Carmine's Asbury Park - Brando's Citi Cucina
Just noticed in a local newspaper that Carmine's in Asbury Park is changing their name to Brando's Citi Cucina. Never had a chance to try Carmine's although I heard good things about it. I'm guessing the owner either sold, retired, etc. Anybody know the "scoop?" Is this the same ownership as Nonna's in Marlboro?
All right, I'll bite. This is a joke, isn't it? I'm lost for the use of the term CITI, especially if this is really an Italian restaurant. I look at that word and shake my head. In Italian the soft "c" is pronounced like ch as in Church. and the terminal "i" like a long "e' (as in ravioli). So when I saw that name, knowing Cucina = kitchen, I got the mental impression that the name of the place was "chitee kitchen" !
outdated and unhip, redux. inferior product undermines exhorbantly high prices. niche of old-school red sauce adequately filled by archetypal Jimmy's on Asbury Ave. swarmed trattoria assigned to Stella Marina, featuring great happy hour. Brando's would be inclined carve out a following, weekends cannot sustain them past October, good luck-ish
Stella Marina Bar & Restaurant
1200 Ocean Ave, Asbury Park, NJ 07712
Comparing Carmines to Jimmy's doesn't work (same mother-cuisine, different universe)... Stella has location over Carmines, but not overall superior product,,, and certainly not superior staff or barkeeps. Stella has some menu items that are better,, some that don't even come close. Carmine's picked it's location prior to the boardwalk coming into fruition... the boardwalk was pretty much an abandoned site when Carmine's came to town. "Outdated... unhip,, etc", Carmines never tried to be whatever that means... It was a quality bar and delish Italian food, in a welcoming setting.
We're gonna try Brandos for sure, just to see if it can live up to the 2nd paragraph of the link that ambrose was kind enough to post. Carmine in the kitchen, new pastry and pasta chef,, a dedicated fresh-made-mutz Chef... That's enough to give it a try... plus it looks like there is activity in the small street-front location between Bistro & Carmine's (Brando)... that place always looked like a perfect bar location.
PS ~ Never sweat the small stuff.... "Citi", "City", "Sitty"... as long as it's not "S*#itty" ; 0 )
My partner and I checked out Brando's on Saturday evening. The interior has been spruced up...new copper bar top, artwork, paint, silverware, etc....They also still have Wednesdays at 50% off of your check (does not include alcohol).
We had the clams and the caprese appetizers - both were very good. I ordered the small portion of alfredo, and my partner ordered the pasta (menu didn't say what kind - it came with bucatini) with meatball. Alfredo was decent (small portions are good sized) and the pasta/meatball was a disappointment - had to send it back once (pasta way too al dente) and second (meatball undercooked). Needless to say, it was removed from the bill. A comped drink for the inconvenience would have been a nice gesture....
They have added some items to the menu, and now seem to have a nice appetizer section...the lobster club sliders are supposed to be very good. Entrees range from $10 - $30....They also have huge wet-aged cuts of beef staring out from the display case by the bar....
We may give it another try on a Wednesday, and stick to appetizers this time.
As a long time fan of Carmine's we decided to try Brando's on Sunday and we were both disappointed. Carmine still has his hands in this new place but the new owners made some serious changes to the pasta and they are not for the good. To large a noodle and to heavy a sauce for the dishes they are served with. Although Carmine's was never great food it was decent - sorry we can not say the same for Brando's.
As far as the changes to the bar are concerned - BIG mistake. They use to have a lovely mahogany bar with a great display of twinkle lights which was the nicest bar on the whole Jersey shore. Sorry but the new pounded coper everywhere sans lights just does not cut it.