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Anniversary Dinner Recommendations Requested

Mr. Bean and I will be celebrating our anniversary soon. It is one of those significant numbers and we'd like to go out for somewhere different than our usual go to places for a "nice" dinner. I suggested Nicholas but Mr. Bean isn't as keen on it as I am.

Our tastes run the gamut - from Shipwreck Grill, Daniel's, Atlantic Bar and Grill to Bradley Cafe, Korean in Palisades Park and reuben's from Kelly's. For this dinner, I am being nearly as picky about the atmosphere as I am about the food. Most times we don't care about ambiance only about the food.

We live about as far south and east in Monmouth county as you can get but don't mind traveling. Though a good wine list/cocktail menu would be nice it's not a necessity.

Some ideas I have include Belford Bistro, Elements (in Princeton) and Trinity. All seem to fit the food requirements but don't have a read on the atmosphere.

Any and all suggestions are welcomed.

Thanks.

Missy

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Belford Bistro
870 Main Street, Belford, NJ 07718

Shipwreck Grill
720 Ashley Ave, Brielle, NJ 08730

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  1. missybean - Congratulations on your anniversary. While I am a huge fan of Belford Bistro, I would choose someplace special for a dinner celebrating a wedding anniversary. While Elements is a fine choice, I would go with Lorena's in Maplewood. I believe both the food and atmosphere are up to the task. Good Luck.

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    Belford Bistro
    870 Main Street, Belford, NJ 07718

    1 Reply
    1. re: bgut1

      As bgut1 mentions, Lorena's is an excellent choice. Small. intimate setting and great food.
      Another possibility is The Peacock Inn in Princeton. We have not been since the renovation but friends were very impressed with the room and the food.
      http://www.peacockinn.com/

      I wish I could recommend Rats in Hamilton as the restaurant and the Sculpture Gardens are beautiful but the kitchen is inconsistent.

      Enjoy wherever you go!

    2. bgut1 - Thank you for the feedback on Belford Bistro. I thought of it as a result of the many fine comments here but wasn't sure it was "special" enough. Sounds like I ought to save it for another occasion. I'd heard of Lorena's but didn't know anything about it. Took a look at the menu and it sounds delish - though I did have to laugh at $30 for skate wing (which I love). Mr. Bean gets such a hard time for keeping any large skate he catches when out fishing with his friends. I guess it is not the garbage fish that so many think it is.

      Tom246 - ooh. The Princeton Inn looks lovely. Maybe I can talk Mr. Bean into making a weekend of it. I thought of Rats as I agree the setting is beautiful. But I've been watching Top Chef and the offerings from the Rat's chef just don't grab me.

      Thanks again for your suggestions.

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      Belford Bistro
      870 Main Street, Belford, NJ 07718

      1 Reply
      1. re: missybean

        I wholeheartedly agree with bgut on Lorena's (as a destination out of our area and it is a 'superb' dining experience). Belford Bistro would be an alternate, and one should also consider Whispers in Spring Lake for such an occasion. It never disappoints.

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        Belford Bistro
        870 Main Street, Belford, NJ 07718

      2. Congrats on your anniversary! It may be a tired horse, but if you are looking for a special atmosphere the sculptured ceiling at Nicholas simply can't be beat (I'd also imagine it can't be cleaned; I'd really hate to have that responsibility!).

        And the grub ain't bad either ;)

        But if Mr. Bean isn't so keen on it, alas, you certainly don't want to spend the money...

        You know, why not get a really really nice bottle of champagne and go out to the Sea Gull's Nest on Sandy Hook

        http://www.seagullsnest.info/Sea_Gull...

        and toast each other at sunset? Sure it's campy and every one will be in shorts and Miller Lite t-shirts but day-um nothing beats the sight of the sun setting on the Raritan Bay as everyone at the bar stands and sings "God Bless America." (Usually they play the Kate Smith version but one time when we were there they played a version by Celine Dion; sure, she sang it perfectly well but it was...odd...what with her being Canadian and all). I'd call the place and make sure they'll let you bring your own bubbly (the food there is fine for what it is) but that would be a pretty neat thing to do, it seems to me. It's beautiful and lovely there.

        You don't need to spend $500.

        1. I will be spending my anniversary at the Bernards Inn...for atmosphere and food this place has it down. It drips special occasion, but not overdone kerfluffle.

          1. Mr. Bingley - I am not sure why Mr. Bean is being anti-Nicholas. We've been there several times and have always had a wonderful experience. Love the idea of champagne on the water at sunset. The Sea Gull looks like an ideal location.

            coldbeer - Love special, hate kerfuffle!! Maybe one of the their heavenly sounding "Getaways" is in order.

            With so many wonderful suggestions, I am not sure I am any closer to picking something than I as before.

            Thanks so much.

            1 Reply
            1. re: missybean

              well congrats again! the point is the person you're with...hell, hit white castle on rt 35 and take them home and eat them off of your best china!

            2. Here's a thought....you could go to Ama in Atlantic Highlands and have them do a special tasting menu for you. Reasonabley priced, wonderful, and BYOB.

              1. For what it’s worth, Missy, I will simply note (permissibly, I hope) that we have chosen to celebrate our special events at Trinity.

                As to your other thoughts, I preferred the “look and feel” (“buzz and vibe,” “atmosphere and ambiance,” whatever you call it) of Elements to Nicholas. It’s just a bit more interesting, less sterile and contrived perhaps. Plus, they don’t have that god-awful Euro-sound, mood music playing.

                1 Reply
                1. I think I am going to have to stop checking for suggestions. I am getting nowhere with making a decision.

                  MGZ- Your suggestions are always welcomed. Sterile is the exact word to describe how Mr. Bean feels about Nicholas. Like it is almost a picture and he is not quite "refined" enough to be in it.

                  Sockster - BYOB would work. We try to maintain a reasonably good wine selection and I found a vintage port from the year we got married which would be a special way to celebrate.

                  Missy

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: missybean

                    If you haven't been to Ama, it's a wonderful choice. After dinner you could take a stroll down to Atlantic Highlands marina....Ask Laura at Ama to set up a tasting...really authentic Italian food...not pizza place food. Enjoy whatever you do.

                    1. re: missybean

                      "Like it is almost a picture and he is not quite "refined" enough to be in it. "

                      Yeah, I could see how one could get that feeling.

                      Again, have a wonderful time where ever you end up.

                    2. Thanks, all, for your great suggestions. I am going to give Mr. B a couple of choices and let him pick. This ought to be interesting.