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MANOW in Lincroft- EAT HERE

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Have now been to Manow five times in the last five weeks.

In a less than desireable location, Manow is making some of the best Thai food around. Forget the other "Thai" restauarants in the area. There may be prettier restaurants around, but the FOOD, which is why we all eat out, is simply amazing. They are not very busy but deserve to be packed. Last night we had three new dishes- Green curry with shimp, fantastic flavor, huge shrimp, and fresh veggies....next was the Manow version of pad thai- this is not my favorite dish, and yet Manow's was tasty and interesting. Lastly, and the table favorite, was Basil DUCK- I go on record here to say this is ONE OF THE BEST duck dishes being served in the country!!

This restaurant deserves each and every Chowhound's attention. Get here before it's too late and they have to close. Food this good, deserves crowds...no matter where they are located.

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  1. Manow has become our "go to" spot in this area when we're in the mood for Thai because the food is so excellent. Other Hounds agree:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/575441
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/575441

    2 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      http://www.manowasian.com/

      1. re: Tapas52

        I wouldn't write off Thai Chilis in Eatontown either. Competition is a good thing...

        http://thaichiliesusa.com/

        I do enjoy talking to Rebecca at Manow. The food is good at Thai Chilies, but English is definitely a second or third language...

    2. I hope more folks discover Manow. We went there with two other couples on Friday night and other than another table for two the place was empty. Which I do not understand because the food was WONDERFUL. We all agreed we'd discovered a new favorite, and we'll be back again...soon.

      We started with a few appetizers. I would highly recommend the spring rolls, thin fingers that are crispy without being overfried, and served with a wonderful sauce. Next time we'll order two portions. The gyoza and chicken sate were also good.

      For entrees we shared Red Curry Chicken ( wonderful sauce), Pad Kee Maow with Beef (we ordered it mild and it was pleasantly tingly), Hudson Valley Duck Breast (nicely prepared and paired with sweet potatoes) and their version of Grand Marnier Shrimp which was among the best we'd tasted.

      We're eager to return and try some of the other dishes.

      1 Reply
      1. re: donnalzs

        Great review...just today I put Manow on my must go list of restaurants as per CH recommendations.

        Thanks

      2. The Spicy Mussel appetizer at Manow is also excellent. The only thing I can figure as to why the place isn't more popular is that the location is not exactly prime. It seems a good example of something hiding in plain sight...

        11 Replies
        1. re: equal_Mark

          I so wanted to give them a try for a late lunch this weekend. Regrettably they close between 3 and 4:30 (I assume to get ready for dinner service) and was therefore unable to make it. I hope to re-schedule very soon.

          1. re: equal_Mark

            Maybe they are counting on the college scene up the road for business..how many does this place seat?

            1. re: Tapas52

              There are about a dozen or so tables.

              1. re: Tapas52

                One assumes they're hoping for the college crowd, because the traditional Lincroft lunchtime crowd of people from AT&T, Prudential, Lucent, etc., have mostly been downsized, and the remainder don't have time to go out to eat. :-(

                (I suspect that the Holmdel Macaroni Grill may have been a casualty of this, as it was a popular lunch placewhen I was working at Lucent.)

                1. re: eleeper

                  I hope they do well to stay around a long while............

                  1. re: eleeper

                    Manow did have a steady stream of customers in house and take out orders during lunch the day I was there a few weeks back.

                    Random Side Note: In General So many restaurants do not understand the power of a robust website.

                    Especially at lunch, they would increase sales if only for enhanced Internet capabilities, and competent delivery people with good communication skills. The number of potential customers held hostage in corporate cubes, in need of good food is astounding.

                    1. re: shabbystorm

                      Agreed! Their web site needs ALOT of work and should be interactive. BUT, the DUCK is to DIE AND GO TO HEAVEN!!!!!

                      1. re: sockster

                        To each his own. I tasted the tamarind duck on Saturday night and it was fine but hardly life-altering. I liked the mussels with basi well enough. There was a mushroom starter that was perfectly uninteresting, an order of satay, that was, well, satay. One of our party was thrilled to see roti canai on the menu and the curry dipping sauce was very good, but the portion of roti was rather mean. The pad kra prow was good but I found the pad kee maow disappointing, not as spicy as I'd hoped and rather carelessly made. Our server was pleasant and efficient and we liked the food well enough to return, but it didn’t drive me to hyperbole.

                        1. re: Deb Van D

                          On my visit the waitress asked us individually what level of spicing we wanted - one, two, or three stars. I thought this was a nice touch. Better still, they actually served the food at the required spicing levels. The room was nicely appointed and the service was pleasant and efficient.

                          The food was fine, a solid B.

                          My mushroom app., billed as "Fresh shitake and button mushroom sautéed with Thai basil bamboo shoots and carrots" was one just OK. Ordered at a spicing level of 2 stars, the only heat I could detect was from black pepper. The shitake mushrooms were slivers and not particularly substantial. Overall the dish was one dimensional.

