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Jun 21, 2009 06:06 AM

Daniel's Bistro, Point Pleasant Beach NJ

Thought I would start a new thread with the proper spelling of the restaurant. Our experience here was very good, especially for a place only open a couple of weeks.
Arrived a bit earlier than our 8:00 reservation, no problem, a warm greeting from Karen the hostess and we were seated.

A complimentary amuse of a large toast with sundried tomatoes, parmesan cheese and herbs was strong on the cheese but tasty.
There was a choice of three different breads, a very nice touch and olive oil was on the table. Water glasses were kept full all evening.
Our server Rachel went through a series of specials and combined with the large menu made for a variety of choices.

Appetizers were Diver Sea Scallops which were nicely grilled with a Tahitian vanilla bean reduction and a side of grilled asparagus. Tasty and a substantial portion.
I had the Ahi Tuna Tower which was sushi grade tuna, avacado, sweet red pepper, tomato, in a tall tower with dabs of wasabi, pickled ginger on the corners of the plate and a ladle of soy sauce to dip into. The combined flavors of this dish were wonderful and the presentation was something to see. A shame to dig in and eat it but I did :)

The apps were substantial portions, I had ordered the Pera salad expecting an individual portion but I received more than enough for two. We shared this which was baby field greens, poached pear, strawberries, honey roasted walnuts goat cheese, lightly dressed in a hazelnut vinaigrette. Very nice summer salad, BTW, our view of the kitchen showed EVERY single salad was hand made.
Entrees were a special of Sauteed Grouper over a bed of garlic broccoli rabe and white beans with some grilled cherry tomatoes. Very "Italian" style preparation, my wife thoroughly enjoyed the flavors.
I had the Berkshire Double Cut Pork Loin which was essentially a large double cut chop prepared as ordered to keep it moist. Came over a creamy risotto, with a small side of oven dried tomatoes and raisins. Tender, juicy and flavorful dish.

Totally stuffed, we passed on dessert but Karen came out with a large fresh fruit plate which contained honeydew, cantaloupe, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, grapes and sliced oranges. To say this was a wonderful gesture is not saying enough.
Service all evening from Rachel, Karen and the team was warm and friendly.
Our dinner was leisurely paced, our courses were spread out as the kitchen was quite busy on this Saturday evening. Remember they are just two weeks old.
We want to come back and sample more of the menu but based on our first visit, Daniel's is a welcome addition to the Monmouth - Ocean dining scene.

Daniel's Bistro
115 Broadway
Point Pleasant Beach NJ 08742

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    1. Tom - Thank you for the excellent review. While I regret not making it there on Saturday, I hope to try it very soon.

      R - Everytime I read that a restaurant serves Olive Oil with their bread, I think of you and your distaste for the practice. :)

      2 Replies
      1. re: bgut1

        b, for a place only open a couple of weeks the staff and kitchen did a nice job. The kitchen got backed up a bit but nothing severe. Food was solid. Interested in your impressions when you get there

        Funny I know people who get pi**ed when butter is served. They solve that by asking for olive oil :)

        1. re: bgut1


          LOL. Yeah, it is one of my restaurant peeves. However, there is one restaurant where I don't object to the practice. At Pamplona, in NYC, Chef Alex Urena puts a boatload of finely minced garlic into his olive oil. Love scooping up that garlic onto the excellent bread.

          Mr. R. feels exactly as I do about the oil thingy. So, rest assured when we go to Daniel's Bistro, we will be requesting butter! :-)

        2. After positve reviews and RGR suggestion of having the menu emailed my DW and I decided to give Daniels a try last night. It was a really nice experience . As others have reported we were warmly greeted by Karen who I would best describe as the front of the house manager/owner. She was very nice and assisted with the service all night.

