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Jun 3, 2009 08:02 AM

Casual girls night out dinner in Ocean/Monmouth co.

A small group of friends and I are looking for someplace fun and casual (not super casual) to have a little birthday/reunion dinner. We're all from the area, but so help me, I will try my damnedest to steer them away from a chain restaurant. (I'd like to actually ENJOY my meal!) I've done most of my recent dining in the Mercer County area, since the boyf lives there, so I'm out of touch with my local eateries. Throw some yummy suggestions at me! The five of us have diverse interests, so any type of cuisine will do. Some BYO suggestions would be great too. Thanks!

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    1. I've heard very good things about Drew's and El Meson. As for some of the others, I'm not sure if we're going to head over to Red Bank or Long Branch this time, but I'll add them to my list! Any Ocean county recs?

      1 Reply
      1. re: cbean

        The OC is tough. Bistro44, El Familiar, and Basil T's, perhaps, all in Toms River. Our funky favorite is Labrador Lounge in Normandy Beach (BYO).

      2. Here's places me and my girlfriends have had great girls night at:

        Red, Red Bank - good food, great atmosphere, don't stay too late on weekend nights, becomes more of a club atmosphere
        Trinity, Keyport - great food, live music on weekends
        Drew's, Keyport - more great food, byob
        Langosta Lounge, Asbury Park - good to great food, fun atmosphere (plus you can always stop by Asbury Lanes or Watermark for a drink afterwards - depending on your crowd's tastes...)

        1 Reply
        1. re: dani0622

          Just checked out the websites for both Labrador Lounge and Langosta Lounge...they're definitely going to get a visit from me. Langosta Lounge did appeal to me a bit more, though. Great suggestions guys!

        2. My girlfriends and I went to Casa Comida in Freehold and had a great time - great Mexican and great drinks. We've also hit up Melting Pot which is pricey, even though I feel you go there for the experience, not the food. Bamboo Leaf in Bradley is some of the best Thai I've ever had in my life, Sawa in Long Branch or Eatontown is fun for sushi and Hibachi.

          12 Replies
          1. re: cling0017

            Is there also a Bamboo Leaf in Howell on 9? I thought I remeber seeing it there... Also, I recall hearing some discussion about Bamboo Leaf (not sure which location, or perhaps both) changing owners and the food quality heading south a bit. Does anyone know anything about it?

            1. re: cbean

              Not sure about Bamboo Leaf in Howell, but the one in Bradley Beach is good.

            2. re: cling0017

              Casa Comida in Freehold? Where is that?

                1. re: HillJ

                  Casa Comida is in Long Branch. However, you would do well to stay far away. My one and only meal there a year back was horrible (think bad Chi Chi's food). Many of the above recommendations are right on. I would only add the following to the list: Stella Marina in AP and Atlantic Bar & Grill in Seaside Park (per your OC request). Good luck with your night out.

                  1. re: bgut1

                    I haven't been to Casa Comida in years. I was surprised to learn it was still open.

                    1. re: HillJ

                      Casa Comida, many years ago, was the venue for one of my finest restaurant experiences of all time. It was the afternoon of the day we took our SATs and involved a convertible, a bag, pitchers of margaritas, and being the only male in a party of 11. Yep, a good day indeed.

                      Having noted that, however, I would never, in good conscience, recommend dinner there.

                    2. re: bgut1

                      Atlantic Bar & Grill's menu online looks fantastic, can you give me an idea on the average prices? They are not listed on the site. Thanks!

                        1. re: Tapas52

                          I do like Avenue, but I think we're looking for something a little more casual and a bit less exepnsive...we are in a recession after all! :]

                          1. re: cbean

                            Another option is BrickWall in Asbury. Good, cheap eats, very lively on the weekends. Last time I was there, they had live music too.

                        2. re: cbean

                          cbean - I haven't been back to AB&G in a while. However, I don't recall it being offensively expensive (however subjective that can be). That being said, I wouldn't classify it as "cheap eats" either.

                2. Stay far away from the Melting Pot unless you just want drinks and dessert! Pretty much a chain place anyway. The food is horrible!
                  Just went to the Lagosta Lounge and it's fun and not too pricey. Looking forward to going back. Bamboo Leaf in Bradley is wonderful-great food.
                  Have fun!