                          My Pad Gra Prow, ordered with chicken, was somewhat better. The spicing level was appropriately high but the dish lacked the complexity that you find at better Thai restaurants. It was pleasant and I'd order it again but next time I'll adjust my expectations accordingly. (BTW, I found the almost complete absence of pork on the menu surprising and disappointing. It's a staple in Thai cooking.)

                          I think Manow is a solid neighborhood restaurant in an area where the competition is pretty bad on the Asian front. They deserve support for raising the bar on Asian dining but I hope they raise it a bit higher in the coming months.

                          1. re: Bob Martinez

                            Oh, I forgot to mention that when we arrived at 1PM the place was almost empty, yet the waitress directed us to a small two-person table up against a divider, instead of a larger table with room on both sides. (In fact, we had started to sit at a larger table, and she asked us to move.)

                      2. re: shabbystorm

                        Does anyone know if they do any advertising? Although I don't live too far from Manow, I'm not in that immediate area. So I have no idea whether they advertise in any of the myriad mailers that show up regularly in everyone's mailboxes. Coupons can bring in business. Actually, now that I think about it, it would be a good idea for them to advertise in the mailers we get since we're only a 10-minute ride away.

                2. I agree. I have been there, and its great. Its a full entree price less than Siam Garden, AND its a BYO, which, lets face it, is a great thing when the place has great food.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: metalrat

                    Went AGAIN last night...had the ginger duck, which honestly was not my favorite of the duck dishes...the tamarand and the basil leaf were much better, (crispy skin rather than duck breast,) to my taste, but we had the Thai noodles with shrimp which was totally amazing. Don't wait for coupons. It's reasonable.....and wonderful....

                    1. re: sockster

                      We went at lunchtime a couple of days ago. The crispy noodle curry was good, but on the whole the lunch menu is nothing special.

                  2. Went for FD dinner. Food was excellent as expected. But the service was exceedingly slow and haphazard. I will continue to go as the food is great, but maybe only for lunch.

                    I hope they fix the service problems, as that is possibly contributing to the small house many have observed.

                    1. WOW - Chowhound has definitely helped the Manow economy in the last few weeks.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: shabbystorm

                        I was there Saturday night, There were two large families with serious romper-room action going on, along with a steady takeout business. I had the golden curry puffs and the Kaeng Massaman with chicken. Both were good but the curry could have benefited from more than just the two thin slices of avocado served. Did not see Rebecca, assume she was in the back cooking...

                        1. re: equal_Mark

                          It took me a while but i finally got around to trying Manow. It looks like all the praise was warranted as I and my father in law enjoyed a nice lunch on Saturday. Although the menu was abbreviated for lunch, there were no shortage of options available. We decided to start with a few appetizers; Thai Dim Sum and the Golden Curry Puffs. Never having either, I didn't know what to expect (although I did recall my friend RGR glowing about curry puffs at another restaurant). I can report that one was a bit of a clunker (the dim sum - more like a shumai stufffed with minced chicken, shrimp and crabmeat with toasted garlic on top) while the other was heavenly (warm, soft and fluffy crust filled with a curried chicken and potato filling). Next came a small (not more than a few bites) green salad with a tasty Thai peanut dressing (this item came with the order of a lunch entree). For our entrees, I ordered the Red Curry with Chicken while my FIL ordered the Kra Theam (shrimp sauteed with garlic and pepper). With both chose to replace the standard white rice with red/brown rice (a $1 surcharge). The entrees were the true standout of the meal. Although both entrees were on the large side we were undeterred finishing every last drop the exquisite sauces which came with each dish (mine creamy and sweet with a touch of heat while his was nice and peppery). I can't wait to go back. My thanks to the OP.

                          1. re: bgut1

                            Hey, b.,

                            Glad that you finally made it to Manow and that you were as impressed as the rest of us have been.

                            Re: the curry puffs. You're probably remembering the ones I raved about at the now sadly defunct Cafe de Thai, in Matawan. I also love the ones at Manow; however, I don't think I've ever posted a formal review of any the meals we've had there. All the dishes we've had have been wonderful except for one clunker. I can't recall what it was, but we ordered it at lunch. Also, that particular lunch was the only time the kitchen was on the slo-o-o-ow as molasses schedule, i.e., our food took forever to come out.

                            1. re: RGR

                              Yeah that was it ... Cafe de Thai. See how your reviews leave a lasting impression on me. :)

                              1. re: bgut1

                                LOL. Right back at you, b.! :)

                      2. We went back to Manow last Saturday night. Our first meal there back in June had been solid but unremarkable. This time around it was lots better.

                        Starters were spicy mussels and gyoza fried pork dumplings. The portion of mussels was remarkably generous and the spicing was suitably complex. The dumplings were nicely done and the dipping sauce served on the side added a little zip.