          We started with two apps. First was a special of buffalo mozz and tomatos, garnished with basil and olive oil drizzle. This is one of my favorite summertime dishes very simple but if all the components are fresh and of high quality( which in this case they certainly were) it is a classic flavor combo. This app was 10$. Second app was lobster cocktail. It was 15$ so when it arrived at our table and was a chilled whole I'm guessing atleast a 1 1/4 lb lobster we were very pleasantly surprised. I thinked I was expecting chopped lobster meat in a martini glass with cocktail sauce. But it was a whole lobster deshelled on a bed of ice. It was cooked very nicely not overdone or rubbery at all. Two dippings sauce a cocktail sauce and I would say a cross between tartar sauce and a remoulade both good.

          For entrees we both chose meat I had the duck and my DW had the ribeye. We are by no means portion people, but when our entrees came to the table they were so huge it is worth reporting. They were so large in fact I was thinking to myself I hope quality does not suffer. Her steak ( 30$) looked to be 20 oz plus and I think I had two duck breasts ( 27$) on my plate. Both were delicious. Her steak ordered med rare was cooked perfectly full of flavor and very tender. On the plate were roasted mushroom and onion both good the only negative in my opinion was the french fries and onion rings that it also came with. Good but maybe out of place, I shouldn't complain we ate them both. The duck also ordered med rare was also delicious. It was over a nicely cooked risotto and had a very tasty pinot noir sauce with black currants in it. We also ordered haricot vert ( 6$) which still had a good crunch to them very good.

          Desert was a scoop of hazelnut gelato ( 4$) which was outstanding. And a flourless chocolate cake (7$) this was okay but the banana gelato served with it was very good.

          All in all very good and we will definetly return quite surprising they are only three weeks new. We were one of two tables so it is hard to judge what service would be like on a busy night, but last night both Karen and Ryan (server) were excellent very welcoming and had a geniune concern towards hospitality.

          1 Reply
          1. re: AC Captain

            Wow! The place sounds great. I am def. going to try them in a few weekends.

          2. Sounds great! Maybe they will even put a website together for the rest of us to see!! Nice review tom246!

            21 Replies
            1. re: Angelina

              Hey, Angelina,

              When I spoke with Karen, she told me the website will be coming in November. The delay relates to when their domain name becomes available. If you want a copy of the menu, e-mail her, and she'll e-mail back a copy.


                1. re: RGR

                  RGR...I sent Karen an email and still responded ASAP with the menu! Looks fantastic! Great part on Karen! Thanks again!

                  1. re: Angelina


                    Yes, Karen is definitely on the ball. A very savvy businesswoman. And from what we've heard, she's doing an excellent job running foh. Of course, that would mean zilch if the food isn't good, but all reports thus far indicate that in that regard, diners are in for a real treat. Daniel's Bistro is at the tippy-top of my NJ "go to" list.

                    Btw, we finally made it to Shirin Cafe yesterday for a late lunch. Dee-licious! I'll be posting the particulars on the appropriate thread.

                    1. re: RGR

                      Okay – under the better late than never category I’ve finally got around to writing up my review of Daniel’s Bistro. Let me start off by apologizing not only for the lateness of my submission but the lack of detail in my recollection of the meal. Over the past several years, I’ve written reviews within 24 hours of the meal if not the same evening after returning from the restaurant (I truly need to get a life). Here it has been well over a week since I ate at Daniel’s and my memory has not benefited from the delay. Aided by the copy of the menu provided by my good friend RGR (I couldn’t wait for you R – You owe me one) here goes:

