Langosta Lounge Asbury Park
Cliff notes: Good, interesting drinks; fairly decent and tasty food; rushed attitude to get in the late seating almost spoils it all.
There was a lively bar scene going on as we entered and we were lucky to get a small table there to have a drink while we waited for our friends. The pomegranite mojito and rum punch were good as were the small plate of fried olives we nibbled on.
Our reservation was for 6:30 so when the time arrived and our friends were yet to show, I walked over to the host and told him that we were drinking at the bar and would move to our table as soon as our friends showed up. They were not familiar with Asbury and I told the host they would be there any minute and I would watcdh for them. Right away he tells me that they are expecting to have our table ready for another party at 8:30 so he hopes our friends won't be late.
I was planning on having a no-holds barred night of eating and drinking way too much, but upon hearing the news that we were "on a timer" I mentally revised my plans.
Our friends showed up five minutes later we ordered drinks. We were catching up and chatting over our drinks when our waitress asked us if we were ready to order. It had only been maybe ten minutes since we sat so nobody had even opened a menu yet. The waitress then reiterated what the host had told me and said that we should order soon as they were seating another party at our table at 8:30.
So to review the food quickly:
Bread - not house made, but the tomato/oil/roasted garlic mix was very good to smear on the slices.
Pupu platter - kitchy, but ultimately unsatisfying. Seriously undercooked steak kabobs.
Lobster rolls - better choice for appys, tasty and fresh. 3 teeny rolls in an order made sharing hard though.
Skirt Steak Mole over "Ruby Rice" - Done medium rare as ordered. both steak and rice were flavorful and good, but the mole was weak. I make a mole with 21 ingredients that is insanely complex as a mole should be, and I can make it hot or milder, but this was just weak.
Lobster enchiladas - good, flavorful and a nice size portion too.
We then paid our check and left without coffee or dessert as we didn't want to go over our alotted time. Shame that the evening felt rushed instead of warm and hospitable.
I have heard several stories of less than hospitable service there. My husband and I went for lunch one day, and whie the server was friendly enough, he was horribly slow and inattentive. And there were only two other tables at the time.
I have only been told I was on the clock once. That was at Craft in manhattan. My fellow diners and I immediately walked out. Even if they did need the table and had to push the pace along, it should be invisible to the diner.
Seal, what happened is really unfortunate. Most dinners, even with some of the party a few minutes late would last 2 hours or less.
Hearing about a "time limit" at the beginning of the evening would certainly put a damper on the meal.
thanks for the review. i posted the other two reviews. i really like this place and had bad service first time. second time was better.
the time limit would make me leave. i'll report back next week as i plan on headng there for dinner next friday night.
I am sorry to hear of your disappointing evening. From what I've read of your posts and what I've experienced at Langosta, I would have thought that you had made the right choice for a "no holds barred" outing (Hell, I would've been happy to join you!).
We have frequently been guilty of excessive lingering while enjoying meals (including a brunch at Langosta) and have felt the stares of those looking to turn a table. Usually, I apologize, order plenty of extra drinks, and overtip – bad feelings are generally assuaged. Occasionally, we are recognized for our leisurely approach to dining and humored when we return to an establishment. Never, however, have we been told, prior to starting, that our table was to be someone else’s in two hours. That’s lousy.
Although I am generally a fan, Marilyn’s restaurants’ strong points are in the back of the house. Service issues seem too common. They appear often to be borne from attitude, prejudice, and condescension. It’s a shame.
Perhaps, I’m digressing, but I am afraid this is not an uncommon phenomenon. (Similarly, I am not saying this is what happened to the OP, just wanting to make a point generally about the problem, I suppose.) Servers, like most people, make quick assumptions about the patrons they confront. It sometimes seems more palpable at Langosta, but I’ve seen it at other Asbury establishments lately – this version is the “hip” test (basically, “Are they cool?”).
The irony of this is the fact that chefs like Marilyn open places like Langosta to serve great food without the pretentiousness associated with your grandfather’s “fine dining” – the “wealth” test (basically, “Can they afford to eat here?”) If I’m dressed in my usual attire, the bartenders at Nicholas, for example, treat me like Cousin Eddie. I see no difference.
I suppose a certain amount of attitude becomes ingrained in the culture of a restaurant. I even suppose that sometimes this can be a positive factor. Too much attitude, however, may create a cliquish, uncomfortable establishment. Certainly, that doesn’t have to happen to Langosta.
I recently dinned at Langosta and would would classify the service as Sub Par. But I don't think it's only a Marilyn issue; I've had great service at her Labrador Lounge Establishment a number of times; I think it's more of an Asbury Attitude. I've dinned at Stella Marina, Market, Brickwall (worse service ever), Old Man, moonstruck, watermark, O'tooles; and have been disappointed by this asbury attitude . I patronize these establishments in hopes that this once prominent city comes back to life. In order for these new shops and restaurants opening up to succeed, they need to start with a simple greeting... Welcome to Asbury Park.