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Red Bank, pre-Basie dinner

Searching the board for an update on options for pre-Basie dining.

Our preference is to park in the White street lot, walk to dinner and walk to the Basie. We like to enjoy a bottle of wine with dinner and not worry about driving and parking before the show.

So we've dined at Dish last year and Via 45 last year and again this past Friday. Both were fine, but Via 45 on Friday was not as good as before. Super sloooow kitchen with only a third of the dining room occupied, entrees were good (dijon crusted salmon and grilled ribeye) not great and just OK service.

Looked at Monticello and Bienvenue as options for an upcoming April dinner. Neither have sparkling reviews here.

Any suggestion for a stellar dining option, greatly appreciated.

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  1. I don't think there really is a "stellar" place in Red Bank.

    As to Bienvenue, I had a very good meal there a few weeks ago. The pates, in particualr, were memorable. As it was only my first visit, I held off posting about it until I went back.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MGZ

      Thanks. I was looking for more on Bienvenue as older postings here were not very favorable, yet recent yelpers rate it 4stars. Appreciate the much more reliable postings here than on that other site.

      How were your entrees and how was the service (noted as unwelcoming on older posts)?

      1. re: Foody4life

        The service was fine and attentive, though we were the only people in the place for the first half of our dinner. All of the food was quite tasty. The coq au vin was the low point as it was made with only white meat chicken and a bit overcooked. I intend to go back and try more dishes as well as have another slab of the Forestier.

    2. Have you tried the Eurasian Eastery? Very tasty, unusual BYOB....very near Count Basie.

      1. I've been wanting to try Temple Gourmet (pan-Asian). On-line reviews not so great, but at least one 'Hound whose opinion I trust rates it well. If your show happens to be on a Friday night, you may want to consider dropping by the Cheese Cave where for $5 entry fee you can bring a bottle of wine and graze on cheese, cured meats, olives, etc. I haven't done this yet, but I intend to soon.

        4 Replies
        1. re: jsfein

          We passed by Temple on Friday and were curious as it was packed (as were all the Broad St places). Older reviews here looked like it started strong then settled to mediocre?

          1. re: Foody4life

            How about Red? Its not BYOB but the food there has been generally solid. BTW, I agree with MGZ. There isn't a restaurant in Red Bank that I would characterize as being "stellar".

            1. re: Foody4life

              I agree with bgut1 that RED is generally reliable, especially for steak or sushi. If you are up for Italian and already have been to Via45, you may want to give Gaetano's a try: http://www.gaetanosredbank.com/. Casual place that I've had a couple of nice lunches at recently. Need to get there for dinner soon.

              1. re: cke25

                Gaetanos is usually pretty reliable but we had an off meal there Friday. Service slow and the food was rather...indifferent. My Bride's 'veal milanese' was simply a couple of dessicated veal cutlets plopped on a mound of greens and my tilapia livornese had a bland unctuous sauce that had no pop of caper or kalamata. I'd go to Red too.

          2. We recently dined at Monticello on a Saturday night with 2 other couples. I was pleasantly surprised after having read all of the negative reviews on Chowhound. Also, my DW & I always enjoy Temple. Our latest visit was in January.

            1. We dined at Via45 last night and the food was excellent but the service was indeed slow.

              Temple is what it is. Please don't go expecting anything but americanized chinese food. However, I must confess that I like their food a lot - reminds me of a higher end version of my childhood chinese memories.

              It is possible to have a really good meal at Red. Get the filet mignon appy and a sushi roll or two or the excellent chicken sandwich.

              Finally the low end options still stand out - El Norte de la Frontera is only a few blocks towards the train station, and the aforementioned Cheese Cave now does nice sandwiches.

              1. Check out Phole on Broad St. My wife and her friends went there recently for a birthday gathering and were very pleased.

                http://saigon2.com/

                1. Blue Water on Broad street is BYOB and pretty solid seafood along with some landlubber choices.
                  Sometimes mixed reviews, I've found it a little pricey but the seafood is fresh and always had a good meal.

                  1. Thanks everyone. You've all confirmed our suspicion that Red Bank has similar dining options to Princeton - a great variety of mediocrity, with flashes of brilliance on those rare nights when the moon and stars align. : )

                    We'll be taking the recommendations of bgut1, seal and others that we follow closely and will be dining at Red. Looks inviting. We look forward to grazing thru a couple apps (filet mignon included) and a few rolls.

                    Thanks again everyone.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Foody4life

                      Red makes a wonderful hanger steak with a yummy blue cheese sauce and steak frites, as well.

                      1. re: Foody4life

                        Foody - I hope you enjoy your meal, as well as your entire evening. Please let us know what you think of Red and your experience with the food you try.

