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Asbury Park, no car, two lunches and a dinner

Visiting Asbury Park from Austin on Friday for a wedding, and it looks like the SO and I will have time to squeeze in a couple of lunches and a dinner while we're around. What shouldn't we miss?

Sorry if I missed earlier "best of AP" postings....

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  1. I would hit At The Table for either lunch or dinner... or both. Here is a very recent thread on the place.
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/637904

    1 Reply
    1. re: tom246

      Maybe I can sneak in a Lone Star for lunch? In ATX, one can get bloody marys, beer or wine with any chicken fried in town...but I may have to suck it up if everyone keeps recommending this place.

    2. If you like soul food, you should definitely try 'At the Table' , 311 Bond Street, but be forewarned they neither serve nor permit you to bring any alcoholic beverages. It's open for lunch.
      Others will doubtless express varied opinions, but my favorite place for dinner is Taka (takaapnj.com) on Mattison Avenue, followed by Moonstruck (moonstrucknj.com) on Lake Avenue.
      Enjoy your visit.

      3 Replies
      1. re: OGguy

        I've been to most of the restaurants on or around Cookman and I'm sorry to say that I'm not enamored with any of them. The best of the worst is Market in Middle where I'm sure you can craft a very nice meal if you order correctly. The best item on the menu is the BBQ ribs with sweet potato fries. As far as At the Table, I've yet to try it, but I trust many of the hounds who have reviewed the restaurant so I'm sure you will have a good meal. The best restaurant "off of the main drag" is Stella Marina and is located next to the casino on the boardwalk. Before or after dinner drinks can be had at the Watermark next door. Good Luck.

        1. re: bgut1

          Would MitM be worth a lunch? We'd sussed out Vic's (which I believe you favored) but wondered if it was bikeable (we're at the Berkeley); any thoughts?

          Sorry about the At the Table "meh" as I think I remember that you came down on the more reasonable side of the argument, but I'm pretty rigid about the marriage of food and libation.

          Thanks for your thoughts, here and fore.

        2. re: OGguy

          I'm from the land of chicken fried steak, smothered pork chops and chicken and dumplins, so I'm a bit hesitant about going for comfort food, and I read a previous thread about At The Table and am a bit put off by a "culinaire" who would deny their guests what I consider an integral (in the most rudimentary meaning of the word) part of the meal. Based on the posts here and what I've read, we'd already put Moonstruck and Stella Marina on the list, but I'd like to know a bit more about Taka.

          We have a top notch Japanese fusion restaurant in Austin that I frequent (uchi), but being land-locked, there's probably a certain degree of degradation in the quality of the seafood (though it's marginalized by the fact that daily shipments are flown in). What are the specialties there? Freshness of the fish? Creativity?

          Thanks in advance for any additional info you can provide.

        3. Two restaurants on the Boardwalk that I recommend:

          http://www.langostalounge.com/
          http://stellamarinarestaurant.com/

          And in town:
          takaapnj.com

          1. On Cookman you can try BrickWall for good, cheap eats. Heard Munch was good too.

            On the boardwalk, I recommend Langosta Lounge. There are some cheap, decent eats as well such Pop's Garage and I had a pretty decent slice of pizza at the place on the boardwalk going towards Ocean Grove once you go through Casino.

            And of course, there are cupcakes in Convention Hall at Baker Boys.

            4 Replies
            1. re: dani0622

              Hmmm. Cupcakes. Baker Boys. Please tell me more...

              1. re: poryorick

                Baker Boys has two shops, one on the main street in neighboring Ocean Grove and one inside Convention Hall on the boardwalk. With that said, I've enjoyed some really good cupcakes there, however, they can sometimes be inconsistent. If you catch them on a "on" day, they are very good.

                1. re: dani0622

                  After looking over the menu, my SO made an imperative of the visit. I've also be requested by our favorite cupcake creator (http://www.sugarmamasbakeshop.com/) here to bring back a selection for her to try.

                  Any preference as far as location, i.e. is it worth the extra time to get over to the Ocean Grove location?

                  1. re: poryorick

                    I don't think it's worth the extra time to go to Ocean Grove shop. It doesn't look like they bake in the Asbury shop, which leads me to believe that they ship them over from Ocean Grove.

                    However, if you do go to Ocean Grove, the Ocean Grove Bake Shop, about a block down from Baker Boys, also serves cupcakes, in my opinion, which are better and far more consistent.

            2. Thanks to everyone for the great input. Should any of you ever find your way to Austin, let me know if I can return the favor.

