glad I went.
                Next class is on the first Tuesday in June.

                1. re: MishyPoo

                  Michelle, sounds delicious. We hope to get there for dinner in the next few weeks.

                  1. re: tom246


                    I know I sound like a broken record here, or the owner, which I can assure you I am not...I am just a happy diner and customer of Spargo's Grille.

                    I wanted to let you all know that they have been offering a cheese selection, $12 for 2 people. Every time Ive had it, I was amazingly happy with the delicious choices of cheese given to us. Honestly, when I first heard that Spargo's was doing this, I was like...oh yeah cheddar and brie and some lame blue LOL.............I couldnt have been MORE WRONG!!!!!!!

                    Because of this new addition to their menu, I have gone back to Spargo's a few more times than I normally would have in the time span.

                    I received an email from them and I wanted to share with you all the types of cheese they are offering this week. The offerings change weekly! You cant beat the price or the quality.
                    anyway...the stuff below has been copied and pasted from the email I received.

                    For 2 people $12
                    Served with water cracker & Dried Fruit

                    1 Brie Rocastin (Triple Cream) Very Rare Sheep's Milk: Soft
                    Origin: Alsace, France

                    2 Esperanza Monchego Sheep's Milk: Firm
                    Origin: La Mancha, Spain

                    3 Pecorino Marzolino Sheep's Milk: Firm
                    Origin: Tuscany, Italy

                    4 TeTe Demoine, Artisan Cheese
                    Translation (Monk Head) Hand Made By Monks
                    Cow Milk: Firm
                    Origin: Berm, Ballalay Switzerland

                    I also want to remind anybody who might be interested that Spargo's next cooking class is like July 7th, if that is a Tuesday...I will be there if you want to come say hi! LOL
                    And........Lobster Night is June 25th.
                    I know this because I got an email about it LOL
                    I cant go to the Lobster Night, but I have no doubt the chef would do an amazing job with it.
                    I can share my email info with anybody who is interested...about the Lobster night that is.


      2. With DW away in Pa all day, we decided to stay local and visited Spargo's last night. The service was very good but the food uninspiring.
        We arrived and after a few minutes were seated in a nice corner table for two. This is a busy restaurant but the tables are well spaced and the noise level low.

        While we looked at the menu, a tasty warm roll and whipped butter was brought to the table. The regular menu is large and diverse. Add to that a full page of special apps, salads and entrees and you have a huge selection, which may be more of a negative than positive.
        For starters, we went the salad route. The house salad consisted of Mixed field greens topped with tomato bruschetta and house vinaigrette. The vinaigrette was very acidic and overdosed. I had the Beet and Goat salad, Sangria poached beets and crisp goat cheese over baby greens and spiced pecans in a raspberry Vinaigrette. This was well prepared and a nice balance of flavors.

        Entrees were Halibut, Pan seared and served over sweet mashed potato with a browned butter and toasted pine nut sauce. The halibut was very fresh, the mashed sweets delicious but the dish was swimming in the butter sauce which needed to be pushed aside.
        I had the Braised Lamb Shank, Served over brown butter spaetzle and red cabbage finished with a mirepoix demi. The shank was tender and tasty but on the small side, spaetzle was advertised but instead came with mashed potatoes. The red cabbage was very good.
        Nothing really hit us for dessert so we passed. Overall our dinner was good but at least the dishes we ordered were a bit sloppy in their preparation.
        I know many people want multiple choices but maybe eliminating a few items on the menu can better focus the finished dish.
        We'll probably give Spargo's another try in the future. A business dinner there about 6 months ago was very enjoyable. The restaurant info if your interested.

        1. Reviving an old thread to report on a very good experience at Spargo's Grille. My last meal has to date back more than 10 years. Nevertheless we chose it as the venue for an 85 person luncheon this past weekend and could not have been more pleased. The interior of the restaurant is very attractive and even though we seemed to be close to their capacity, the noise level was never an issue (we had a guitarist/singer who could be heard throughout the event).

          Super kudos to the manager (?) Stephanie who worked with us in planning, overseeing, and serving at our event. If I were a restaurant owner, she is the person I'd want in the front of the house. Just fantastic.

          My take on the food is that it ranged from good to very good. While I don't think their dishes will blow anyone away, they are well prepared and seemed to be sourced with good ingredients. I wanted something a notch above a banquet/catering hall, and Spargo's was several large notches above. They offered us interesting mains, including duck, steak frites, veal, chicken and salmon, with family style appetizers, salads, and pasta course. It was a ton of food. And the service was exceptional. The restaurant delivered and exceeded our expectations. Our next visit will be way sooner than another 10 years.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jsfein

            I live right by there but I have never been there just because I can't get over the fact that the restaurant is way too fancy for that strip mall.
            Will definitely add this to my list for places to try.