                        1. re: MGZ

                          Thanks again everyone for the rec. Red fit the bill nicely. J and I enjoyed our pre-Basie dinner there last night. Shared everything. Started with the seafood martini and the filet mignon apps. Seafood was very good and the filet was excellent. Then we shared (3) rolls... the spicy tuna, the softshell crab and the lobster cuke roll. All were well prepared and enjoyed. Not OMG sushi but we were very happy with what we had. We struggled to finish the last roll and would probably not order 3 next time (the filet ap is pretty big)!

                          Service was excellent and the show at the Basie that followed was superb. A great evening.

                        2. re: Foody4life

                          " You've all confirmed our suspicion that Red Bank has similar dining options to Princeton - a great variety of mediocrity, with flashes of brilliance on those rare nights when the moon and stars align. : ) "

                          Perfect description.

                        3. Best meals in town are Bienvenue and Via45, hands down. I've been to them all more than twice and those two are the standouts. If forced to choose one, I'd say "Bienvenue".

                          4 Replies
                            1. re: Tapas52

                              I found Temple to be overpriced and bland (not to mention rice undercooked to the point of being crunchy). If interested in Asian I'd more likely head across the street from Temple and do Vietnamese at Pho Le.

                              http://saigon2.com/

                              1. re: equal_Mark

                                "If interested in Asian I'd more likely head across the street from Temple and do Vietnamese at Pho Le."

                                Well put.

                                1. re: MGZ

                                  Thats surprising as we also liked their other family owned restaurant Peking Pavilion in Freehold....didn't know that Temple was on a down-slide so soon...I agree a bit pricey for Chinese food .......I enjoyed Pho Le also

                                  http://pekingpavilion.com/

                          1. Our old standby (not stellar) is Murphy's Grill the steak Murphy style is hard to beat for the price they have a bar and sell wine by the carafe (full/half) we live about an hour north and used to have a business in Red Bank on Broad & Monmouth but we still make a point of going to Murphy's once or twice a year usually on the way back from Monmouth Park they used to have a roasted garlic appetizer which was and entire garlic stalk cut in half and grilled until soft like butter we spread that on our bread while we waited for the entrees to be served YUM!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Epicurium

                              If Murphy's wasn't center block on Broad, it would have closed year's ago. Probably OK for a quick dinner for some and the sidewalk seating is a lure for others, but not what we're looking for. Last night at 7:15, place was empty, literally.

                            2. Oh Geeze I had my response all ready to go and I realized this original post is from March 19th!! Good ole Chowhound placing any post with recent activity back to the top of the list. Oh well not being one to keep thier mouth shut this is what I would have had to say. For an exceptional driving experience don't be so concerned with your parking/walking to dinner and go just 5 mins up Front St. to Raven and the Peach in Fair Haven for a wonderful meal and experience. In my opinion they far out shine anything Red Bank has to offer for fine dining. As far as Epicurium goes with Murphy's as a suggestion sadly Murphy's is well past it's prime. The owner Mario at 80+ years old admits his days of running the business are far behind him. He has been looking to sell for awhile now and the quality has suffered as his ability to run the place properly has decreased. Even with a fully stocked bar in the middle of Red Bank the second the last dinner is served it's lights out let's go home.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                Jrvedicici.....a far better and even closer option is Nicholas. Having said that, these pre concert requests (on CH) rely on recommendations that provide proximity and the ability to get in and out of dinner quickly and still have time to get to the show.

                                While dining at Nicholas will never address having dinner on the fly, most of us (and I'm local who, while being local, is pressed for time even heading into Red Bank for dinner and show, even more so when I go to the Wellmont in Montclair).

                                We all agree that there are no stellar eateries in town - there are serviceable ones even though they come at a cost that may have one questioning value, but you ususally can get a decent meal there -in the end, it's all about being able to park the car (for the nite), walk to the restaurant, take in the town, fresh air, and walk to the theater - a scenario that can't be done in most of NJ because of it's sprawl.

                                1. re: JustJake

                                  I have not been back to Nicholas since the addition which is probably 5+ years. I dined at Nicholas several times during its first year or two and I can tell you this much of my Nicholas experience(s). Neither I nor anyone for that matter can insult the quality of the food and service Nicholas provides however the original dining room was cold….lacked any form of intimacy or ambiance AND was loud. I remember shortly after they opened within the first six months they installed ceiling curtains/buffers to try and absorb the sound reflection from the high ceilings.

                                  Additionally while the food was excellent in my opinion the value per portion size seemed to be very disproportionate. Meaning flat out I have left dinner at Nicholas and after spending in excess of $200/$300 for dinner for two….and heated up a slice of pizza when I got home.

                                  At that time La Fontana in New Brunswick was still in operations and there was Raven and the Peach up the street each of which I preferred to Nicholas for that caliber of dining and I haven’t been back since. Now at least they have a bar and hopefully changed the dinning room(s) so maybe I’m due to try it again but sadly in the past Nicholas failed to win me over.