New Steak Restaurant in Asbury Park
Went to Ivan's and Andy's Prime on Cookman Ave. last night. Had a nice Romaine salad, but did ask for less dressing since I had heard they are heavy-handed with it. Only complaint was that the croutons were small and store-bought.
My filet-mignon steak was cooked perfectly and was excellent. Had a side of very good mashed sweet potatoes.
Service was excellent. The restaurant was very pleasant inside. But, I think it could get noisy with a full house. One nice feature is that they have a parking lot which can be accessed from Lake Ave. (right next to Moonstruck).
It's but a $1/hr - not a real big deal. I gladly patronize the kiosk, be it for my going to Yappy Hour at the Wonder Bar, having lunch at BSB, a show at the Pony, or just walking the boards. I mean if you're going to drop $35 for a fm and all of the other niceties that come with dining at I&A's - a couple of dollars for on street parking shouldn't be a deterrent.
We stopped in for lunch recently and are looking forward to going back for dinner. The lunch menu offers a $5, 10 ounce burger. The meat is ground on-site every morning so they are perfectly happy to serve them rare.
The steaks are all prime and dry aged on the premises for 28 days. They range in price from $26 to $88. One of the eponymous owners is a butcher and appears to take great pride in the meats offered. It's worth noting that there are some smoked items on the menu, including brisket and some very tasty chicken wings as an appetizer.
The craft beer selection is also quite nice. Standouts, as I recall, are the Wolavers Stout, a Longtrail Porter, and an IPA from a brewery in Ocean.
Some time ago, we did in fact return to I&A's for a dinner. Honestly, the steaks are probably the best in the area. I found the flavor of the strip to be deeper, richer, more "sound", if you will, than the steaks I've tasted at the Shipwreck Point. Even the filet, never my favorite cut, was quite tasty. If you are a fan of the bit of "funk" that dry aging adds to a steak, you will enjoy the meat these guys serve. I should also note that, in our experience, the menu descriptions of "doneness" are accurate; the grill guy cooks rare the way I do, still red and just warm, just the perfect way to enjoy such precious meats.
As to the other offerings coming out of the kitchen, they were unremarkable. Admittedly, I paid little attention to them (baked potato and sauteed greens), as, at a steakhouse, like at a barbecue place, I really couldn't give a shit about the sides. (Seriously, who cares about mac-n-cheese when a place busts out righteous smoked meats???)
At bottom, since I have come to a point in my life where, for more than one reason, I approach consuming beef with care and thought, I look forward to returning and flat out indulging in a big hunk of grilled flesh and a few pints of hoppy ale (The wine list is limited, but the mark-ups don't seems as high as in many other, similar restaurants.)
Went to Ivan and Andy with a group of six big eating men who love high end wine and eating meat. I have to say we were treated like gold, Ivan was very nice with a great sense of humor. He understood we were spending big and he absolutely did the right thing by buying a bottle for every three we bought, eight were consumed , apologies to all the sensitive types around us. He brought us into the kitchen and I can tell you having worked in a few way back when I can say it was very clean and he showed us the aging meat where I saw the prime tags with my own eyes. He was very proud and enthusiastic and he said to me that Peter Luger had nothing on his meats. He was a butcher for 20-30 years ?? Blame the wine. His daughter made the pie. Fries were real and on the softer side. I enjoyed the garlic green beans and fresh mozzarella app. Steak was cooked perfect and the waitress was great. Guys like Ivan are rare in the restaurant biz and I hope he succeeds. If your into steak give it a shot.
Let me preface this review with the fact I am a HUGE steak eater /lover. Steakhouses are my favorite form of dining and I travel often to the city from Monmouth County just to enjoy a great steak for dinner. Now with this said I have seen Ivan and Andy’s Prime advertised and reviewed here so I decided to give them a chance last night.
When we walked in my guest and I were greeted by Ivan who seems like a nice enough person…introduced himself to us as the “butcher” of the house. We ordered a couple of drinks at the bar and checked the place out a bit. The bar was fairly full and we waited for seats to open up before settling in at the bar for dinner.
It was my impression Ivan and Andy’s “Prime” is a steakhouse the word Prime indicating the grade of beef they serve. Upon looking at the menu there is every cut of steak available however I was surprised by the lack of many steakhouse staples. The app’s menu is without any raw bar / seafood / shellfish offerings. They do offer a Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail which I ordered but I was very disappointed at the lack of oysters, clams, lobster cocktail, jumbo crab meat etc. (FYI I just checked the menu on their web site and apparently they changed the menu since making the site because neither appetizer we ordered last night is on the menu on their web site) I ordered the Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail and my guest ordered the Kreplatch?(the reason I was looking at the menu was for the proper spelling of this appetizer) The Kreplatch dish is a pasta shell similar to a ravioli filled with tender braised beef it was served in a caramelized onion sauce of some kind. While the stuffed pasta’s were very tasty they were over cooked and too soft……the caramelized onion sauce when served it was obvious the dish had been sitting in the kitchen as the sauce had a solid-ish film on top similar to chocolate pudding as it starts to refrigerate, the sauce itself was tasty but too heavy/thick……for what had potential as a very flavorful appetizer the execution missed it’s mark and really disappointed.
Next was the shrimp cocktail…..this was an EMBARESMENT to be called “Jumbo”. In my opinion Jumbo shrimp start at the 16/20 count size. While again in my opinion even a 16/20 shrimp isn’t “Jumbo” I think that should be the minimum size to use that term. I would say the shrimp were 26/30’s at best…..they were medium shrimp and at $12. for the order it was literally a Jumbo disappointment. Another side note they cut the shrimp half way thru so they can sit on the rim of the glass they are served on. When you pick the shrimp up off the glass it pretty much breaks into two pieces which I didn’t care for. I like to grab the shrimp by the tail and dunk it and eat it…..finger food…this pretty much requires utensils since each shrimp is in two pieces.
