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Trinity - Remarkable Dinner

Back in Feb 2009, I read a post by MGZ in this board, narrating his birthday dinner in Trinity, the piece was very well written. My husband grew up in Middletown NJ and he was a bit skeptical about a great restaurant in Keyport but after checking out their website, he thought that the restaurant was previously a church kind aroused his interest and we also thought that it would be a great place to have our anniversary dinner.

We made a reservation for an early dinner yesterday at 5:00pm since we were there a bit early, thus we decided to have a little refreshment at the bar. My husband is staying away from alcohol and he got the non alcoholic beverage; while I got a very refreshing cocktail with strawberry, mint, gin…actually I really did not know what was in there, only that it tasted really great! We were kind of shooting the breeze with the very outgoing bartender….telling him how we found out the place through Chowhound and little did we know that were talking to ChefMD at the time!(He was taking over the bar since there were some problems with the schedule for Easter and nobody was there for dinner yet since it was before 5:00pm at the time!)

As we are trying to be a bit healthier with our diet, ChefMD advised us some of the dishes and he shared us that he tries to get fresh local produce…The recommendation of soft shelf crab surely won me over! I got the soft shelf crab as my appetizer, it was very well seasoned, despite it was fried, it was not greasy at all, actually, quite light and the taste of the soft shelf crab came through. The mushroom and the greens that went with the crab was perfect choice. The lemon grass foam, added a different level of texture to the dish and I really enjoyed it. My husband had the spinach salad with apple, candied walnuts, goat cheese and the blackberry champagne vinaigrette; it was a simple dish but the ingredients complimented each other and he liked the dressing a lot. After our appetizers, our server placed a really nicely decorated plate, with "Happy Anniversary" written with chocolate(that was really thoughtful!) and on it were two shooter glasses with the palate cleansers, I can surely take that as a dessert. It was refreshing and prepared as for our main course. I had the prime 14 oz pork chop(served with a special BBQ butter) with macaroni and cheese, sautéed vegetables…the serving was very generous and the pork was so tender and juicy, the BBQ butter enhanced the favor of the pork, it was just hard to describe with words. The macaroni was perfectly baked, crunchy on the top and so much cheesy goodness in the middle! I am surely not as healthy as my husband since he ordered the Tuna. The presentation of the Tuna looked great, my husband loved it raw, he chose to have the tuna just seared, there were two different sauces with the tuna, one was a red sauce the other was green, the green one seemed to be a wasabi sauce which there was a bit of a smokey favor for the red sauce, I just had a bite and it was very fresh! I was able to only finish half of my plate since the portion was so generous and I had some bread before the appetizer too.(Besides, I wanted to leave space for dessert!) One thing I have to say about my experience with restaurants, if the bread is good, it is usually a great indicator for quality of the food. The bread was tasty and warm in Trinity! We topped off our meal, sharing a dessert called Chocolate Anonymous, it came with a warm chocolate mint cake, chocolate mousse and there were barks of chocolates…the presentation was very nice and they tasted even better! (actually, I had taken picture of them and I will try and put them on the site later! I do not have the camera with me right now since I am at work, taking my lunch break!)

Prior to our visit to Trinity, I had read very positive reviews about the food but not so great feedback on the service but I have to say that we had a wonderful experience. The food is really delicious, our server Michael(I was joking that one has to be name Michael to be working in Trinity since the chef has the same first name!) was very attentive, friendly and truly professional. I have been to places in Central Jersey where the food is not bad but the servers were just not professional, just very loud but definitely not Michael!

After we finished our dinner, we checked out the whole place, the second level of the restaurant was nice, overlooking the main floor, and the basement of the place was very roomy with big screen TV….we were told that the restaurant is serving lunch now in the basement during weekdays.

We had a great time yesterday, the food was really divine(great visual and taste), the service was wonderful and ChefMD was a great guy! It surely was one of the best dining experiences I had in Central Jersey! By the way, I got up earlier to get on the treadmill to burn off my dessert but it is totally worth while….We will surely come back!

84 Broad St, Keyport, NJ 07735

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  1. Helen, great report, well done and happy anniversary!

    2 Replies
    1. re: tom246

      Thanks Tom! There are so many different things I like on the menu and it will take me a long time to try all of them...hope that some of the other chowhounders are going to try them out and I can live through their experiences prior to our next visit!

