Great brunch At The Table Asbury Park
Went last week and should have posted earlier. Funny how a bad meal last night went up right away, but a great and fairly cheap brunch took me a week. I fear I am getting curmudgeonly in my rapidly approaching old age.
Everything was simply wonderful. This was far from a high-end sanitized white linen establishment. It was much more like being welcomed into a family meal. It was warm and comfortable and easy from start to finish.
The food is equal to the finest soul food I've ever had. Fried chicken and fish, baked chicken, fish and meatloaf with gravy, greens, yams, mac n cheese, cornbread. I want some more right now of all of it.
Only one member of our large party missed having alcohol with her brunch. They don't allow alcohol of any kind in the restaurant. After paying more than 3x the money for food at Fromagerie last night and none of it in the same league as At The Table, I can live just fine without the option of paying $12 for a ginger margarita for a meal.
We went to the buffet on a Sunday (late afternoon) a few months ago. The price then was $17.95 a person and this included drinks (wanted the lemonade but they were all out) and dessert. I posted my review on another thread. This is a great deal but we didn't have quite the same experience as Seal. It may have been an off day or too late in the day, I don't know, but there was not a wide selection on the buffet, just fried chicken, fried fish, baked chicken as far as meat in concerned, mac and cheese, collards, black eyed peas and lima beans. We didn't get to try the meatloaf and gravy. We must have come at a bad time, they had run out of lemonade as I said, and the same with the famous corn bread, there was no white meat chicken left, the salad was almost gone and I took one of the last cornbread croutons for the salad (I'm bad, had to have and it was soo good!) When we got there we asked right away about the coconut cake and yup they had run out of that too! BUT, the chef came out and talked to us and did everything in her power to make it a nice meal for us. She had just taken a coconut cake out of the oven and made sure we got some for dessert. (Yummy) She brought us hot out of the oven cornbread muffins later in the meal, so of course we went back to the buffet and got a little something more to go with them. They were heavenly. I really do think that our visit was just bad timing and we are surely going to visit At The Table again. I would like to know what time of day that seal went but at this point I'm going to stick to the regular menu. I am looking forward to returning. As for the no alcohol policy, I say right on to the owner for sticking to her guns. Come on after all nothing goes better with soul food than lemonade or sweet tea, I just hope I get some lemonade next time I visit!!
I give the owner a lot of credit for sticking to her principles. Sometimes that trumps "business decisions". What is right for one establishment might not be a good fit for another. Kind of like choosing to not allow patrons to smoke in an eating establishment before such a policy became NJ law, I guess. Plus everything is a tradeoff, and maybe it attracts a more tee-totalling clientele among churchgoers, etc.
I do not totally abstain from beer & liquor, but on the other hand I do not regularly serve it at home or enjoy it with meals except a single drink very occasionally on a major birthday or anniversary type of occasion.....so I'm sure I am not unbiased in this regard. I know there are plenty of people who really do feel that alcoholic beverages with their restaurant fare adds to the dining experience and respect their sentiments on this. For example, when we've traveled to Canada, it seemed to be a big deal if a restaurant was "licensed" or not as highlighted in many guidebooks, advertisements, etc. as compared to the USA.
Had occasion to dine here this past Thursday. We parked on Bond St. with the intention of getting a bucket of nips, hot spicy wings and a burger at the Bond St. Bar - when I audibled and opted to go to ATT with my wife and one of my kids.
We were the only ones in there (it was early - 6 ish) and ordered the Short Ribs in brown sauce, Fried Chicken and Fried Whiting entrees. The dusting/breading on the the chicken and fish were really interesting (and tasty). Nice ample main course offering (4 piece on the chicken including two thighs). Had the asparagus, mac& cheese, sweet potato fries as sides. Sweet teas all around. The food came out piping hot (freshly prepared) - I ususally like my fried chicken to cool off but we were famished - the next day's leftovers were extraordinarily tasty. My son loved the short ribs, mashed potatoes in brown gravy, with my wife always having a soft spot for fried whiting since her Catholic school /Friday meatless day eats.
Good food, reasonable prices (Mon - Thurs has 2 entrees for $20). One negative is that they had a tv near the counter (they do a brisk take out) - which I asked to be dropped in volume (and which they did). It would've been nice to pipe in some music. Delta blues would have added to the atmosphere of the place. The cook/owner?? came out and asked how everything was - which was a nice touch - he was genuinely interested and we told him in no uncertain terms that it was delicious.
We will be putting them on our short list for future take out - they've been there 2 years, and I hope that they have staying power as it's a nice alternative once in a while.