                        Mains were a duck special and chicken kra prow. I belatedly realized I had ordered this on my last visit but this time around it was *much* better. The spicing was more full and the dish was nicely balanced. The duck dish was described as "crispy duck with cashew nuts, bell pepper and onion with prik kling curry." (Our notes are a little shaky. Please forgive any spelling mistakes.) My girlfriend said the duck was very good indeed. I agreed.

                        As usual, the atmosphere was pleasant and relaxed and the service was very good. I like the room very much.

                        Things were a little quiet on a Saturday night. I hope more people get out to this place. It deserves to succeed.

                        Slide show here - http://www.flickr.com/photos/64756738...

                        -----
                        Manow Asian Bistro
                        623 Newman Springs Rd, Lincroft, NJ

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                          Was the duck served on or off the bone?

                          1. re: equal_Mark

                            It was off the bone.

                            1. re: Bob Martinez

                              Bob great review....love the slide show too. This place is on my list.

                              1. re: Tapas52

                                I'll be having lunch at Manow this afternoon first time....any menu suggestions?

                                Thank you

                                1. re: Tapas52

                                  I got an Avacado Salad and Peking Duck salad for takeout last night (Yeah, it was hot). I also like the mussels appetizer (Doesn't appear on the lunch menu) and the Golden Curry puffs. Also like the Kra Prow, choice of meat Sautéed with Thai Basil, chili, and onion...

                                  1. re: Tapas52

                                    Tapas - Please see my 7/12 post above. All items were excellent. Enjoy.

                                    1. re: bgut1

                                      bgut, mark, bob, & others thank you for the great recommendations as always......I just got back from Manow & thoroughly enjoyed my lunch. Atmosphere was warm & service very friendly...I started with the small complimentary house salad that had a interesting dressing, I was trying to figure out the complex flavors in it a nice start for sure. For my appetizer I ordered the Gyoza pork fried dumplings light wrapper & cooked perfect with a nice tangy dipping sauce. My main course was the Hot Basil Leaves ( Kra Prow) with Chicken...WOW!!,.. I really enjoyed it...complex flavors, string beans cooked al dente, just enough heat to make it exciting and a killer sauce that was sweet & spicy, great dish. I ended my meal with Tempura Ice Cream which consisted of a ball of Vanilla Ice Cream enshrouded in a Tempura batter & Deep Fried, oh soooo good! I will definitly be back again when I'm in the area, so many things there to try.

                                      Thanks everyone for another Culinary Gem!!

                                      1. re: Tapas52

                                        I'm happy you enjoyed it.

                                        1. re: bgut1

                                          bgut1 thank you..... so many "GEMS" so little time! :)...

                          2. I absolutely love Manow! Eat-in or take-out are always outstanding. The food is consistently exceptional. Believe me, I have tried Thai food in a variety of restaurants from NJ to Oregon to Maine and Massachusetts! I think that Manow is probably one of the best I have tried! I love their Curry Puffs as an appetizer and always enjoy the Red Curry (with chicken) and Noodle Curry. Their spring rolls are really delicious with a nice sweet dipping sauce, and I even really enjoy their Thai Iced Teas.

                            I have to admit, I hope that their business does pick up. Unfortunately, it isn't located in the best spot, and I think some people may think that it's the same as the Chinese place that used to be there (which was passable, at best).

                            If you haven't had a chance to check it out I would highly recommend heading there! You won't be sorry.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ellinj0206

                              Next time your there, dry the crispy duck! Either tamarand, or in basil leaves. AMAZING..That alone is a reason for going to Manow!

                            2. NO WAY! I tried Manow a couple of times. I like things spicy and the second time we ordered a whole bunch of dishes for take out and asked them to make it very spicy. All they did was throw in ALOT of dried red pepper flakes- DEFINITELY NOT authentic THAI. Everything was seriously mediocre at best. I've given them 2 tries and I'm not giving them a 3rd. Sadly it seems there are no good authentic Thai places. They are usually run by Chinese who think they are cooking Thai food. Seriously disappointing. I do enjoy Saigon II for Vietnamese in Lincroft and very close to Manow but the food is so much better.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: jcjcjc

                                Try Thai Chilie on 35 in Eatontown. We had the opposite experience there...we asked for mild and their version of mild was very spicy.

                                Also, their Crispy Pork with Sticky Rice was good enough that I'd consider going there just for that one dish!

                              2. I had the good fortune to visit Thailand this summer. The food was so amazing I have been searching for something similar ever since I have returned. I fell in love with Green Curry and Tom Ka Gai soup while I was there. The places I have eaten so far since my return have not even come close. (Most green curries are not even green and the sauce is so thick). Well, I had a tear in my eye when I tasted the Green Curry at Manow last week. It was delicious, and while not completely and utterly the same, it brought me back. I can't wait to go back and try the soup and some other menu items. This is the only place I have seen Green Papaya salad (a lunch item) on the menu. I have yet to find Pomelo salad, which was another favorite dish while I was there. I haven't tried the place yet in Eatontown that has been mentioned here, but I am curious about their menu as well. I will definitely return to Manow very soon.