      1. re: HelenB

        My husband and I had dinner at Trinity Friday night...as usual, it was great!
        TY for this great review...


    2. Sounds like you really got to enjoy Trinity - I'm glad! We have never had anything but great fun and food when we visit.

      (If only they could keep that pesky chef in the basement!)

      1. I went there for dinner in January - th food was just terrific. The service was a bit shaky that night, and I'm hoping that has resolved itself (the place was a bit busy but in no way were they slammed) since. And I don't mean to be snarky here, but didn't you mean soft SHELL crab and not soft shelf? Unless this is something new in the seafood world....no meanness implied, by the way.

        2 Replies
        1. re: radiogrl1

          Radiogrl, you are great in pointing that out! I did not mean to confuse anyone....you are absolutely correct, it is soft shell crab and not shelf....it is not a new seafood item for sure! I do not know what I was thinking as I was typing....thanks for clarifying! Or else, people may go there and ask for this particular "SHELF CRAB".... lol!

          1. re: radiogrl1

            Is anyone else reminded of the immortal words of Gradpa Fred? "Well, you don't spell it, Son, you eat it."

            (My hardcore 80's pop culture upbringing made me!)

          2. This post sounds almost as well written as the original! Sounds like you two had an enjoyable time and the chocolate plate was a classy touch.

            1. I have read many glowing reviews of this restaurant but our experience in late February was just average. The breads they served intially were very good, but my clam appy had several sandy clams in it, and when I mentioned it to the waiter, he just shrugged his shoulders helplessly. I got the short ribs and it was just a plate of mush: mushy ribs, mushy sweet potatoes, and mushy greens. A better dinner selection was the flank steak and the seafood over pasta. The bill for 4 was quite expensive, and I don't feel that the quality of the meal warranted the price. My two favorite restaurants are El Meson and Nicholas which vary widely in price but are very consistent. I have a feeling that Trinity might not be so consistent. I don't mean to sound complaining but after reading the rave reviews, we were a bit disappointed.

              1. I've eaten at Trinity numerous times, including both dinner with friends and parties/events. The food is absolutely amazing and there are great surprises on the menu every time. The staff is very friendly and the service is wonderful. I've had a few luncheons/parties and have always had excellent times. Besides the amazing food, ambiance, and staff, Trinity also has great bands on some selective nights. I was there this past weekend when the Gashouse Gorillas played. GREAT BAND!!! The place was PACKED when I walked in at about 10pm. Everyone seemed to really be enjoying themselves.

                Definitely a "must eat" dinner place in Keyport or the surrounding area. I've been spreading the news about Trinity and have had friends from Northern New Jersey take the ride to eat at this amazing place.

                9 Replies
                1. re: youngjedigirl

                  I agree w/ most of what you said about Trinity, except for one thing...
                  The service is often quite iffy. Yes, they are friendly, but the service isnt on the ball at Trinity. that is my only complaint about Trinity, but it will not stop me from returning there again and again!


                  1. re: MishyPoo


                    As stated in my post from April, I did return to Trinity.
                    In fact, I was there tonight. And like the subject line in this thread...I had a remarkable dinner!

                    I receive a weekly email from Trinity and this week's announcement of specials really piqued our interest. Braised Oxtail enchiladas and a Torchon de Foie Gras with local Doughnut Peaches were what made us pick up the phone and make the reservation. These emails from various restaurants I frequent are so worth it!
                    In this particular email is a link to the Asbury Park Press voters poll for the "Best of" stuff, and I was wrestling in my head with putting Trinity down for the best "Fine Dining".....well, not after tonight. After tonight, they are getting my vote for sure!
                    The service was vastly improved, even though there was only one main server handling the whole restaurant (with some help). Kudos to her, she did a great job...we arrived shortly before the dinner rush and she had it all mostly under control.

                    Each course was delicious, the service was better than fine and the story I am about to tell is what proves to me that Trinity truly is a Fine Dining experience.
                    My husband and I figured we would have a most lovely and quiet Sunday night out, which we were having ...until the devil spawn and her parents entered! LOL But, I will get to that later.....

