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Woody's in Sea Bright

Stopped by Woody's in Sea Bright last night and could not get in - It is the refrubished Ichabod's.

Unfortunately it was such a scene I never even got inside to see what they did (dropped my wife and friend off in front and while I was looking for parking they came out saying there was no room at the bar and an hour plus wait for a table!)

I undertsand Ed from The Shack is running the kitchen and we were looking for some of his fabulous fish tacos. I did not get to look at the menu to see if they were on there.

Has anyone bucked the crowds to see what is happening here yet?

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  1. Hope he will serve the Tempura Shrimp Tacos I used to love at the Shack. There is a press release with more details here:


    1. They have a website, as it were...


      The only working link on it is to their Facebook page.

      1. We went to Woody's tonight with the kids. It was good! The decor is very nice: light,, bright, and airy. I had chicken fajitas. These did not come out "sizzling" like they do at some places. They were on a plate with spinach, peppers, and onions. I didn't eat the tortillas but mixed the pico de gallo with the accompanying black beans and it was good. My husband had a delicious burger with caramelized onions, avocado, bacon and cheese. It had a nice smoky taste. The fries were good. The kids had chicken, fries, pasta, and mozzarella sticks. All good. Eight beers on tap, an extensive menu of mixed drinks. I do not enjoy fish tacos but I do believe they were on the menu; I'm not sure if they were shrimp tempura or not.

        2 Replies
        1. re: MichelleM131

          Thanks Michelle, we are looking forward to those tacos

          Looks like equal mark got confirmation from Woody's facebook page:

          Woody's Ocean Grille Equal mark...Tempura Tacos are back.!! Your favorite hot sauce du jour is welcome!! Ask for me, I will come out to say hi.

          Not much of a web site but hey I am ready for Ed's tacos!

          1. re: carlylecat

            Hate to disagree but pretty place food is awful. actually I'm disappointed and annoyed. Ordered crab martini - no taste no lemon no sauce just a few lumps of crabmeat and one romaine leaf in martini glass- 18$ then lobster roll that u can't mess up unless u r from mars!
            they did!! Minced lobster meat- el cheap!! No mayo no dressing no lettuce nothing on a cold
            Slider roll not toasted or even anything on bread no garnish 3 disgusting bland thoughtless sliders!! Awful!!! Date had grouper awful with tasteless cubes of ??? On top. Gross
            Left the food and left. Service good decor nice food DISGUSTING. Why bother opening a place. It's a drinking crowd but some guy wanders around with a miserable face says nothing!
            Someone hire a chef PLEASE!!

        2. We went to Woody's on Wednesday night around 7:15. The bar was two-people deep and we had a 20-minute wait for a table. We got lucky and scored two seats at the bar and ate there. We had phenomenal service by Tarren (sp?), the bartender. She treated us so well it left a lasting impression. She gets it, and it will because of her that we will go back. We both ordered tacos. I had the Al Pastor and he had the Baja fish tacos. He said they were the best he's ever had (and we've had them freshly made on the beach in Mexico! I think he was over-hungry). For $9 or $10, you got three tacos. The Al Pastor was tasty, not Mexican spiced, but good quality ingredients. I asked Tarren which red wine would go best with my tacos and she offered me a tasting of two, for which she polished each tasting glass.

          At the Taste of Sea Bright trolley tour yesterday, they served chicken tacos, which I did not taste, and pulled-pork sliders with marinated red onions that were quite good.

          Friends have told me that they have found the food bland and overpriced. I'll go back for a for-real sit-down dinner and report again.

          2 Replies
          1. re: fershore

            I went with two girlfriends last night and we had a great time. There was a 45 minute wait for a table, but the crowd at the bar was convivial and time flew. One small downside - we managed to get a bartender who had just started that night and he wasn't as organized as he might be - still, the drinks he made were perfect (I had a gimlet, one friend had an apple martini, one had a split of Veuve Cliquot).
            Anyway, up to our table. The upstairs is a bit noisy, but the wood beams did manage to muffle some of the noise (quite unlike the enormously unpleasant din found in that marble shrine to cougar-dom, Le Club at Avenue in Long Branch - but I digress).
            We had fish tacos for an appetizer - a few bites big, but packed with fish and crunchy veggies, with a slightly spicy mayonnaise dressing. So good.
            One friend had the shrimp fajitas, which she loved. Gorgeous colors on the plate, fresh vegetables and perfectly cooked shrimp - not dry or rubbery. Friend #2 had grouper. She ate it so quickly and with such delight, I can't really comment on what exactly was on her plate.
            I was feeling the need for some red meat, and had a grilled ribeye. It came charred on the outside and perfectly rare inside. Big, beefy flavor. Came with a small red pepper stuffed with artichoke and spinach and fried in a tempura batter. Smashed potatoes. Really good. No desserts for us.
            It was a terrific night, albeit packed. I will definitely be back.