                      Our party of four arrived a few minutes late for our 8 PM Saturday reservation. I should have known better than to underestimate the traffic going over the bridge in Point Pleasant Beach as well as the lack of parking along Broadway. Frustrated with my inability to locate a parking spot, I pulled into the restaurant’s lot with the intention of letting out my companions. Instead, a woman who I later understood to be Karen was outside and directed me to park in an unmarked space in front of the building. It was an unnecessary but welcomed gesture. Score one for Daniel’s Bistro.
                      My party was welcomed and escorted to a very nice table in the back of the restaurant. Although I’m a little fuzzy about the specifics of the décor, I found the restaurant to be nicely designed and appointed. Nothing too fancy or uncomfortable but just about right for the food and price point of the restaurant. Let me start off by focusing on the things I was impressed with. The service for such a young restaurant (I believe it had only been open for a few weeks) was unusually polished. I was also impressed with the small touches such as a choice in breads (although one item was a bit dry), excellent olive oil along with the offer of butter (I was thinking of you RGR), a nice plate of olives, an amuse of sorts which was a bruschetta with diced parmigiano reggiano (?) cheese, the use of the correct tableware including an escargot fork and bone marrow spoon (for my osso bucco). With regard to the quality of the food, everything was generally good with items ranging from okay to excellent. My only disappointments for the evening were an underachieving appetizer and the lack of dessert choices.

                      I started with the Braised Escargot with roasted garlic, white wine, butter and herbs delivered in the classic white porcelain escargot plate. I have nothing bad to say about the dish. While it wasn’t earth shattering, it was just what I was looking for; comforting and familiar. The escargot were cooked properly as they were soft and melted in my mouth. I almost yelled at one of the servers however who tried to clear my plate before I sopped up the buttery goodness in each well (my favorite part). My DW’s Ahi Tower was a much more substantial starter. I tried a little bite of the dish and can attest to my wife’s nods of approval. The tuna was cool, fresh and worked well with the avocado, wasabi and soy. The table decided to order an extra appetizer to share which was a special of roasted figs stuffed with gorgonzola cheese and prosciutto. This dish was the only disappointment for the evening. I was expecting a little more. Instead, we were presented with a few fresh figs cut in half with a little bit of gorgonzola layered on top which was melted under a broiler and a twirled cone of prosciutto in the middle of the plate. Again, there was nothing wrong with the dish and it tasted fine but I was expecting a bit more considering its description. From there I moved on to my entrée of osso bucco atop saffron risotto. This dish was another winner in the comforting food department. Instead of one single shank, I received several small pieces. The meat was moist, succulent and gelatinous. There was no refined way to eat this meal. I hope I didn’t embarrass my dinner companions, but I had to get in there picking at the bones, cleaning up the demi glace and getting at the bone marrow. There was nary anything left when I got done with that plate. I will say however that based on the prior reviews; I was expecting a much more sizable portion. That being said, the portion was more than enough for me and I was ready to tackle some dessert.

                      As I noted above, the dessert offerings were sparse. They offer a chocolate cake, a crème brulee, as well as an assortment of gelato. We chose to order the cake along with a scoop of hazelnut and chocolate gelato. Like the rest of the meal, the desserts were very good with the gelato being the winner (especially the hazelnut). One more nice touch was the delivery of a plate of fresh sliced fruit (honey dew melon, cantaloupe, and berries) before our desserts. Again, this place went out of their way to make you feel welcomed and I couldn’t get over the fact they had just opened. We left that evening looking forward to our return visit in order to try out other items on the menu (in fact we are probably going again this coming weekend).

                      Daniel’s is a well oiled machine and I see only good things in its future. I intend to add it to my standard round of local restaurants (Drew’s, Belford, Stella Marina and Bistro 44). Daniel’s is a welcome addition and I wish them the best of luck.

                      1. re: bgut1

                        Yeah, b. Waiting for me can be like "Waiting for Godot" (we saw the Roundabout production last weekend). lol But I promise my review of elements *will* show up in the not too distance future.

                        Meanwhile, I'm glad your experience at Daniel's Bistro was a positive one. Despite your claim of haziness, you've done your usual excellent job of providing more than sufficient details. When Karen e-mailed me the menu, I was surprised that there was no dessert listed. Now, I can see why. It really is much too limited. However, that won't stop me from going, perhaps as soon as this coming week.