                    The food tonight was AMAZING!!!! I do not want my impending comments about the toddler to take away from this fact.
                    To start we had the Torchon de Foie Gras and the Oxtail Enchiladas. Both were great. The Torchon came with a grilled donut peach which was such a great accompaniment to the foie gras. The Enchiladas had this pickled corn / green tomato salsa which went perfectly with the slightly spicy sauce of the enchilada. The oxtail was tender and succulent.
                    We shared a spinach salad w/ Asian pear and a bit of chevre, not too much cheese....just the right amount. I really dislike when restaurants dump cheese on salad because they think that is what the people want. This chevre was in tiny crumbles and you got a little taste with each bite, subtle but present.

                    My husband ordered the Roasted Sweet Corn and Tomato Risotto for his entree, which was to die for! He was iffy on ordering it, but I urged him to get it because it is a seasonal dish, and thankfully he did order the risotto because he absolutely loved it. He said it was even better than the Torchon de Foie Gras and Foie Gras is my husband's favorite thing in the world next to me and Bossa Nova music lol. I had the Oxtail Enchiladas and they were also great. I had the entree special which was the local Fluke...I was iffy about that as well because Ive had fluke from the local waters before, but this was better than any fluke or flounder Ive ever had! It came w/ black eyed peas (a fav of mine) that were prepared like BBQ baked beans but 100x better lol. The fluke sat on top of the BBQ black eyed peas and a really tasty BBQ sauce, not thick, was in there too. The fluke was herb crusted and really delicious, not at all fishy tasting, sweet and flaky and really nice.

                    I had a pre-dinner cocktail "Strawberry Lemonade" which was described to me as Strawberry infused vodka and strawberry puree that the chef makes, mixed with the fresh squeezed lemonade. I saw them squeezing the lemons at the bar. This drink was not too sweet and very refreshing.

                    Ok, so now for the toddler. First of all........SOAPBOX TIME!!!!............Do not bring your *&^^%%* toddlers, infants or any kid to restaurants such as Trinity, David Drake, Nicholas or anywhere that isn't a franchise! WHY????? WHY would you do that??????? Kids don't like Foie Gras!!!!! Get a babysitter or don't go out! OK sorry, I had to get that off my chest. So, here we are thinking..."wow, this is going to be a really nice, quiet dinner"...really everybody in the whole dining room was lovely and quiet lol. Then enters "THE PARENTS w/ the TODDLER". From the moment this little girl entered to the moment they finally brought her out for good, she was non stop high volume screeching...not in a bad kid way, but in a "I'm too little of a toddler to stop being so loud" kind of way. But enough about her....I was so impressed with how this child and her family were handled, it proved to me that Trinity is indeed a Fine Dining experience and I will be voting as such in that APP poll. (you can find it here http://cl.exct.net/?ju=fe591378756c07... ) The owner was not present at the time of this very loud screechy toddler screeching, but the server I mentioned earlier immediately took control of the situation and spoke to the family about trying to control the little girl. The parents did their best, they did what they could...but they kept bringing her back inside! LOL The owner showed up pretty darn quick, and I think he was called because of this child, and we overheard him stating that if the child continued to behave in that manner, the family would be asked to leave. Not one customer (not even me!) complained to anybody working at Trinity tonight about this child. Trinity just took matters into their own hands, and that to me is the mark of a business that cares mainly about their customer's dining experience....not about losing the bill of a 6 top!

                    So, if you want to have a remarkable dinner....go to Trinity, you will not be disappointed! And go soon! don't miss those amazing specials we had tonight!



                    1. re: MishyPoo

                      I had my first Trinity experience on Friday:

                      Strawberry Lemonade - same as MishyPoo describes above. Probably the best summer cocktail I've ever had. Didnt taste like there was ANY added sugar. Totally refreshing, the kind of drink you can have too many of if you're not careful..

                      Burrata (special)- a double-fist size ball of burrata cheese seasoned with salt and pepper, coupled with lightly toasted olive bread slices, all resting in a shallow pool of olive oil. For anyone who hasnt had burrata, it is essentially fresh mozzerella wrapped around a creamy ricotta-like interior. It was AMAZING - a must have.

                      7 Sins Plate - my wife ordered this charcuterie plate. Would not have been a choice of mine, with so many other interesting things on the menu. Fairly standard, could have been lighter on the accompaniments and heavier on the meats/cheeses.

                      Chili- pork chili with black eyed peas. Excellent chili, a bit on the sweeter side, but certainly worth tasting.

