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Jun 30, 2009 06:31 AM

Pop's Garage, Asbury

Was enjoying a beautiful Sunday afternoon on Asbury's beaches and took a walk up to the boardwalk for a quick bite. Figured I'd try Pop's Garage, since I love Langosta so much.

Sat at the counter and received prompt service, but noticed that they were short-staffed and many other people waited quite some time to order, get food, and/or pay bill. Another woman standing next to me must have waited a solid ten minutes to pay before anyone acknowledged her. Also, noticed in the half hour I was there, previous diner's empty, dirty plates and glasses remained on counter top the entire time and we're never cleared. Service clearly a major issue here.

Onto the food. I ordered one fish taco ($3.50) and grilled Cuban corn on the cob ($4.00 I think). Taco came out first, then corn, several minutes later. Taco was very small and skimpy with only about three or four small bite size pieces of fish. Wish I had ordered two. It tasted good though. The corn was awesome. It was grilled with what I think was parmesean cheese, butter, and chili powder and served with lime wedges. THAT I'd go back for again and again.

It's a cute little place, but they seriously need to take care of the service issues here. I watched a couple of people come up to counter and leave after not being acknowledged for several minutes.

I would however, go back for some of that corn and to try the other tacos. Good, cheap eats.

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  1. I completely agree with you. I went back in April on a weekend day and the weather was beautiful and people were out. I thought, at the time, that they were unprepared because they didn't expect that many diners that early in the season.

    We sat at the bar. No one wanted to take our order. Finally the bartender took our order, looked at the dirty plates on the counter near us and just walked away. He took our order but i'm not sure if he actually placed it. We waited for quite awhile...i'd guess over 30 minutes before flagging a waitress who took our order again and delivered the food herself. The dishes were never cleared from the bar near us and we were there over an hour.

    I really want them to get the service issues under control. It is a pleasant place, the food is good and affordable. It is a nice addition to the higher end offerings in Asbury but the service, in my limited experience, was one of the worst i've ever experienced.

    1. We were there on Sunday also (Spent the morning doing the glass blowing thing at Hot Sand). We tried to get a table at Langosta, but were told that the kitchen was pretty backed up and there was a serious wait for outside tables. As we left, one of my companions suggested Pops. I mentioned that they share a kitchen with the then in the weeds Langosta, but they seemed intent on Mexican.

      We took a shaded table and check out the menus. We sat and loafed for nearly 45 minutes before we managed to get the attention of a waitress. My companions order a shredded beef burrito and a couple chicken tacos. One also ordered the grilled corn on the cob. They were out of shredded beef. <?> I got one pork and one fish taco.

      Another half hour goes by... I have to admit the iced tea was pretty good.

      The corn arrives, and the waitress apologizes that the rest of the food would take linger. As mentioned above, the corn was excellent, but I couldn't get my companion to give me a bite... :-)

      The food arrives. The tacos were not much to speak of. The portions were small, and the filling seemed to be only shredded lettuce and some cheese. No tomatoes, salsa or beans. A bottle of Yucateco habanero sauce helped. The flavor of the meats was OK, but there wasn't much of them. As we finish up our tacos and burrito, the waitress brings out a couple containers of rice with a small handful of black beans and again apologies for bringing it out late... Sigh.

      I can see how they might not have been prepared for the heatwave in April, but this was early Sunday afternoon the weekend before the 4th of July. Between Langosta and Pops they were completely in the weeds. I had eaten there last year, but that was late in the Summer the week before Langosta opened. I suppose the fact that the kitchen could concentrate on Pops that visit was why they seemed OK then. Next time I'll likely head up the boardwalk to LaPlaza and grab a Cubano...

      1. Darn, I had been hoping that maybe it was just an off day because of the festival going on on the boardwalk. We must have just missed each other Mark! I'd like to see them improve since it's good cheap eats. But then again, I saw that Cuban sandwich place up the boardwalk too....

        1. I'm not sure where to start... Six people behind the counter and no one seems to know what to do, no one knows who's table is who's or who is taking care of the counter traffic. Hissy fits about the tip jar; bitching about another employee in the back that they don't like very much; breakfast is over, no it's not, yes it is, well, maybe some of it is but no one knows which items aren't available; hissy fit from the grill guy out front making the burritos; drama of some kind from the Langosta Lounge next door -- the restaurants are related and share a kitchen. The manager coming out from the back and asking the staff if they want a good laugh while she reads the comment cards from the previous day (all bad, but they seem to find them funny.) The food finally comes after a very long wait only to find that what the menu says are in and included with the meal hasn't been. After asking a different waitress for the missing items (our waitress had disappeared) we were charged for a side order. This was taken off of the bill after we mentioned it.
          Sadly, the food is pretty good, but all of the above means we won't be back to Pop's or the Langosta Lounge.

          2 Replies
          1. re: jedd

            I like your review - well put and to the point. Some of these establishments simply just don't get it, they are clueless when it comes to customer service. The best advice is as you indicated - don't go back.

            1. re: JerzeyShore

              Give Langosta another shot. They're great. Just not on a weekend evening in the summer, because the noise and crowd are completely overwhelming.

          2. Langosta does put out a good version of the mexican corn. But this stuff is supposed to be like 1$ street food - I feel weird paying 4$ for it.

            The cheese on top is (or should be) cotija. Yum.