Salads I ordered the tomato and fresh mozzarella and my guest got the Prime Salad. The mozzarella was not “fresh” it was rather chewy or rubberish…not soft or supple as I like my mozzarella. The tomatoes were fresh and fine. It was drowned in oil and balsamic. The Prime Salad was served room temperature not cold or crisp. It seemed like it is pre-made in the beginning of the shift and left to sit till served. The lettuce wasn’t crisp but more a little soggy like it had been sitting in the dressing awhile.
Entrée’s we ordered the larger porterhouse for 2 at 44oz with creamed spinach and mashed potatoes as side dishes. The steak came out and it looks delicious……proper cut, size everything is as it should be. They serve their steaks “dry” meaning no butter or ajus type sauce or covering on the steak which is fine. The steak was DELICIOUS and a perfect example of what a prime dry aged steak should be. VERY flavorful and very tender, the filet side melted in your mouth and could be cut with a fork. The sirloin side was as tender as select grade filet mignon. VERY GOOD STEAK. The creamed spinach was “ok” nothing too good or bad about it. The mashed potatoes were obviously homemade and very good as well. Although the porterhouse was served cut off the bone and sliced they didn’t slice the meat all the way through only about half way……when your sharing an entrée with someone I prefer to be able to pick up your individual slices of meat….not have to use your or their utensils to continue to cut the meat into individual serving slices. (if you understand what I’m getting at). Overall the steak was excellent.
That is my review of the food……..now for the rest of the experience. The place is too loud and too bright for my enjoyment. I prefer a slightly dimmed environment and I like the ability to be able to speak to the person next to me in a normal tone. The bar is elevated with the dining room next to it there were several times in the night when a conversation was so loud at a table we would turn around to see what was going on. It was honestly distracting from what you are doing to hear so much commotion.
There were two bartenders working and I was seated at the service end of the bar. One bartender was experienced the other was not. Most of the staff doesn’t seem as if they had much experience……the constant shouting from the wait staff down the bar to the bartenders “Is this my drink?” “Are these drinks mine?” several times Ivan or the hostess would come up and take drinks to tables and then the server would come up “Where’s my drinks” the bartender would look back with a blank look not knowing what happened to the drink. At one point I ordered another martini the main bartender had shaken the vodka and ice in a shaker…he placed it down to get a new chilled glass…..and while he was getting the glass the other bartender took the shaker full of vodka and dumped it and placed the shaker in the sink. The first bartender comes back and is looking for the shaker he left on the bar….stumped he looks at me and I tell him…the other guy thru it away!!! There were several miscues like that all night. We were never told if there were any specials so I don’t know if there were…..I didn’t ask because I already knew what I was having. We never received bread until our salad when we asked for it. The bread was ehhhhh ok….it was more a focaccia bread which again was a little odd for a steakhouse.
As I said earlier Ivan is a nice enough guy….but as he himself said he is a butcher he is not a front of the house kind of guy. Every time food came out of the kitchen to the bar they food runner would start with us since we were the closest to the kitchen and just announce to the customers what they had waiting for someone to acknowledge who’s it was. At one point things are getting hectic the place was less than half full (the dining room was a little less than half the bar was pretty full most of the night) the service bar is in chaos….. and there is Ivan with a bar rag whipping down the empty bar tables which were perfectly clean to begin with. It seemed as if he was just trying to keep himself busy and out of the way a bit. Just my observation.
While the steak was excellent there were enough miscues and let downs that I will probably not go back. It’s a shame the place has potential but it seems to me they are trying to find their proper identity. Are they a steakhouse or a restaurant that serves great steaks? In my opinion that is the direction they are going in…….I’ve never been to a steakhouse that has fried chicken on the menu!!
I wish Ivan and Andy (Is there an Andy?) all the best and if I see or hear things are improving maybe I will try them again in the future…..but it’s not likely and that’s a shame.
New Jersey - its difficult but overall in Jersey my favorite is Char in Raritan NJ on 206. The steak at Ivan and Andy's. But overall from the other menu items, decor ambiance and service I thoroughly enjoy Char. (they are opening a new location in Red Bank at the old Ashes location so that will save me the 45min trip to Raritan)
New York you have so many more options but after trying most of the options my favorite is Ben and Jacks. Like so many of the new breed of NY City steak houses the owners are Peter Lugar descendants and in my opinion they do the best job delivering the Peter Lugar quality to all their dishes. I use to be a HUGE Peter Lugars guy eating there at least once a month from Jersey Shore area to Brooklyn. Since Ben and Jacks I haven't been back to Brooklyn.
I take the trip into the city probably twice a month on average to just have a meal there.
Ivan somehow reminds me of Joe Walsh. In a way, it's almost metaphorical for the restaurant - he's really the only true talent and soul in the band. e.g., http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VHwgG... Not to mention the odd similarity in appearance and diction.
All that being said, the place serves some truly righteous beef. The steaks, the burgers, the brisket, the pastrami, are all fantastic. The beer selection is similarly top notch and they have a bartender who goes through the trouble of making his own simple syrup. (BTW - I'm surprised that you ordered a martini and there was either vodka or shaking involved?).
Anyway, you're right. It's not a great restaurant. It's just a spot to enjoy beef and hang out. It's a great guitar player surrounded by some other mediocre musicians who, at least, keep trying and hold up appearances.