                      PEI Mussels (Tom Yum)- ordered this as a "small offering". Large mussels in a spicy and delicious broth. Soaked up the broth with bread when mussels and veggies were gone. Another stellar dish.

                      Chiccarines- pork rinds. Ordered these when I was informed they ran our of the empanadas. Wasnt all that impressed, but I'm not a pork rind guy I suppose. Better stuff on menu.

                      Tuna Tartare- Fresh tasting, what tuna tartar should be. I've only had better at one spot- Bayard's in NYC. They just get the whole dish right there, with table side prep and a cracked egg on top.

                      Hukilau Pot- Tasty pac rim seafood stew. Was good, but probably should have branched out to something a bit more different considering I got the mussels as an app.

                      5 cheese mac and cheese- 5 cheeses with ditalini pasta. Need I say more?

                      Will be back- again and again...

                      1. re: MishyPoo


                        Great review. You trigger me to go back now! We have thought about going back ever since our last visit but had been quite busy. I mean, Trinity is the kind of place that I really want to take the whole evening to enjoy but not rushing in and out. Anyway, we should be able to go back sometime within Aug and will surely report! I totally agree that people should be considerate when dining out with children. I am glad that Trinity did the right thing but you are absolutely right that they really should have left the kid with a sitter or go to a different kind of place. It is such a mood spoiler to have to deal with kids when you try to relax and have a peaceful dinner. By the way, thanks for putting that link to the APP, I got on that an cast my vote for Trinity!


                        I will definitely have to try that Strawberry Lemonade...both you and MishyPoo seemed to enjoy it, just the thought of that refreshing drink on a hot summer day makes me want to get my reservation!

                        1. re: MishyPoo

                          A much easier link to manage re: 2009 APP Awards is below. The one above makes my head hurt, as it changes the entire view of the review.


                          1. re: aacharya

                            thanks, sorry about that weird link....I copied & pasted from the email I received. egg on face!!! lol


                            1. re: MishyPoo


                              The link you posted was fine for me and I got on it an voted for Trinity! Thanks for the review and I agree that people need to be more considerate when they have children in the dining scene. It was nice what Trinity did and I am glad that you had a great meal! We have to go back there soon as your post and AMV's post made my mouth watering. Just that Trinity is the kind of place that I do not rush to have a meal and be able to relax...we should be able to do that sometime in August, will report then!

                            2. re: aacharya

                              I've been to the APP.COM site and they just want too much info for me to want to bother voting. I'm surprised they didn't require your SSN and medical records...

                              1. re: equal_Mark

                                Mark - I feel the same way. I'll pass.

                      2. We planned for a very early dinner on Sunday and we arrived at 4:30pm. We started with a drink at the bar. John, our bartender was made me a very refreshing blueberry lemonade, it was really good. Not only was the color beautiful but the taste was just very nice and I highly recommend that. John also told us about the different vodka, definitely enhanced our knowledge in the subject.

                        We thought that we were the earliest table but apparently, another party was there.
                        I started with the corn bisque with the mini corn fritters. It was very creamy and the favor of the applewood bacon came through nicely. My husband got the sashimi tuna tartar, I tried a small mouthful and it was very fresh. The wasabi and the soy sauce together with the herbs was an excellent combination. My husband also pointed out the unique caviar, it was a little light yellow in color.

                        As for our entrée, I had the grilled shrimp. It was a simple dish but grilled to perfection and I also ordered the side dish of the 5 cheese mac. I knew that the additional side dish would be filling but if you love mac and cheese, you just have to get this. It was so nicely done with all the cheesy goodness. My husband had the daily special, it was a snapper encrusted with crab meat, and he loved that. Of course, I had to take a bite, and the fish was fresh and flakey while the crust of crabmeat added a different dimension to the dish. I believe that the snapper was on top of some kind of potato and onions, and my husband finished everything on his plate… We would love to have dessert but we were a bit too full to consider that thought. Our server Yvonne was very professional and friendly. The bill came to $103 excluding the tips but included a bottle of red wine.

                        It was a wonderful meal and it is one of the restaurants that is on our favorite list.

                        1. I can't add thing to what's been said by everyone else who has been to Trinity and loved the experience. It's one of NJ's top restaurants. Period.