            1. re: fershore

              Finally popped in last week as a single -

              Ate at the bar and had the baja fish tacos

              They were just as good as when they were at The Shack - $10 instead of $7 with no basket of chips!

              But the quality was otstanding, the bartender was very pleasant to speak with and used fresh squeexed orange juice and a very generous pour in my cocktail.

              Tons of TV's on to watch the baseball playoffs as I ate.

              Noticed familar local faces scattered about the spot, basically families with a child or two in tow. It is always nice seeing people you know and saying hi!

              Place is decorated very nicely, really a clean, bright look,...very odd placing of reception area way over to the left ....it must cause confusion on busy wekeend nights.

              But the food and the decor are very nice I can see why it is packed on Fri & Sat. Not a destination spot but a good local place, notch above Charlie's in Long Branch in warmth of decor and more spice on the plate.

              Two big nits though - sitting at the bar facing front you have a partial view of the kitchen and underneath teh kitchen opening is a series of expensive glass doored refrigeration units where bottled beers and white wines are stocked.

              I really like seeing into the kitchen, the brand new gleeming stainless steel counters and equipment gave me a good feel that everything was clean and well organized back there...but that good will got destroyed when I looked at the glass doors on the refrigeration units behind the bar, they were really disorganized and sloppy, there were jars of ugly looking stuff in there and opened cartons of half and half strewn about plus a spray bottle of Windex????

              made me really wonder if they have the whole cleanliness thing together or not as this was a Tuesday night with three people beside me at the bar and half the tables filled. Just not what I would want my customers looking at , I would make the bartenders keep that place pristine

              Also I called a few weeks ago and asked for some tacos to go, they said they did not do takeout!

              Is that really that hard to do, I dont know any other area restaurants that arent fine with that - I even get takeout from the Bernards Inn and once in a special circumstance Nicholas did it as well.

              But overall I am happy Ed is cooking those tacos, they are delicious.

              The Bernards Inn
              27 Mine Brook Road, Bernardsville, NJ 07924

            2. Woody's official Website is now up and running: http://www.woodysoceangrille.com/

              1. We dropped by for a light Sunday meal recently. The renovation is a success - the place is bright and pleasantly upscale compared to Ichabod's (which actually wasn't bad at all.) The menu is more ambitious than Ichabod's too and we look forward to trying some of the full scale entrees. Woody's is aiming to be a lot more than a bar with food and I really do appreciate this.

                Since this was a light meal, we stuck to the cabana menu. I had the chicken burrito which was carefully made, nicely sized and made from notably fresh ingredients. While I enjoyed it I noted that it could have used a bit of spicy heat, either as part of the basic recipe or in the form of some hot sauce on the side. It also needed more salt than I've come to expect from similar dishes served at Mexican places like Acapulquenos.

                The same was true of the salsa served with the complimentary chips. Again, it was very fresh and very well made but somewhat bland. It also needed salt, as did the chips themselves.

                I don't want to sound overly critical - both the salsa and the burrito were made from very fresh ingredients by a kitchen that obviously knows what it's doing. I just think that they might be underestimating the tolerance of their customers for a bit more heat. Even if they want to keep things conservative it would be a good idea to have some hot sauce on the side so diners could adjust the level of spiciness to their liking.

                I look forward to returning and trying more dishes.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Bob Martinez

                  I have to say that I really loved the tempura shrimp tacos a lot. It was another dish that could have used a little vigor, but there were generous wedges of lime and they did the trick. Delicious. I look forward to trying other things on the menu, but it will be hard to pass these up next time. Upstairs is pretty, downstairs kind of over-bright and bumptious for me.

                  1. re: Deb Van D

                    Stopped by last night for an early dinner. It was just prior to 6pm and the bar was full as were all the downstairs tables. I was led upstairs where there were only two other tables occupied. Within a half hour, however, the upstairs dining room filled up.

                    I started with the Laguna Salad which was the closest to a side salad that I saw on the menu. It was very fresh and tasty, and the portion was quite large. I did not finish it as I wanted to leave room for the Shrimp Tempura Tacos which I have yearned for since The Shack closed nearly 3 years ago. Ah, the tacos! Perfectly constructed with tempura battered and fried shrimp, shredded cabbage, Monterey Jack, pico de gallo and a tangy mayo based sauce (Listed on menu as Woody's Famous Tacos; shouldn't that be Ed's Famous Tacos?). There were three huge tacos (Not over filled) with lime slices.