              4 Replies
              1. re: poryorick

                Hello pory
                My wife and I visited Austin this past christmas break and are returning this Mon Aug 17th to visit her sister and family. Austin is a very different food town then Asbury. In Austin practically on every corner you can get very good food at very reasonable prices.These are not high end places, in fact quite casual but they offer great food. Here I believe it is almost the opposite. There are many places to go but to get decent food you have to spend a little more. Also not having a car is really limiting your choices... Asbury is a relatively small area.
                That being said I think I would focus on things that are not available or done well in Austin. First one coming to mind would be pizza. People will probally disagree but I love the pizza at Vics the place is a dump and the service is horrible but the pizza, in my opinion, is the best in the area. For your dinner night go to Stella Marina I think you will be happy with menu format. It offers many options from sharing meat and cheese at the bar to wonderful pasta dishes to very nice fish options. I'm not sure you will be amazed by this place but it is what the immediate Asbury area has to offer. At the table sounds great and I cant wait to eat there but for you I think it parallels Threadgills. Also I like taka alot and I do go there, great short ribs, but having been to Uchi myself I would say skip it. If Sunday is one of your lunch days try to get Langostas Lounge for their brunch. Awesome bloody marys and micheladas, also a sandwich called the jersey boy, porkroll and cheese on brioche.
                Good luck and have a great trip.

                1. re: AC Captain

                  Thanks for the solid info, AC.

                  One question about Vic's, as we'd already considered it as an option. I know that NYC pizza is NYC pizza both as a result of tradition, but also, I've heard, as a result of the water, which is why it's damn near impossible to recreate those pies anywhere else. How does Vic's stack up? I know I'm generalizing about NYC pizza, but in comparison to what we have available here, the mean quality is significantly higher.

                  God, I hope you don't think Threadgill's is reflective of what Austin has to offer in the realm of comfort food. I'd take Hoover's over it in a minute, and I think their food can be a bit uninspired. For the best CFS in the Austin area, make the 45 minute drive out to Spicewood and wait patiently at RO's Outpost (http://www.rosoutpost.com/). And if you don't mind waiting for rustic perfection at a dive on the east side, Nubian Queen Lola's (http://nubianqueenlolas.com/) probably has the most authentic take in Austin.

                  And one more question for you: have you taken the BBQ cathedral tour of Lockhart (Kreuz, Smitty's), Luling (City Market), Taylor (Louie Mueller) and the newest entrant, Lexington (Snow's)? You haven't lived until you've spent a weekend gorging on oak kissed meats in Central Texas.

                  Thanks again for the input.

                  -----
                  Smitty's Market
                  208 S Commerce St, Lockhart, TX 78644

                  Kreuz Market
                  619 N Colorado St, Lockhart, TX 78644

                  Snow's Barbeque
                  700 Main St, Lexington, TX

                  1. re: poryorick

                    It's hot here this week, and now I'm excited to head somewhere 15 degrees warmer just over bbq talk. I've only been to Austin the one time and we went to Saltlick, I know touristy, but it was faboulous. I still dream about the brisket. Problem is my brother in law does not do bbq so it is hard to find time to break away for the carnivores to eat, but we love him. If you have any favorites bbq places within 20-30 min of Austin proper I would love to hear them. My wife and I plan to take an afternoon and have a foodis lunch for just the two of us.
                    Threadgills was the only comfort place we went to it was good but I could see how there would be better.
                    The pizza question is hard to answer, everyone has different preferences. I do believe the water has an impact on the dough but I always associated that with the northeast or tristate area not just NY. What I loveabout Vics is the crust its thin but not paperthin like a cracker, it has a nice crispiness on the outside and a little doughy on th inside almost as if it were cooked in cast iron. Like I said there are people who will have just as good an argument why they like another pizza place in the area.

                    1. re: AC Captain

                      Well if you dream about the Saltlick, you might just pull up roots for the top five. Saltlick is fine, really; certainly beats anything you can get in Austin. But those quiet little burgs that are within a short (by our standards) drive are the brass ring.

                      I know you're probably on a schedule, but if you really want to get the true experience, you'll need to build in 1:00-1:30 for roundtrip travel to any of the places I've suggested. Lockhart is about 35 minutes south of Austin, home to two of the top five: (the Church of) Kreuz's (pronounced "crite-zes", ribs and brisket and sausage) and Smitty's (ribs and brisket). Lexington to the northeast about 30 minutes is home to Snow's, the little one-day-a-week dark horse that stole the title from the big 5 in 2008. They're open on Saturday from 8am until the food runs out, which has been known to happen as early as 9:30am. They have the best brisket that's ever crossed my lips and melted in my mouth (and giant pork butt steaks), and it's done by one of the only female pitmasters I know of. And in Taylor, about 30 minutes nne is Louie Mueller's (I've never actually eaten here so I can't say one way or another). Luling is probably beyond your travel allotment, about 50 minutes south of downtown; it wins for best overall. If you want to taste the real deal Texas BBQ, you've got to make it to one of these pits.

                      Thanks for the pizza insight; I had hoped that you could verify that the water theory was a regional thing and not localized to the city. And I don't care if I'm hearing what I want to hear....

                      I'm sure you've already done so, but our CH Austin board has some pretty damn knowledgeable folks; pay close attention to those who've been posting for several years and you won't go wrong.