                        1. re: RGR

                          Good things come to those that wait and I'm sure your review will be well worth it. I look forward to the read.

                          1. re: bgut1

                            Thanks for the compliment, b. I do hope you will find it worth the wait. :-)

                          1. re: wizard2

                            Wizard - I'm sorry about not adding Trinity to my list. Regretably, I have yet to try it for dinner although the lunch I had there a few months back shows that there is talent behind the stove. Keyport is a nice drive for the DW and I and whenever we go up that way our dining companions are already set on eating next door at Drew's. I have to make a concerted effort to make it over to Trinity.

                            1. re: bgut1


                              The reason we've not been to Trinity is that every time I look at the menu on the website, it doesn't appeal to me. There has never been even one item that when I read the description, I said to myself, "Self, I *must* have that!"

                              Perhaps if you go for dinner and have a rave-worthy experience, I might be willing to give it a try. But unless and until that happens, with so many other places on my "go to" list (mosty in NYC), for now, I'm going to pass on Trinity.

                              1. re: RGR

                                Was at Trinity for the 4th. Having a drink at the bar first set the mood. Had the mussels appetizer & the Hukilau Pot for an entree (2nd time for the Hukilau). I hope that both are still on the menu next time I dine, although I might try a meat entree. I'm craving the mussels right now. Here's a link to the menu:

                              2. re: bgut1

                                No need to apologize. I haven't had the opportunity to dine at either Daniel's or Belford. After reading all of the posts on both, I hope to experience them soon. My DW fell in love with Trinity, causing us to dine there quite often. It's not easy having so many great restaurants to choose from.

                            2. re: bgut1

                              bgut thank you for the great review.....I'm glad you had a good time.
                              Do you think being it was a big holiday weekend crowds could of put some restaurants under stress. BTW I love good deserts also after dinner.

                              1. re: bgut1

                                bgut, great report. Your visit was much like mine, not perfect but a good start for only being open a few weeks.
                                Places like Belford Bistro and Drew's did not hit their stride until open for a while so Daniel's shows promise.

                                1. re: tom246


                                  I happen to think that Drew hit it out of the park right from the start and has just kept doing so.

                                  With regard to Belford Bistro, we've only been there the one time for the Chow gathering. I have to be honest and say I wasn't as taken with it as you and bgut are. Still, it is on my "go to again" list, so maybe a return visit will push me into the fan camp with the two of you.

                                  1. re: RGR

                                    R, I'm not sure when you first went to Drews but when we first went in 2005 he was still finding his way and the restaurant was half the size it is today. We are thrilled that the restaurant has become a dining destination and we continue to go there often.

                                    In regards to BB, maybe what you ordered didn't "click" that evening. I would recommend giving it another try to reach a firm conclusion. All our experiences have been superb.

                                    1. re: tom246

                                      R - I agree with Tom. Belford has truly kicked it up another level since the Chow dinner awhile back. I would deifintely give it another shot. Anyway, how can Tom and I (not to mention the other countless hounds) be wrong? :)

                                      1. re: bgut1

                                        b. and Tom

                                        I'm sure I don't have to tell you (but I will anyway) that I hold your opinions vis-a-vis restaurants in the highest regard! :-)

                                        Don't get me wrong. Mr. R. and I liked the food well enough at Belford for me to put it on my "go back to" list. So, I have every intention of giving it another try, especially if, as you say, b., the husband and wife team have kicked things up several notches from when I was there. The only problem has been that, lately, we've been eating up a proverbial storm in NYC, so that when we're in NJ, we tend not to go out much. Yeah, some "problem"! lol

                                        1. re: RGR

                                          RGR - I completely understand. If I had the selection of restaurants you have available in NYC, I doubt if I would ever eat in NJ. Considering the dearth of qualtiy restaurants we have in NJ and it is quickly evident why we are frequent diners at BB.

                        2. The original comment has been removed