                    All in all the meal was a positive experience. The food was great and the service was excellent. My server was diligent and knowledgeable without being intrusive. I agree that there could have been more seasoning, but you all know my predilection for heat. Next time I'll bring in one of my bottles of hot sauce and ask for a side of chopped jalapenos (To be fair each table had a pepper grinder; wonder how long before they start walking out the door). The upstairs was a bit dark and I had to resort to using the light from my cellphone screen to view the check. Also, towards the end of my meal the table next to mine was occupied by a group of twentysomething obnoxoids who seemed to have primed themselves at the bar. Should be expected on a Friday night I suppose.

                    Will definitely be returning, probably on a weeknight where I could stop in the kitchen and say hi to Ed (it was much too busy to do so last night). Good food in a casual setting!

                2. Was talking to a couple nurses who work at Monmouth Medical when the subject of Woody's came up. They both looked at me and asked "Isn't that a gay bar?" Taken aback, I asked why they would think that. One of them pulled out a local advertising pamphlet and showed me a recent advertisement that had been placed by Woody's. Between the photo in the ad and the name of the establishment they had jumped to what I assured them was a seriously erroneous conclusion...

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: equal_Mark

                    Not that there is anything wrong with that...

                    1. re: equal_Mark

                      There's a gay bar in Philly called Woody's that advertises heavily in the Jersey Shore area. Maybe that's what they were thinking of?

                      1. re: riverman18

                        Too funny. Names can be deceiving.

                        But my favorite part of reading all this is the one hit wonder post disagreeing with a plethora of respected hounds. I think I will be heading to Woody's and trying the shrimp tacos very soon.

                          1. re: Deb Van D

                            My wife and I went Tuesday and sat at the bar. Very nice, comfortable and open. They have a Tuesday special called Baja Tuesday. For $15 you get a choice from the slider or taco menus and a glass of wine or a Crush, their signature drink in either orange or ruby. We chose the fish tacos and ruby crush. Both were excellent and well priced. Will return.

                    2. Stopped by for my Shrimp Tempura Taco & Guac fix tonight. Ed is no longer working there but the Tacos are still good. As mentioned in another post here there could be a bit more spice, but my trusty bottle of chipotle sauce settled that...

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: equal_Mark

                        Looks yummy Mark.....good move with the Chipotle Sauce !

                        1. re: Miseenplace1

                          Went to Woddy's in Sea Bright last night with a party of five. Pleasantly surprised by the short wait (5 min.) for a table of five at 8:00 PM. We started with an appetizer of fried calamari which was heavily breaded and actually burned. We asked for a "redo" and they politely and quickly complied. The second plate was cooked less (less burnt), but still too much breading for our tastes. Entrees arrived quickly, all with generous portions sizes to afford leftovers at the end of the meal, but the group was debating whether to bother asking for our leftovers to be wrapped to take home because of the disappointment with the food. Chicken Quasidillas and Pistachio-crusted Grouper were again burned. However, I ordered the Caribbean Red Snapper that came with a generous portion of shrimp in a tropical-flavored sauce and mashed potatos that was cooked perfectly and delicious. My daughter enjoyed a chicken and salsa-like dish that was also a very large portion and delicious. So overall, 3 of the 6 plates were good and the other 3 were a serious disappointment. My previous time to Woody's last fall was very enjoyable when I ordered their signature dish, fish tacos, which were extremely fresh and tasty. Can't say when or if I would go back soon because of the lousy calamari and grouper. The successful preparation of the chicken and snapper indicates the kitchen is capable of putting out quality dishes, but their consistency across all menu items seemed to be lacking last night.

                          1. re: cke25

                            We had a similar experience not too long ago. The kitchen needs to scale back and keep to the basics. It seems they have lost focus with too many specials and not concentrating on their signatures. We brought a couple in from "out of Town" and were raving about the place before we brought them in. Just like you, we had not been their in a few months. Suffice it to say, their dishes weren't good. It was actually embarrassing. We might go back and give them another try, but just because i crave those fish/shrimp tacos. Man, are they good!!

                            1. re: glockenspeil

                              Unfortunately their online marketing seems to be concentrated on their bar. This is understandable given that liquor revenues are likely 4 or 5 times that of the kitchen, especially at a seaside establishment during the Summer.

                              I really liked Ed's fish and shrimp tempura tacos. The salsa at his place actually had some kick to it. The spice level of the salsa offered at Woody's seems to have been dumbed down. At least at The Shack there were hot sauces offered on the table to enhance the flavor. Salsa at Woody's seems devoid of any chile peppers. It is fresh but boring.

                              I'll still check the place out as I carry my own firepower, but not as much as the old Shack.

                      2. Yo! Woody's! Your "Cabana Menu" has lost the sizzle
                        Chef Ed brought from his tenure at "The Shack."

                        Stopped by for lunch today, and even my companion, who is fairly timid when it comes to spicy food, found the fare bland and boring. The salsa seemed to consist of only diced tomatoes and onion, and the guacamole ($9?) was just smooshed avocados & a little onion with maybe a jalapeno waved at it from across the kitchen. Hello? lime? Chiles?

                        Hello! Spice? Some dried chile powder , cilantro, pepper or some hot sauce (Not the boring Cholula wooden topped bland silliness)? A little Cumin? Some diced Chipotles with accompanied adobo sauce? How about a dollop of the bloody mary mix from the bar tossed into the salsa? That was pretty spicy.

                        The carrier of Yuceteco hot sauce is a nice accompaniment, but you need to incorporate more seasoning directly into the salsa and guac as well as the other offerings on the Cabana Menu. I brought this up in an earlier post, and the situation seems to have gotten more bland. Not everyone is going to bring in their own bottle of hot sauce like I do...

                        15 Replies
                        1. re: equal_Mark

                          Mark its funny you say this. I have only been to woodys once and my meal was OK. However, I left there thinking, "man that is some bland salsa"

                          Try copper canyon salsa. I think you will be a big fan : )

                          1. re: corvette johnny

                            I gotta say, the salsa has a bit of a "smokey" flavor to me at CC however the guacamole is excellent!

                            1. re: jrvedivici

                              Yes, that's right JR. They use chipoltle. And yes the gauc is good too!

                              I absolutely love anything smoky so maybe that is why I love that stuff so much. Other people love those chips and salsa as well. Most people I take there really like it and it pairs well with a margarita IMO.

                              PS, I might be there tonight : )

                              1. re: corvette johnny

                                Nice, enjoy! Tonight we are celebrating my daughters 18th birthday at the Raven and Peach in Fair Haven. Only 3 weeks till she goes off to college, oh my I"m getting old.

                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                  Very nice, what is your preferred steak there?

                                  1. re: corvette johnny

                                    My preferred most places is a strip or sirloin. Strip on the bone if available. If I'm with company than I will always enjoy endulging in a porterhouse for two, use to be a day when I could polish one of those off myself. Funny how your appitite can shrink, but not my belly.

                          2. re: equal_Mark

                            Mark, I think the cabana menu is great. There is no other restaurant that has such variety. Don't you think the Guac and pico are toned down because the restaurant is family oriented. I love spicy food. All I had to do is ask the waitress if it was Ok to spice my food, and they complied to it. The chef personally made my Guac Spicer and my meal too. I personally think you to venture more to the specials they have. The steaks are great and fish dishes are amazing. I hate to see someone bash a place because there food wasn't spicy. The question is... Did you ask a server or a manager to make your food Spicer? When I finished my meal I personally thanked the Chef for making my meal special. His name is Chef Noff. I think that's how you spell it. Well my opinion is my opinion. Just take it in consideration that it is a family restaurant and that they need to please all.

                            1. re: Johnny1234

                              Sorry I forgot add something to my past post. You have mentioned the Shack and Chef Ed. My personal opinion of the place is that it was horrible. I couldn't have met an owner who so arrogant. It was dirty. Yes his hot sauce was good but his food was amateurish.

                              1. re: Johnny1234

                                Amateurish? Interesting. Woody's Cabana menu was set up by Ed.

                                1. re: Johnny1234

                                  What hot sauce did he make? I only remember bottles on table.

                                2. re: Johnny1234

                                  Toned down is one thing, lacking seasoning is another. I separate spice from heat. You can season a dish (salt, pepper, spices and herbs) without upping the heat level. I found the guac and salsa to lack seasoning. Family oriented is one thing, bland & boring is another. I know of plenty of local establishments offering ethnic & regional cuisines that don't skimp on the flavor, but are still considered "family friendly."

                                  1. re: equal_Mark

                                    Wow.. Coming from a man who carries his own hot sauce. Ok!!!!! I disagree. So move on! And Ed did not set it up... Ha

                                    1. re: Johnny1234

                                      It is the exact same menu that was at The Shack ten years ago.

                                      1. re: glockenspeil

                                        No, I actually compared the two, and J1234 is right; mainly the Cal-Mex stuff is similar. The Shack didn't do burgers, sliders or Sandwiches. They were strictly Mex /Cal-Mex with better tasting guac & salsa tho... (Ha!) ;-)

                                        Here is The Shack's old menu (minus graphics):